The M1935 Gymnasterka was a field tunic that was used by the Red Army during World War II. The summer model of the Gymnasterka was made of cotton and was dyed in a khaki color like the rest of the standard uniform. For most soldiers, the tunic was worn with a leather belt, the M1935 Sharovari, and a pair of standardized jackboots.[1]

The Gymnasterka was designed with two pockets on either side of the wearers chest and three buttons. However, these were hidden behind a strip of cotton. The collar of the M1935 model had folding flaps. 

Dimensions and weight of the tunic varied depending on the wearer. Also depending on rank, various shoulder marks could be applied to the uniform. Reinforcing was added from time to time to the elbows of the tunic. 


The first variant of the Gymnasterka was the M1935 winter model which had the main distinction of being made of wool to provide better insulation.[2] It was also dyed olive green. The only other major variant of the Gymnasterka was the M1943 model and its accompanying winter variant which had improved several key features of the original. Firstly, the collar had been simplified to just a standing type with no folding flaps. Secondly, the buttons of the Gymnasterka which were previously hidden were now revealed for further simplification. 


The original Gymnasterka had been a tunic devised by the Russian Tsarist government in the late 1880s. From then, it had been incorporated into the Russian Army and saw widespread use. Following the Revolution of 1917, the Gymnasterka was reintroduced and eventually, the M1935 model had been adopted. The M1935 itself was subsequently adopted into the Red Army where it stayed until the late 1950s when it was dropped. It followed Soviet troops with its variants throughout the war and along with the M1935 Sharovari, it became the standard garment of the Red Army. 


  1. Zaloga. J. Steven. The Red Army of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. Osprey Publishing (1984), page 34
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