When and why did rank badges start appearing on the chest of battle dress instead of shoulder straps? Did is start with the U.S. forces? Canadian forces have been using it for some years, at least. Thanks! Richard Nelson /in snowy Toronto
Actually, chest rank insignia were used much earlier, before the WWII - particularly, Republican Army during the Civil War in Spain 1936-1939 used them as well as Legion Condor or Militia Requetes during same period, and some French units used chest rank insignia too.
Concerning shoulder straps: they are not very suitable for combat uniforms - weapon may clang on them, and other accessories. Besides, chest insignia are less visible than shoulder straps, so snipers have less opportunities to eliminate officers and other significant targets. And, as I know, most of armies now use chest rank insignias for their field uniforms.
The Roman legions used already Badge for officers at the breast. In the Japanese prince armies there were marks on chest. 1826 the Ottoman army had a rank system with badge on the chest. Japan in 2.WWK also contributed chest badge.
You see Richard, chest badges have been in fashion for a long time.
"Dorward posits that shoulder straps get in the way. Is that the stated reason?"
That can not be the reason.There are many battle dress worn with breast badge.These have yet shoulder straps, without insignia.I think it's something to do with the visibility.By equipment worn, the rank insignia are covered.
Yes Dmitry.I have expressed myself wrong.There several factors play a role.
When I wear my protective vest, then I take off my shoulder pieces.It's uncomfortable and cause pain.When police missions we wear jackets without shoulder badge.Reason: No visibility, uncomfortable, for safety reasons and protection from loss.Security reasons: you can stick to objects. Which then affect the movement.