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Brits in Foreign Armies

In the US Army the first to wear berets were the Infant US Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg who ordered Green Berets from Canada. The post commander hated USSF and banned them from wearing them on post. As soon as they got in the field out came the Green Berets - highly illegal military wise.

In 1961 President JFK made a visit to Fort Bragg specificaly to see a demonstration of USSF as he had a great interest in unconventional warfare. General Yarnborough had all his troops wearing their green berets. JFK thought they looked really cool and authorised their wear by presidental order.

By the 1970s a number of other units had started cutting around the posts wearing berets such as the 75th Rangers with black, 82 Airborne with maroon and the 101 Airborne (Air Assault) with Skye blue. In about 1978 the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff banned them (probably because he didn't qualify for one) with the exception of USSF due to their historical connections ( Being the Green Berets aka John Wayne). However like King Canute who found that their is no point swimming against the tide by about 1985 another incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CDS in Brit Mil speak) authorised the wearing of berets for the above units (Probably because he qualified for one) Now everyman and women and his dog wear one. The story does not end there though. The US military has not really discovered the secrets of Allyness and are subject to mirth and derision from their British cousins for the manner in which they wear their berets.

The germans who set the standard for Allyness between 1939 and 1945 were late in the game. The panzer waffe adopted a black beret after seeing how Ally their RTR oppos looked. However this was one of the occaisons where Hugo Boss had an epic design failure and after being laughed out by the rest of the german army abandoned the beret in about 1940 -41, and adopted their very ally black side cap. By the 1990s realising that the british, not only winning two world wars and one world cup, far out surpassed them in alleyness. Hard though it was the germans swallowed their teutonic pride and adopted the beret for their armed forces. They knew that they only had one chance to get this right if they weren't to be a laughing stock like the americans and that was to copy the british in both style and fashion.

The British set the fashion trend running with the adoption of the black beret for the Royal Tank Corps in the early 1920's. (The French don't count)
Was the original panzer beret the one with the built in crash helmet?

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See Tankies know best, also it seems fashion icons.. :cool:
I used to think the RTR looked very ally with their black tank overalls in the seventies. Epic fashion fail, Allyness wise though with wearing yellow, green and red cravats.

Yellow wasn't too bad - reminded me of the US Cavalary, General Custer era. However green and red just clashed with black. To say nothing about cravats being totatly naff anyway!
 
I used to think the RTR looked very ally with their black tank overalls in the seventies. Epic fashion fail, Allyness wise though with wearing yellow, green and red cravats.

Yellow wasn't too bad - reminded me of the US Cavalary, General Custer era. However green and red just clashed with black. To say nothing about cravats being totatly naff anyway!
YELLOW! YELLOW! My friend that was Saffron Gold and they are Scarfs not cravats !!!
As for Black, we just looked good! For fcuking sake who would want to wear Green Overalls
 
YELLOW! YELLOW! My friend that was Saffron Gold and they are Scarfs not cravats !!!
As for Black, we just looked good! For fcuking sake who would want to wear Green Overalls
I always thought you were walting it, trying to look like German world war 2 Panzer Truppen who set the standard for Tankie Alleyness. I have to admit that you looked ally compared to normal cavalry units once you got rid of the cravats/scarfs. Any way who wears scarfs in uniform except for Private Pike of the Walmington-On-Sea platoon of the Home Guard.
 
I always thought you were walting it, trying to look like German world war 2 Panzer Truppen who set the standard for Tankie Alleyness. I have to admit that you looked ally compared to normal cavalry units once you got rid of the cravats/scarfs. Any way who wears scarfs in uniform except for Private Pike of the Walmington-On-Sea platoon of the Home Guard.
Black putties, black belts, black berets.... what’s not to like? :cool:
 

exspy

LE
First, yes, the RTR all-blacks are ally.

Second, @par avion , I've not got enough 'likes' and 'informatives' for all your posts.

Lastly, what, pray tell, is a Jap hat?

Thanks,
Dan.
 
'Winged Dagger' 1948, I have an original version. It was reprinted c. 1998 but with the final chapter on Palestine removed. Palestine apart, Farran had an extraordinary WW2 career which I believe began with a Hussar unit and ended with the SAS. Damien Lewis' "The Italian Job" provides an excellant account of Farrans leadership during an operation that makes the 'Dirty Dozen' seem tame.

An added bonus of the book is an account of the equally extraordinary WW2 exploits of Major Alistair McGregior who was subsequently recruited to lead one of Bernard Fergusson's two "Special Squads' in Palestine. In our amazingly small world, McGregor's son, James, would become the second commander of Frank Kitson's MRF in Belfast 1972. I will dig out a copy of one of Farrans citations and post it later.

ETA I hope to pen an overview of the evolution of Britains non SAS covert forces which involves a host of personalities including Orde Wingate, Moshe Dyan, Menacham Begin, Monty, Golda Mier, 'Boy Browning', Churchill all of the above mentioned and quite a few others. I believe it provides an important backdrop to some of the events of 'Op Banner'.
If you can get your hands on a copy of With Pennants Flying, published 1943, Farran is talked about from his exploits on Crete with the Hussars to his causing the accidental death of Brig Jock Campbell. Interesting reading.
 

two_of_seven

Old-Salt
Oi , I lived in Spain but was never asked to mince .

RE IDF , is it still the case that any young person residing in Israel has to do national service regardless of religion? ie kibbutz workers and the likes .

I recall it as compulsory for Jews and Druze,
All other religeons optional.


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First, yes, the RTR all-blacks are ally.

Second, @par avion , I've not got enough 'likes' and 'informatives' for all your posts.

Lastly, what, pray tell, is a Jap hat?

Thanks,
Dan.
Hi Dan.

In the early seventies when the British Army introduced DPM camouflaged combats to replace the old green ones they thought that a nice natty little hat in matching DPM would look good. Something to wear in the field to fill the gap between steel helmets (none of this soft kevlar stuff these bad boys had slugged it out against the jerries in Normandy)and berets.

The design was to be a peaked combat hat. Now this had the potential to be one of the army's most Allyest iconic items (Think Dennison smock) if they got it right. All they had to do was copy tried and tested german design's from the last big unpleasantness such as the Africa Korps hat or the ski cap worn from 1943-45. Think Clint in 'Where Eagles Dare' or Feldwebel Steiner in 'Cross of Iron'. I mean its not as if we haven't nicked anything from the krauts before is it? Think jerry can!

But no! The end product ended up with an appearance similar to the hat worn by the Imperial Japanese army in WW2. Now the soldiers of the IJA were formidable fighters, but most peaple would agree that there uniform was very unalley. But these were the peaple who intruduced brightly coloured cravats in working dress (called scarfs by the RTR and Cavalry apparently.)

As we know the average british soldier will not be happy wearing anything unalley.(as with anything in life there are exceptions - think the 11th Hussars with their pink pants and hat, even in the seventies) The hat was treated with comtempt and had quietly disappeared from view by the early eighties)

The Paras even had their crows wearing them unti they had passed P Company at Depot Para in Aldershot.
 
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The jap hat will be one of those items always associated with the seventies. Fondue sets, G plan furniture, Pink shirts for men ( yes even hetro ones) flares and bellbotoms, large collars, long permed hair (yes even for hetro men) cravats, (called scarfs in the RTR and cavalry).

Peaple thought they looked good at the time but looking back they looked totatly naff and are best forgotten. Especially when the kids are looking through your old photograph album.
 
It was in one of the features in the Australian 'Army News' produced monthly online.

Having dwelt on this, I may have seen pictures of members of vehicle patrols of the Pilbara Regt wearing them. In fact the Trg WO at B Coy 51 FNQR 1989 - 91 used to wear one. I've a picture of him somewhere wearing it as he sorts out a black snake at the back of the Weipa depot.

E2A: here's that 'at.

img129a.jpg
 
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If you can get your hands on a copy of With Pennants Flying, published 1943, Farran is talked about from his exploits on Crete with the Hussars to his causing the accidental death of Brig Jock Campbell. Interesting reading.
The first part of his autobiography - Winged Dagger deals with these episodes. Titled Book 1 from pages 13-149 it covers the First Wavell Campaign, Crete, Prison Camp 1942, Escape From Prison 1941, The Western Desert 1942, and the Retreat to El Alamein, Interim in South Africa and UK, 1942-43.

Book- 2 deals with his service in 2nd SAS Regiment.
 
Incidentally, I don't remember seeing the Jap hat being worn in the Aussie Army, perhaps it was an SF thing.

As per a lot of other clothing items of the era, it didnt last long - not even long enough to be on general issue. (other classic failures were poo boots, the wool fleece, wide brim, short brim, stiffened and unstiffened bush hats etc.

You could tuck the rear flap up inside the hat making it presentable.

What killed it was the lack of protection for ears. They still got burned off your head on a hot day.

Having ordered thousands and thousands of these hats, the army declined to issue them, and went back to the wide brim bush.

The kepi hats were then issued to Cadets, who can obviously manage without ears.
 

QRK2

LE
Hi Dan.

In the early seventies when the British Army introduced DPM camouflaged combats to replace the old green ones they thought that a nice natty little hat in matching DPM would look good. Something to wear in the field to fill the gap between steel helmets (none of this soft kevlar stuff these bad boys had slugged it out against the jerries in Normandy)and berets.

The design was to be a peaked combat hat. Now this had the potential to be one of the army's most Allyest iconic items (Think Dennison smock) if they got it right. All they had to do was copy tried and tested german design's from the last big unpleasantness such as the Africa Korps hat or the ski cap worn from 1943-45. Think Clint in 'Where Eagles Dare' or Feldwebel Steiner in 'Cross of Iron'. I mean its not as if we haven't nicked anything from the krauts before is it? Think jerry can!

But no! The end product ended up with an appearance similar to the hat worn by the Imperial Japanese army in WW2. Now the soldiers of the IJA were formidable fighters, but most peaple would agree that there uniform was very unalley. But these were the peaple who intruduced brightly coloured cravats in working dress (called scarfs by the RTR and Cavalry apparently.)

As we know the average british soldier will not be happy wearing anything unalley.(as with anything in life there are exceptions - think the 11th Hussars with their pink pants and hat, even in the seventies) The hat was treated with comtempt and had quietly disappeared from view by the early eighties)

The Paras even had their crows wearing them unti they had passed P Company at Depot Para in Aldershot.

It rather depends who is wearing them.

56492880.jpg
 
He's got a 30 rounder on that there gat. Do the last few rounds feed reliably?
 

Bosscat

War Hero
If you can get your hands on a copy of With Pennants Flying, published 1943, Farran is talked about from his exploits on Crete with the Hussars to his causing the accidental death of Brig Jock Campbell. Interesting reading.

Purchased on your recommendation, from Amazon £5.89 inc del, TIA
 

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