Chief marshal of the branch

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Flag of the Soviet Union.svg
Chief marshal ...
Marshal-Star small.jpg
Marshal's Star – small since 1943
Rank insignia Soviet Armed Forces
Introduction 1943
Rank group General officer

The ranks chief marshal of the branch (Russian: главный маршал рода войск, glavny marshal roda voysk) and marshal of the branch (маршал рода войск, marshal roda voysk) were senior military ranks of the Soviet Armed Forces. Immediately above the rank "marshal of the branch" is the rank "chief marshal of the branch". Both ranks are immediately above the rank "colonel general" and equal to Soviet general of the army.

Establishment in 1943[edit]

The ranks of marshal of 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 followed by the next higher 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 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.

Sequence of ranks
General of the army
(Генерал армии)
Higher rank:
Marshal of the Soviet Union
(Маршал Советского Союза)

Lower rank:
Marshal of the branch
(Ма́ршал ро́да во́йск)
Red Army Badge.svg

Chief marshal of the branch
(Главный ма́ршал ро́да во́йск)

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 did not retire normally: 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 Penkovsky, had been found to be a spy).

Shoulder boards & epaulettes[edit]

Designation Chief marshal of a branch
... to
basic/ field
Shoulder boards 1943 – 1955
Rkka-1943-ChiefMarshalArtil.gif Rkka-1943-MarshalAvia.gif Rkka-1943-ChiefMarshArmoredForce.gif Rkka-1943-ChiefMarshSignals.gif Rkka-1943-ChiefMarshEngineers.gif
... to
Shoulder boards 1955 – 1974
SA A-artil F9ChiefMars 1974v.png SA AF F9ChiefMars 1974 v.svg SA A-armour F9ChiefMars 1974v.png SA A-sign F9ChiefMars 1974v.png SA A-engin F9ChiefMars 1974v.png
Rank designation Chief marshal

Chief marshal

Chief marshal

Chief marshal

Chief marshal

Emblem RAF A emb- Rocket forces and artillery.jpg RAF AF branch insignia1.jpg RAF A emb-Armoured forces1936.gif Communication1936 forces emb n9618.png Engineer1924 forces emb n9619.png
NATO-equivalent OF-9

List of chief marshals[edit]

Chief marshals of the artillery[edit]

  1. Nikolai Nikolaevich Voronov (5.05.1899–28.02.1968); appointed 21.02.1944
  2. Mitrofan Ivanovich Nedelin (9.11.1902–24.10.1960); appointed 8.05.1959
  3. Sergei Sergeevich Varentsov (10.08.1901–1.03.1971); appointed 6.05.1961
  4. Vladimir Fedorovich Tolubko (25.11.1914–17.06.1989); appointed 1983

Chief marshals of the aviation[edit]

  1. Alexander Alexandrovich Novikov (19.11.1902–3.12.1976); appointed 21.02.1944; served as Commander of the Soviet Air Force from 1942 to 1946.
  2. Alexander Evgenievich Golovanov (7.08.1904–22.09.1975); appointed 19.08.1944.
  3. Pavel Fedorovich Zhigarev (19.01.1900–2.10.1963); appointed 11.3.1955; served as Commander of the Soviet Air Force from 1949 to 1957.
  4. Konstantin Andreevich Vershinin (3.06.1900–30.12.1973); appointed 8.05.1959; served as Commander of the Soviet Air Force from 1957 to 1969.
  5. Pavel Stepanovich Kutakhov (16.08.1914–3.12.1984); appointed 03.1972; served as Commander of the Soviet Air Force from 1969 to 1984.
  6. Boris Pavlovich Bugaev (29.07.1923– 13.01.2007); appointed 1977; served as Minister of Civil Aviation of the USSR from 1970 to 1987.
  7. Alexander Ivanovich Koldunov (20.09.1923–9.06.1992); appointed 1984; served as Commander of Soviet Air Defence Forces from 1978 to 1987.

Chief marshals of the armored troops[edit]

  1. Pavel Alexeevich Rotmistrov (6.07.1901–16.04.1982); appointed 28.04.1962
  2. Hamazasp Khachaturovich Babadzhanian (18.2.1906–1.11.1977); appointed 05.1975

List of marshals of the branch[edit]

Marshal of the branch (or "marshal of the branch of service"; Russian: Ма́ршал ро́да во́йск) was from 1943 to 1974 the designation to a separate rank class in the general officer's rank group of the former Soviet Union's armed forces.

See also[edit]