The Russians Are(n’t) Coming to С-Ф
Via the esteemed @footage, behold this Cold War era Soviet military map of San Francisco Bay Area:
Сан-Франциско, 1980 style. (Just don’t call it Фриско.)
The Soviets (good god, that sounds weird now) went to town mapping the world for their Cold War needs. This particular SF map is 200000:1, but they detailed some cities to 25000:1, and others down to 10000:1, highlighting tank-friendly roads and important buildings.
I’d love to find a Soviet map with 10000 or 25000:1 detail for С-Ф, though I’m not entirely sure it exists. It does seem the Soviets made maps for the whole world at 200000:1. Other resolutions seem to be for targets of interest. Most of the maps that made it to the public eye are of the former USSR and what would have been the Cold War hot spots: Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia. (One interesting note is that the maps of Africa are still some of the best around.)
From what I understand, as the Soviet state collapsed in 1991, huge quantities of these maps were abandoned as the Soviet Army fell apart. Some officers were running around trying to get them back, but this proved troublesome in the Baltics, and map dealers had a field day.
The easiest site to download them from, presuming you have a map number (and that the map was scanned) is maps.vlasenko.net. There are five indexes, ranging from 1000000:1 down to 50000:1. Unfortunately there is little to nothing for North America on the 100000 and 50000:1 resolution maps.
For reference, our 200000:1 San Francisco map is J-10-XXII (or sometimes J-10-22).
The coordinate system is pretty simple – A is at the equator, U near the North Pole (the letter bumps up every 4 degrees, and the number every 6 degrees to the east, from the Internationaln Date Line.
Each map is subdivided, so XXII is one of 36 grids within J-10. This image should help:
A roman numeral 200000:1 map can be subdivided into four 100000:1 maps, so our Bay Area map would also be J-10-079/080/091/092, if I’m reading it right.
J-10-079 can be further subdivided into four 50000:1 maps (А,Б,В,Г) , and those into four 25000:1 maps (1,2,3,4), so an SF neighborhood level map would be J-10-079-Б-3.
I tell you this so if you find yourself in a map store in Vilnius and have opportunity to find a map of the Mission, you will be ready to buy it and run before the former Soviet Army intelligence agents see you and catch you.
Lots more commentary on the maps in these well-written PDFs:
A legend to the map symbols can be found here and much more here. Half circles are natural gas tanks, and I think crosses are churches (Brotherhood Way seems to be the big one ). One interesting note: no sign of Sutro!
Let us know in the comments if you find anything interesting. ПРЕВЕД МЕДВЕД!