Movable fortress

Movable fortress

Attempts to find new ways of personal protection for soldiers accompanied humanity for many centuries. Thus, in the XVII century, the famous French Marshal Vauban in one of his numerous works proposed to use during attacks … bags full of sheep’s wool. He believed that such devices would be able to reliably protect soldiers from a hail of enemy bullets. The armies of the whole world are still trying to create the ideal (light and at the same time strong) armor for an infantry soldier. Today I will tell you about one of these attempts.

Red army

Soviet soldiers test portable infantry shield.

The idea of ​​creating this shield came during the war of the Soviet Union with Finland. The Soviet command understood that the soldiers of the Red Army needed good personal protective equipment to conduct offensive battles under heavy enemy fire. The creation of shields was entrusted to Leningrad factories. The main objective was to make the shield easy to move. The first to provide their shields was the Kirov Plant, which created its shields in the amount of 39 pieces – of which 26 were solid and 13 were folding, and Izhora plant, which provided 20 shields.

world war

A drawing of the infantry shield, which was mounted on skis for easy movement in snowy conditions.

On January 7, 1940, tests began. The purpose of the tests was to determine the armor resistance during shelling from various distances and the ease of sliding of the shields in the snow. It was also supposed to evaluate the convenience of firing, the speed of bringing the shield to a combat position, the convenience of loading and transportation.                                                                                                                   Specifications: Material: armor plate iron thickness: 10 mm.                                                                                                                                                                                Weight of construction: 20-30 kg.

second world war

Photo of the infantry shields (by Kirov plamt) at the 1940 trials.

Shields were shot from a rifle at a distance of 200 meters. All eight light hits ended only with marks on the armor. After firing from 200 meters with an armor-piercing bullet, the result was somewhat different – of 12 shot bullets, three shot it, the rest left dents. Then the distance was changed to 100 meters. All 23 bullets only left marks on the armor. The shelling of an armor-piercing bullet from 100 meters yielded the following results: of nine bullets, two pierced its bottom, and the rest left dents. The disadvantages of the construction were: a gap between the ground and the side of the shield, the design of the ski lock clamp, which weakened in movement and led to the ski jumping off, and the absence of an observation hole in the left sidewall. The shape of the structure (small tilt angles) was also recognized as unsuccessful, which caused weak bullet resistance, a small firing sector and the irreplaceability of skis in the field.                                                                                         After some modifications, the shields were adopted by the army USSR. At the same time, shields were made at several state factories.

Shields after battle trials.

Another variety (by  Izhora plant)  shields after battle trials.

               The use of shields did not require long-term training, just a short briefing and training for no longer than one hour was enough. Hand transportation by the rope was not difficult because shields were mounted on skis and glided over the surface. At the same time, if a soldier needed it, he could disconnect the skis from the shield and move on them, leaving the shield.

Another modification of the infantry shield. Photo by

Read: Strong point of the Wehrmacht


For masking, shields are covered with branches, turf, earth, and in winter they are painted with white paint. Photo by


Using shields for defense posits.

As a result, the shields served the Soviet army until the end of the war. Shields were also used during the defense, installing them on the
breastwork of trench. To this day, diggers find these shields on the battlefield.


Infantry shields lying on the battlefield. They remind of bloody battles in this place. Photo by



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