Signal Corps

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Signal Corps


specialized troops whose function is to en-sure communications and the control of troops. In the armed forces of most countries all combat arms have signal corps units. The Soviet signal corps is composed of communications units and signal centers and of supply, repair, and other subunits.

In the Russian Army, signal corps subunits appeared in the middle of the 19th century, after the invention of the electric telegraph. The first military field telegraph was used in the Crimean War (1853-56). The first signal corps units were called military field telegraph depots and were introduced into army corps in 1884; they were later replaced by military telegraph companies. In May 1899 the world’s first military electronic communication unit was set up: the Kronstadt Military Spark Telegraph. From 1900 electronic communications were gradually introduced into the army. In the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) the Russian Army used telephones and wire and radio telegraphs. However, the army had few such instruments because of Russia’s technological and economic backwardness. By the beginning of World War I (1914-18) the Russian Army had signal corps subunits in all infantry, cavalry, and artillery units of all sizes. In October 1919, upon the instructions of V. I. Lenin, a signal corps chief of the Red Army was appointed and the Signal Corps Administration set up (the first chief and simultaneously commissar of the Signal Corps Administration was A. M. Liubovich). In all military formations and in large units up to the brigade level inclusive, the post of signal corps chief was introduced and signal corps administrations and departments (divisions) were set up. From that time on the signal corps became an independent specialized combat arm. In November 1919 the Higher Electrotechnical School was set up; it was later transformed into the Military Electrotechnical Academy of Communications. By 1927 the technical re-equipment of the signal corps with Soviet instruments was basically completed, and in 1929-31 new signal corps units and subunits were formed in the armored troops, the air force, the National Air Defense Forces, and the artillery.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) the method and techniques of signal corps operations were further developed and new means of communications created, including mobile communication centers, ultrashortwave radio stations, and teletypewriters. During the war combat orders were awarded to about 600 signal corps units, and the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was conferred on 290 signal corps soldiers. In the postwar period the structure of the signal corps was radically reorganized, and the signal corps was armed with modern communications equipment.


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