Cap band and piping colors through the years

Under the Red Star

The following chart is designed as a quick reference to help identify and roughly date Soviet Army visor caps based on cap band and piping colors. Band color is the colored rectangle, piping is shown by the stripe through the center; solid rectangles indicate piping color same as band. Chart reflects official Ministry of Defense uniform regulations and supplements since 1945. All bands are wool, with the exception of black ones, which may be either wool or velvet depending on the branch and time period.

Visor Cap Band and Piping Colors 1945 1955 1958 1969 1980 1989
Tank Generals
Tank Officers and Soldiers
Artillery Generals
Artillery Officers and Soldiers
Rifle/Motorized Rifle Generals

Rifle/Motorized Rifle Officers and Soldiers

Airborne Generals * * *

Airborne Officers and Soldiers * * *

Air Force Generals

Air Force Officers and Soldiers

Medical/Veterinary Generals
Medical/Veterinary Officers
Administration Officers
Intendance Generals

Intendance Officers

Justice Generals

Justice Officers

Engineer Technical Generals * * * * * *
Engineer Technical Officers and Soldiers * * * * * *
Special Troops
Generals (all)

Railroad/VOSO officers
Railroad Soldiers
Engineer Officers and Soldiers
Signal/Radio Technical Officers and Soldiers
Topographic Officers and Soldiers
Air Defense Searchlight Officers and Soldiers n/a n/a n/a
Construction Officers and Soldiers
Pipeline Officers and Soldiers
Motor Transport Officers and Soldiers
Chemical Officers and Soldiers

VOSO = Military Communications Service
* = wore colors of the units to which they were assigned
Special Troops enlisted personnel may have used black piping in lieu of dark blue until the 1950's (not confirmed)
Airborne typically wore Rifle colors after 1946 and before re-adopting Air Forces colors in 1963
All officer black bands made velvet as of 1980; conscript caps still used plain wool
1989 color changes not fully implemented due to collapse of USSR in 1991!


purple-pink; aka magenta/raspberry/crimson

light blue/azure

dark blue

dark-medium green

bright red

black; velvet or wool
* unassigned; matched that of owning unit