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 This is page 7 of 7 pages of FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions, 301 to 350

  1. What does EM mean?

  2. Is there a Royal Army in UK and is there a Royal Australian Army?

  3. Your logo has a slouch hat with a Light Horse badge but no emu plumes. Why?

  4. What is the "Geneva Cross"?

  5. What is "Freedom of the City"?

  6. What is a Waaafery?

  7. What is a palliasse?

  8. Why do we call it "Gallipoli" ?

  9. What is a "Q" ship?

  10. What are "cleats"?

  11. What are Ho Chi Minh sandals?

  12. How do they get the shape in a slouch hat?

  13. What is the meaning of Eggs a Cook?

  14. When you are talking about uniforms, what is "drill"?

  15. What is "herringbone twill?"

  16. What is "serge"?

  17. Was the American Army in Vietnam set up like the Australian Army?

  18. Was the "body count" in Vietnam an accurate measure of success?

  19. Was the requirement for changing from Militia to AIF 65% or 75%.

  20. Some Nazi badges have different leaves in their wreaths. Why?

  21. Who used the double headed eagle on their badges?

What does EM mean?

EM is an American military term for 'enlisted man'. Someone who is NOT an Officer. It is not often used in Australia although use is increasing as our language becomes more Americanized.

Is there a Royal Army in UK and is there a Royal Australian Army?

No. Neither the British Army nor the Australian Army have the right to use the title "Royal". However many Corps and Regiments inside those armies are "Royal". For instance the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (British) is not the Ordnance Corps of the Royal Army, it is the Army Ordnance Corps and it has earned the title "Royal". Subtle difference but important. In the same way the Royal Australian Regiment is part of the Australian Army but earned the title "Royal" by its own actions.

Your logo has a slouch hat with a Light Horse badge but no emu plumes. Why?

That image was specifically chosen as it can represent the Light Horse and the Infantry and other Corps. If the hat was an infantry hat the Light Horse could feel left out. If the hat had plumes it would be Light Horse only. I thought it a good compromise image to represent ALL the AIF, and indeed ALL Diggers, including RAN and RAAF who also wore the slouch hat, in various forms.

What is the "Geneva Cross"?

A red Greek or St. George's cross on a white ground, used as a symbol by the Red Cross and as a sign of neutrality.

What is "Freedom of the City"?

Freedom of The City as it is conferred on a military unit is an honour bestowed by a City Council. It grants the right to march through the City to the beat of drums, with bayonets fixed and colours flying.

What is a Waaafery?

It is a barracks used by members of the Womens Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) in WW2. It is a slang term. 

What is a palliasse?
A palliasse is a large heavy cotton or canvas bag that , once filled with straw, becomes a mattress. 

They were used a lot in the military in WW1 and before because the presence of hundreds of thousands horses meant that a regular supply of fresh straw was available. They were also used in WW2 but to a smaller degree.

Because the palliasse could be emptied and rolled when movement was necessary it saved the military from needing tens of thousands of mattresses in bases all over the world. And the horses would still eat the straw, so apart from the bag there was no cost.

West Melbourne, Vic. C. 1941. Four WAAAF recruits being instructed in how to fill palliasses with straw at No. 1 WAAAF Training Depot Detachment, No. 1 School of Technical Training RAAF. >>>

Why do we call it "Gallipoli" ?

Gallipoli, called Gelibolu in modern Turkish, is a town of approx 19,000 in northwestern Turkey. The name derives from the Greek Kallipolis, meaning "Beautiful City". It is located on the Gallipoli Peninsula (Gelibolu Yarimadasi), with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles Straits to the east. It has long been a strategic point in the defense of Istanbul (Constantinople) and has numerous historic remains. It was captured by the Ottoman Turks in 1354. It should be noted that the town itself was not involved in the Gallipoli Campaign. See what it is like today at Gallipoli the town

What is a "Q" ship?

Q-ships were converted British WW2 merchant ships with concealed armament, designed to entice U-boats into surfacing to shell them. Covers would then be dropped and the White Ensign raised as the ship began to fight back.

What are "cleats"?

Cleats (traction cleats) were metal spikes attached to the sole of Army boots in WW2 to help the Diggers get firm footing on the greasy slippery jungle tracks of PNG. (See photo).

Also note the steel heel rim that minimizes wear.

What are Ho Chi Minh sandals?
Improvised footwear worn a lot in Vietnam by VC and others. Made out of cut up truck tyres for soles and cut up inner tubes for straps.

 Also called Michelin sandals or Firestone sandals after the 2 big names in tyres in SVN. 

How do they get the shape in a slouch hat?
The hat is made wet, placed on a block (see image)>>> , shaped and then allowed to dry.

In the early days they were hand shaped. Men chose their own shape (called "bash") or sometimes the CO chose a style he liked and required all men in his Battalion to comply. 

These days the entire Army has to use the same bash (shape) and the hats come out of the factory 'pre-bashed' or 'pre-blocked'.

What is the meaning of Eggs a Cook?
There are two meanings. It was a term used at Gallipoli as a mild exclamation to indicate surprise.

It was also what the Egyptians nicknamed the Third Division AIF (Monash in command) because at his instructions that Division wore their slouch hat with the brim flat and the badge on the front as in the image on the left.

The phrase started with the cry of Egyptian street stall owners offering cooked eggs as a snack. They were available boiled or fried which is where the likeness is supposed to exist.

When you are talking about uniforms, what is "drill"?

Drill is a strong, durable cotton fabric with a strong bias (diagonal) in the weave. It can be used unbleached, although it is more often bleached or dyed. The lighter weights are used in such clothing items as shirts, safari jackets, blouses, playwear, and martial arts wear. Khaki drill is made into uniforms; boatsail drill is made into sails for sailing craft and is unbleached; drill is also made into pocket linings.

What is "herringbone twill?"

Commonly referred to as HBT, herringbone twill is a weave pattern often used in uniform manufacture particularly in the USA. It is most often but not always a woolen fabric and the weave allows a slight amount of 'give' in both directions making it a comfortable cloth to wear even in tight fitting uniforms. The weave pattern is named for the skeleton of a herring which the weave is supposed to resemble.

What is "serge"?

Serge is a type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides, made with a two-up, two-down weave. The worsted variety is used in making military uniforms, suits, great and trench coats.  It is usually a woollen material.

Was the American Army in Vietnam set up like the Australian Army?

No. Totally different. 
Combat organisation (US Army, Vietnam) The basic fighting unit of the US Army in Vietnam was the rifle platoon. At full strength a platoon fielded 41 men and one officer, divided into three rifle squads (10 men each), a weapons squad (9 men) and the platoon HQ (the officer and 2 men). Platoons were normally commanded by a lieutenant, with squads led by second lieutenants or senior NCOs.

These rifle platoons were organised into companies, commanded by captains. Each company would normally have three rifle platoons, a mortar platoon, and a rifle HQ consisting of two officers and 10 men.

The next step up the organizational structure was the battalion. This unit was commanded by a lieutenant-colonel and consisted of an HQ and an HQ company, and four front-line fighting companies. In 1965, battalions also had a combat support company, responsible for heavy weapons such as 4.2in mortars and flamethrowers. Once in Vietnam, however, it was found that such weapons were a liability rather than an asset, particularly in close jungle terrain, and the men were re-assigned to form a fifth rifle company.

Battalions were grouped in threes to form brigades, commanded by full colonels. The main tactical formation was the division, commanded by a major-general, comprising three brigades as well as artillery and other support elements. By December 1965, five US Army formations - the 173d Airborne Brigade, the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, the 1st Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and the 3d Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division - had been deployed to Vietnam. They were responsible for the security of existing bases and lines of communication, and for taking the war to the enemy in the war zones north of Saigon and in the Central Highlands.

Was the "body count" in Vietnam an accurate measure of success?

Did American units deliberately exaggerate the number of enemy soldiers they claimed to have killed to enhance their reputation?

As usual during wartime for military commanders to try to calculate the exact level of success they have achieved on the battlefield. In Vietnam, they chose to measure their success with a method known as 'the body count'. At first, only confirmed NVA or Viet Cong dead were to be included; possible or probable kills did not count. But how could you count the number of dead enemy soldiers when there was a battle raging?

The American high command issued guidelines to offset these problems. It was assumed that for every 100 dead counted there would be at least 30 enemy disabled or dying of wounds. Units were very keen to exaggerate their statistics. During the war some notorious cases came to light. Major-General Julian J. Ewell, commander of the 9th Infantry Division between 1968 and 1969, was obsessed with the count. He even set his subordinates quotas and graded their effectiveness accordingly. The division had an unsurpassed record of enemy casualties - but a very low ratio of weapons captured to claimed enemy dead.

Was the requirement for changing from Militia to AIF 65% or 75%.

In February 1942 regulations were changed to allow members of the militia to volunteer for service with the AIF, which meant being able to be sent anywhere in the world, but they would stay with their existing units. If 65 per cent of the establishment strength, or 75 per cent of the actual strength, of a unit volunteered for the AIF, that unit then became an AIF unit. 

Some Nazi badges have different leaves in their wreaths. Why?

Oak leaves are a symbol of strength.  Laurel leaves, ever since ancient Greek athletes were first crowned with them, represent victory, excellence and achievement. The Nazis sometimes had both on a badge.

Who used the double headed eagle on their badges?

Austria-Hungary, also known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Dual Monarchy or k.u.k. Monarchy or Dual State, was a dual-monarchic union state in Central Europe from 1867 to 1918, dissolved at the end of World War I. The double headed eagle is a common symbol in heraldry and vexillology. Several Eastern European nations use this symbol today, having adopted this symbol from the Byzantine Empire.

In Byzantine heraldry, the heads represent the dual sovereignty of the Emperor (secular and religious) and/or dominance of the Roman Emperors over both East and West. The Russian tsars also adopted the symbol both to position themselves as successors to the Byzantine state and to likewise symbolize their dominion over the west (Europe) and the east (Asia).


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