Siberian Chemical Warfare Suits, 1980s
OP-1 Combined Arms Chemical Protective Suit
L-1 Chemical Reconnaissance Troops Chemical SuitCurrently the most common form of such protective clothing in the Ground Force, the OP-1 is designed to be worn long, as in the right figure or gathered up and trapped into a coverall, as in the left figure. Soviet troops normally carry only a gas mask and a chemically impregnated paper sheet which folds out into a small tent, providing limited protection until the suit can be donned. The suit is usually carried rolled up on the strap of the fighting load hames, or at the top of the ruck sack. It is not hermetically sealed, so the wearer must first put on a chemically impregnated grey cloth body stocking. The suit is of rubberized fabric, without ventilation, and can only be worn for less than an hour in warm, strenuous conditions before the wearer collapses from heat exhaustion. Colors vary from a kind orange to pale green.
The left figure wears the basic enlisted men’s ShM mask, hermetically sealed and extremely uncomfortable. The man on the right, an officer, wears the ShM Model K, with a small voice device which allow officer and NCO to speak to troops. Neither model has any means for drinking liquid. The soldier to the left wears three-finger winter protective gloves, and the officer on the right the five-finger black summer protective gloves. In comparison to contemporary NATO issue, especially the British developed types with semi-permeable charcoal impregnated fabric, Soviet suits are primitive, uncomfortable, and dangerous to wear over prolonged periods.
The enlisted man carries a standard chemical detection kit. the VPKhR; hand-operated, this can be used to test soil samples. On the ground is a GSP-1M automatic chemical agent detector-alarm. This tests for common G-type nerve agents, and has a secondary function of alerting for radioactive contamination. The officer uses the PPKhR hand-held chemical detector. semi-automatic and powered off the batteries of a chemical scout vehicle such as the BRDM-2Rkhb.
A multi-piece suit issued mainly to Chemical Defense Force personnel, the L-1 is more thoroughly sealed against air intrusion. This ShMS mask differs from the others in that it can be fitted with optically corrected lenses which substitute for eyeglasses when the mask is worn. Made of optical glass, they allow the wearer to operate optical sights, and the mask is issued to gun crews, tank gunners. RPG-7 gunners, etc. This man carries a DP-12 contamination survey meter to check for radioactive contamination. In the background is a tropical Soviet contamination sign, which is planted by a marking system on the rear of BRDM-2Rkhb chemical scout vehicles.