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We have added this a basic guide to help identify the different types of British Military Cloth Badges.

At first it may seem unusual to have different coloured arm badges other than the rank worn on the arm of Members of the British Armed Forces.

Whilst serving men and women of the armed forces can be identified by either the Colour of their beret or cap badge whilst in the UK and non combat roles overseas this isn't the case when in operational deployment wearing camoflage combat clothing.

There are many badges that are worn and we will try to break these down into categories. Typically on combat clothing you will find a regiment or corps badge and a Brigade or Division formation badge.

Whilst the uniforms in operational service may have changed from Scarlett Red to Battle Dress Service Dress to DPM and modern MTP and combat clothing the designs and formation badges have stayed as close to the originals as possible. In World War 2 the huge amounts of units needed to be identfied and Brigade and Division badges weren't issued very often and units made there own from a pattern and template and added them to their unforms. With todays modern techology and manufacturing we have the luxury of every badge being exactly the same (although they will vary in size and colour fron supplier to supplier).

LZ Landing Zone Badges

In the early days of unit badges (PRE WW2) troops could be flown into or parachute dropped. Typically an aircraft landed on a pre determined spot or airfield that had been secured by ground forces which planes and aircraft could be landed on. With the formation of the Airborne Forces (primarily the Parachute regiment) these badges stopped and DZ Badges used.

DZ Drop Zone Badges

As Airborne and Heliborne units evolved the areas they operated in become further and more remote and were not secured by units on the ground. The idea was that Airborne and Air Mobile units became seperate and independent in their own goals and objectives. The areas that were chosen to either drop troops, equipment, supplies became known as Drop Zones and badges worn by these units known as DZ Badges or DZ Flashes.

The Parachute regiment wanted to have a way of easily recognising what Battalions and Units there were once on the ground. This is because the units may have had multiple objectives - For example in WW2 "Operation Market Garden" the Paras had to take 3 bridges with its forces one Battalion and units heading a completly different direction from another although their DZ may have been the same the objectives were different - Nijmegan and Arnhem. With these units typically were Signals, Engineers, Medics, REME and other special units.

The Parachute regiment choose a darker shade of the standard Red, Blue, Green and Black to represent the 4 Battalions. These DZ Badges were larger than normal unit badges and square in shape around 60mm by 60mm. These are still worn today by the Paras.

TRF - Tactical Recognition Flash

Tactical Recognition Flashes are (generally speaking) are to indicate a Regiment, Unit or Squadron and sometimes individual Battalions and mainly worn on the right arm.  Some regiments have changed their TRF style either as amalgamations of regiments have happened or updated to larger and modern designs.

Brigade and Division Formation Badges.

These are sometimes mistakenly called Formation Signs. A formation badge is worn on the arm and a formation sign is painted on vehicles including tanks, trucks, artillery pieces, road signs and headquarters.

This badge is typically worn on the left arm and is left facing and indicates what Brigade or Division they are in and are smaller than DZ Badges.

For current Brigade and Divisions badges these are easy to get and plentiful but with World War 2 WW2 units these are harder to find.

We were asked if it was possible to reproduce some British World War 2 Formation Badges for a film company and set about researching, collecting, designing and manufacturing high quality badges from the original design, sizes and patterns.

We found that although Original WW2 badges existed they were out of reach of the average collector and decided to produce our own at a much lower price.

These modern manufactured badges has been made with attention to details to exact size, colour and design of the Original World War 2 Formation badges as worn by the British and Commonwealth Armies with the luxury of Modern technology and manufacturing methods and has additional Vilene backing and in most cases overlocked to prevent fraying.

At present the first batch (March 2017) of WW2 Badges we have had re-produced are stunning and although we had had some hick-ups and rejected several most have been made exactly to the Milimetre and design, colour and size and are now listed on our website.

June 2017 Update - We are delighted to have added yet another new batch of WW2 Brigade and Division formation badges for collectors on our website and we will be adding more shortly.

There are many fantastic books and ebooks on specialist types of British military cap badges, cloth badges and uniform insignia who will have more specific details of indivudual badges.

One author more than worthy of a mention is an Ex Military Officer LT Col Howard N Cole O.B.E and was a legend in my humble opinion and having researched hundreds of badges and added his personal findings and collections of World War 2 Badges he then went on to document and print his extensive information into books. This has made it possible to research units easier and the indepth knowledge he had will be passed on for future generations.

QUESTION - I have seen WW2 Division badges sold in pairs, Did they wear both ?

Answer - WW2 Brigade and Division Formation Badges were only worn on one arm typically the left Arm and normally faced forward so a left facing badge or neutral design. The Same Division sign however (not badge) was painted on both sides of vehicles and tanks so they had to use Right Facing and Left Facing templates.


Thanks for reading and happy collecting.

Tim Hill.

HILLMILITARYMEDALS.CO.UK

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