By the beginning of 1945, the USSR and the USA have been allies for three and a half years, but the contacts of ordinary American and Red Army soldiers remained minimal for a long time. Unlike the British, with whom the Americans often fought side by side, they saw Russian allies only at the endpoints of the Lend-Lease routes and at the Poltava air hub airdromes, which accepted the US Air Force units as a part of the «Operation Frantic» in 1944.
As the Allies moved towards each other in Europe, it became clear that there would be more than enough contacts between Ivan and Joe soon. The Americans would not be themselves if they had not prepared their soldiers for the moment when they meet the mysterious “krasno-ar-may-ets”.
In April, the US War Department released a large edition of a detailed 80-page pamphlet entitled “Our Red Army Ally”. It was about how not to be shot by a Russian sentry when you meet him, how the Red Army was organized and what it was like in the battle, how it organized its camps, what a Russian soldier eats, drinks and smokes (kasha, vodka and mahorka), how he rests (dancing “prees-yat-ka” with a nice sergeant Masha) and even about how he will be buried if he dies in a battle.
Separate sections were devoted to uniforms, insignia and awards of the Red Army, combat arms, small arms and military equipment (tanks and self-propelled guns, artillery and mortars), transport and supplies, command and government of the country. There was a small phrasebook at the end of the brochure.
This glorious document is available on the Internet Archive website. Despite the large number of funny stereotypes and simplifications, the brochure instilled in the Americans respect for the Soviet soldier and did not contain a single line of negativity. Perhaps it should be read in its entirety.