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HYPOTHETICAL RANKS

Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Dealing primarily with contemporary and historical Earth nations. (Science-fiction oriented rank systems, such as Star Trek, Starship Troopers, etc.), should be placed in FICTIVE Rank Insignia.

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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:08 am

Wow, you have been busy...! smilies-15

I vaguely considered doing something like this at one point — but then never got around to it!

That all looks pretty good, and I certainly can't see any glaring errors at the moment. I'm not sure how I would present it visually, but the only suggestion I can think of at the moment would be a subtle alteration to the relative positions of the RN Warrant Officers compared to the junior commissioned Officers: for example, Commissioned WO needs to be off-set by, say, half a line so that it sits just lower than Lieutenant but senior to Sub-Lieutenant. WO First Class and WO Second Class then sit one-above-the-other but off-set between Sub-Lieutenant and Midshipman in similar way. Does that make sense?

This would not necessarily apply in quite the same way to CPO relative to Army WO3 as the CPOs have rank equivalence but just not the "status" of Army WO. What I haven't quite figured out yet is how the relative seniority of, say, a Colour Sergeant RM would fit into this, especially for sea service where a C/Sgt acting as 2iC to a Captain or Lieutenant of a ship's detachment of Royal Marines would, as the senior NCO, be granted seniority equivalent to the CPOs. I guess this might work for that specific situation, much as a Captain RM, when afloat, is given the honorary title of "Major" (a specifically "soldier" rank) to avoid any confusion with the RN officer commanding the vessel, who will always be "The Captain" regardless of his actual substantive rank.

One other thing I forgot to mention above: regarding buttons for Colonels and Brigadiers RM: part of the logic was that as officers of the Naval Service, their uniforms would parallel those of RN officers, who all wear the same buttons, apart from Flag Officers -- hence only General Officers RM would wear different buttons. Does that make more sense?
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:51 pm

Thanks for the feedback! Here's a revised version:
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:01 pm

This is obviously keeping you as amused as me...! smilies-15

That seems fair enough; I guess "Bombardier" would be appropriate for the RM Artillery Regiment. It could either be the formal rank title or perhaps the official rank title would be Cpl and L/Cpl for all RM units but by tradition and custom they are known as Bdr and L/Bdr in the RM Artillery Regt as the direct successor to the previous RMA.

I don't suppose it matters...
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Clive19 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:04 pm

I like what you've done, very good indeed. Quite like the side caps in particular, are they completely new or an old idea brought back?

I'm not sure I agree with the bottom few lines of that table though. From Leading Rate, Corporal etc upwards it looks good. But the other ones don't sit right with me. I whipped up a table myself to illustrate my suggestions

Line 1 – I have as phase 1 titles
Line 2 – These are phase 2 titles
Line 3 – I've got as qualified strength, out of training, has the potential to be split into 1st and second class. (for example AB2, AB1). The Army would have unit specific titles e.g. Rifleman, Trooper, Gunner, Craftsman etc
Line 4 - the RN has typically not has a Lance Corporal equivalent, so I thought I'd restore that.
Line 5 - Leading Hand and Corporals. I just thought the rank of Corporal sits too well with the RAF, all trades.

After that, continue as before. These, of course, are the basic pattern with different units having their own specific variations. So do what yo want with these, but I thought the one you' ve got are a bit distroted and confusing.

On a side note, does the Army, and perhaps RM, uniforms have a specific badge and placement for particular instances of WO1, for example RSM, Foot guards, same badge just a couple of times larger and on the upper arm.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:20 pm

Bear in mind I'm basing this Table of Ranks upon Medic_in_Uniform's description. In this timeline/reality, Able Rate is said to be specifically equivalent to Lance Corporal and Aircraftman (First Class). Given that Lance Corporal used to be a senior Private who acted as a Corporal, but is now a proper NCO rank in itself, I think it's reasonable that Able Rate should go from being a senior Ordinary Rate into a Lance Corporal-equivalent.

Also remember, in this timeline/reality, the RAF hasn't had decades to completely mess up their old rank system with loads of superfluous ranks (ranks which other air forces have managed to do fine without). They started off with a perfectly good system: Warrant Officer Class I, Warrant Officer Class II, Flight Sergeant, Sergeant, Corporal, Leading Aircraftman, Aircraftman. Given that rank ought to reflect levels of authority (not training or pay), that's all they really needed.

Personally, I think the most simple and elegant system (for Other Ranks / Ratings) would be as follows:
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:09 am

Hi Guys,

Thanks for your interest! smilies-15

In no particular order of priority...

My intention was to base this whole extended concept in what *might* have been likely around 1920 if history had been nudged in a slightly different direction and if, post-WW1, Britain had been more inclined to undertake what we would these days describe as a "strategic defence review" with a subsequent "operational re-structuring" of her armed forces.

Equally, although I'm trying to take into account established service traditions and the prevailing social and political circumstances of that time, I guess I'm also, perhaps, assuming a slightly more modern and open-minded (and less hidebound!) approach to learning the strategic, tactical, political and leadership lessons of WW1...!

In that respect, I'm not trying to match the grades to those which would fit with the contemporary structures of the British Armed Forces, or even those of the *real* 20th Century history. My plan with the RAF in particular was kind of to go right back and say, OK, if *I* was starting from scratch, founding a whole new branch of the armed services, what might *I* have come up with, given the limitations I had set myself.

To reply to your comments specificlly:

I know that the rank of Corporal in the RAF was established along with Sergeant, etc. from the RFC but my deliberate intention here was to remove the anomaly of the very different variations in grading relating to the term "Leading..." between the RN and the RAF; it seemed to make sense that a "Leading Aircraftman" in the RAF should be directly equivalent in rank to a "Leading Seaman" in the RN. I chose this over the equivalent Army rank of Corporal because of the new nature of this fighting force where the majority of personnel were not direct combatants but were specialist support staff whose role was to enable the activities of a smaller number of combat pilots and other aircrew. I made the exception for the rather more overtly traditional military roles in the RAF Regiment and the provost role in the RAF Police. This didn't seem unreasonable, given that the Army clearly already used the two equivalent titles of Corporal and Bombardier at the same rank.

I fully take the point that Lance-Corporal was, for a long time, a local regimental appointment and not a substantive rank in its own right; I guess this was one of the things that I was thinking of bringing forward in the historical timeline in order to achieve a more sensible banding of equivalent seniority and responsibility across the different services. With that in mind, it seemed reasonable to establish Able Rate and L/Cpl as broadly equivalent on the first tier of supervisory responsibility.

One may argue legitimately, however, that an able hand is really more equivalent to a fully trained and experienced Private (or Gunner or Rifleman or Guardsman or Marine, or whatever) and I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you. Maybe what I actually need is some sort of "Senior Rate" and "Senior Aircraftman" (exact titles to be determined) to take on the Lance-Corporal role and then have "Able Rate" and "Aircraftman, First Class" as the "fully qualified" basic role, thus making "Ordinary Rate" and "Aircraftman, Basic" the grades for those who have not yet completed operational training. Junior Rate and Aircraftman Recruit (or something like this...) would then be the official titles for the raw newbies.)

I would still postulate "Marine" as the basic title that replaces "Private" for *all* unranked enlisted RM, although, again, this could technically be denoted "Marine Recruit" for those in basic training. Something similar would probably work for Army raw recruits until they pass out of basic training and are posted to their respective regiments, at which time they gain whatever title their Regiment uses for unranked soldiers.

Overall, however, my inclination would be not to differentiate formal titles between phases of basic training — they're either fully qualified, competent and on-strength or they're not. There may well be a case for some differentiation to be made within the recruit grade, especially if they're moving up to some sort of hands-on operational training, but I would keep it simple and say "fully-qualified" or "not-qualified" and not specify "part-qualified"

Back to the RAF for a moment, and I just wanted to point out that my use of the progression of different numbers of blades on the propeller insignia for the technical trades was an attempt to offset the situation where it is necessary to acknowledge different stages if technical training without it being necessary (or appropriate) to appoint someone to the next substantive rank. It is clearly possible to achieve technical competence without needing to then directly take on the next overtly supervisory role, which is what happens if you can only promote within too rigid a disciplined structure. (Logan, I guess this also partly explains why the RAF ranks evolved as they did through the 20th Century — one other option being the US approach of having rather a lot of poorly differentiated enlisted grades all hovering around as middle-ranking NCOs...)

Finally... (!)

With regard to things like specific insignia variations for certain appointments, yes, absolutely: I still expect H Div RSMs to have the traditionally huge Tate & Lyle adverts on their sleeves but equally other roles, such as the Master Gunners RA, would also retain their special appointment badges too (I just haven't drawn them yet...!).

Oh and I almost forgot: the RM side caps were a bit of a new creation — although I'm not sure how close to reality I may have come; I'll have to research this one a bit more. I've always quite liked the idea of side-caps in regimental colours so I figured that the amalgamation would be a good time to replace the older-style RM caps and bring them more into line with the Army, just in RM colours. The small differentiation between officers and other ranks just kinda looked good when I tried it — so I kept it...! The red piping on navy side caps for other ranks reflects the scarlet crown piping on their SD peaked caps (OR caps only in this history) whereas the full scarlet crown in the officer version reflects the red hatbands on their caps. Senior ranks then add gold piping to reflect the oakleaves on their caps.

I'll have a re-think about how I want the junior enlisted ranks to work and how the different grades and titles might match up across the four distinct services. I won't have much time this week but I'll get back to you when I think I have something that works for me.

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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Clive19 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:36 am

I see what you are both saying. And I think I would agree with most of it, I'd just like to pick out a few points.

Do you really need an RN equivalent to LCpl? You'd think that in the real world, that such a rank was needed, it would have happened already? (that old chestnut). So if we think about how they work, they have a role within the Regt, unit, whatever. Whereas the RN doesn't need that break down: ABs work under the LHs who work under the POs etc etc. So what I'm saying, LCpl equivalent isn't really necessary in the RN. Also the way its been explained to me you have to do a "Cadre" course to be a LCpl whereas the AB doesn't. So they aren't equivalent.

I'm not sure what such a position would be in the RN any way. Senior Able Rate? (if you a group of them you would have SARS...)

From what I understand with the term "Marine", it is a term that is earned. Mind you, this could be because these days Marine means Commando, where as it didn't back in the 20s.

With the differentiating of the titles between the phases of training. I tend to disagree. New Entry would be the general term anyway. But anyway, New Entry has it's own level on the pay scale. I'll explain from my own experience then. Phase 1, you aren't called new entry, you're refered to by your prospective branch, so if I was going to be a Warfare Specialist (WS) I would be WS Brown. I pass out (hopefully first time) and go on to phase 2 where I would be AB2(WS) Brown. I finish that and go to my first ship still as AB2(WS) Brown and it isn't until I have finished a taskbook and some other bits and pieces that I become fully qualified and become AB1(WS) Brown. In a department, you would need that differentiation for practical purposes. Theis wouldn't be substanstive promotion, you may get an extra increment in pay but thats it. For this timeline you could replace AB2 with OD and have AB1 as AB.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:42 am

Hi Clive,

All fair comments but, without sounding negative, you're falling into the trap of "when *I* was in the job it was like this..."

The whole point about a hypothetical alternative history is that, had it happened, you would never have known any different and *that* would have been "normal" instead.

In the absence of any other changes, if the Royal Navy had kept the old distinction between PO2 and PO1, how might that have developed...? Without a "Tate & Lyle" WO rate, and with an extra PO rate the senior NCO leadership role would then fall to the CPO, putting CPOs in each branch within a ship's company into a role not unlike an Army CSM, with one senior CPO taking on a role broadly equivalent to the ship's RSM — and, historically at least, I guess this role might have fallen to the Master-at-Arms although it's conceivable that, in time, a new specific appointment could have been created for such a role.

What I want to avoid, however, is creating an American-type proliferation of NCO grades in ANY of the services. I'll have a think and get back to you...!

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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:46 am

Clive

I understand what you're saying about "if such a rank was needed, it would have happened already," but given that the Royal navy (in real life, that is) has abolished Officer Cadet (and expanded the role of Midshipman to replace it) and renamed Ordinary Rate as 'Able Rate Class II' for no real reason, it seems that logic and reason have little to do with the Admiralty's rank scheme (if indeed it has one).

This point is more important than it might at first appear. Remember that in this timeline, the Government is trying to reduce differences between the services, not increase them for the purpose of harmonising their ranks with our timeline. Hence in the Army and Marines, General insignia now resembles Admiral shoulder-board insignia.

In the Royal Marines, Marine is simply the equivalent of Private. The two previous Marine units, the Royal Marine Light Infantry and the Royal Marine Artillery used Private and Gunner, respectively. This was simply a compromise measure.

As for specialist training ranks, remember that the Army and Marines do just fine without any kind of trainee ranks for the other ranks (even in the Aviation units). They simply use Private and Marine, no matter how complicated their duties/training. Given that the RN and RAF have hundreds of variations of trades and trade badges to reflect training, experience and specialisation, there's no need to have the ranks and rank insignia duplicate their functions.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:27 pm

Naval Cadets are still around in this timeline; I don't think I'd bothered to include their collar turnback patches in the full rank scheme (they would be the usual blue with white twist centre-cords and standard button) but there is a specific dress uniform variant for them somewhere in the big post on RN ranks, insignia and uniforms on page 2 of this thread.

The other thing I haven't addressed yet is the role and uniform differentiation of RNR and RNVR in this timeline; I hadn't decided what to do about the use of thing like wavy or interwoven officer distinction lace or other alternative insignia. I'll think about that one too...!
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:54 pm

Sorry, Medic: I'd meant to say Officer Cadet had been abolished in OUR timeline, not your timeline.

As for the RNR and RNVR insignia, my personal preference would for them to share the same insignia as regular officers, but I recognise that this would be unlikely to happen. Perhaps one of the following would be practical:

1. Follow the approach adopted by the RAF Volunteer Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force: just have the (brass or cloth) initials RNR or RNVR on the collar.

2. Have the letter 'R' or 'V' within the curl/ring on each sleeve.

3. Have light-green cloth between the stripes (or below the bar/stripe) on each sleeve and shoulder (light-green cloth being the colour of the RNVR special branch, in our timeline).
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:29 pm

Yeah, I wondered about the simple expedient of using standard officer cuff distinction lace and simply adding a "V" or an "R" inside the curl to denote RNVR or RNR. If not using the wavy and interwoven types of lace it would be the obvious thing to do.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:54 pm

Concerning the potential unsuitability of Able Rate as a Lance Corporal-equivalent, I have prepared a possible alternative rank system (not my preferred version though).

In this system:

- Able Rate, Private First Class, Aircraftman First Class / Aircraftman Technician and Marine First Class are ranks used by those who are fully qualified.

- Ordinary Rate, Private Second Class, Aircraftman Second Class / Apprentice Technician and Marine Second Class are ranks used by those undergoing operational training.

- Junior Rate, Private Third Class, Aircraftman Third Class / Technician Recruit and Marine Third Class are ranks used by new recruits.

(Bear in mind that in this system, Senior Rate no longer refers to Chief Petty Officer, Petty Officer First Class and Petty Officer Second Class, while Junior Rate no longer refers to Leading Rate, Able Rate and Ordinary Rate)
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:19 pm

On a related note, I'd recommend changing Royal Navy rating insignia. See below for an alternative configuration, using both possible Rating Rank systems. Regardless of whether Able Rate or Senior Rate serves as the Lance Corporal-equivalent, it really ought to have its own rank insignia.

I also dislike the solid brass peaked cap. Perhaps Ratings below Petty Officer Second Class who are not assigned to a specific ship, submarine or shore establishment could simply wear the traditional sailors cap with 'ROYAL NAVY' in gold letters replacing 'HMS WHATEVER'?

Medic, I hope you don't mind me modifying your designs in this way.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:06 pm

Modify the pics as much as you want and play with the concept as much as you like! smilies-15

From my point of view, this is all open to discussion and I'm interested to hear what people think. Equally, for your own purposes, you can do what you like with the concept and the drawings.

I played with a number of variants like those you have developed. I opted in the end to use the same historical insingia for PO1 and PO2 as had previously been used by the Royal Navy. One alternative thought was to use [crossed anchors] (without the Crown) for PO2 and then use [crossed anchors with crown above] for PO1; the logic being that this would then parallel the distinction between sergeant [three chevrons] and staff/colour sergeant [three chevrons with Crown above].

Another thought was to do something entirely new and match the number of anchors for Navy rates to the number of chevrons for Army NCOs so that the sequence would then be:
[one anchor], [two crossed anchors], [three anchors], [three anchors with Crown above], followed by the separate insignia of [anchor in wreath surmounted by Crown] for CPO. I'm still tempted to use this one.

If I get time, I'll post all of these alternative versions so you can compare them. The "definitive" version for the purposes of this particular hypothetical thread will ultimately be whatever I decide I want it to be and I'm still musing on that! smilies-15

Having said that, these things are always open to tinkering by different politicians and service chiefs within the hypothetical history and it may well be that the scheme I've outlined above could be what was originally settled in around 1919 / 1920 — but that doesn't mean that it wasn't updated in the light of use in practice and changing operational requirements. By 1930 and again by 1940 I fully expect that minor modifications would have crept in around the edges...!

Regarding the brass cap badge, remember that the Royal Navy at this time had junior rates in two groups: those who were "dressed as seamen" and those who were "not dressed as seamen" (mainly support roles such as clerks and writers and so on -- I'll have to dig out the definitive list). I have chosen to continue this distinction for my hypothetical timeline so that's why there is a separate uniform for this group. The brass or perhaps bronze badge was just an alternative to the red embroidered version that was previously used. I'd be happy to use either.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:53 pm

Thanks for giving your permission, Medic!

Concerning the Peaked Cap for 'non-seaman junior ratings', my biggest problem is the cap badge (see below, right). While I can see it being used as a 'war economy badge', my personal preference would be for the Junior Rating cap badge to be almost identical to that used by Petty Officers First and Second Class (see below, left), but with the following differences:

1. Only one circlet (the outer one) surrounding the anchor.

2. A larger anchor - the same size (but not the same colour) as the one used in the existing Junior Ratings cap badge.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Erskine Calderon » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:02 pm

Logan616 wrote:On a related note, I'd recommend changing Royal Navy rating insignia. See below for an alternative configuration, using both possible Rating Rank systems. Regardless of whether Able Rate or Senior Rate serves as the Lance Corporal-equivalent, it really ought to have its own rank insignia.

I also dislike the solid brass peaked cap. Perhaps Ratings below Petty Officer Second Class who are not assigned to a specific ship, submarine or shore establishment could simply wear the traditional sailors cap with 'ROYAL NAVY' in gold letters replacing 'HMS WHATEVER'?

Medic, I hope you don't mind me modifying your designs in this way.


Perhaps you might use a reef knot as the rating badge for ordinary seaman, in keeping with the fouled line on the anchors. Then you could continue that in the cap badges.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:15 pm

Erskine Calderon wrote:Perhaps you might use a reef knot as the rating badge for ordinary seaman, in keeping with the fouled line on the anchors. Then you could continue that in the cap badges.


I'm not sure about the cap badge (after all, every other RN cap badge has a fouled anchor somewhere), but I think you've hit upon something with the insignia.

In fact (assuming that Senior Rate is equivalent to Lance Corporal, and Able Rate is equivalent to Private First Class), Able Rate's rank insignia could consist of a reef knot (that is, two vertical lengths of rope loosely entwined, as in the RAN), while Ordinary Rate's rank insignia could consist of an overhand knot (that is, a single length of rope loosely entwined, as for Able Rates in the RNZN). Junior Rate, of course, would have no rank insignia.

If this were implemented, then Private First Class, Marine First Class, and Aircraftman First Class / Aircraftman Technician also ought to have rank insignia. Perhaps two diagonal stripes (that is, two half-chevrons)? Private Second Class, Marine Second Class, and Aircraftman Second Class / Apprentice Technician could all bear a single diagonal stripe (that is, one half-chevron). Private Third Class, Marine Third Class, and Aircraftman Third Class / Technician Recruit, of course, would have no rank insignia.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:38 pm

The reef knot has been used as an insigia for similar grades by other naval services with close historical associations with the Royal Navy. I considered it but ultimately decided I'd rather avoid plagiarising more recent changes in insignia given that this was supposed to be a historical alternative timeline. Like I said above, I'm thinking about it.

The bronze cap badge does indeed have the same traditional fouled anchor at its centre as all the other cap badges.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:45 pm

Medic_in_Uniform wrote: The reef knot has been used as an insigia for similar grades by other naval services with close historical associations with the Royal Navy. I considered it but ultimately decided I'd rather avoid plagiarising more recent changes in insignia given that this was supposed to be a historical alternative timeline. Like I said above, I'm thinking about it.


I understand; arguably there's no need for any rank below Lance Corporal (or its equivalents) to have any rank insignia.


Medic_in_Uniform wrote: The bronze cap badge does indeed have the same traditional fouled anchor at its centre as all the other cap badges.


I appreciate that, Medic: unfortunately, the bronze/brass just looks... cheap, like a WW2 economy badge, at least to me. I don't mind the design, per se, and if it really was just a wartime economy version of the correct, embroidered badge, I'd have no complaints. If the badge as a whole was embroidered, with a large silver fouled anchor, a coloured crown, a single gold circlet, and a navy-blue/black background (as with the Petty Officers cap badge), I think it would look great.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby sketor7558 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:49 am

Hello Medic,

Can you do the Hypothetical London Metropolitan Police in the 1920s?

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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:11 am

Logan,

If I remember correctly, the junior rates not dressed as seamen were never authorised to wear bullion embroidered cap badges; that was purely the preserve of the Petty Officers and above. Their cap badges were (and I stand to be corrected on this) all red embroidery on a black background, including the anchor and the Crown. The differentiation between one or two outer rings of gold roping around the silver fouled anchor would be pretty minimal apart from very close up whereas this makes the distinction pretty clear at a glance.

I'll dig out the historical images and show you what I'm talking about. To be honest, I'm not really inclined to change the bronze badge at this point. Part of what I was intending to achieve was some degree of parity with the intended new cap badges for the newly-formed RAF, where officers and WOs have bullion badges and OR have cast metal badges. It's not really meant to be like a wartime economy badge; these would be cast bronze rather than thin stamped sheet metal. One thing I did consider, however, was the possibility of having black enamel on the ribbed background area inside the outer roped edge and behind the central anchor, in much the same way that the WW2 stamped metal badges did have. I'll post some higher resolution images so you can see the detailing on it.



Sketor,

Hi -- That's an interesting one; I hadn't considered looking at things like the British police forces of the same time (although I suspect that there may not be too many changes to suggest from what they were actually using at the time anyway). Still, it might be fun to look up their historical rank structure and insignia and draw them out anyway, just to go alongside the military uniforms and insignia! It won't happen any time soon as I don't really have that much free time at the moment but, now that you've planted the idea, I'll definitely see what I can come up with.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:42 am

Just to save me some time, because I'm rather busy with real life work at the moment, this thread on another forum is pretty detailed in covering pretty much the full range of RN uniforms in WW2. The period is a little later than we are discussing but the detail and accuracy are pretty good, so it's well worth a look:

http://www.onesixth.co.uk/vb4forum/showthread.php?2198-WWII-Royal-Navy-Ratings

The speciific bits of interest are the Class III ratings in fore-and-aft rig (jacket with collar and tie, rather than sailor suits) like the POs and CPOs but with black buttons instead of gilt and plain red rank and specialty insignia and plain red cap badges. These are predominantly administrative and support roles not directly involved in sailing, fighting or maintaining the ships.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:41 pm

Medic_in_Uniform wrote:Logan,

If I remember correctly, the junior rates not dressed as seamen were never authorised to wear bullion embroidered cap badges; that was purely the preserve of the Petty Officers and above. Their cap badges were (and I stand to be corrected on this) all red embroidery on a black background, including the anchor and the Crown. The differentiation between one or two outer rings of gold roping around the silver fouled anchor would be pretty minimal apart from very close up whereas this makes the distinction pretty clear at a glance.

I'll dig out the historical images and show you what I'm talking about. To be honest, I'm not really inclined to change the bronze badge at this point. Part of what I was intending to achieve was some degree of parity with the intended new cap badges for the newly-formed RAF, where officers and WOs have bullion badges and OR have cast metal badges. It's not really meant to be like a wartime economy badge; these would be cast bronze rather than thin stamped sheet metal. One thing I did consider, however, was the possibility of having black enamel on the ribbed background area inside the outer roped edge and behind the central anchor, in much the same way that the WW2 stamped metal badges did have. I'll post some higher resolution images so you can see the detailing on it.


Fair enough, I see your point.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:26 pm

Did you get a chance to read through the reference stuff at onesixth.co.uk?

It's pretty detailed and well worth looking through. I picked up on a few minor things that needed correcting but by and large I thought it was a great place to start if your interested in the RN around 1940.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:52 pm

Yes, I have had a look; it's very interesting and detailed.

Changing the subject very briefly, I've just been looking at your pic "Navy1920AltNo1WO-MId-CPO.jpg", when I noticed that Midshipman didn't have three buttons on each sleeve (which it should have according to pic "Navy1920AltALL.jpg"), so I took the liberty of adding them. I realise its only a small change, but it does make the pictures more consistent.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:17 am

Ha!

To be honest, this is a constant work-in-progress; the pics on my desktop machine at home are several generations evolved from even some of the more recent pictures in this thread!

I tinker, refine, correct and adapt things on a weekly basis. A lot of it is just updating small things which bugged me earlier and which I did not originally have time to correct. Occasionally I make a minor change that then needs to be carried over to all the various raw drawings of insignia and uniforms (say, for example, I updated the design of the Crown -- that would be a nightmare, given the number of places in which it appears...!)

Exporting and uploading is time-consuming though, so I don't post major updates all that frequently. None of it radically changes the ranks, insignia or uniforms previously presented so I'm not to worried.

With regards to the Midshipman, I'm not sure at which point in time (in this alternate history) the three cuff buttons would disappear. Certainly I would expect them to be around at the start of all this in about 1919/20. Perhaps later they would be dropped. I have two sets of drawings for the navy, one for 1920 and another more like 1940; subtle things like smaller crowns on the caps and different shirt collars all just hint at the look of a slightly earlier era.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:02 am

just so you can see the things I'd been playing with (these are by no means finished or finalised designs...!)

1. The alternative insignia I mentioned with three anchors for PO2 and three anchors plus Crown for PO1. Note also the use of "First Class Rate" in the "lance-corporal" rank; this is effectively a contraction of "Able Rate, First Class" (this deliberately avoids using the terms "junior rates" and "senior rates" thus leaving these terms free to continue to describe groups of ranks rather than becoming specific rank titles for individual rates).

Image


2. Some of the Class III junior rate cap badge designs:

This shows the established pattern with red embroidered badge for junior rates and bullion for PO and CPO
Image

This gives a flavour of the evolution of the bronze cap badge design.
Top row: CPO / PO / Jnr Rates (solid bronze version)
Bottom row: Red embroidered / solid brass / solid bronze with background painted black / two-piece brass with black cloth backing and insert
Compared to the PO and CPO versions, the solid brass design has a smaller crown relative to the size of the circle of cable and the anchor. This is deliberate; it makes the badge more distinguishable at a glance and the reduced size of the crown subtly indicates the lower rank. The backgound behind the anchor has horizontal "ribbed" texturing, like many naval buttons of the period. The alternative version has the backround painted over in black which, perhaps, restores some of the more traditional appearance of a Royal Navy cap badge.
Image

The final version is a two-piece brass badge which has a separate anchor, allowing a black cloth insert and backing to be used (most likely melton, stiffened with buckram). The Crown is slightly larger, relative to the circle and anchor in this design.
Image


3. Finally, unconnected with all of the above, the uniforms of Midshipman and Naval Cadet. The Snotties still have their white collar turnbacks with white cord twists; their full dress coatees and "best" No.1 have three cuff buttons with navy blue or black cord twists below the buttons (but in practice these are not worn on "working" monkey jackets). The cadets have navy blue turnbacks with white cords and also white cords below the cuff buttons for full dress and "best" No.1 but, again, these are omitted for day-to-day jackets. In time, the cuff buttons and cords will be retained only on the full dress. Note that the both wear officer cap badges and have officer-pattern buckles on their dirk belts but those for cadets are plain black leather, those of Midshipmen have gold lace edging to the belt and hangers, in the same pattern as Warrant Officers.
Image
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:50 pm

Brilliant work! I particularly like the new rank insignia for Ratings; it may be a break with tradition, but then again, so is giving Flag Officer shoulder board-style insignia to Generals, and giving Army-style insignia to the RAF.

I agree that Senior Rate and Junior Rate make inappropriate rank titles, but I'm not completely sure about "Able Rate First Class" or "First Class Rate." Given that Able Rate is effectively a senior Ordinary Rate (and equal to a senior Private), shouldn't the RN equivalent to Lance Corporal have more in common with Leading Rate than Able Rate? How about "Leading Rate Second Class" or "Second Leading Rate" ?

I think the last (two-piece) cap badge for Junior Ratings is a big improvement; it looks more like a traditional RN badge (as you pointed out), while the brass/bronze colouring still gives it a very distinctive look.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:42 am

I'm not wholly convinced by the multiple anchors insignia; they do kind of work and it does make for a reasonable sequence with a parallel to the chevrons of the other services but I still prefer the historical link and the re-introduction of the previously established insignia for PO1 and PO2.

Very early on, I did consider the same thing you suggested above, using one anchor and then two crossed anchors for the junior NCOs and then repeating with the Crown above for the POs. It definitely works and there's nothing wrong with it but the sequence from two anchors without a crown and then back to one anchor with the crown didn't quite seem right at the time. Having established the idea that Leading Rate should be equivalent to Corporal / Bombardier in the Army (and RM) and that this should also be equivalent to Leading Aircraftman / Corporal in the RAF, I really wanted to stick with that as it seemed like a good anchor point (no pun intended...!) for establishing the NCO rank parities across all the services. I also kinda didn't want to loose the historical link to the fouled anchor as the insignia for Leading Rate, but then "insignia inflation" as grades are introduced and adapted over time is a well-known phenomenon. The "Reef Knot" insignia of the RAN was another option I considered but, as I noted in my previous post, I didn't want to try to "retro-fit" contemporary insignia into a supposedly historical scheme. That said, I rather like your suggestion to use insignia with one or two knotted cables — I'm working on this one and will show you what I come up with when they're ready! smilies-15

I guess having the Crown above the anchor(s) for both POs and the fact that they get an upgraded cap badge and uniform does rather set them apart from the other rates in a way that isn't, perhaps, quite so obvious with the Army's progression from lance-corporal to staff sergeant; that's why I want to continue to use one and two anchors under the Crown for now.

Equally, while I remember, "First Class Rate" is something of a place-holder tile while I think about what might work. In historical terms, an Able Rate was an experienced sailor rather than one of the inexperienced pressed men, a hand who could be trusted with the most complex tasks involved in running a sailing warship. There was not necessarily a designated leadership role as such. In terms of allocating Able Rate to the Lance-Corporal equivalence, but not allocating a specific insignia, I guess that was sort of me suggesting that there would be some form of clear pay advancement, with a certain amount of leadership expected, but no formal executive authority and therefore no specific command responsibility. In one system, then, an AB might be broadly equivalent to a lance-jack but they would also technically be junior to one when it came to the issuing of lawful orders. I'm nevertheless tempted to stick with the system of junior rates outlined on page 2 of the thread for now and I'll only add updates in that respect if I really thnk I've come up with something much better.

If I manage to develop a design that I'm happy with using one / two knotted ropes then maybe at THAT point the designations AB, 2nd Class and AB, First Class would make more sense, with AB1 nominally filling the L/Cpl role. We'll see...

As for cap badges, yeah the newer two-piece kinda works but the one-piece with that black painted background works jut as well, and I sort of prefer the smaller Crown. That's an easy enough fix though..

Finally, Army general officers: not strictly gold-faced boards like the Royal Navy flag officers; the inter-woven dress shoulder-cords are now reserved for specific state ceremonial events only so all officer ranks have plain epaulettes with scalloped pattern bullion edging, not unlike contemporary full dress for officers in the Guards regiments. For subalterns and field officers this is a double row of scalloped bullion around the outer edges of the epaulettes. For senior ranks the epaulettes are worn as strap-on shoulder boards rather than stitched into the shoulder seam, simply to facilitate the change to bullion cords if necessary. General Staff Officers have a scarlet inlay between (running underneath) the two rows of bullion (on dark blue shoulder boards), General Officers have the same but with a strip of plain gold lace as the in-fill between the rows, and finally, marshals have a central facing of oak-leaf pattern gold lace over the main central part of he epaulettes, between the bullion edging. They may *look* a little like naval Flag Officer shoulder boards, but their origin and design is purely Army. At some point, I will also get around to showing the plaited and woven bullion shoulder cords for State Full Dress
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Clive19 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:53 pm

I'd like to point out the obvious that to distinguish rank, it doesn't need to be a badge all the time, even though the RN does use it most of the time.



I also think that this is getting a little out of hand where the bottom few ranks has gone from 3 substantive ranks to 5 or 6. I think that there is little need for all these different levels and with little need for an equivalent to a Lance Corporal aside from a view of tidiness. Tri-Service working wasn't massively common (not like these days) and so a direct equivalent isn't necessary and even if they did work together, they would just get the closest they could (identify, adapt, overcome and all that). Equivalents in roles and responsibilities in a time of streamlining and rationalising they would surely get rid of extra and superfluous ranks.

I suggest something like
PO1 - Two anchors and a crown
PO2 - Two anchors
LH - One anchor
AB - Two vertical bars on left upper cuff
OD - One vertical bar on left upper cuff

I have a book which had vertical red bars as part of a QARNNS structure and I thought similar in gold would be ok.

The two part badge does look good, with the smaller crown looking better still
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:13 pm

Yes, I agree — I didn't want to get into a situation where we ended up with a multitude of unnecessary expanded NCO ranks. At the minute this is more just batting ideas around. When I've found something that works and which I'm happy with then I'll do a combined table of ranks, with images, for all the services.

I like the idea of something simple to address differentiation in the unranked rates. I have a few ideas... smilies-29

I agree that tri-service working was far less significant and cultural gaps between the services were quite large; perhaps this re-structuring in the light of WW1 might begin to address some of those issues....? smilies-23
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby SFMRAS » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:46 pm

Medic_in_Uniform wrote:snip

If you are going the 3 anchor route, perhaps draw inspiration from Canada? http://mpmuseum.org/rcnrank_ratings.html
They ended up using three anchors linearly, instead of superimposed.
Of course, one anchor above two crossed is also possible (or vice versa.)
Either way, nice drawings.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:55 pm

I did think about using parallel vertical anchors but using something like the old emblem for Masters or the flag of the Admiralty Board, both of which had a larger central anchor with slightly smaller anchors on each side. The potential sequence would then be *something* like this:

1. Single vertical anchor, full-size

2. Two vertical anchors, ~85% size (although retaining two crossed anchors would also be an option)

3. Three vertical anchors in the arrangement 75% / full-size / 75%

4. As per 3, with Crown above the central anchor.

I still have pics somewhere so will dig them out and upload them later. In some ways I preferred this to the three over-laid anchors.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Clive19 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:18 am

I've got this book, as mentioned before, which covers the history of rank insignia of the RN (good book by the way). There are several different types of symbols, ranging from the obvious to the more unusual that fell out of use. Anchor (single), Anchors (crossed), crown, stripes (normal), stripes (inverted, more like an equilateral triangle with the bottom missing), six pointed stars, vertical bars, wreaths.

some of these might be better suited to the lower part of the sleeve.

a suggested sequence
OD - Nowt
AB - Six pointed star on upper arm (upon becoming fully qualified)
LH - Anchor (single)
PO2 - Anchors (crossed)
PO1 - Anchors (crossed) and crown
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:10 pm

Hi Clive,

Are you by any chance referring to "Rank and Rate" (volumes I & II) by E C Coleman...?
(And, no, that's not me! smilies-01 )

I have a few ideas for the Rates insignia but it will take me a while before I have time to complete the drawings. When I'm done, I'll post all the different variations so you can see all the different ideas I was playing with.

In truth, I still kinda like the distinction of the Crown as a mark for both grades of PO, making them obviously different to the junior rates. It's just a case of how I fit it all together into a cohesive system but avoid a lot of grade inflation.

On balance, I still suspect I'll end up sticking with the historical precedent of one hook for LS, one plus Crown for PO2 and two crossed plus Crown for PO1. I'm working on some possible ideas for AB and OD (or possibly AB1 plus AB2 and OD but then these would be likely be sub-grades not substantive Rates).

I'm not overly bothered about needing to establish a substantive equivalent to L/Cpl for the Royal Navy. In fact, it occurred to me to suggest that, in the early part of this timeline, L/Cpl could stay as a local Regimental appointment and that a naval equivalent between AB and LS could also be a local appointment, to be used or not, as required, at the discretion of a ship's CO. The equivalent RAF and RM ranks could also be established in the same way to give parity across the services.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Clive19 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:59 pm

Hi there
I certainly am referring to that series of books, I find them very interesting. useful for this in particular. shame it isn't you really.

The crown is currently used to distinguish levels of PO at the moment, it is however in the sea cadets that this is done, as you may be aware. I thing it is a more sensible progression rather than the historical example that you have been working with (not deriding what you've done in the slightest). It does just seem to make sense on the whole with clear distinctions between JRs and SRs.

As for a local appointment, could it be something as simple as Lance Killick? Perhaps, we could have a bit of an unusual solution, so bear with me. Seen as the RN doesn't have a direct LCpl equivalent, maybe the CO would appoint an RM title (Lance Corporal) upon them (i'm not sure that is good england). They would only be local acting in the rank and so would be Acting Lance Corporals (ALC) and would wear a single stripe as a result. They could even have letters "RN" at the bottom of the epaulette as well.

I look forward to the ideas you have come up with
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:59 am

That made me laugh...!

I'm not sure using an RM rank would work but, whatever the *official* name for the temporary grade might be, I think "Lance-Killick" would be a pretty good contender for its Service nickname!

smilies-15

There would be no shoulder slides or other epaulette-type rank insignia for junior rates in this time period though.

If I'm not much mistaken, the Sea Cadets use two crossed anchors alone and then two crossed with Crown above...? Not sure it's a sequence that I would use but I agree there is a certain logic to it.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Logan616 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:59 pm

Over the past few days I've been looking at the rank structure problems, and I have come up with a possible solution:

1. Abolish the rank of Warrant Officer Class III in British Army Infantry Regiments and the Royal Marines. The concept of having Troop Sergeant-Majors, Platoon Sergeant-Majors and Section Sergeant-Majors proved unsuccessful in real life, after all; it seems reasonable to assume that the Army and Marines would ultimately discard it in this timeline.

2. Instead of inventing a new Lance Corporal equivalent rank for the RN, make Leading Rate equivalent to Lance Corporal, and move all Petty Officer ranks down one tier. 


3. Adjust RAF ranks accordingly.


Advantages:

1. This neatly fills any gaps in the Other ranks / Ratings rank structure - every RN rank lines up neatly with an Army, Marine and RAF rank - without needing to add any new or contrived rank(s).

2. This restores Chief Petty Officer, Petty Officer First Class and Petty Officer Second Class to their older, traditional equivalents - Staff Sergeant, Sergeant and Corporal, respectively - and allows Able Rate to remain equal to a senior Private. While Leading Rate is NOW considered equal to a Corporal, it was for a long time officially junior.


3. Traditionally, Lance Corporal referred to a senior private serving as a deputy to a Corporal, and was for a long time considered a non-substantive rank (the substantive NCO equivalent being Second Corporal); Leading Rate could be considered a “senior Junior Rating” (if you get what I mean) serving as a deputy to a Petty Officer, and might also be considered a hybrid rank: one part substantive Junior Rating, one part non-substantive Senior Rating rank (hypothetically, the substantive Senior Rating equivalent could be ‘Petty Officer Third Class’).


4. This change means that Leading Aircraftman would also be moved down to Lance Corporal level. This is both closer to the role it traditionally plays in real life (where it is considered equal to a senior Private), and it allows for Corporal to be restored as a standard RAF rank (in fact, the aircrew ranks would now be virtually identical to those used by the RAF upon its creation). Leading Technician would also become equivalent to Lance Corporal, and Corporal Technician (a real rank used by the RAF for a time after WW2) could be adopted as the technician equivalent of Corporal.


5. This change can accommodate EITHER the traditional rank insignia OR the new ratings rank insignia:

5. A. In the traditional system, all Senior Ratings bear BOTH anchors AND crowns as rank insignia, while Junior Rating bear either a anchors, rope or nothing.

5. B. In the new system, only CHIEF Petty Officer is entitled to a crown above the anchors, just only Staff / Colour / Flight Sergeant is entitled to a crown above the chevrons. This would be a unique privilege, just like the three buttons on the sleeve).

Regardless of which system is adopted, Leading Rates would continue to use a single vertical fouled anchor as its insignia (see below).


The only drawback is that Senior Ratings no longer line up precisely equivalent to senior NCOs, but that seems rather unimportant. After all:

1. Junior NCOs in the Army, RAF and RM do not line up precisely with Junior Ratings in the Navy;

2. Company Officers in the Army, RAF and RM do not line up precisely with Lieutenant Officers in the Navy;

3. Field Officers in the Army, RAF and RM do not line up precisely with Senior Non-Flag Officers Officers in the Navy; and

4 General Officers in the Army, RAF and RM do not line up precisely with Flag Officers in the Navy.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Clive19 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:11 am

These are quite radical changes aren't they?

And I still don't like these triple crossed anchors.

I thing you might have been onto something though, with dropping the ORs CPO to LH down one. If you kept the original insignia, you could have a definate difference between JRs and ORs quite tidily. PO1 retaining the crossed anchors with crown and fore-and-aft rig and PO2 keeping the single anchor with crown and square rig.

However, I'm still puzzled with this quest for LCpl parity when the differences with the Warrant Officer systems seems to be ok. We are forgetting that each service does different things and as such will have different needs/wants from their rank structure. So absolute equivalence (its what i'm calling it now) is pointless
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:43 am

Ease up chaps, this is just for fun! smilies-01

I'm away from home for a while so don't have access to my full collection of drawings, nor can I draw or post new insignia at the moment. The version with the "triple" anchors was purely speculative, just to give you a flavour of some of the ideas I have been playing with. I really don't expect to use it.

My intention is to stick with three usual cuff buttons for CPO, with branch specialty insignia worn on the jacket collars. The [Crown/anchor/wreath] insignia (the historical CPO insignia) was originally intended to be re-introduced initially for ceremonial purposes only; as such it would appear as bullion embroidery only the dress coat (larger version) and on shoulder boards in formal white tropical uniforms (much smaller), where it would be worn instead of the cuff buttons. It would later appear informally as a plain red version on battledress-type working dress where the cuff buttons would be impractical. This would rapidly become accepted and incorporated into regulations, allowing for the use of both plain red and later bullion versions, depending on the posting and role of the individual; both would be somewhat smaller than the full dress version.

For PO1 and PO2, I'm sticking with the established historical insignia. I'm not wedded to the need for a full L/Cpl equivalent.

The point about the naval warrant officers is that their roles far pre-dated the army senior-NCO warrant officers and placed them as an entirely different category of officers. The obvious long-term solution is to merge them into the junior commissioned ranks but the Establishment in the early part of the 20th Century wouldn't have been quite ready for that, hence they stay but with slightly re-defined and improved seniority for the CWO and the two other grades established as specific ranks, rather than increments with time served — just as Lieutenants with over eight years service had become Lieutenant Commanders a few years prior to this. My intention was that, in the early years, they would retain their three cuff buttons below their new rings of distinction lace (not for CWO), like Midshipmen and Naval Cadets, above, but that, in time, the buttons would be first removed from day-to-day uniforms and then eventually from dress uniforms, leaving just the distinction lace (with branch-coloured "lights" betwwen the rings, as appropriate) as their only formal rank insignia. This is clearly not the same as the rank markings for commissioned officers but, with officer-pattern uniforms and cap badges, nevertheless sets them apart as officers, not ratings. Their social status will improve and they will eventually be accepted as full members of the Wardroom and their career track will improve to allow more natural progression to full Lieutenant from CWO and even Sub-Lieutenant from WO First Class and WO Second Class.

This situation, whilst much improved, would remain unsatisfactory to many Warrant Officers RN and, eventually, the RN WO grades in their historic format would indeed be granted full commissioned status (post-WW2...?) and would therefore disappear as a distinctive separate set of grades.

The likely developments for senior rates around the same time would then be that CPO aligns to Army WO2 when the WO3 grade is finally abolished, but keeps its crown/wreath/anchor insignia, placing it on the cuffs, above the three buttons. Initially, this would be as a standalone CPO grade but, in time, it will be re-titled as CPO2 and a new CPO1 will be introduced, gaining the "Tate & Lyle" Royal Arms badge of Army WO1, again worn above the three cuff buttons. For working dress, the insignia alone are worn on the forearm (or, later, on the shoulders); for formal dress the traditional three buttons are retained. Both grades continue to wear the CPO cap badge, although the size of the wreath is later increased slightly.

This means that, in time, the ranks for RN ratings will therefore align with the Army NCOs, but not necessarily in the way that they have evolved in our contemporary history. CPO1 and CPO2 will be directly equivalent to Army/RM/RAF grades of WO1 and WO2, PO1 and PO2 will align with S/Sgt (or C/Sgt or F/Sgt) and Sgt respectively and, finally, L/Rate with Cpl (or Bdr or L/Acm). There will eventually be an equivalent pay grade in the RN and RAF to the Army rank of L/Cpl or L/Bdr and those will become full substantive grades as the first NCO rank, ceasing to be local appointments. Whether the RN and RAF grades carry executive authority or are more like enhanced technical grades above the basic grade remains to be decided. During at least some period of their evolution, I can see the potential for both to exist simultaneously, for example a technical grade for RAF ground crew but a L/Cpl for the RAF Regiment. Would the same apply for the navy...? A technical grade in the engineering and support branches but an executive grade in the seaman branch...? I guess it could potentially start out like that but the disparity and changing patterns of career structure would eventually suggest the necessity of simplified broad grade equivalence across all branches and so a move to equal substantive ranks would eventually occur.

At the moment, however, I'm more focussed on finishing the early years of this timeline. I'll think about later developments in more detail much later.

I fully accept that anything I propose for c. 1920 would likely have been adapted somewhat by 1930, again by 1940 and significantly by 1950 or 1960. Times change, technology changes and operational needs change. This is inevitable.

Finally (!), I'm curious: why do you think the officer ranks don't align? I thought the grade equivalencies were pretty well established; all the subaltern and field officer ranks and their RN and RAF equivalents align exactly and so do the senior/staff officers and flag/general officers. Small variations in things like uniform decoration don't mean that the ranks themselves aren't equivalent. The only slight variation is the two classes of Commodore in the Navy and the two (equivalent) grades of Brigadier in the Army, one with temporary Flag/General Officer status and one without. The RAF and RM have only one rank at this grade, having no percieved operational need for the differentiation between the split grades. I fully accept that the same logic could also apply at the junior end of the NCO ranks. Again, as previously discussed, I would expect that this would evolve anyway over the decades that follow.

smilies-01
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby ijnfleetadmiral » Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:55 pm

Great job on the insignia...they look great!

*Shudders* Imagine if this rank had been real, and Monty had held it...he would've been even more insufferable!
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:05 pm

An interesting point!

The thing that I have been wondering throughout all of this is just who exactly would be appointed to these senior ranks anyway...? What would their roles really be? Are these ceremonial appointments or executive administrative command appointments?

Would Marshal of the Empire become the default promotion for the Chief of the Imperial General Staff if there were already other serving Field Marshals? Would this be an appointment outside the established command structure? How do the armies of Canada, Australia, India and the other overseas Dominions fit into this?

The same applies to the equivalent RAF rank.

Similarly, would the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff be appointed to the rank of Grand Admiral of the Empire if there were other serving Admirals of the Fleet? Could this also be an appointment outside the established structure of the Admiralty?

Would this truly be an Empire-wide role, encompassing the naval forces of the overseas dominions as they were evolving into the associated, but separate Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy and so on? Would the progression and development of independent Dominion fleets, outwith the direct control of the the Royal Navy in London have evolved more quickly under an established over-arching unified Imperial Admiralty command structure...?

Equally, how does the ancient role of Lord High Admiral fit into the equation? Obviously, depending on the time period, the role may rest solely with the Sovereign, may be an honorary appointment made by the Sovereign as ceremonial head of the Royal Navy, or some other option not previously thought of. Would the Lord High Admiral (the Sovereign or otherwise) now wear Grand Admiral Insignia or, as part of this whole process, would there be new specific insignia designed for this role (if held by an individual)?

Would "Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom" and the associated honorary ceremonial titles of "Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdon" and "Rear Admiral of the United Kingdom" (not associated with the Royal Navy substantive ranks of Vice-Admiral or Rear Admiral) as they are in contemporary history have become "Lord High Admiral of the Empire" and so on...?

Personally, I think this is overkill; to me, the title of "Lord High Admiral" is of sufficient historical significance that it needs no additional suffix but how then to distinguish the honorary deputies to this appointment? Would there be some other unique insignia and uniform for the Lord High Admiral...? (and by association for the associated ceremonial roles of, say, Vice-Admiral of the Empire and Rear Admiral of the Empire...?). Obviously, being me, yes, I have indeed started developing some concepts for what these uniforms and insignia might look like. When I'm back at home and can export and upload the images I'll post them in here with explanations of how I developed the designs.

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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Clive19 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:40 am

That is quite a deep question, so i'll try a suggestion for the first part. I envisioned that there would be a Grand Admiral and equivalents at the heads of each service (1SL/CNS, CIGS, CAS) and also the period equivalent of the Chief of the Defence Staff (Chief of the War Staff if i'm not mistaken). With the service head that the CWS is taking a step lower. So there would only be one of each.

So if there was Grand Marshal of the British Empire as the Chief of the War Staff, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff would be a Field Marshal.

Also wouldn't Lord High Admiral remain a title held by the sovereign (or someone appointed by the sovereign) much as the sovereign is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces? I'm also sure that we could extend the Grand Admiral insignia (and Grand Marshal for that matter) to the sovereign, why not?

On a side not, going back to something mentioned earlier, about "snotties" (midshipmen and cadets). It was mentioned something about their dirk belts. Would they still be carrying dirks in this timeline, as I believe that they had binned them in the real world by the 1920s and just carried normal swords instead. I will have to check my references for when in particular.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:33 am

Hi Clive,

With the establishment of the new ranks then yes, absolutely I would expect the Monarch to wear these in place of the previous ranks. The possible exception might be for the Royal Navy where, *if* the role of Lord High Admiral were to be held directly by the sovereign then maybe, *if* such a uniform and insignia existed, then they would wear that instead; if not then Grand Admiral would undoubtedly be appropriate. What would not happen would be for an appointee to wear a uniform of apparently higher rank than the King. In the event that the Monarch chose to appoint someone else to this honorary role then I guess both would wear Grand Admiral insignia, alongside the First Sea Lord. In practice, however, I expect that the title would be held directly by the King.

In our hypothetical timeline, with no overall separate professional head of ALL British armed forces (the Monarch being, de jure, the Commander-in-Chief of all the Services) then I would indeed expect that the First Sea Lord (1SL), the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) and the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) would all be appointed to the new rank. I guess that their remit would, perhaps, be expanded to formally incorporate an overall co-ordinating role for their respective Services from overseas too -- although I can imagine that this would inevitably be the sort of thing that would need some serious negotiating with all the collected Prime Ministers from the rest of the Empire before any agreement to allow this would be reached!

Note that there was no equivalent to the contemporary "Chief of the Defence Staff" (CDS) in the early 20th Century. In our *real* history there was the "Chiefs of Staff Committee" (CSC), from 1923, comprising 1SL, CIGS and CAS, with meetings chaired by each service chief in rotation. The appointment of a permanent Chair for the CSC didn't occur until 1955 and this role then became established as the CDS in 1959.

Back in the hypothetical timeline, the CSC would then, collectively, represent the professional leadership of all the armed services of the British Empire, with each service's own senior committee then having representation from the senior staff of the Dominion forces as well as the British "home" Services.

As such, I'd expect the establishment of an official CSC to be part of the process of the hypothetical review which sets up all of the things I've established for this timeline, thus its existence would be brought forward by 3-4 years. The full structure would include appointed deputies for each Chief of staff, allocated Civil Servants from the Admiralty, the War Office and the Air Ministry and something like a "Permanent Military Secretary to the CSC" (PMS) who would be a co-ordinating senior officer seconded from one of the services, usually an admiral, general or air marshal, in rotation). I see no reason why Dominion forces could not be represented directly in the appointments to the Chiefs of Staff, their Deputies or the PMS if individuals of sufficient merit were to be identified.

The political-military committee of the time (from the early 1900s) was the "Committee of Imperial Defence" (CID), chaired by the Prime Minister, with other relevant cabinet ministers, the three Chiefs of Staff (the CSC was effectively a sub-committee of the CID), and appropriate senior civil servants from the Admiralty, the War Office and the Air Ministry. The Prime Ministers from Dominion countries were effectively members of the Committee as well and its remit encompassed the defence of the entire British Empire and overseas dominions, not just the UK.

As for the Snotties, I reckon they can keep their dirks in this timeline, at least for the first decade or so...!

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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Clive19 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:16 pm

Would the Lord High Admiral be considered an appointment, so that if it were held by someone else (as currently in the real world), they would wear whatever rank they have and would simply have something to symbolise the office (or not maybe) so that if it were held by someone other than the sovereign they wouldn't wear a higher rank.
The alternative of course is one alluded to before, maybe have an insignia solely for the sovereign but i don't think this is necessary.
To symbolise the Lord High Admiral, what would that be? Could it be like the Vice and Rear Admiral, an arrangement of aguilettes and associated cords. A badge? A sash? A particular sword?

Would there also be a version of this also for the Army (Commander-in-Chief British Army) and RAF (maybe Commander-in-Chief Empire Air Forces), with similar or equivalent symbols?
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:19 am

Good questions...

My thoughts are that in this era the title would remain in commission, or with the sovereign, who would then simply wear Grand Admiral uniform and insignia once the rank was established. Administration of the Naval Service would remain with the Board of the Admiralty exercising the authority of the Lord High Admiral. When I suggested the creation of separate insignia, that was for the role of Lord High Admiral, rather than specifically creating insignia for the monarch per-se. I also don't see equivalent roles being created for the other services as Lord High Admiral is a traditional and ancient historic title which has no direct equivalent that continued beyond the Middle Ages.

The current situation with the Duke of Edinburgh as the appointed Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom is relatively unusual after 1700. For much of that time, and certainly for the last couple of hundred years, the authority of the role has been exercised "in commission" by the Board of the Admiralty rather than being held by an indicidual comprising the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty (from which we had the title of "First Lord of the Admiralty" for he cabinet-level politician who acted as president the Board and the that of "First Sea Lord" for the professional head of the Naval Service). In 1964 the Board as it had existed was abolished and merged into the Ministry of Defence (a new Admiralty Board was established under the Defence Council) and the title of Lord High Admiral returned to the Queen until she appointed the Duke of Edinburgh in honour of his 90th birthday. His specific role as the ceremonial head of the navy, separate from the sovereign, is something of a new departure for the role. This is a very specific set of circumstances though so I guess it's not likely to be repeated very often! Assuming that the Duke of Edinbugh were to die before the Queen, I guess it's possible that a new appointment could be made to the role if te tire was not to simply revert to the Crown — although the likely recipient would probably be the Prince of Wales, in which case it would revert to the Crown in time anyway.

Just for the fun of it, I had been playing with variants of Royal Navy flag officer uniforms and insignia for the Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom (and also the other honorary ceremonial appointments of Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom and Rear Admiral of the United Kingdom) since Prince Philip's appointment and I did consider the idea of including them in this era which is why I mentioned it. The insignia make use of the specific gold anchor-and-cable design from the Lord High Admiral's flag and also the deep crimson of its background field. I'd also borrowed a few elements from my designs for the Grand Admiral insignia. In fact, I had pretty much completed two versions, one set that Prince Philip might wear now and a second set that would fit into the hypothetical 1920s era.

In truth, I fully expect that the title in its new current form will always be an appointment rather than anything that would be regarded as a separate rank; I very much doubt that Prince Philip will ever wear anything other than his customary uniform of Admiral of the Fleet, and the same for Prince Charles now he has been appointed to that rank.

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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby marcpasquin » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:11 am

Medic_in_Uniform wrote:In truth, I fully expect that the title in its new current form will always be an appointment rather than anything that would be regarded as a separate rank; I very much doubt that Prince Philip will ever wear anything other than his customary uniform of Admiral of the Fleet, and the same for Prince Charles now he has been appointed to that rank.

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would be interesting, in the same way that nobility can be created as "Baron of Somesuch" even if no barony of Somesuch exist, if you had various honourary rank titles were created for specific individual with accompanying variant rank insignia. For example, a distinguished scottish major general would retained the same grade but be refered to as "Highlands General" with an insignia that contain crossed Scottish basket hilt swords instead of the current bottom part or the honourary colonel of the Duke of lancaster regiment would be called "Colonel of the Border" and wear a colonel insignia with the royal crown replaced with a ducal corronet and the pips with lancaster roses.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Clive19 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:21 pm

I really like that idea and the British Empire has loads of scope for little niche uniform ideas.
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Re: Hypothetical Marshal of the Commonwealth insignia

Unread postby Clive19 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:27 am

Hey there
have you managed to make a decent sequence for the bottom few ranks yet, medic?

If you have some time, I was wondering if you could do a quick hypothetical for me again. What if the RN adopted gorget patches (for whatever reason). For this they can be on the No1s (monkey jacket you call it), they can be white but still shaped like the army ones.

I've also been thinking of the Lord High Admiral question as well. How about an oval maroon badge with the LHA symbol on it sat upright (as with most other anchors) and this would sit above the rank on the cuff on both sleeves. Could even give them a special sword and make up some back story for it.

Cheers
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