TRFs, Bde Flashes, Qual Badges! Did I join the Boy Scouts?

PCLG

Old-Salt
#1
The amount of badges now being worn in service is ridiculous.

Example: Rank, Bde Flash, Corp TRF, Cdo Qual Badge, Para Qual Badge, DZ Flash, PTI Qual Badge.

I was under the impression that when deploying on Operations only Rank insignia was to be worn for OPSEC. Do we now disregard this?

I have been told that the TRF is partly there to improve espirit d'corps!! If a one inch by two inch piece of material can improve morale that much I think we have some more serious and urgent issues to resolve.

At what point did OPSEC become a trivial issue?
 
#2
I remeber that Regimental SOPs dictated that anyone Para trained had to wear wings, the only time that I witnessed anything contary to this was in Bosnia when 23 PFA were out there and this was only "observed" notionally. Considering SF ops you can understand the reasoning behind this arguement but for a normal working unit? Look back through any literature of Airborne operations in WW2 and all manner of badges are worn and rightly so.

A better question would be when did OPSEC become so fashionable and why?
 
#4
In BAOR during the Cold War OPSEC was taken very seriously by the British at least! Apart from Berlin Brigade which wore a Patch as part of the Post War agreement with Russia, The USA, and France to identify troops. Hardly any unit patches were worn from the 1960's and the change over from Battle Dress to Green Combats.
 
#6
One further point to this discussion is cap badges and berets. Cap bages give the biggest clues to a units role. In the case of berets, we know some denote a specialist unit, Airborne, Commando and Smurfs. Why wear them if OPSEC is of such high importance? The British Army is the fastest to adopt the soft approach (no helmet) in operations, how much does that give away about unit capabilities and deployed assets? Although I don't agree to the US method of boy scout badges, I do believe they have their own relevance.
 

Gook

Old-Salt
#7
Perhaps a better way would be to wear just the simple black & OG slide to denote rank, the small union flag on the left arm to denote nationality, and on the right arm a shoulder title by the shoulder seam, the curved wool type as was worn in the Second world war. The RM and RE have them, they can be discreet for Opsec if you wish and it would make more sense than trying to figure out what a particular arrangement of coloured bars means!
 
#8
Colonel_Crusty said:
An officer PTI. Would that be someone from the Small Arms Thingummy Corps?

Crusty
Colonel
....or maybe a Master at Arms in the APTC?

Just an idea.....

Blackadder
Captain
 
#10
Bravo2nothing said:
One further point to this discussion is cap badges and berets. Cap bages give the biggest clues to a units role. In the case of berets, we know some denote a specialist unit, Airborne, Commando and Smurfs. Why wear them if OPSEC is of such high importance? The British Army is the fastest to adopt the soft approach (no helmet) in operations, how much does that give away about unit capabilities and deployed assets? Although I don't agree to the US method of boy scout badges, I do believe they have their own relevance.
True on cap badges. Remember though for the US, they don't really have special cap badges, so 'boy scout' badges are their alternative.
 
#11
RCSignals said:
Bravo2nothing said:
One further point to this discussion is cap badges and berets. Cap bages give the biggest clues to a units role. In the case of berets, we know some denote a specialist unit, Airborne, Commando and Smurfs. Why wear them if OPSEC is of such high importance? The British Army is the fastest to adopt the soft approach (no helmet) in operations, how much does that give away about unit capabilities and deployed assets? Although I don't agree to the US method of boy scout badges, I do believe they have their own relevance.
True on cap badges. Remember though for the US, they don't really have special cap badges, so 'boy scout' badges are their alternative.
Spam officers have their branch insignia, e.g. Infantry- crossed rifles (AKA 'Idiot Sticks'), Engineers- castle, SF- crossed arrows, on their left collar. Not sure that their look is the way forward though- medals for completing training etc., multiple unit patches (current unit and unit you have previously seen combat with etc.) or, my personal favourite, the bloused trousers in jump boots even when in dress uniform if you're Spam airborne. :roll: Their costumes are far too busy. You don't want to have to walk around looking like you're El Presidente of the People's Republic of Monganita.
 
#12
crabtastic said:
RCSignals said:
Bravo2nothing said:
One further point to this discussion is cap badges and berets. Cap bages give the biggest clues to a units role. In the case of berets, we know some denote a specialist unit, Airborne, Commando and Smurfs. Why wear them if OPSEC is of such high importance? The British Army is the fastest to adopt the soft approach (no helmet) in operations, how much does that give away about unit capabilities and deployed assets? Although I don't agree to the US method of boy scout badges, I do believe they have their own relevance.
True on cap badges. Remember though for the US, they don't really have special cap badges, so 'boy scout' badges are their alternative.
...................................... my personal favourite, the bloused trousers in jump boots even when in dress uniform if you're Spam airborne. :roll: ................................
Canadians did that as well (at least the Ab Regt)
 
#13
I knew they did something to deserve getting disbanded...
 
#14
A few thoughts on OPSEC.

1. The current, and very possibly future enemy of choice is the third world insurgent from a failed state. He doesn't care whether you are a para-trained cavalryman or a corporal in the AGC. He just wants to kill you and doesn't give a toss about the ORBAT like Ivan did. Also if he really wants to know what your operational capability is all he needs to...

2. ...is switch on the BBC/ CNN/ Sky/ Fox etc. There he will see embedded journos giving out open-source real-time intelligence that his Cold War counterpart would only dream of. In the modern information battlespace OPSEC is the fly in the Media Ops ointment is it not? The BBC could work to your advantage, though, as Johnny Insurgent will always assume that the entire British Army is broken down, rudderless and about to retreat.

3. If our insurgent doesn't have a TV he can rely on the Worldwide Web and find reams of open-source info from MoD websites about the precise composition of the British army down to platoon level.

As I have posted before I was in green at a time when an ACE Mobile Force flash was skin to a Victorian lady showing her ankle, let alone the jamboree-bag of flashes and goodies the modern army wears. It reminded me of watching UKSF personnel on the TV a few years back evacuating British nationals from some godforsaken country and showing out immediately because they were wearing completely plain combat gear with no badges whatsoever.

So, don't get captured with no insignia; Johnny Insurgent will immediately assume that you are SF and get the special car-battery kit out for you.

V!
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#15
Vegetius said:
As I have posted before I was in green at a time when an ACE Mobile Force flash was skin to a Victorian lady showing her ankle, let alone the jamboree-bag of flashes and goodies the modern army wears. It reminded me of watching UKSF personnel on the TV a few years back evacuating British nationals from some godforsaken country and showing out immediately because they were wearing completely plain combat gear with no badges whatsoever.

So, don't get captured with no insignia; Johnny Insurgent will immediately assume that you are SF and get the special car-battery kit out for you.

V!
Further to this, as anyone who has ever been involved in doling out interrogation and TQ training will tell you, UKSF personnel can be recognised a mile off for a whole host of straightforward reasons. Top advice is to wear bog standard issue kit, rank insignia and keep your/an RLC beret in your pocket, and if you are SF, then eschew that super gore-tex, ventile, kevlar, multi-pocket ultrasmock, in favour of something in DPM rip-stop from 'Man at Q&M'.
 
#16
You can normally spot them because they'll be the ones looking like an extremely switched on mid thirties private without any beret, who says 'chill out mate' when the RSM spots them walking across his parade square.
 
#17
crabtastic said:
RCSignals said:
Bravo2nothing said:
One further point to this discussion is cap badges and berets. Cap bages give the biggest clues to a units role. In the case of berets, we know some denote a specialist unit, Airborne, Commando and Smurfs. Why wear them if OPSEC is of such high importance? The British Army is the fastest to adopt the soft approach (no helmet) in operations, how much does that give away about unit capabilities and deployed assets? Although I don't agree to the US method of boy scout badges, I do believe they have their own relevance.
True on cap badges. Remember though for the US, they don't really have special cap badges, so 'boy scout' badges are their alternative.
Spam officers have their branch insignia, e.g. Infantry- crossed rifles (AKA 'Idiot Sticks'), Engineers- castle, SF- crossed arrows, on their left collar. Not sure that their look is the way forward though- medals for completing training etc., multiple unit patches (current unit and unit you have previously seen combat with etc.) or, my personal favourite, the bloused trousers in jump boots even when in dress uniform if you're Spam airborne. :roll: Their costumes are far too busy. You don't want to have to walk around looking like you're El Presidente of the People's Republic of Monganita.
For the majority of US typres, having one's badges on display cuts out all the "who are you" and "where have you been" things that we tend to go through: if the guy has a collection of the "right" sort of badges, it gives what he says a degree of weight. The amusing back spin on this, is that US SF typs wear badge-free BDUs (so no-one can question their "weight" and so they are instantly identifiable!) Some US friends of mine (yes, I do confess to having some - but then I am shameless) don't bother wearing all the qualification, unit and branch badges, just sport those that will immediately establish their credibility with the audience they are addressing.
 
#18
^ Reminds me of old Jack Higgins novels where the SS/ Fallschirmjager/ Wehrmacht men quietly "read" each others uniforms for a few moments before engaging in conversation.

What's the spam version of the Winter War badge, tank destruction flash and Knight's Cross with diamond and oak leaf cluster? :D
 
#19
Well I quite like all these colourful adornments. Cheers me up every cold wet morning when I have to drag myself from the old pit & into a seriously underdesigned outfit just to see those little flashes of colour.

Any thoughts on an ARRSE TRF?
 
#20
Vegetius said:
^ Reminds me of old Jack Higgins novels where the SS/ Fallschirmjager/ Wehrmacht men quietly "read" each others uniforms for a few moments before engaging in conversation.

What's the spam version of the Winter War badge, tank destruction flash and Knight's Cross with diamond and oak leaf cluster? :D
Rather reminds me of the arguement in favour of having heavily tattooed soldiers in one's unit - on long detachments, when the stock of paperbacks has been exhauseted, one can always "read" the tattooed man - but not the one sporting the "fox hunt" - even in todays right on, PC and fully representative of society Army.........
 
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