Chief marshal

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The ranks of marshal of a branch (Russian: маршал рода войск, marshal roda voisk) and chief marshal of a branch (Russian: главный маршал рода войск, glavni marshal roda voisk) were senior military ranks of the Soviet Armed Forces. Immediately above the rank "marshal of a branch" is the rank "chief marshal of a branch". Both ranks are immediately above the rank "colonel general" and equal to Soviet general of the army. The ranks were created as an calque of air marshal and air chief marshal,[citation needed] though they were used in the Soviet Air Force and also in several of the Soviet Army's branch commands.

Marshal[edit]

The ranks of marshal of the aviation, artillery and armoured troops branches were established on February 4, 1943 with a large, approximately 50mm wide, shoulder board star (the same star as the at-the-time equivalent rank of marshal of the Soviet Union's shoulder board star). When the rank of chief marshal was established on October 27, 1943, the size of the shoulder board's stars for marshals was made about 10mm smaller establishing the superiority of the marshal of the Soviet Union insignia. Also, on October 27, 1943 the ranks of marshal of the branches engineer troops and signals were established. On the uniform tie, marshals wore the marshal's star of the 2nd level.

In the branches, the rank of colonel general was succeeded by the rank of marshal of the branch. While the rank of marshal of a branch was apparently equal to the one of general of the army (who was only entitled to the four small shoulder board stars), the marshals of branches had the marshal's star of the 2nd level on the tie and the large 40mm star on the shoulder boards, but the general of the army had neither. Generals of the army were given the 40mm star shoulder board and the marshal's star of the 2nd level on the tie in 1974.

Marshals of the branches were normally eligible for promotion to chief marshal of branch, however, neither was eligible for promotion to marshal of the Soviet Union. After 1984, the rank of marshal was preserved only in the air force and artillery. Later, the rank of marshal stopped being conferred even in these branches. The regulations of Russian Army, confirmed in 1993, unified the system of general ranks in all the branches: the ranks of marshal of artillery and marshal of aviation were replaced by the one of general of the army (or army aviation), and the rank of chief marshal was cancelled.

Chief marshal[edit]

The ranks of chief marshal of the branches of aviation, artillery, armoured troops, engineer troops, and signals were established October 27, 1943. The three former branches had already had (since February 4, 1943) the corresponding ranks of marshal; in the two latter branches the ranks of marshal and of chief marshal were established simultaneously. When the rank of chief marshal was established, the size of the shoulder board's stars for all marshals except the now superior marshal of the Soviet Union were made about 10mm smaller and for chief marshals, the star was surrounded by a laurel wreath. On the uniform tie, chief marshals wore the marshal's star of the 2nd level. During the next forty years, the ranks of chief marshal were conferred mainly on deputy defense ministers - commanders of the corresponding branch. The ranks of chief marshal of engineer troops and chief marshal of signals, abolished in 1984, were never conferred on anybody. No chief marshal promotions were conferred after 1984. The youngest chief marshal was aviator Golovanov, 40 when promoted in 1944. Three of thirteen people who held the chief marshal rank had a tragic circumstances: Novikov was imprisoned for seven years; Nedelin perished in the flame of an exploded rocket; Varentsov was accused of heedlessness, dismissed and degraded (his subordinate, Oleg Pen'kovski, had been found to be a spy).

List of chief marshals[edit]

List of marshals[edit]

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