Gorget patches (collar tabs, collar patches) are an insignia in the form of paired patches of cloth or metal on the collar of a uniform (gorget), used in the military and civil service in some countries. Collar tabs sign the military rank (group of ranks), the rank of civil service, the military unit, the office (department) or the branch of the armed forces and the arm of service.

Collar patch of Soviet Air Forces, 1950s

History edit

Gorget patches were originally gorgets, pieces of armour worn to protect the throat. With the disuse of armour, gorgets were relegated to decorative use. The cloth patch on the collar however evolved from contrasting cloth used to reinforce the buttonholes at the collar of a uniform coat. (This is perhaps most evident in the traditional Commonwealth design for Colonels, which has a button and a narrow line of darker piping where the slit buttonhole would have been.)

In the British Empire the patches were introduced as insignia during the South African War (1889-1902). They have been used ever since in many countries of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The collar patches of the most of the armed forces of the Middle East and Arab derive from the uniform tradition of the European empires that dominated the region until World War II, and especially Britain and France.

Countries edit

Afghanistan edit

Afghan army has collar patches similar to Commonwealth ones. Under the Republic of Afghanistan, Afghan police officers working for the Ministry of Interior had a singular star on each collar patch.

Austria edit

In Austria collar patches of the Federal Army report the rank and the arm of service. They are also used in the police and fire service. Traditional, corps colours (German: Waffenfarben or Adjustierungsfarben) dominate the basic colours of the rank insignia.

In the Austro-Hungarian Army (k.u.k. Army), collar patches with rank insignia, appliquéd on the gorget of uniform coat, or jacket and the battle-dress blouse, were designated Paroli.

See also:

The galleries below show examples of Parolis

Australia edit

In Australia traditional gorget patches are worn by army colonels and general officers as well as by navy midshipmen. In the St John Ambulance Australia First Aid Services Branch, gorget patches distinguish State Staff Officers and National Staff Officers from those who are officers of a division or region.

Bangladesh edit

In the Bangladesh Armed Forces officers of the rank of colonel equivalent and above wear gorget patches. They are respectively red, sky blue and black or golden yellow in color. For Colonel and above equivalent ranks "Shapla" insignia is displayed. Each higher flag rank level above colonel has an additional star added.

Belgium edit

In the Belgian army, the gorget patches have a branch color and rank insignia.

Brazil edit

In the Brazilian Army the gorget patches, embroidered oak leaves in silver, are worn on both lapels of rifle green and grey formal dress uniforms by generals. The same insignia, in gold, is worn on both collars of gala full-dress uniforms.

In the State of São Paulo Military Police, commanding officers of the rank of colonel wear, on both lapels of their dark-grey formal uniforms, embroidered silver insignia. This consists of an armillary sphere, surrounded with laurels and with a star on top.

Bulgaria edit

Gorget patches in the Bulgarian Army show which branch the wearer belongs to.

Canada edit

With the restoration of historical nomenclature and features to the Canadian Army in 2013[1] reinstated insignia included traditional gorget patches for colonels and general officers. For combat branches these are in scarlet with gold embroidery for generals. However the gorget patches worn by senior officers of the Medical Branch are dull cherry, the Dental Branch emerald green and the Chaplain Branch purple.

China edit

In People's Liberation Army of People's Republic of China gorget patches are used to denote a military rank.

Egypt edit

In Egypt red collar patches symbolize the highest ranks of officers.

Finland edit

Finnish Army and Air Force use collar patches in dress uniforms. They are used to display rank and corps colours. Not in use on field uniform.

France edit

France artilleryman's uniform, 1916

In the French Army collar patches were used on tunics and greatcoats from the early nineteenth century onwards. Usually in contrasting collars to the collar itself, they came to carry a regimental number or specialist insignia. With the adoption of a new light-beige dress uniform for all ranks in the 1980s, the practice of wearing coloured collar patches was discontinued.

Germany edit

Arabesques of a German Wehrmacht Generals

Collar patches, or gorget patches (German: Kragenspiegel, also Kragenpatten or Arabesquen), are to be worn on the gorget (on both collar points) of military uniform in German speaking armed forces.

However, collar patch insignia for general officers of the Heer (Army) are traditional called Arabesque collar patch, also Larish embroidery, Old Prussian embroidery, or Arabesquen embroidery (German: Arabesken-Kragenspiegel, also Larisch-Stickerei, Altpreußische Stickerei or Arabeskenstickerei).[2]

In the German Empire, generals, some officers, guardsmen and seamen wore Kragenspiegel, but these were not part of the service-wide uniform.

In the Weimar Republic such patches (or Litzen) were introduced throughout the army in 1921, where they indicated the rank and the arm of service, but were not used in the navy.

The Wehrmacht continued this. Some Nazi-era civil services (e.g., police and railways) wore uniforms with collar tabs, similar to the armed forces' tabs. New tabs were also introduced for the political leaders of the NSDAP as well as new Nazi organisations like the Sturmabteilung (SA) or the Schutzstaffel (SS).

East Germany used similar collar tabs to those of the Wehrmacht for its army and air force. Collar tabs were also worn by some personnel of the navy.

The armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany also maintained the use of collar tabs in the army and the air force, where they indicate to which branch (or Truppengattung) an individual soldier belongs. Members of the German Navy do not wear collar tabs.

Greece edit

In the Hellenic Army, the use of gorget/collar patches (επιρράμματα) was introduced for the undress and field uniforms, via Austrian and French influences, at the turn of the 20th century. They consist of a distinctive background colour or combination of colours, that denote a specific arm of service or corps; officers also feature a metal device with the arms/corps emblem, while other ranks and non-professional NCOs do not. General officers use a British-style general officer' patch.

Collar patches are also used by the Hellenic Police (and formerly by the Greek Gendarmerie and the Cities Police) and the Hellenic Fire Service.

Hong Kong edit

Senior officers, especially the commanding officer of each disciplinary unit in Hong Kong use gorget patches in their formal uniforms:

The various services inherited their used as Hong Kong was a former British colony.

Indonesia edit

In Indonesia, gorget patches are currently worn by members of the Indonesian National Police. Officially, it is called a "monogram". It consists of cotton and rice embroidery (or sometimes metal made) on a dark brown background. However, general officers and cadets of the National Police Academy wear the red background one.

Gorget patches were worn by Police members since their separation from the Indonesian National Armed Forces in 1999.

Example of the monogram can be found here: https://abufariq.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/b2277-monogram-padi-kapas2.jpg

India edit

In India, coloured gorget patches are used by senior-ranking Armed Forces officers of selection-grade rank (colonels, naval captains and group captains) and above: scarlet for Indian Army officers, gold in the Indian Navy and navy blue in the Indian Air Force. The Chief of Defence Staff wears maroon patches.[3] Full colonels in the army wear golden braid on their patches to signify their commanding officer rank, while Navy captains and Air Force group captains wear twin silver oakleaves on theirs, set perpendicular to each other.[4][5]

Flag officers of one-star through five-star rank wear a corresponding number of stars in gold (Indian Army) or silver (Indian Navy and Indian Air Force) on their collar patches. Flag officers of three-star rank and above who hold command positions wear an oak leaf wreath on each gorget patch, gold in the Army and silver in the Navy and Air Force. Only the Chief of Defence Staff and the three armed force chiefs hold four-star rank and only a field marshal or a marshal of the air force wears five stars. Till date, Sam Manekshaw and Kodandera Madappa Cariappa are the only two officers who have been appointed to the rank of Field Marshal, while Arjan Singh has been appointed to the rank of Marshal of the Indian Air Force. If the Indian Navy rank of Admiral of the Fleet is ever created, the holder would presumably wear five silver stars on a gold patch.

Commandants and deputy inspector-generals (below four years service) in the Indian Coast Guard, who rank with Indian Navy captains, wear a similar insignia of twin golden oakleaves set perpendicularly to each other and mounted on black-coloured patches. Coast Guard officers of one-star through three-star rank wear a corresponding number of gold stars on their patches.[6] All senior ranking police officers of the Rank of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) or Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) (both ranks being equivalent with Deputy Commissioner's are only in towns which has moved over to a commissioner system of policing this rank being equivalent to a full colonel in the Army) get a dark blue patch with a silver lining. This remains the same for the next higher rank of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) or Additional Commissioner of Police (Addl. CP). However, the next senior officer, The Inspector General (IG) or Joint Commissioner of Police (JCP) has a silver design of a long leaf rather than a simple silver lining on their patch. This remains the same for the ranks of Commissioner of Police and the Director General of Police (DGP).

Iran edit

In Iran black collar patches symbolize the highest ranks of officers.

Ireland edit

In the Irish Defence Forces, officers of Brigadier-general rank and above wear red and gold gorget patches.[7]

Italy edit

Since the late nineteenth century the Italian Army has made extensive use of coloured collar patches to distinguish branches of service such as the artillery, infantry brigades and individual cavalry regiments. In 1902 each line infantry brigade (comprising two regiments) was distinguished by large collar patches of a distinctive colour or combination of colours. The universal silver "active service" star was attached at the front of each patch.[8]

There are also distinctive collar patches for the San Marco Regiment (Navy), the Guardia di Finanza, the Carabinieri and the civilian police corps.

Jordan edit

In Jordan red collar patches symbolize the highest ranks of officers.

North Korea edit

In North Korea gorget patches are used to denote a military rank.

Nepal edit

In Nepal gorget patches of the Nepalese Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force Nepal are worn by general officers and senior officers.

New Zealand edit

The New Zealand Defence Force has collar patches for senior officers on the Commonwealth model.

Oman edit

In Oman black collar patches distinguish the most senior ranks of officers.

Pakistan edit

In Pakistan, collar patches are worn by senior officers and staff officers on the basis of their rank. A collar patch signifies that an officer is either a staff officer (Colonel) or a General Officer (Brigadier General or above).

When wearing non-combat standard uniform or service dress, Staff Officers (Colonel) in the Pakistan Army wear collar patches of crimson color with straight golden stripes and General officers wear collar patches of crimson color with golden braid.

When wearing combat uniform (CCD), the collar patches of junior officers (Lieutenant Colonel and below) carry the insignia of serving arms. Staff officers (Colonel) have no collar patch and General officers (Brigadier General and above) wear the corresponding number of stars that their rank carries on the collar.

Romania edit

Historically coloured gorget patches of a distinctive "arrow head" pattern were used in the Romanian army to distinguish regiments and branches. They survive to a limited extent in the collar braiding of modern ceremonial uniforms.

Russia edit

In the Russian Empire collar patches of red, blue, white and green distinguished each infantry regiment within a given division. Cavalry and other branches had a variety of collar patches.

In the USSR in 1924-1943 they served as the primary insignia of military ranks. The rank system changed several times, and collar patches were different in 1924–1935, 1935–1940 and 1940–1943 systems. When the shoulder straps were restored in 1943, collar tabs remained as an insignia of the branch and the arm of service. Since 1932 they were also used as an insignia in some civil services.

The state of affairs is the same in the modern Russian Federation.

Somalia edit

In Somalia, only officers above the rank of Second Lieutenant (or Ensign) wear gorget patches, the Army wears red patches, the Navy wear black patches, the Air Force wear navy blue patches, the Police wear royal blue patches and the Custodial Corps wear green patches. Upon reaching the rank of Brigadier General or Commodore Admiral, the patches then will have a golden ornate pattern on them.

Sri Lanka edit

In the Sri Lanka, general officers or senior officers of the ranks of brigadier and colonel in the Sri Lanka Army wear gorget patches according to their rank gold-on-red, while in the air force officers of similar rank wear gorget patches of white-on-blue. Senior gazetted officers in the Sri Lanka Police ranks wear gorget patches of gold-on-black and silver-on-black. Officer cadets in the Army, Navy and the Royal Air Force also wear patches.

The Sri Lanka Army followed the British Army pattern for the gorget patches of its general officer and senior officers of the ranks of brigadier and colonel. In the late 2000s, the practice was changed by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who adopted the Indian Army pattern, with gold/silver stars (number of stars denoting the rank) on scarlet background; worn on Dress No 2A, 4, 5, 5A, 6, 6A, 6B, 7 and 8. Officers of the rank of field marshal, general and the commander of the army would have an oak leaf chain of two oak leaves in gold colour. The traditional British pattern was retained for Dress No1, No 3 and 3A. For the officers of the Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps the background will be in maroon.[9]

Sweden edit

In Swedish Army gorget patches on the combat uniform denote a branch of service and rank.

Switzerland edit

In the Swiss army collar patches denote the rank and the arm of service.

Syria edit

In Syria red collar patches symbolize the highest ranks of officers.

Ukraine edit

In the Soviet Ukraine colored collar patches (though without gorgets) were used, as in other parts of the USSR.

Historically Ukrainian national units during the period 1918-1920 and again 1941-45 wore collar patches resembling the gorget patches of other armies.[10] These included the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, the Ukrainian People's Army, the Sich Riflemen, and the Ukrainian Galician Army.

United Kingdom edit

General Sir Bernard Montgomery wearing scarlet collar patches on his battledress tunic

In the United Kingdom, general officers or senior staff officers of the British Army wear gorget patches according to their branch or arm of service; their counterpart police ranks wear similar gorget patches of silver-on-black (gold-on-black in the City of London Police). Officer cadets in the Merchant Navy, Army and the Royal Air Force also wear patches.

Introduced for British Army staff officers in India in 1887, the patches subsequently proliferated. Different colours were introduced to indicate the branch of service and by 1940 one finds:

  • bright blue (engineers)
  • dark blue (ordnance)
  • pale blue (education)
  • scarlet (general staff duties)
  • cherry (medical)
  • maroon (veterinary)
  • purple (chaplains)
  • green (dental)
  • yellow (accountants)

During World War I all staff officers from second lieutenants upwards wore gorget patches and hatbands of these colours, making them conspicuous in the trenches and leading to the nickname of "the gilded staff".[11] From 1921 coloured collar patches were restricted to full colonels on the staff and above.[12]

References edit

  1. ^ Army, Government of Canada, National Defence, Canadian. "ARCHIVED - Army News (National) - Canadian Army - Article - Historical Features of the Canadian Army Restored". www.army-armee.forces.gc.ca.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Dictionary to the German military history, 1st edition (Liz.5, P189/84, LSV:0547, B-Nr. 746 635 0), military publishing house of the GDR (VEB) – Berlin, 1985, Volume 1, page 396, definition: "Versions of collar patches".
  3. ^ Bhalla, Abhishek (31 December 2019). "Here is what CDS Gen Bipin Rawat's new uniform will look like". India Today. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Captain Varghese Mathew assumes office as Naval officer in charge of Kerala". Metro Vaartha. 6 January 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  5. ^ "IAF Uniform Reference Book" (PDF). Indian Air Force. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Indian Coast Guard Uniforms" (PDF). Indian Coast Guard. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Rank Markings - Downloads - Multimedia Hub - Press Office - Defence Forces". www.military.ie.
  8. ^ Kidd, R. Spencer. Military Uniforms in Europe Volume 1. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-18744-1.
  9. ^ "Dress Regulation PDF - Part I" (PDF). army.lk. Sri Lanka Army. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  10. ^ Abbott, P. Ukrainian Armies 1914-55. pp. 44–47. ISBN 1-84176-668-2.
  11. ^ Major R. M. Barnes, page 278 "A History of the Regiments & Uniforms of the British Army", Sphere Books 1972
  12. ^ In more recent times senior chaplains, dental and medical officers wear gorget patches of the colours described above, while all other colonels and above wear gold on scarlet (as they as are described as being on the General Staff). Gorget Patches at Mike Comerford Ordnance Insignia of the British Army Archived 2013-01-06 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 21 June 2013

External links edit