top of page

Soviet military acronyms

When reading some articles, books and posts about the Soviet Army these are usually packed with acronyms which are not that easy to understand. And there is nothing to be ashamed about - these are acronyms from a different language and they are quite counterintuitive from time to time.

To simplify this list it will be split in four parts - military units, vehicles, weapons and equipment. If you feel that something is missing from the list, do not hesitate to leave a comment and we will add it.


Military units acronyms

These come in all shapes and colors and unlike vehicles and weapons, which can be easily googled, these are a bit more tricky. Let's start with the most common type of units in the Soviet Army - infantry.

English designation

Russian designation

Russian meaning

Translated

MSD

МСД

MotoStrelkovaya Diviziya

Motorized Rifle Division

MSP

МСП

MotoStrelkoviy Polk

Motorized Rifle Regiment

MSB

МСБ

MotoStrelkoviy Batallion

Motorized Rifle Battalion

MSBr

МСБр

MotoStrelkovaya Brigada

Motorised Rifle Brigade

Usually, when you see brigade mentioned, it is stated as oMSBr (оМСБр). Letter "o" in this case stands for "otdelniy" - "separate", meaning that the brigade is not part of any division and is under the direct command of the Army. Similar logic goes for other types of units, but when we are talking about smaller units, like separate company or a battalion, they would usually be under the direct command of the Division, meaning that they are not a part of any regiment.


Same logic goes for the majority of the other branches of service.

PDP

ПДП

Parashutno-Desantniy Polk

Airborne regiment

DShBr

ДШБр

Desantno Shturmovaya Brigada

Air Assault Brigade

TB

ТБ

Tankoviy Batallion

Tank Batallion

ISP

ИСП

Inzhenerno Saperniy Polk

Sapper Engineer Regiment

However, there are quite a few exceptions. I do not want to go too deep into some micro sub units, like Separate Anti-Plague Unit or Bread Baking Factory (yes, that was a military unit as well). Let's go over some more common ones:


ooSpN

ооСпН

Otdelniy Otryad SpetsNaznacheniya

Separate Unit of Special Forces

ADN

АДН

Artileriyskiy DivizioN

Artillery Squadron

PMP

ПМП

Polkovoy MedPunkt

Regimental Medical Point

RR

РР

Razved Rota

Recce Company


If there are some other unit acronyms which you believe should be added here - do not hesitate to comment.




Soviet Military Vehicles acronyms


Luckily, there are not that many common vehicles. Again, we are not going to list some very specific recon/radio/engineer machines here. Or we will, if there will be a request.

Now, you can probably guess that letter T in any of the tank's designation (T-55/T-72 etc) stands for Tank. But other vehicles are not all that simple. The general rule of thumb - armored vehicles acronyms are descriptive, while trucks represent the name of the factory where they were produced.


BTR

БТР

BroneTransPorter

Armored Personnel Carrier

BMP

БМП

Boevaya Mashina Pehoty

Infantry Fighting Vehicle

BMD

БМД

Boevaya Mashina Desanta

Airborne Fighting Vehicle

BTR-D

БТР-Д

BroneTransPorter Desantniy

Airborne Armored Personnel Carrier


BRDM

БРДМ

Bronirovanaya Rozvedivatelno Dozornaya Mashina

Armored Recon-Patrol Vehicle

MTLB

МТЛБ

Mnogocelevoy Tyagach Legkiy Bronirovaniy

Multipurpose Light Armored Towing vehicle


UAZ

УАЗ

Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod

Ulyanovsk Automobile Factory

GAZ

ГАЗ

Gorkovskiy Avtomobilny Zavod

Gorky Automobile Plant

KamAZ

КамАЗ

Kamskiy Avtomobilnyy Zavod

Kama Automobile Plant

ZIL

ЗИЛ

Zavod Imeni Likhachyova

Likhachev Automobile Plant


Some Soviet Weapons acronyms

The acronyms for small arms and other infantry weapons broadly fall into two categories. They are either descriptive or named after their inventors. Or both.

​AK

АК

Avtomat Kalashnikova

Kalashnikov's assault rifle

AKMS

АКМС

Avtomat Kalashnikova Modernezirovaniy Skladnoy

Kalashnikov's assault rifle, modernized, with folding stock

AKSU

АКСУ

Avtomat Kalashnikova Skladnoy Ukorocheniy

Kalashnikov's assault rifle, shortened, with folding stock

RPK

РПК

Ruchnoy Pulemet Kalashnikova

Kalashnikov's handheld machine gun

RPG

РПГ

Ruchnoy Protivotankoviy Granatomet

Handheld anti-tank grenade (launcher)

PKM

ПКМ

Pulemet Kalashnikova Modernizirovaniy

Kalashnikov's machine gun, modernized

DShK

ДШК

Dyagterev, Shpagin, Krupnokaliberniy

Dyagterev-Shpagin, high caliber

NSV "Utes"

НСВ "Утес"

Nikitin, Sokolov, Volkov

Nikitin-Sokolov- Volkov

AGS

АГС

Avtomaticheskiy Granatomet Stankoviy

Grenade machine gun, on a tripod

PTRK

ПТРК

ProtivoTankoviy Raketniy Kompleks

Anti-tank rocket launcher



209 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page