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Help needed researching Soviet Naval Infantry during WWII!

Article about: Hello! I've always been interested in Soviet Naval Infantry ever since hearing about the tenacity of which they fought being nicknamed 'The Black Death'. However I soon discovered informatio

  1. #1

    Question Help needed researching Soviet Naval Infantry during WWII!


    I've always been interested in Soviet Naval Infantry ever since hearing about the tenacity of which they fought being nicknamed 'The Black Death'. However I soon discovered information on them was rather illusive as most information was in Russian or written in Russian on photocopied pages, hence translation would take quite a while.

    So far I have researched the 83rd Naval Infantry Brigade and found information on them throughout the entire war (source: Black Death: Soviet Naval Infantry) however I have found no images of this exactly unit as most Naval infantry photographs I have seen have no accompanying description other than 'Soviet Marines'.

    I have quite a few questions that I hope someone can help me with if it isn't too much trouble as you many of you seem to have far more knowledge than I could ever hope to:

    1. I have read that most Naval infantry was made up from a mix of Naval personnel and conscripts, so was there a set insignia for these men to distinguish themselves from the Navy seamen other than their black Beskozirka? A while back I found a list of specialist patches for the navy on and translated them as I had noticed photographs of naval infantry wearing these on their arms:

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    The one on this right mans arm translated to 'Gunner' so I assume he used to be a sailor, but did this patch mean anything anymore now that he is an infantryman? I have seen photographs with no patches at all and cannot find much information on Naval infantry insignia.

    2. I have seen drawings and re-enactments of Soviet Naval infantry and noticed a foul anchor patch on the arms:

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    Was this only worn on M43 tunics or was it worn on the black peacoats? Or what did it designate and when was it introduced?

    3. Speaking of peacoats, I have seen in a variety of photographs with Naval Infantry wearing black peacoats, navy blue sailors uniforms and green M43 army tunics, were the sailor uniforms and M43 tunics brought in when the M43 tunics were introduced to the rest of the army? I have seen variations in uniforms and equipment ranging from Maxim ammobelts crossed on the chests, grenades adorning belts, etc Were Naval Infantry given a stockpile of unused weaponry and equipment to choose from or were there designated allotments given to certain men because I always wondered why riflemen wore Maxim ammo belts but no ammo pouches for their SVT-40's and Mosins.
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    4. A question on shoulderboards, I have seen reproductions and originals of Black sea fleet shoulderboards but have not seen any naval infantry wear them apart from post-war naval infantry. Were they not issued during the war or simply not worn on peacoats or naval uniform, reserved for M43 tunics? How exactly did the naval infantry designate rank without rank patches or shoulderboards?

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    5. Were officers of Naval brigades and units just 'unused' Naval officers so that they would wear Soviet naval officer tunics and trousers? Or were many of them infantry officers and would wear M43 style tunics? I have seen photographs of officers with their men such as this taken at Port Arthur in Manchuria in 1945, the officer is wearing a black/dark blue naval collar tunic and the infantry are wearing naval uniform rather than Army M43 uniforms, so I am confused as to how exactly the naval infantry were issued their uniform and equipment if it varied from year to year. Any help?

    6. Does anyone have any in-depth information on the 83rd Naval Infantry Brigade during WWII such as photos, medals awarded etc?

    I know I have asked many questions and I apologise if I am getting ahead of myself making it too much to answer but It would seem I have reached a dead end when attempting to research such an important but unknown part of the war, whenever you hear 'Naval infantry' a lot of people immediately think 'US Marine Corps' or 'Royal Marines-Commandos' rather than 'Soviet Naval Infantry'.

    Thank you very much if you can supply any help you can!

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  3. #2


    Hello Laurence and welcome.

    Your request will not go unanswered in any case. This is a field that I am passionately interested in also and it has multiple ties to my beloved Sevastopol.

    So, bear with us and something will come to light at some point in the future - and do not be surprised that it may take quite a while due to life's constraints...

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    Fellow collectors are NOT adversaries to be bested...

    ☭ "Ричик, я не понимаю, почему, почему ты тратишь деньги на эти вещи!" ☭

  4. #3


    Why thank you! I was beginning to think no one knew anything about the uniform at all. Nor about the 83rd Naval Infantry Brigade until I stumbled across some information about them being in the 'Danube Flotilla' and fighting at a battle called Hill 614 "Kochkanovo" describing in detail, even names of soldiers who fought and died in brave acts. Theres some more information on the Taman peninsula, Battles in the North Caucaus 1942, Kerch-Feodosiya landing and their famous Novorossiysk battle at Cape Myskhako.

    But I'm still lost for information about Naval infantry insignia or ranking/organisation, there is probably information on it in the vast books about WWII but unfortunately most of the information is probably in Russian itself I'm guessing you come from Sevastapol yourself? Speaking of which, do you have any information on your avatar? I have seen the photo of that officer countless times in Russian WWII photos but I couldn't find any other information apart from 'Soviet Naval Officer'.

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