Regular Army System

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Regular Army System


a system used in the armed forces to maintain minimum cadres in peacetime while allowing the rapid buildup of army units to war strength during mobilizations by calling up trained reserve contingents. The system exists in all modern states. Under the regular army system the soldiers and most of the sergeants (noncommissioned officers) are in active military service for the term established by law, after which they are placed in reserve and remain liable for military service until they reach some maximum age. The regular army system may use a territorial, extraterritorial, or mixed principle to build up the forces by drafted contingents.

The regular army system was introduced in Prussia in 1814, and in the middle of the 19th century it was gradually adopted by other countries, including Russia, France, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Japan. On the basis of this system millions of men were drafted in World War I and World War II.

The Red Army was originally composed of volunteers. From the summer of 1918 the regular army system was used to build up a regular Red Army on a mass scale. The decree entitled The Organization of Territorial Troop Units and the Military Training of the Toiling Masses was issued in 1923, and the armed forces were placed on the territorial regular army system in 1924-25. This policy made it possible to meet defense needs at a time when the country’s budget was limited. In combination with the territorial-militia system the necessary number of divisions with an administrative apparatus could be maintained as a nucleus for the rapid deployment of troops without withdrawing more than a minimum of the work force from industry and agriculture. In the 1930’s, with the threat of an impending military attack on the USSR, the territorial regular system of the armed forces no longer satisfied the needs of state defense. Between 1935 and 1938 the territorial regular army system was replaced by the unified regular army system of the Soviet armed forces, which was provided for by the Law on Universal Military Service of Sept. 1, 1939, and confirmed by the Law on Universal Military Service of Oct. 12, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.