French (tunic)

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W. Lenin´s french (1920th)
А. Kerensky in french

French — (Russian: френч) was the designation of a particular type of military jacket or tunic in the Russian Empire and later in the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Related words are kurtka, (ru: куртка), kitel (ru: китель; derived from German: Kittel) or pidzhak (ru: пиджак; derived from English: pea-jacket).

In the period of World War I 1914—1918 a decisive number of uniform jackets were created, in most cases related to the latest creations in modern armed forces, e.g. France and United Kingdom. These kinds of uniform jackets received the collective designation french in relation to the supreme commander of the British Expeditionary Force to France, John French and field marshal.

Main features of French were as follows:

  • soft collar – turndown version or standing version with button fastening,
  • variable half-belt and changeable sleeves
  • four big pockets (appliquéd, with buttons) with flaps (two upper chest, two below).

In the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (WPRA) of the USSR it was usually worn by commanding officers, chiefs and political officers and from 1924 to 1943.

In the air force there was a limited number of frenches regularly worn by British officers. It was characterised by an open collar, to be worn with tie or scarf.

Other users[edit]

The french was also adopted by several political leaders, such as Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong (Mao suit) and Chiang Kai-shek.


  • Френч. // Крысин Л.П. Толковый словарь иноязычных слов. — Эксмо, 2008. — 944 с.
  • "french" френч. Большой толковый словарь (in Russian). Retrieved 8 September 2017 – via Военная куртка в талию с четырьмя накладными карманами и хлястиком сзади. По имени командующего английскими экспедиционными войсками в первую мировую войну фельдмаршала Дж.Френча (1852 - 1925) [A waist-length military tunic with four patch pockets and half belt on the back. Named for the commander of the English expeditionary forces in the First World War Field Marshal J. French (1852–1925)]

See also[edit]