|M71 combat boots|
|A pair of 1988 (third model) manufactured M71 boots |
|Designation:||Cipele sa povišenim sarom M71|
|Place of origin:||SFRY|
|Manufacturer(s):||Borac, Limka, Kombinat Peć|
|Material(s):||leather, rubber, metal, wood|
|Evolved from:||Kanady vz. 60, French M65Yugoslavian M55, American M43|
|Used by:||Yugoslavian People's Army (1971-1991), Republika Srpska Army (1992-1995), Serbian Krajina Army (1992-1995) Army of Serbia and Montenegro (1992-2006), Serbian Army, (2006-present day) Croatian Army (1991-1993), Bosnian Army (1992-1995), Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995-present day), Macedonian Army (1992-2007)|
They were designed and issued to the YPA (Yugoslavian People's Army) in the beginning of 1970s as a replacement for ageing M55 (Model 1955) knee boots, and were firstly recorded wearing by their officers during Sloboda 71 (Freedom 71), the largest military exercise of YPA, held in October 1971.
The M71 were officially called Cipele sa povišenim sarom (Heightened shoes), since they were not tying above the ankle (due to having buckles) so that they could be referred to as being boots by YPA terminology. However, in practice the official name was almost never used and were always widely being known simply as JNA čizme (YPA boots).
Overview & historyEdit
Although the SFRY was never a member of Warsaw pact, it was still a classic Communist country which naturally followed practices from the rest of the Eastern bloc rather than from the West and the M71 boots were a prime example of such, since the double buckle boots were worn only and by many other Eastern bloc countries which were under USSR influence, the Czechoslovakia (their Vz-60, Vz-62 and Vz-72 boots) and Poland (their Opinacze Wojskowe) in the first place, from which the YPA took the idea. The M71 boots are no doubt inspired and most similar to mentioned Vz-60 (Vzor 1960) combat boots, worn by the ČSLA (Czechoslovakian People's Army). The sole USSR also used similar boots, which were, however, worn only by some Specnaz forces. The original idea was actually copied from WWII era American M43 (Model 1943) service boots (which the Red Army was receiving during the second half of the war through the Land Lease program), which were the first boots of such type (double buckle) in history and which were, however, soon after the war replaced in the US. So, the M71, like all boots of such design, can also track its roots in mentioned M43 boots; France, as an example, also copied the M43 for their M65 (Model 1965) boots, which are even still today used by the French Foreign Legion.
The M71 boots were always made exclusively from highly durable genuine box leather (calfskin) in combination with either three or four layers of sole (twin wooden at the upper part with a single/double rubber one), depending on model, and bolted with either eleven or nineteen reinforcement screws underneath, also depending on the model. The leather is glued to soles and, internally, between the layers, also stitched and rings of holes for laces are made of metal. Inserts were also made out of genuine leather. Like in Vz-60 case, its characteristic, screw reinforced soles are of completely original (domestic) design and were thus never used by any other boots before or after (only the Croatian army used existing supplies through a short time in 1990s for manufacturing of their own combat boots during the Yugoslavian wars, which were basically YPA boots only with buckles removed and replaced by slots for laces until the upper end of the boot - something like the Czech Vz-90 boots), however, they were directly taken from previously used M55 knee boots, so the soles actually originate back from 1950s. The buckles were also made out of metal and were chrome lined in order to protect them from rust (which explains their silver appearance), exactly like on Vz-60 and on similar Soviet boots. The wooden parts of the sole were painted with black protective coating to prevent from rotting. The inside leather layer could vary in colors; from orange (which was the most common), to brown, yellow or even white (which was the rarest), depending of year and place of manufacturing. Depending also on manufacturer, some models had protective steel cap installed inside on toes and heel part (mostly the ones made at Kombinat Peć), the other had just reinforced (hardened) leather on the same parts. Due to using four reinforced layers of hard sole (with double wooden layers) they are relatively heavy for a piece of footwear - every boot weighting almost 3kg, depending on size and manufacturing, however.
They were manufactured in several factories through the former SFRY, most notably the Kombinat & Konfekcija Borac (literally; Fighter) from town of Travnik in SRBIH (Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina) which carried the most production, then Kombinat Kože & Obuće from town of Peć in autonomous province of Kosovo and factory Limka from town of Prijepolje in SRS (Socialist Republic of Serbia). Like all other pieces of YPA equipment, every single pair (except Police models) had markings sewn inside which, among the size (length and width, in centimeters) also had year of production and one of the mentioned places of manufacturing inscribed. The soles, however, were made by other factories, (since the mentioned ones were not producing rubber and wood materials) and they also had size, width and length engraved underneath and sometimes also places of manufacturing (most commonly the PIS Zagreb, BVB or Zlatar).
They were produced from 1971 until 1990 (for YPA), however, they were continued to be produced for Army of Serbia and Montenegro (Vojska Jugoslavije) for a long time even after the dissolution of SFRY (until somewhere around 2006), but by their factories; since the original ones were either in Bosnia or Kosovo (except Limka, which was however, closed soon after the breakup of SFRY), as mentioned. In the Army of Montenegro, they were starting to be replaced in 2006 when Montenegro gained independence from Serbia and are now completely disused. They are even still today rarely seen used only by Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as by Serbian Army, (mostly by conscripts) although they are formally replaced by more modern combat boots Gepard M10 (Model 2010).
For the first few years (until around 1976) the M71 boots were worn exclusively by officers (while the rest of the army still wore old M55 boots), since they were not available in larger numbers yet and which is why they received their most popular nickname Oficirke (loosely translated as Officer's boots), a nickname which was also continued to be extensively used even after the rest of the YPA started wearing them and are still today sometimes referred as such. Other common nicknames included Pešadinke (Infantryman's boots), Prašinarke (Dust boots), Remenjače (Belt boots) and so on.
Also, they are often incorrectly called 'M77' ('Model 1977') boots, although they, as already stated, actually appeared much earlier than that - already in 1971 (the previously mentioned YPA military exercise Sloboda 71 is probably the finest proof of mentioned). The mistake is most probably due to the fact that YPA terminology was much confusing due to using the one and the same markings for literally every piece of equipment and even weaponry. Moreover, their uniforms and equipment in general had only size, production site and year of production markings, but not official designation label, which is why it is relatively easy either to confuse or not knowing the designation at all. It could be possible that the designation was changed from 'M71' to 'M77' when the second model of the boot was introduced, however, the second model was actually introduced two years later; in 1979 and was actually just a gap between the first and the last one. Also, by that logic the third model then should have been marked as 'M82', so that theory can be easily discharged. It can be eventually possible that they received the official designation from military yet in 1977 (when they completely replaced the previous M55 generation of boots), which would logically explain why they were marked as 'M77' although they were already in usage much earlier. However, it is somewhat hard to believe that they were in production and usage for at least five years without having proper military designation.
For YPA, the M71 boots existed in three main models. The first one was in production for seven years; from 1971 until 1978 and it is visually easily recognizable by combination of twelve holes for laces (six by six), nineteen reinforcement screws on each sole and slightly different buckles compared to later ones (thinner, somewhat smaller and square from all sides). Due to the fact that this model (as being the first one) was firstly worn exclusively by YPA officers, there is an often myth present that this model was being made to be used only for officers which is wrong, since it was only the first model which was soon used by others and later discontinued and replaced - even for officers.
The second model was in production for only two years; from 1979 until 1981, due to which today it is relatively rare (hard to find), because the mentioned model was actually just a gap between the first and third one, since the production facilities firstly had to spend the existing stock of old nineteen reinforcement screw soles before they could continue with new eleven screw ones. (probably the best evidence for that is the fact that the post 1978 soles with holes for nineteen reinforcement screws never existed; even 1981 dated boots have at least 1978 dated soles or even earlier) The mentioned model is recognizable by combination of ten holes for laces (the upper two were removed; so five by five now), different buckles (larger, thicker and rounded on back side), however, again with nineteen reinforcement screws on four layers of soles, like previously (upper two wooden + lower two rubber).
The third model was in production from 1982 until the end of SFRY (1990), however, as previously mentioned, it was continued to be manufactured for Serbia and Montenegro as far as around 2006 when they were finally discontinued and later, largely replaced. The last model was recognizable only by combination of ten holes for laces like the previous one, but now only eleven reinforcement screws (eight less than on previous models) on each sole, which were also triple now; heel was together a part of the last - third rubber sole, in previous models the heel part was the individual, fourth or last layer of sole.
There was also a special model for Milicija (Yugoslavian Militsya) which was used by its repression forces. It had a combination of twelve holes for laces (like the first model for Army) and eleven reinforcement screws (like the third/last model) on the soles underneath, a combination in which Army models never existed. Also, the Militsya models never featured markings (for size, production site and year of production) sewn inside, because the mentioned was the Army regulation for uniforms and equipment; the Militysa ones had only size number engraved into the inside leather layer due to which it is not exactly known from which year does the Militsya model originate nor for how long it was being made (however, it was probably being made for a relatively short time and not after the breakup of SFRY, due to the fact that those models are very rare today). Militsya also had an extremely rare model featuring thirteen holes for laces and slightly different design, which is today almost non existent anymore - and what also indicates that it was being made very briefly and was probably their very first model.
- ↑ https://www.etsy.com/listing/515480675/vintage-military-combat-boots?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=yugoslavian%20army&ref=sc_gallery_3&plkey=4e8e63f14f98d5e2bf892d1fc6fb7d2e98edc112:515480675
- ↑ http://frame.goglasi.com/frame?eid=141681073&q=%20JNA%20cizme%20pesadinke
- ↑ https://www.mycity-military.com/Pesadijsko-naoruzanje-municija-i-oprema/Vojnicke-cizme_157.html
- ↑ https://sites.google.com/site/yugoslavianpeoplesarmyjna/footwear
- ↑ http://www.paluba.info/smf/index.php?topic=16353.0
- ↑ http://frame.goglasi.com/frame?eid=129513272&q=%20JNA%20cizme%20pesadinke
- ↑ http://jna-sfrj.forum-aktiv.com/t181p825-virtualni-muzej-jna