Russian Forces, Russo-Japanese War
Gunner, Fortress Artillery
This artillery crewman from the garrison of Port Arthur is wearing the kind of Improvised uniform typical of many of the garrison. His civilian sheepskin coat is fastened with a standard Infantry black leather belt with a steel buckle. His shinel greatcoat, slung here bandolier-style, is cut generously enough to wear on top of the sheepskin garment In extreme conditions. Around his neck and tucked under his equipment is his issue bashlik hood (note the tape edging), which was a separate garment. His dark green M1881 trousers are tucked into M1867 leather boots; and the whole outfit is topped off with an M1901 sheepskin papaha hat. Arms carried are an M1881 artillery sabre and a Nagant ‘3-line’ revolver, secured by a red woollen lanyard.
Officer, Siberian Rifles
This officer wears a locally produced tulup coat, to which unstiffened braid shoulder boards are attached. In the conditions of Manchuria non-regulation coats like this were allowed by the usually intolerant high command. His hat is the large, shaggy Siberian style papaha which became known as the ‘Manchzhurka ‘, with a brass scroll badge awarded to his regiment for distinguished service - a device introduced in 1878. He is also fortunate to have a pair of privately purchased boots with leather feet and padded felt uppers. The officer’s whistle around his neck is the volunteers type rather than the regular pattern. His M1896 Mauser ‘broom-handle’ semi-automatic pistol hangs in its wooden holster-stock from a brown leather revolver belt and is secured by a lanyard in Romanov colors. A second revolver belt also serves to hold his coat together in the absence of a more substantial type.
Second Lieutenant, Primorsky Dragoon Regiment
This poporuchik is dressed in a cavalry officer’s regulation blue-grey winter greatcoat, with officer’s buttoned collar patches in dark green trimmed gold, and attached shoulder boards. His dog fur hat is of the type favored by this regiment. His equipment includes a non-regulation black leather waist belt with a left-handed holster for his revolver. His M1881 Dragoon sabre hangs from a gold-faced leather strap over his right shoulder. Over his left shoulder is a broad gold-faced belt for his liadunka ‘cap pouch’ worn on the back; this had a silvered flap and a gilt double-headed eagle badge.
Private, 139th ‘Morshansk’ Infantry Regiment
This figure typifies the appearance of an averagely well equipped Russian line infantry soldier in winter. He wears the M1881 enlisted ranks’ greatcoat with white collar patches, and his bashlik hood wrapped around his neck for warmth. His green, red-piped furashka cap has the white band of the third regiment within his division with the regimental number stenciled in red Arable numerals, below the Imperial cockade. (The regimental numbering was discontinued during the war.) Canvas bandoliers each carrying an extra 50 rounds were worn by many Russian soldiers; like the rest of their uniforms and kit, at this date they were still made up at unit level, so many variations would be seen. The rifle is earned with bayonet fixed: when going up to the front line most Russian soldiers discarded their bayonet scabbards (if they had ever received them) as a sign of their traditional faith in ‘cold steel’.