A 1940 Model (M40) Holiday Dress Tunic to Lt. General of Aviation, P.F. Zhigarev, commander of the Soviet Air Force (VVS)

P. F. Zhigarev
Born 1900 - Died 1963
Was a Cavalry officer drafted into the young Red Air Force
Colonel General 1940 (highest rank in Red Air Force in 1940.) Later this rank was re-named Lt. General
Commander, Soviet Air Force 22.6.41-11.4.42. Replaced by Colonel General A.A. Novikov
1942 commander Red Air Force XXXXX Front
1943 commander 10th Air Army (Far East Front)
1944 Made Air Marshal with 5 others
1946 Deputy head of Red Air Force
Chief Marshal Aviation in 1955
This tunic dates from the uniform regulations introduced in 1940 that brought the rank of General back to the Soviet Army. The three stars denote Lt. General. The shade of the tunic is typically referred to as a the 'holiday' style. It would be the equivilant of 'walking out' dress. Normal service dress would be olive green. Summer dress would be white. Parade tunics were dark blue. All air force personnel had the sky blue piping. This tunic would be worn with the dark blue breeches with two wide flannel stripes of sky blue (see Skripko tunic). The inside of the tunic is lined in flannel wool. The collar is also lined and could be worn with a removable internal collar. Screwback awards were typically screwed straight through the fabric as shown here.

General Zhigarev was the commander of the Red Air Force in 1940 but was moved aside to make way for a more forceful commander as war loomed. He remained an active commander and later was Chief Marshal of the Air Force in 1955.

This beautiful M40 model General's visor hat is made in the holiday color. The cockades are made of gold bullion thread. The national cockade features a simple star vs. the more elaborate gold circle cockade of the M43 model hat. Only the general's hat featured the gold braid chin strap.
A close-up of the collar shows the fine bullion embroidery of the collar stars. These would be the same stlye collars as worn on the coat. In 1943 these went away and were replaced with the standing collar and the shoulder boards. The silk rayon liner of the hat showing the manufacturer's label.

General Zhigarev's records and the position of the order holes showed that he would have worn only these two awards in 1940. The first is a screwback style of the Order of Lenin. Later styles of this award were hung from a ribbon. The second is the commemoration medal for the 20th anniversary of the Red Army. For General Zhigarev to have received this award in 1937 and to have survived Stalin's subsequent purges of most of the senior officers in 1937-38 shows that he was a very shrewd commander.
The sleeve chevrons also denoted rank. All generals had this wide gold chevron with the gold star above. Over the years, the blue dye in the piping has bled into the tunic.

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