Author Topic: Battle Honours for Afghanistan  (Read 64783 times)

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Offline pbi

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Battle Honours for Afghanistan
« on: February 25, 2005, 08:57:52 »
So what do folks here think about the US Army (and USMC) system in which each battalion, regardless of Arm/Branch, has a guidon/colour, which IIRC  is paid respects (in some form...) on parade? At present we confine this in our Army to Infantry colours, Armoured guidons, and the guns of the Artillery. Engineers, as far as I know, do not have any similar honour-bearing device beyond the single all-encompassing honour "Ubique".

Should we broaden the use of ceremonial, honour-bearing devices such as colours and guidons?

Cheers.

Mod edit:  fixed spelling of Afghanistan in thread title
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 11:44:24 by milnews.ca »
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Offline rifleman

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Colours for all units (even the non-cbt arms)
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2005, 21:32:17 »
Nope, the cap badge should be enough

Offline Zipper

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Re: Colours for all units (even the non-cbt arms)
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2005, 15:40:29 »
Agreed.

Tradition you know.

However if we do go to all arms regiments, that may change.
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Offline MCG

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Re: Colours for all units (even the non-cbt arms)
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2005, 15:49:54 »
Should we broaden the use of ceremonial, honour-bearing devices such as colours and guidons?
Do any such devices exist at formation level anywhere in the Army?

Offline pbi

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Re: Colours for all units (even the non-cbt arms)
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2005, 20:14:58 »
Do any such devices exist at formation level anywhere in the Army?

I don't think so. As far as I know, the Brigade and Area flags that exist are really only what we would call "camp flags": they have no honorific function. I am not confusing these with the Brigade and Area command pennants that signify the presence in garrison of the Commander.

Cheers
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Colours for all units (even the non-cbt arms)
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2005, 00:44:08 »
Just an observation, while doing a recce in Camp Grayling MI for a concentration, absolutly every building had some sort of pennant or device flying in front, many of these were company flags. Rumor has it the Base commander was rather preturbed when he descovered "our" building had no corresponding Canadian device (although I think he was satisfied when a Canadian flag was produced and flown....)

Perhaps we are just at one extreme of the pendulum, and the Americans are at the other.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Zipper

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Re: Colours for all units (even the non-cbt arms)
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2005, 01:14:55 »
Perhaps we are just at one extreme of the pendulum, and the Americans are at the other.

Agreed with that. They have a flag for everything. We have a in field flag for our regiment (armoured) that has our colours and that is it. Otherwise our Standard stays home.
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Colours for all units (even the non-cbt arms)
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2005, 10:03:08 »
Just an observation, while doing a recce in Camp Grayling MI for a concentration, absolutly every building had some sort of pennant or device flying in front, many of these were company flags. Rumor has it the Base commander was rather preturbed when he descovered "our" building had no corresponding Canadian device (although I think he was satisfied when a Canadian flag was produced and flown....)

Perhaps we are just at one extreme of the pendulum, and the Americans are at the other.

We are not that much different.  Every Unit and Sub-Unit on most of our Bases, fly their Camp Flags.  The Service Bn fly their Camp Flag in front of their Unit Lines, both in Camp and in the Field.  RCEME flags fly beside the RCD flag in front of the RCD Maint Bldg.  Go to Wainwright during a major concentration and you will see all Biv Locations have Camp Flags or signs.

GW
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Colours for all units (even the non-cbt arms)
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2005, 12:53:22 »
We are not that much different. Every Unit and Sub-Unit on most of our Bases, fly their Camp Flags. The Service Bn fly their Camp Flag in front of their Unit Lines, both in Camp and in the Field. RCEME flags fly beside the RCD flag in front of the RCD Maint Bldg. Go to Wainwright during a major concentration and you will see all Biv Locations have Camp Flags or signs.

GW

This was even better. Imagine a long road lined with "H" huts. Each battalion has one for the HQ, with an elaborate device (sometimes with battle streamers), and a number of huts for the companies, which also have their own individual devices as well. Repeat for each Battalion (the soldiers themselves were in tentage and giant concreate accomodation buildings elsewhere).  Inside a few buidings which I toured (since we were moving in after the MI National Guard finished their concentration), some talented artists had apparently made unofficial (?) platoon devices as well, which were hung over the Pl Commander or First Sgt's desks....Walking down some lines was a bit like being at a parade.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Murneydevil6

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Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2006, 18:00:26 »
Does anybody know if because of our role in Afganistan the regiments who have been deployed their will obtain  battle honours? Haha as much as the Liberals want it to be its not 100 percent peacekeeping....its battle baby. I know the British added Iraq and Afganistan to the respective units who served there.
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Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2006, 18:07:10 »
If you check the forums, you'll find some previous discussions on battle honours, try searching on that term as well as Medak.

For some background reading, this page gives the terms of reference for selection of Second World War Battle Honours, the last time the Canadian Army published them:

http://regimentalrogue.com/battlehonours/secondworldwar-btlhnrs.htm
« Last Edit: March 29, 2006, 18:18:41 by Michael O'Leary »

Offline Murneydevil6

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2006, 18:24:06 »
Yes, I am aware of the rules for battle honours I'm just curious if they will be awarded for Service in Afganistan.
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Offline PNR

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2006, 20:20:33 »
Although our soldiers are participating in "combat operations", I feel that it is a bit premature to begin adding battle honours to our Regiments.

Offline Nerf herder

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2006, 20:33:22 »
I'll just weigh in here for a sec....

Battle Honours are just that....honours awarded for Battles, not firefights.

Medac was a bit bigger than a firefight.

We haven't, hopefully never, will see a battle in Afghanistan.*


*Sound of Franko beating the hell out of his desk screaming "Knock on wood"  *

Regards
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Offline Otto Fest

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2006, 22:45:28 »
The Government has set up an alternative to Battle Honours similiar to the US Unit Citation that 2 PPCLI (and 5 RAR and 72 Tk Bn US) won at Kapyong.  The Governor General's Citations is issued permanently to members in the unit at the time of hostilities and temporarily by troops posted into those units who were not there.  This is in line with the 'swimming pool' 2VP wears.

Battle honours have been awarded long after the fact so I would not discount them being issued if a unit had 10 or 12 fatalities on a tour.  Canadian battle honours were awarded in huge numbers to units up to the 60s.  A unit from N.S. made application for a battle honour 4 years ago from WW2.  In my opinion the claim was quite questionable as a platoon found itself 'attatched' to a British unit under German attack.  There were minimal casualties and the operation was never authorized.

A rude and crude calculation from WW2 based on several units' casualties and honours gives a ratio of 10 to 15 dead per honour, with twice as many wounded.

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Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2006, 23:39:49 »

Battle honours have been awarded long after the fact so I would not discount them being issued if a unit had 10 or 12 fatalities on a tour.  Canadian battle honours were awarded in huge numbers to units up to the 60s.  A unit from N.S. made application for a battle honour 4 years ago from WW2.  In my opinion the claim was quite questionable as a platoon found itself 'attatched' to a British unit under German attack.  There were minimal casualties and the operation was never authorized.


I believe you are talking about the Princess Louise Fusiliers and "Arnhem '45".  The PLF had been pursuing that honour since the issue of battle honours was first raised after the war, and it was disallowed at that time for lack of supporting documenatation.  They repeated the request periodically, and it was not until about 1998 that certain Divisional Orders were opened to public access that they were able to substantiate their claim that a Support Company fielded by the PLF was involved in the operation in question.  The award was then granted based on information that had not been available to NDHQ for the preceding 50 years.  The unit met the criteria at para 14 of the Cdn Army Orders linked above, and was supported in their claim by the specific tasks in those Div Orders.


Offline reccecrewman

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Battle Honours
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2006, 09:59:50 »
After reading the very informative letter on the Battle of Panjawai, it got me thinking.  Is it possible for our Regiment's serving in Afghanistan to add laurels to their colours?  If so, what would the criteria be for this to happen?  Just curious.

Regards
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Offline silentbutdeadly

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2006, 10:32:10 »
I just was wondering how Panjawai wasn't a battle but a Firefight compared to Medak, I am not here for a flame, but was wondering! Whats your criteria?

Offline reccecrewman

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2006, 18:53:48 »
Thanks George, it actually did answer the question I had as well as give me some other useful info I did not know before.

Regards
Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference....... Soldiers don't have that problem.

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Offline reccecrewman

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2006, 18:55:33 »
Actually, I do have a new question that arises from reading this thread front to back............ One of the posters mentioned the "swimming pool" worn by members of 2VP.  Do current serving members of 2PPCLI still wear that US Presidential Citation on their DEU's?

Regards
Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference....... Soldiers don't have that problem.

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Offline Sheep Dog AT

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2006, 18:56:40 »
Yes we do, although we must take it off once we leave the unit.
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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2006, 04:11:32 »
We have discussed this issue at length in the PPCLI Regimental Executive Committee with the aim of bringing added relevance to our colours.  How do you recognize a regiment's significant contributions to operations that could not be classified as 'battles' in the traditional sense but presented hazard and sacrifice nonetheless?    A soldier serving in the 1950s could readily relate to many of his battle honours because some, if not many, of those around and above him had actually participated in those battles.  Do those battle honours now, the lastest having occurred over half a century ago, have the same relevance?  Don't get me wrong, they are very important for the regimental system, but so is the ability to relate.  Traditional battles still should remain centrepiece based on our role to apply disciplined violence, but many of our contemporary activities that generate operational effect cannot be classified as battles yet still should be recognized and celebrated.

The ideas of streamers or rings on the pike denoting significant operations (e.g. 'The Balkans, 'Afghanistan,' 'Cyprus') were suggested.  Obviously there is considerable research and staffing required to fully conceptualize and develop options and make this a reality.  In order to consolidate ideas and research the method of doing this one of our Majors has volunteered to take this on and draft a service paper suggesting how to formalize this grassroots idea.  It may be a lengthy process.

Offline Red 6

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streamers on US Army colors
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2006, 21:19:06 »
As many of you know, the US Army awards a streamer to each color bearing unit that participates in a campaign for which a service or campaign medal is authorized. So, an infantry battalion, for instance, would receive a streamer for the battalion colors. Subordinate companies would not display any streamers since the battalion colors wear them.

A separate streamer is authorized for each campaign. For example, the Southwest Asia Service medal (Desert Storm/Desert Shield) rated three different campaign stars. One was for Desert Shield, the second for Desert Storm and the third for the Cease Fire. If a unit met the criteria for all three, the colors would wear three streamers, each embroidered with the name of the individual campaign.

The Marine Corps does it a little differently. They wear the same streamers for the most part, but use a combination of campaign stars embroidered on the streamer instead of campaign names. So, for the SWA Medal, a Marine Corps color bearing unit would only wear one streamer with the appropriate number of stars. Marine Corps colors don't have as many streamers. Here's a picture of me back in 93-94 with the Army colors at a Flag Day ceremony:


Offline Teddy Ruxpin

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2006, 22:45:52 »
We have discussed this issue at length in the PPCLI Regimental Executive Committee with the aim of bringing added relevance to our colours.  How do you recognize a regiment's significant contributions to operations that could not be classified as 'battles' in the traditional sense but presented hazard and sacrifice nonetheless?    A soldier serving in the 1950s could readily relate to many of his battle honours because some, if not many, of those around and above him had actually participated in those battles.  Do those battle honours now, the lastest having occurred over half a century ago, have the same relevance?  Don't get me wrong, they are very important for the regimental system, but so is the ability to relate.  Traditional battles still should remain centrepiece based on our role to apply disciplined violence, but many of our contemporary activities that generate operational effect cannot be classified as battles yet still should be recognized and celebrated.

The ideas of streamers or rings on the pike denoting significant operations (e.g. 'The Balkans, 'Afghanistan,' 'Cyprus') were suggested.  Obviously there is considerable research and staffing required to fully conceptualize and develop options and make this a reality.  In order to consolidate ideas and research the method of doing this one of our Majors has volunteered to take this on and draft a service paper suggesting how to formalize this grassroots idea.  It may be a lengthy process.

Well, I'm opposed to this idea.  We have an excellent system in place for recognizing battle honours and adoping a foreign (in this case American) system on top of our current system breaks all previous tradition.  The US has their own (very worthy) tradition for recognizing battles and we have ours.  If it ain't broke (and it isn't), don't fix it; we're becoming more and more American all the time and adding streamers merely accelerates that process.

In that vein, IMHO, there's no reason that Afghanistan (as a recognized "combat" theatre) couldn't be recognized with a theatre honour, as opposed to a battle honour.  Battle honours ("Liri Valley", "Vimy" for example) are awarded for single actions.  Theatre honours ("France and Flanders", "South Africa", "Gulf and Kuwait" are examples) are awarded for overall efforts in a theatre.  I should think that major units operating in Afghanistan since 2002 should "qualify" for a such theatre honour - all things being equal.  After all, we have Reserve units carrying "South Africa" simply because they contributed to the force Canada dispatched to that theatre at the turn of the last century.

Given the differences in mandates, I wouldn't personally support the addition of "peacekeeping" missions to the honours system.  However, if ships and air force squadrons that participated in the Gulf War were granted honours, it strikes me as a bit bizarre that Afghanistan shouldn't qualify... These things can take years to sort out, as the Arnham story related above illustrates.  However, perhaps with the proper push from the leadership, battle honours could become a reality.

My two cents...

Cheers,

TR
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Offline Sheep Dog AT

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Re: Battle Honours for Afganistan
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2006, 23:01:30 »
Participation in Operations
12.     A battle honour will not be awarded merely because a unit was present in an operation. To qualify, the unit must:

(a)     have been committed in the locality and within the time limits laid down for one of the individual operations defined below;

(b)     have been actively engaged with enemy ground troops;

(c)     have taken a creditable part in the" operations;

(d)     be proud of its part in the operation.
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