Rain gear, shelter and much more.
Very few things are as important as staying dry when inclimate weather prevails. Fewer yet are having some sort of shelter when you need it in really inclimate weather prevails. The Soviet Army knew this and from its early days it sought to provide both to its troops. This was acheived by the development of one simple, but very versatile piece of gear. The Platsch Palatka.
At first glance it is simply a big square piece of canvas (about 4'x5'). However upon closer inspection it is seen to be so much more. There are grommets secured in its four corners. There is a strange slit cut into it in one of the quadrants of the canvas and a series of draw strings sewn into channels within portions of the fabric.
As the diagram below illustrates, the plastch-palatka can be used in a variety of applications. It can be worn as a raincape (complete with hood) or it can be combined with an extra (or a few extra) platsch to form a shelter.
Take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the diagrams, they will come in handy when you are in the field trying to figure out what to do with your platsch.
*Note: These can be found on ebay often enough, or you can contact East Wind Command for sources.
The Platsch-Palatka configured for poncho (personal wear) use.
Yes we know, it'll make you look like a hobbit bound for Mordor...
The following tutorial will show you just that.
First lay the platsch with the slit in it facing 6o'clock. Then take the corner that's at 2 o'clock and fasten it to the wooden/plastic toggle in the middle of the canvas via the grommet in the corner of the platsch. Like in the photo above.
Detail of toggle/corner.
Then go to the opposite corner and pull steadily on the drawstring that is in the canvas. This will make the "hood" portion of the poncho.
Slip it on and tuck the corner of the canvas up into the hood completing the hood. There usually is a second drawstring on the platsch that will help further with securing the hood about your neck/shoulders.
Detail of the "hood".
The slit in the side of the platsch is meant so that you can still have one hand "free" to continue the People's Revolution while you're wearing the Platsch in inclimate weather.
The Platsch can also be rigged in other ways in addition to the earlier diagram above.
By staking three corners down and tying the fourth to a tree, a simple "diamond" tent can be erected.
While its not the most luxurious of dwellings, it will serve to keep a man fairly dry/secure if need be.
Two plastchs can be fastened together using the toggles/slits on the sides of the tarp to form a larger shelter.
As you can see, two people with their gear could easily fit under this shelter.
Or without a tree (most often there's not many of them on a battlefield.) You can use the issued poles and rope and arrange just like a diamond tent again.
Another handy thing, is that you can wrap you platsch around your blankets, then tie it all onto the Veshmeshok (Soviet Rucksack)...and Slap on a couple of canteens and fill with gear and you're ready for the march to New York City!
Desantnik of Red-Alliance.net for posting of the diagram.
Matt Cardinale of St. Louis Airsoft Players for being the uniformed model.
Tascabe and Coyote of St. Louis Airsoft Players for the platsch demonstrations.