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Soviet Afghan cap

Soviet Afghan cap is an iconic piece of headwear from the decade. It was issued to all servicemen of the Soviet Army - from privates to generals. Here is the quick history behind this piece of Soviet uniform.

The usual headgear in the Soviet Army

From before the begging of the Second Worlds War, Soviet Army had two main summer caps. It was the regular "pilot hat" aka "pilotka" and a very rare panama hat, which was used exclusively in tropical regions - mainly in Turkmenistan region.

Pilotka and panamka
Pilotka and panamka

These summer headcaps were in the army for a really long time. They were continued to be used even after big changes in uniform regulations in 1956 and 1969. There were some minor changes in their construction, cut and material, which are now only interesting to collectors and very precise reenactors. This all of course requires a separate article.

Soviet Afghan cap

The iconic hat was officially introduced in 1984 as a part of so-called "Afghanka" set.

M84 Afghanka uniform
M84 Afghanka uniform (no official name)

The cap was officially introduced in 1984 and got the nickname of Soviet Afghan cap, or just "Afghanka" - same as the uniform set which it was issued with. The nickname is obviously related to where the uniform was mainly issued at.

Interestingly enough, it is very likely that this cap was introduced in the army some time prior to 1984. There are photos, both from Afghanistan and mainland USSR with experimental Afghanka - the one with just one arm pocket on the left. It is likely that it was issued with the cap.

Variants of the cap

Overall there were a lot of different places where the caps were produced and so there were some variations in the details. One of the earlies versions of the caps had it's button on the outside. It is not very common and is definitely a cool one to have in your collection.

Then there is quite a rare version with the sewn ventilation holes:

One of the most common and the correct option for the Soviet-Afghan war reenactment is the one where the ventilation holes are hidden under the cap flap:

But the most common on the modern market is the later version which went into production circa 1988 - with the ventilation holes visible on the sides. They were produced in khaki color until at least 1992.

Overall, these caps came in different material, shade and color:

Later on, they were also produced in all possible soviet and post-soviet camouflages. Here is a good example in TTSkO Butan:

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