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Rank badges

Old 14th Apr 2021, 07:35
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Rank badges

I have been watching a French crime thriller,and I noticed that their policemen/women were wearing their rank 'epaulettes' buttoned onto the front of their shirts as seen on British/US soldiers.Do any of you current or ex-military people know of a reason for this change from the previous practice of displaying rank on one's shoulders ? Is it just current fashion ? (I am aware that RAF/RN still have rings on their sleeves).
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 07:49
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You need only one badge, see it right away, you can carry backpacks and a vest and the French seem to have invented it back then.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 08:22
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and if you are running away you look like a civilian.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 08:46
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Two shoulders required two rank badges; the budgeteers identified that by moving to the chest only one badge was required, ergo a 50% saving in both badges and epaulettes.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 09:09
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Originally Posted by HEDP View Post
Two shoulders required two rank badges; the budgeteers identified that by moving to the chest only one badge was required, ergo a 50% saving in both badges and epaulettes.
They wanted to go down to only one shoulder, but the arm kept falling off.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 09:32
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By moving from the shoulders, more room for chips....
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 09:38
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By moving from the shoulders, more room for chips...
Quite right, and on both shoulders, for balance.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 10:09
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
and if you are running away you look like a civilian.
You owe me for a new keyboard with that one...
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 12:56
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Originally Posted by ex82watcher View Post
I have been watching a French crime thriller,and I noticed that their policemen/women were wearing their rank 'epaulettes' buttoned onto the front of their shirts as seen on British/US soldiers.Do any of you current or ex-military people know of a reason for this change from the previous practice of displaying rank on one's shoulders ? Is it just current fashion ? (I am aware that RAF/RN still have rings on their sleeves).
The French have been using rank on the front of their combat uniforms for far longer than us (late 1970s?). As others have suggested, it makes more sense when kit carriage frequently obscures the shoulders.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 14:32
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On a similar note - in the civilian world, why have equipment suppliers like North Face started putting their name on the back of the right shoulder?

How weird is that?
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 15:46
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
and if you are running away you look like a civilian.
Didn't US Mil have rank marks on the back of the helmet in WW2? or was that just movies
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 18:39
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Originally Posted by ex82watcher View Post
I have been watching a French crime thriller,and I noticed that their policemen/women were wearing their rank 'epaulettes' buttoned onto the front of their shirts as seen on British/US soldiers.Do any of you current or ex-military people know of a reason for this change from the previous practice of displaying rank on one's shoulders ? Is it just current fashion ? (I am aware that RAF/RN still have rings on their sleeves).
I was in the French Foreign Legion in late 70s-early 80s. We all wore our rank badges 'front and centre' on combat kit. On more formal kit (equivalent of No1s or walking out dress) Officers (incl WO equivalents) wore rank on epaulettes, all others wore it on their upper arms.

So what you have observed is not something new: maybe you are just seeing more combat-style kit on police and gendarmes these days?

Regards
Batco

Last edited by BATCO; 15th Apr 2021 at 14:17.
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 08:23
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You obviously need a distinguishing mark on the front centre of the chest to give a better aiming point in the same way that the target that we practised shooting at had the white square. I was never a fan of the big strip of white tape with personal details that went on the front of NBC jackets back in the day.
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 09:16
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Originally Posted by Deaf View Post
Didn't US Mil have rank marks on the back of the helmet in WW2? or was that just movies
Yes so you could see who was who from behind, you didn't carry it on the front as officers and SNCO would be targets, and you should be able to recognise their faces.Similar reason most officers etc carried the same weapons as the troops, a pistol for example would tend to make you stand out as an officer.
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 18:13
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Yes so you could see who was who from behind, you didn't carry it on the front as officers and SNCO would be targets, and you should be able to recognise their faces.Similar reason most officers etc carried the same weapons as the troops, a pistol for example would tend to make you stand out as an officer.
Solid reasoning however, mid eighties SH FOB practice bleed on SPTA. A particular JP became a serious Vic factor for the crewmen; most of what he said was muffled as his head was so far up his ar5e. He entered the mess tent as two of the crewmen were leaving and they both threw up exceptionally snappy salutes. He sits down with a sage old Spec Aircrew Flt Lt who says to him “Did those crewmen just salute you?” “Yes” he responds “they know their place”. Hmmm” the sage one mutters “and now any sniper out there knows your place”.
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 21:35
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Originally Posted by Deaf View Post
Didn't US Mil have rank marks on the back of the helmet in WW2? or was that just movies
I think you will find it was the French army that invented the practice, as made it easier for officers to lead the retreat.
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 21:56
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Originally Posted by Fortissimo View Post
I think you will find it was the French army that invented the practice, as made it easier for officers to lead the retreat.
Indeed. On the rare occasion a French officer is leading the charge, they can pivot quickly towards the rear. As they run back towards their men, they are easily identifiable. And so it begins.

It’s my understanding that the French have four military threat levels. Similar to most countries, however they do not use colors. Red, Amber etc.

From lowest to highest:

1. Run,

2. Hide,

3. Surrender,

4. Collaborate.



Too soon ?
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Old 16th Apr 2021, 13:19
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I thought it was so the vertically challenged didn't have to stand on tip-toes and squint to see the rank of the officer addressing them?
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Old 16th Apr 2021, 21:43
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Yes so you could see who was who from behind, you didn't carry it on the front as officers and SNCO would be targets, and you should be able to recognise their faces.Similar reason most officers etc carried the same weapons as the troops, a pistol for example would tend to make you stand out as an officer.
I always tried to hide my pistol. Unfortunately, the ruddy great helicopter strapped to my backside rather gave the game away.
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Old 17th Apr 2021, 05:00
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Yes so you could see who was who from behind, you didn't carry it on the front as officers and SNCO would be targets, and you should be able to recognise their faces.Similar reason most officers etc carried the same weapons as the troops, a pistol for example would tend to make you stand out as an officer.
WW1 German snipers were told to aim for "the man with thin legs", i.e. an officer wearing jodhpurs and riding boots.
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