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Military beret

A Ukrainian military cadet in a light blue beret, formerly for Ukrainian VDV.

Troops began wearing berets as a part of the headgear of military uniforms in some European countries during the 19th century; since the mid-20th century, they have become a component of the uniforms of many armed forces throughout the world. Military berets are usually pushed to the right to free the shoulder that bears the rifle on most soldiers, but the armies of some countries, mostly within Europe, South America, and Asia, have influenced the push to the left (i.e. "French pull").

In many countries, berets have become associated with elite units, who often wear berets in specific colours. For instance, the maroon beret is mostly traditional headgear for airborne forces around the world, with a few exceptions—for example, the Russian Airborne Troops, who wear a sky-blue beret, and the Portuguese Paratroopers who wear a green beret.

History

Spanish General Tomás de Zumalacárregui, with his red beret in 1845

The use of beret-like headgear as a civilian headdress dates back hundreds of years, an early example being the Scottish Blue Bonnet, which became a de facto symbol of Scottish Jacobite forces in the 16th and 17th centuries. Berets themselves were first used as a military headdress in the 1830s during the First Carlist War in Spain, where they were said to have been imported from the South of France by Liberal forces, but were made famous by the opposing General Tomás de Zumalacárregui, who sported a white or red beret with a long tassel, which came to be an emblem of the Carlist cause.[1]

A French chasseur alpin in World War I, with his distinctive large beret

The French Chasseurs alpins, created in the early 1880s, were the first regular unit to wear the military beret as a standard headgear.[2] These mountain troops were issued with a uniform which included several features which were innovative for the time, notably the large and floppy blue beret which they still retain.[3] This was so unfamiliar a fashion outside France that it had to be described in the Encyclopædia Britannica of 1911 as "a soft cap or tam o'shanter".[4]

Berets have features that make them attractive to the military; they are cheap, easy to make in large numbers, can be manufactured in a wide range of colors encouraging esprit de corps, can be rolled up and stuffed into a pocket or beneath the shirt epaulette without damage, and can be worn with headphones.[5]

The beret was found particularly practical as a uniform for armored vehicle crews; the British Royal Tank Regiment adopted a black beret which would not show oil stains and was officially approved in 1924.[6] German Panzertruppen also adopted a black beret or Schutzmütze in 1934, which included a rubber skull cap as head protection inside.[7]

The wearing of berets of distinctive colors by elite special forces originated with the British Parachute Regiment, whose maroon beret was officially approved in July 1942,[8] followed by the Commando Forces whose green beret was approved in October of that year.[9] The United States Army Special Forces adopted a darker green beret in 1955, although it was not officially approved until 1961.[10]

By country

A

Afghanistan

Afghan Generals Honor Newly-Graduated Commandos

Most berets were used by senior enlisted personnel and officers.

Colour Wearer
       Forest green Afghan Armed Forces
       Maroon Commandos
       Tan Special Forces

Algeria

Light green berets are used by para-commando units.


Angola

In the Angola Armed Forces, the following berets are in use:

Colour Wearer
       Green Páraquedistas (paratroopers)
Brown Army general use
Black Navy and Fuzileiros Navais (marines)
Red Commandos
Medium blue Air force

Argentina

Berets are worn by some units in the Argentine Armed Forces,[11][12] with distinctive colors for some units or functions. The beret colours are as follows:

Argentine Army
Colour Wearer
       Dark green Commandos
       Black Armor & mechanized infantry troops
       Scarlet Paratroops
       Claret 601 Air Assault Regiment
       Tan Mountain troops
       Dark blue Army aviation
       Brown Amphibious engineers
       Olive green All other army units
Argentine Navy
Colour Wearer
       Dark green Amphibious Commandos Group
       Black Naval Infantry Command in the windy southern regions
       Brown Navy Tactical Divers Group
Argentine Air Force, Gendarmerie & others
Colour Wearer
       Dark blue Air Force Special Operations group
       Dark green Gendermarie
       Orange Instituto Antártico Argentino
       UN blue United Nations operations

Armenia

Armenian Airborne Forces

The Armed Forces continue to wear Soviet-style (pieced fabric) berets, which are draped to the right in most circumstances. When appearing in public on parade, the berets are draped to the left side so that the insignia shows to observing dignitaries and the public.

  • Light blue – Airborne forces, peacekeeping forces
  • Black – Police troops
  • Wine red – Special police troops
  • Bright green – Border guards

Australia

In all service branches, the beret is "bashed" to the right and a badge or insignia is worn above the left eye. In the army, all units can wear them with certain units wearing unique ones.[13] In the navy, the beret is an optional item[14] and in the air force, it is only worn by certain units.[15]

Australian and US paratroopers exchange wings during Talisman Sabre 2011
Australian Army
Colour Wearer
       Dark blue All members of the army who are not eligible to wear a specific one
       Black Royal Australian Armoured Corps
       Rifle green Royal Australian Regiment
       Light blue Australian Army Aviation
       Scarlet Royal Australian Corps of Military Police
       Dull cherry Parachute qualified personnel posted to No. 176 Air Dispatch Squadron, Air Movements Training and Development Unit, Australian Defence Force Parachuting School, and other parachute riggers
       Sherwood green 1st Commando Regiment and 2nd Commando Regiment
       Fawn Special Air Service Regiment
       Slate grey Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps unless posted to an armoured or aviation unit
       UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations
       Terracotta Appointments to the Multinational Force and Observers
Royal Australian Air Force
Colour Wearer
       Dark blue No. 1 Security Forces Squadron RAAF, No. 2 Security Forces Squadron RAAF, and No. 3 Security Forces Squadron RAAF personnel with the exception of explosive ordnance disposal technicians[16]
       Aircraft grey B Flight, No. 4 Squadron[15]
Royal Australian Navy
Colour Wearer
       Navy blue Optional for all naval personnel

Austria

Austrian green beret with silver coat of arms

The Austrian coat of arms is worn on the left side of the beret (officers in gold, NCOs in silver, enlisted personnel as well as conscripts in dark grey). An exception are members of the special forces (Jagdkommando): after successfully completing the Basic Special Forces Course (Jagdkommandogrundkurs), they wear the Special Forces Badge (Jagdkommandoabzeichen) instead of the coat of arms on their berets.

Colour Wearer
       Green Infantry, various other units
       Black Tank and armored infantry (Panzergrenadier)
       Scarlet Guards Battalion (Gardebataillon)
       Maroon 25th (Airborne) Infantry Battalion (Jägerbataillon 25)
       Coral Military Police
       Auburn 1st and 2nd Command Support Battalion, Command Support School
       Pike grey CBRN Defense School, Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit (AFDRU)
       Dark blue Logistic Command, Army Logistics School
       Yellow-green Athletes and other members of Armed Forces Sports Centers
       Olive Special forces (Jagdkommando)
       Light blue Austrian military personnel serving in UN peacekeeping missions

Azerbaijan

Members of the Azerbaijani Special Forces during a military parade in Baku 2011
Colour Wearer
       Green State Border Service (Azerbaijan) Mobile Divisions
Black Azerbaijani National Guard Mobile Divisions
Red Internal Troops of Azerbaijan, Special Forces of Azerbaijan
Medium blue Internal Troops of Azerbaijan Special Purpose Police Unit

B

Bahrain

  • Black – Royal Bahraini Army and Royal Bahraini Naval Force
  • Blue – Royal Bahraini Air Force
  • Red – Military Police
  • Tan – Special Forces
  • Green – Royal Guard
  • Olive green – National Guard
  • Maroon – Public Security Forces
  • Dark blue – Coast Guard
  • Dark green – Harasat

Bangladesh

Bangladesh Army Commandos
Colour Wearer
Black Armoured Corps(Bengal Cavalry, 12 Lancers, 4 Horse, 7 Horse, 26 Horse etc), Rapid Action Battalion
Bangladesh Green Bangladesh Infantry Regiment, East Bengal Regiment, President's Guards Regiment, Bangladesh Military Academy, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Ansar
Scarlet Military Police, Bangladesh Fire Service
       Maroon Para Commandos, Army Medical corps, Army Aviation Group
Royal blue Engineers, Army Service corps
Dark blue Artillery, Signals, Army Education corps, Electrical and mechanical Engineers, Ordnance, Army Dental corps, RVFC, Naval Service and all officers from and above the rank of colonel, Bangladesh Police
UN blue Army Corps of Clerks, Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions
N\A Berets with a hackle Cadet Colleges of Bangladesh and BNCC, PGR,

Bangladesh Military Academy

Belgium

A detachment of the 2nd/4th Regiment Mounted Rifles at the 2007 Bastille Day Military Parade

Initially, the only unit of the Belgian military to wear berets were the Chasseurs Ardennais from the 1930s. Since World War II they have been adopted by all units. Berets vary in colour according to the regiment, and carry a badge (sometimes on a coloured shield-shaped patch) which is of gilt for officers, silver for non-commissioned officers and bronze for other ranks. Members of cavalry units all wear silver-coloured badges.

Colour Wearer
       Black Armoured troops, guides (scouts), chasseurs à cheval and some engineer units
Dark green Medical component
Green 2 Commando, Paracommando Field Artillery and the Commando Training Centre
Olive green (Large-brimmed, basque type with folded-in brim and wild boar's head badge ) — Chasseurs Ardennais
Dark blue Artillery and Royal Military Academy
Navy blue (No metal cap badge, but embroidered crest) — Navy component (Formerly also naval infantry with metal badge)
Cobalt blue Logistics and administration troops
Blue grey Air component
Light blue Former Land component light aviation (now part of Air Component)
Maroon Paracommando Immediate Reaction Cell (HQ), 1 Para, 3 Para, Special Forces Group, Parachute Training Centre
Red Military police
Brown Infantry, chasseurs à pieds and Belgian United Nations Command (during the Korean War)
Khaki "General service" beret with lion badge worn on training by all troops (Obsolete)
Grey Transmission troops and some engineer units
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

Benin

Colour Wearer
       Black Armoured corps
Green Infantry and other Army units
Dark blue Gendarmerie
Maroon Paratroopers

Bolivia

Berets in Bolivian Army:

  • Black – Paratroopers
  • Maroon – Armoured Corps
  • Green – Special Operations Forces, Commandos
  • Camouflage – Special Forces "Bolivian Condors"
  • Tan – Mountain Infantry (Satinadores de Montaña)[17]
  • Blue – Engineer units

Berets in Bolivian Air Force:

  • Royal blue – Air Force Infantry personnel

Brazil

Defense minister visits the Army Command of Special Operations in Goiania.
Colour Wearer
       Olive green All other Army units
Brown Were used by Units of the COPESP (As of 2016 is being replaced by Wine Red Berets, For who is a Paratrooper, or Olive Green Berets and Black Caps)
Black Used by Armored and Mechanized Cavalry/Infantry Brigades
Scarlet red Students of Colégio Militar (middle and high school)
Grey Mountain Units, From the 4° Light Infantry Brigade
Dark blue Students of Military Formation Schools (Cadets, Officer Candidates, NCO Candidates)
Royal blue Army aviation, From the CAvEx.
Wine red Paratroopers
Camouflage Jungle troops (retired in 2012 and brought back in early 2017)
Tan Air Assault Units (From the 12° Light Infantry Brigade)
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

Bulgaria

Berets have been worn by Bulgarian military personnel since 1991. Berets vary in colour according to the military branch, and carry a crest pin (sometimes on a coloured background patch) resembling the unit's insignia.

C

Cambodia

911st Para Comando on USS Essex
  • Dark red – 911 Special Forces Regiment
  • Royal purple – Military Police

Cameroon

  • Bataillon des Troupes Aéroportées (Airborne Battalion) – Dark red/maroon
  • Bataillon Spécial Amphibie (Special Amphibious Battalion) – Dark green
  • Bataillon d'Intervention Rapide (Rapid Intervention Battalion) – Light green
  • Fusiliers de l'Air (Air Force Infantry) – Royal blue
  • Fusiliers Marins (Marine Infantry) – Black
  • Garde Presidentielle (Presidential Guard) – Royal purple
  • All others army units – Navy blue
  • Gendarmerie (Military Police) – Red

Canada

A Canadian jumpmaster of the Royal Canadian Regiment with a maroon beret

The colour of the beret is determined by the wearer's environment, branch, or mission. The beret colours listed below are the current standard:

Colour Wearer
       Air Force blue Air force
Black Navy, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps
CF green Army
Scarlet Military police
Maroon Paratroopers serving in active jump companies
Blaze orange Search-and-rescue technicians
Terracotta Personnel serving with the Multinational Force and Observers
Tan Special operations forces
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions
Dark blue Royal Canadian Dental Corps, Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, Canadian Intelligence Corps[18]
Khaki Foot guard regiments[18]

Chile

Special Operations Forces, Chile

Berets in Chilean Army:

  • Black – Lautaro Special Operations Brigade (Commandos, Paratroopers and Special Combatants)
  • Maroon – Armoured Cavalry
  • Green – Mountain troops
  • Olive green – Aviation Brigade

Berets in Chilean Navy:

  • Black – Combat Divers, combat crews and Maritime Boarding and Police operatives
  • Green – Marine special forces

Berets in Chilean Air Force:

  • Dark blue – Parachuting demonstration group Boinas Azules and Ground troops
  • Black – Special forces

China

Since May 5, 2000, the People's Liberation Army has adopted woolen berets for all its personnel,[19] along with the traditional peaked caps. Type 99 beret

  • Olive green – Ground Forces and Strategic Forces
  • Dark blue – Navy
  • Black – Marine corps
  • Blue-grey – Air Force (including Airborne troops)

Berets were not officially adopted by the CAPF, but some of the forces issued their own types NOT OFFICIAL:

  • Red – CAPF Provincial Women Special Police Corps
  • Dark blue – Public Security Police SWAT

During the 80s, camo berets were issued to some of the recon forces of PLA. It has no badge on it.

Type 07 uniform is being issued to both PLA and CAPF on August 1, 2007. Colours of 07 berets are changed to the same colours with the service uniform. And several changes in designs were made from type 99 beret. The berets were not being issued until summer of 2009 to most of the troops.

Other than colours of the berets, the most significant difference between type 99 and type 07 is the type 99 beret badge is cloth, while type 07 is plastic.

Colombia

Colombian army counter-narcotics brigade honors U.S. Special Forces 161207-A-KD443-030.

Berets are worn by all personnel of the National Army of Colombia (Ejército), certain members of the Navy (Armada) and National Police (Policía Nacional), with distinctive colors for some units or functions. The beret colors are:

Colour Wearer in Army Wearer in Navy Wearer in Police
       Black Lancero, Personal Freedom Unified Action Group (GAULA), Lanceros School Naval Infantry Special Operations Commands (COPES)
Hunter green Ground Operations Units Special Operations Groups(GOES)
Orange Infantry battalion (COLBATT) in Multinational Force and Observers (MTO)
Prussian blue Aerotransported units and Paratroopers School
Red wine Urban Special Forces
Terracotta Special Forces
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

Croatia

In the Croatian Army berets are used in special forces and guard brigades, as well as in cadet battalion.
During Croatian War of Independence, Croatian Army consisted of seven professional brigades—guard brigades, each having its beret colour. During the army reforms number of guard brigades was cut to two, but the battalions kept the names and insignia (colour of beret also) of ex brigades.

Joint staff:

Guard brigades:

  • Armored Mechanized Guard Brigade
    • Black – 1st Mechanized Battalion "Sokolovi"
    • Brown – 2nd Mechanized Battalion "Pume"
    • Black – Tank Battalion "Kune"
  • Motorized Guard Brigade
    • Black – 1st Mechanized Battalion "Tigrovi"
    • Green – 2nd Mechanized Battalion "Gromovi"
    • Black – 1st Motorized Battalion "Vukovi"
    • Red – 2nd Motorized Battalion "Pauci"

Black beret is also used in Cadet battalion. Also dark blue beret is used in Croatian Navy.[citation needed]

Cuba

In the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, the following berets are in use:

Colour Wearer
       Black Tank troops (tanquistas) wear black berets (including the "Gran Unidad Rescate de Sanguily"); also the special troops (Brigada Especial Nacional "Gallitos Negros") of the interior ministry (MININT).[20][21][22]
Red The military police (Tropas de Prevención) wear red berets.[23][24][20][22]
Olive green Special forces (Tropas Especiales "Avispas Negras") since 2011, wear olive green berets (formerly wearing red berets).[20][21][22]
Olive Militias (Milicias de Tropas Territoriales) wear olive-colored berets[20][25][21]

Czech Republic

Czech soldiers with a selection of different berets during an Oath swearing ceremony, March 2023.
The current style of military berets as well as the new khaki variant are references to the British uniforms worn by the Czechoslovak soldiers during the World War II as part of the Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade).
Czech soldiers wearing discontinued berets (Light green formerly for all ground forces, in 2023 replaced by khaki berets; Orange worn by Rescue and Civil defence troops, since disbanded). June 2017.

The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic use berets for both battledress and display uniform. The colour of the beret signifies the branch of the armed forces. The beret displays the Czech Army badge (silver for NCOs and enlisted, gold for officers, gold with linden branchlets for generals) and the rank of the individual.[26]

The history of the military berets in the Czech military dates back at least to the World War I, when the Czechoslovak legionaires in France wore the standard field blue military berets as part of their uniforms.[27] After the war and foundation of the First Czechoslovak Republic, the whole uniform continued to be used for ceremonial purposes by the Prague Castle guard. During the World War Two, the Czechoslovak soldiers serving in the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade wore the standard British combat uniforms, including the black beret for armoured corps, with Czechoslovak insignia.[28]

After the war, in 1948, the newly established Czechoslovak Airborne forces adopted the maroon beret, inspired by those worn by the British Paras. After a brief discontinuation by the Communist leadership on ideological basis it was re-established in 1960s and continues to be used until this day.[29] After the Velvet revolution berets were selected as the new standard head cover for the newly democratic Armed Forces, with several colour variants to distinguish the type of Forces or Corps being developed.

In 2023 the Czech Armed Forces updated the colours of their berets, completely discontinuing the orange beret for the Rescue and Civil defence forces (disbanded) and adopting two new colours: blue for the Prague Castle Guard and khaki for the Ground forces (including the 4th Rapid reaction brigade, formerly wearing the maroon berets), both replacing the previous and broadly unpopular light green beret.[30]

Colour Wearer
Khaki Ground forces (infantry, armour, artillery, NBC protection, engineering units, etc.) and Territorial defence forces
Dark green Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare troops, Cyber and Information Warfare Forces, and Military Intelligence
Red 43rd Airborne Regiment, 601st Special Forces Group, Airborne specializations
Grey Logistic, Medical, and other Combat Service Support units
       Black Military Police
Dark blue Air Force
Blue Prague Castle Guard. Worn with the Prague Castle Guard badge.
Light blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions. Worn with the UN badge.
Orange A beret of the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping force, Sinai peninsula with the MFO badge, issued also for the Czech soldiers deployed there.
Green Students of the Military High School in Moravská Třebová. (Original Czech ground forces beret until 2023).

D

Denmark

The Royal Danish Army first introduced the black berets for its armour personnel in 1958.[31] In 1968 it was extended to the whole army, Homeguard and parts of the Navy and Airforce, replacing the standard issue Side cap.[32]

Colour Wearer
       Black All Army combat units and artillery: JDR, GHR, LG, SLFR and DAR (2014–)[33]
Green All Army non-combat units: Engineers, Logistics, Intelligence,
Army Home Guard
Blue Signal troops (2019–)
Maroon Jægerkorpset, SOKOM
Red Military Police (all Branches)
Light blue Royal Danish Air Force,
Air Force Home Guard
Dark blue Royal Danish Navy,
Naval Home Guard
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions
Disbanded Colors
Dark brown Danish Women's Voluntary Corp[clarification needed] (1951–1989) (Danish: Dansk Lottekorps)
"Signal blue" Signal troops (2014–2019)
Light blue (or "mouse grey") Army Air Service (1992–2004)

E

Ecuador

Members of the Ecuadorian Army

Berets are worn by all personnel of the Ecuadorian Army (Ejército) and certain members of the Navy (Armada) and Air Force (Fuerza Aérea), with distinctive colours for some units or functions. The beret colours are:

Colour Wearer
       Black Military Police; Naval Infantry (Infantería de Marina)
Dark green all other Army units; National Police GIR (Intervention & Rescue Unit)
Dark blue Army Aviation (Aviación del Ejército); Air Force Aerial Infantry (Infantería Aérea)
Royal blue Air Force Security Police
Red Paratroopers and Special Operations Forces
Grey for use with the dress uniform (4-B) for those forces using the dark green beret
Camouflage IWIA (indigenous tribal members unit) forces

Egypt

  • Maroon – Paratroopers
  • Forest green – Armour
  • Dark blue – Infantry
  • Dark blue with red band – Presidential Guard
  • Black – Artillery
  • Red – Military Police
  • Green – Engineers

Eritrea

All personnel of the EDF or Eritrean Defense Forces wear Berets.

  • Red – Air Force Units
  • Green – Army Units
  • Blue – Naval Units
  • Purple – Border Guard

Estonia

All Estonian military personnel wore berets after the country's independence was reinstated in 1991. Although the practice of wearing berets was suspended, they were brought back in 2013.

  • Green – Ground forces
  • Black – Armoured corps, naval units
  • Slate – Air force
  • Red – Military police
  • White – Military bands (when not in parade dress uniform)

F

Finland

Utti JaegerRegiment, Flag Day Parade 2014

The Finnish Defence Force uses berets with cap badges for the Army, Navy and the Air Force. The berets are worn in "clean" garrison duties such as roll calls and with the walking-out uniform, but not with the battle dress. Until the mid-1990s, the beret was reserved for troops with special status, such as the armoured troops, coastal jägers and the airborne jägers, but is nowadays used by all units. In winter, berets are replaced by winter headgear.

Berets are also used by the Finnish Border Guard, which is a military organization under the aegis of the Ministry of Interior during peacetime.

  • Brown (badge: golden bear's head, sword and fir tree twig) – Special Border Jägers
  • Olive (badge: golden bear's head, sword and fir tree twig) – Border Jägers
  • Olive (badge: silver lion's head) – Army
  • Olive (badge: golden lion's head with crown) – Finnish Rapid Deployment Force and Army units abroad (other than UN peace keepers)
  • UN blue (badge: UN white and blue embroidered patch) – UN peace keepers
  • Black (badge: silver Gothic helmet) – Armoured Brigade
  • Burgundy (badge: arrow and parachute) – Airborne Jägers of the Utti Jäger Regiment
  • Royal blue (badge: silver griffin) – Army helicopter pilots
  • Royal blue (badge: silver Air Force insignia) – Air Force
  • Royal blue (badge: golden harp with sword) – Military bands
  • Navy blue (badge: silver anchor and golden lion) – Navy, including coastal troops, except for Coastal Jägers
  • Dark green (badge: gold sea eagle's head) – Coastal Jägers

France

Chasseurs Alpins's distinct wide beret

The military beret originated in the French Army, in the form of the wide and floppy headdress worn by the Chasseurs Alpins (mountain light infantry) from their foundation in the early 1880s.[34] The practical uses of the beret were soon recognised and the Marine Infantry forming part of the Expeditionary Force sent in China in 1900 used berets as headwear[35] A tight-fitting version was subsequently adopted by French armoured troops towards the end of World War I. Between the wars, special fortress units raised to garrison the Maginot Line wore khaki berets as did the 13th Demi-Brigade of Foreign Legion when it was created in 1940. The Vichy Milice of the War period wore a blue beret.

The beret in blue, red or green was a distinction respectively of the Metropolitan, Colonial and Legion paratrooper units during the Indochina and Algerian wars. In 1962 the beret in either light khaki or the colours specified above became the standard French Army headdress for ordinary use.[36]

With the exception of the Commandos Marine and the Fusiliers Marins, whose berets are worn pulled to the right, all other French military berets (army, air force and Gendarmerie) are pulled to the left with the badge worn over the right eye or temple. Also the military forces of the countries that have historical, colonial, or cooperative ties with France – such as Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sénégal, Togo, Tunisia – or have been trained by the French military wear their beret pulled left.

Gendarmerie personnel serving with the European Gendarmerie Force (EUROGENDFOR) – an EU crisis response and intervention force – wear the standard EUROGENDFOR royal blue beret and badge when so assigned.

Colour Wearer
       Wide beret, dark blue Chasseurs Alpins (the wide beret's nickname is the tarte (pie); it is also worn with a white cover (winter dress)).
Dark blue Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air; Troupes de Marine and all other army troops; Gendarmerie; Fusiliers Marins (pulled to the right)
Green
(Béret vert)
Foreign Legion
Dark green Commandos Marine (pulled to the right)
Red
(Béret rouge)
Paratroopers: except:
Purple
(Béret amarante)
1er Régiment de Parachutistes d'Infanterie de Marine since 11 April 2017.
Azure blue French Army Light Aviation
Black Armoured regiments (régiments de chars de combat)
Brown 2nd Hussards Regiment
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

G

Gabon

Berets in Gabonese Army:

  • Dark red/rouge – Paratroopers
  • Light grey – Armoured troops
  • Green – Republican Guard
  • Green – Commandos Marine
  • Dark red – Army Medical Corps
  • Dark blue – Other Army units

Germany

First Sergeant of the Panzerjäger with black beret, 1989

The German Heer uses berets with different badges for every branch of service. The Luftwaffe and the Marine issue dark blue berets only to their ground or land combat units (called Luftwaffensicherungstruppe and Marineschutzkräfte) respectively. Berets are usually worn at special ceremonies and roll calls, although units with a special esprit de corps, especially armoured and mechanized infantry (Panzergrenadiere) battalions, wear their berets all the time. German berets are always pulled to the right, with the badge visible over the left temple.

Colour Wearer
Black Armoured units, including armoured reconnaissance
Green Infantry units, including Jägertruppe (light infantry), Panzergrenadiere (armoured infantry), army ceremonial guards (Wachbataillon des Heeres) and the now disbanded Panzerjäger (armoured anti-tank).
Note: The Panzerjäger started off with black berets but were moved into the Panzergrenadier branch. The last Panzerjägers wore green berets.
Navy blue Luftwaffe (Air Force) and Marine (Navy) infantry and Combat Divers, ceremonial guards; Offizieranwärterbataillon (Officer Candidate Battalions of the Army), multinational units (e.g. Eurocorps) CYBER Technology Units (CIR)
Cobalt blue Medical units
Maroon Airborne units (or units with substantial airborne components), including paratroopers, army aviation, Airmobile Operations Division (DLO; Division Luftbewegliche Operationen), and Division Special Forces (DSK; Division Spezielle Kräfte), including the KSK (Kommando Spezialkräfte)
Coral red Support units, including artillery, engineers, intelligence, psychological operations (Operative Information), anti-aircraft, supply, NBC protection, signals, electronic warfare, transport, topography, and military police (Feldjäger), 'Instandsetzung' Vehicle Maintenance
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

Military bands wear the beret colour of their respective division (e.g. black in the 1st Panzerdivision).

Ghana

The beret colours worn by the Ghana Army are as follows:

  • Black – Armoured Corps, Artillery Corps
  • Dark green – Airborne Force (ABF)
  • Red – Military Police
  • Midnight blue – All other Arms and Corps
  • Tan – Special Forces

Greece

The beret colours worn by the Hellenic Army are as follows:

Greece 71st Airmobile Brigade
  • Light blue – Presidential Guard
  • Black – Armoured Corps
  • Green – Special Forces (including Commandos, Marines and Parachute despatchers/riggers)
  • Dark red/maroon – Army Aviation
  • Bright red/scarlet — Airmobile troops
  • Dark blue – All other Arms and Corps when in 8a, 8b and 8c Service Dress
  • Red – 71st Airmobile Brigade (PONDUS)

When in camouflage fatigues, the camouflaged cap is worn instead of the dark blue beret. The beret colours worn by the Hellenic Air Force are:

Guatemala

Kaibil special forces during training mission
  • Black – Parachute Brigade (Brigada Paracaidista)
  • Maroon – Kaibiles (Special Forces)

H

Hungary

History: the first beret-type cap (khaki colour, with black ribbon and "eagle" badge) was issued for Air Force enlisted personnel in 1930, but berets became popular in the 1970s, when reconnaissance troops (paratroopers) were issued with rifle green (or grass green) berets. Previously maroon beret was also experimented and even reversible (green to camo) "multi-purpose" berets were produced, but the standardization started on the 1975 military parade. In 1982 military secondary school students were issued with green berets too, while in 1987 River Force troopers received dark blue beret. After the collapse of the communism the beret as "mark of the elite trooper" received more and more popularity among soldiers. Light green (with border guard's badge) berets were issued for Border Guard reaction forces between 1990 and 2007. The berets of Hungarian forces were made first in "eastern-european style" (like worn by most Warsaw Pact armies), sewn together from 4 pieces. After 1993 "western style" one-piece berets were adopted.

Berets currently in Hungarian military:

  • Black (with tank troops' badge) – Armoured Units
  • Black (with – battalion number – numbered oak leaf badge) – Territorial Voluntary Reserve Forces
  • Black (with anchor badge) – River Forces
  • Scarlet red (with MP badge) – Military Police
  • Scarlet red (with artillery or AA badge) – Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Artillery
  • Rifle green (with paratroops badge) – Paratroopers, Long-range recons, Field recons
  • Rifle green (with engineer's badge) – Engineers
  • Rifle green (with infantry badge) – Infantry (only in foreign missions)
  • Dark brown (with infantry badge) – Guard Battalion Special Team (only in the 2000s, discontinued)
  • Tan (with special operation's badge) – 2nd "Vitéz Bertalan Árpád" Special Operations Brigade
  • Maroon (carmine red) (with LC badge) – Logistic Corps (issued in 2020)

Except these, mission-type berets were/are used in international peacekeeping missions (UN blue, EBECS yellow, MFO brick red etc.) worn. Beside the official versions different unofficial beret types, colours and badges are worn, for example Dark Blue berets by Signal Corps cadets etc.

I

Iceland

Icelandic armed services commonly use berets.

Colour Wearer
       Black Icelandic Coast Guard
Dark blue Icelandic Crisis Response Unit

India

Indian Army Parachute Regiment soldier

The beret is the standard headgear for the Various forces of Indian Armed Forces. Berets are worn by officers and Other ranks, apart from Sikhs, who wear turbans. The beret colours worn by the Indian Army are as follows:

Indonesia

An Indonesian Army soldier wearing a green beret with the Army insignia

The beret is the standard headgear of armed forces and police personnel in Indonesia. It is also worn by paramilitary and other uniformed services in the country such as the Fire Brigade, Search and Rescue, Scouts, civil militias (such as Banser) and civil paramilitary organizations. In the Military Services (Army, Navy and Air Force), the berets are dragged to the right (the insignia are worn on the left side), while in the Indonesian National Police force and Military Police Corps, the berets are dragged to the left (the insignia are worn on the right side). Both having its own meaning, dragged to the right meaning "ready for combat and defense" and dragged to the left meaning "ready for law enforcement and order". Military and Police services according to their beret colours which represent different units within the force are as shown below:

Personnel of the Search and Rescue unit, Mobile Brigade Corps of the Indonesian National Police wearing their dark blue beret

Iran

Commandos of 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade of Iran exercising
Colour Wearer
       Dark blue Iranian Marines
Black Iranian Army Airborne Forces, IRGC Commandos, and Police
Green Iranian Army Special Forces (Rangers), Iranian Marines Special Forces, IRGC Special Forces
Tan Iranian Army Commandos
Scarlet Iranian Army Armored Crew personnel

Iraq

Iraqi Maroon Beret

The beret color system used for the different branches of the Iraqi military and security forces changed after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Beret colors currently (and formerly) worn by Iraqi forces are as follows:

  • Maroon – Army (formerly Special Republican Guards, Paratroops and/or Special Forces)
  • Khaki (olive green) – No longer used (formerly Logistics and Transport personnel)
  • Green – Special Forces (formerly Commandos and Thunder Paratroops)
  • Bright red – Military Police
  • Black – Police (formerly Republican Guards and regular Army)
  • Blue – Air Force
  • Dark Blue – Iraqi Navy
  • Blue-Grey – No longer worn (formerly Iraqi Air Force)

Ireland

Irish Army berets in different colours
Examples of the UN blue beret and Naval Service beret worn by Irish Defence Forces officers

All Army personnel wear a common capbadge, a sunburst insignia with the letters "FF" inscribed above the left eye of the beret. The Irish Defence Forces cap badge for Officers in the Army has a more subdued appearance. Air Corps and Naval Service personnel wear their own cap badge on berets.

The beret colours worn by the Irish Defence Forces are as follows:

Colour Wearer
       Black Army, Air Corps and Naval Service - Army personnel wear red patch behind cap badge
Red Military Police
Dark green Army Ranger Wing (special forces)
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

The beret colours worn by the Reserve Defence Forces are as follows:

Colour Wearer
       Black Army Reserve - worn with red patch behind cap badge
Red Reserve Military Police - worn with dark green patch behind cap badge
Black Naval Service Reserve

Israel

Israel Defense Forces – Paratrooper Brigade welcomes newest members.

Israeli Defense Forces soldiers wear berets only on formal occasions, such as ceremonies and roll calls, and in disciplinary situations such as courts martial and imprisonments. While they are not attending formal occasions, they must place the beret beneath the left epaulette. The Border Police, which are a unit of the civil police rather than the military IDF, wear their berets at most times. The beret colors are as follows:

Colour Wearer
       Black Armor Corps
Light brown Golani Brigade
Dark grey Air Force
Maroon Paratroopers Brigade and SF units
Lime green Nahal Brigade
Purple Givati Brigade
Camouflage Kfir Brigade
Desert camouflage Co-ed and Border Protection Units
Khaki Combat Intelligence Corps
Turquoise Artillery Corps
Cyber blue Computer Service Directorate
Light grey/ silver Engineering Corps
Bottle green Directorate of Military Intelligence, Border Police
Blue Military Police
Orange Home Front Command
Olive green General Corps
Dark blue Navy

Italy

Italian Carabinieri parachutists in a military parade
A female soldier of the Italian Folgore Brigade
Italian 1st Grenadier Regiment

Italian Army personnel used to wear a garrison cap alongside the combination cap, until the early 1970s when the garrison cap was replaced by the beret. Only the Alpini never wore beret, wearing the characteristic Cappello Alpino. Until the early 1980s the general Army colour for the beret was drab khaki, the black being reserved to armoured units. The colours presently used by the Italian Army are as follows:

  • Maroon – Paratroopers, Folgore Airborne Brigade
  • Light blue – Army Aviation, 66th Airmobile Infantry Regiment
  • Black – All other Army units (the Bersaglieri light infantry have royal blue beret strings, instead of black ones like the rest of the Italian Military)
  • Green – The Lagunari Serenissima amphibious infantry Regiment received 'Lagoon green' berets in 2011 after service in Afghanistan
  • Asparagus green – Army Incursori Special Operations Forces

The Italian Navy uses the following berets:

The Italian Air Force uses the following berets:

Other Italian services that use berets:

J

Japan

All members in the Ground Self-Defense Force are authorized to wear wool rifle green berets – referred to as the "ベレー帽" (ベレーボウ or bereebou) – as an optional head covering for dress, working and camouflage uniforms since 1992. However, it is normally considered a special dress item, worn for public relations events or parades. An embroidered goldwork cap badge representing the JGSDF logo identical to the one used on the service dress peaked cap is required by regulation to be affixed to the beret.

Jordan

The beret colours worn by the Jordanian Army are as follows:

  • Brown – Infantry
  • Maroon – Special Forces
  • Black – Armoured Corps
  • Green – Royal Guards
  • Dark blue – Artillery
  • Sky-blue – Engineers
  • Red – Military police
  • Grey blue – Air Force
  • Dark blue – Navy

K

Kazakhstan

  • Light blue – Paratroops
  • Maroon – National Guard – Internal security
  • Orange – Emergency Rescue Units
  • Navy blue – Navy Units

Kenya

The beret colours worn by the Kenya Armed Forces are as follows:

  • Black – Armoured Corps
  • Green – Airborne Battalion
  • Red – Military police
  • Dark blue – All other Arms and Corps including naval service
  • Blue grey – Air Force

Kuwait

  • Green – Kuwait National Guard
  • Olive Green – National Guard Training Institute
  • Commando Green – 25th Commandos

Brigade

  • Dark Green – EOD Army
  • Black – Army Ground Forces and Navy Forces
  • Police Black – Ministry of Interior and National Assembly Guard
  • Fire Black – Fire Force and Logistics Support
  • Dark Blue – General Fire Department (Former)
  • Red – Military Police
  • Maroon – Amiri Guard Authority
  • Commando Maroon – 67th Special Operations Battalion National Guard
  • Blue – Aviation National Guard
  • Air Force blue – Air Force
  • Light blue – Fire Force Prevention Sector
  • Commando Blue – Special Forces
  • Tan – Naval Special Units
  • Brown – Military College
  • Khaki Tan – Military College (Former)
  • UN Blue – United Nations Peacekeepers
  • Gulf Green – Joint Peninsula Shield Forces

L

Latvia

The beret colours worn by the Latvian Army are as follows:

  • Olive green – Special Tasks Unit
  • Red – Military police
  • Black – National Guard, Navy
  • Tan – Mechanized infantry brigade (army) from 18.11.2018
  • Blue – Air Force

Lebanon

All units in the Lebanese Armed Forces wear berets when not in combat mode (helmet), training camp (cap) or formal uniform (formal hat).

The Lebanese Army, unlike most militaries, wears the beret slanted (pulled down) on the left side as the army emblem is positioned to the right aligned with the right eyebrow.

Lithuania

Founder and first commander of Lithuanian SOF Col. Saulius Guzevičius wearing Special Purpose Service grey beret.
Colour Example Wearer
Green Infantry and other units, Riflemen's Union, Special Police Officers
Black Engineers and artillerymen, Marine Riflemen, Lithuanian Gendarmerie
Burgundy National Defence Volunteer Forces
Maroon Jäger
Dark blue Air Defence, Marine Fusiliers, Combat Divers Service (KNT)
Scarlet Military Police
Grey Special Purpose Service (YPT)

M

Malaysia

Malaysian Armed Forces General Tan Sri Haji Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin with maroon beret during CARAT 2011 ceremony

The beret is the headgear of ground forces, air aviations and special forces in the Malaysian Armed Forces. The colours presently used are:

Malaysian Army
Colour Wearer
       Black Royal Armoured Corps
Rifle green Royal Malay Regiment, Royal Ranger Regiment, Border Regiment
Commando green Grup Gerak Khas (Army Special Forces)
Cypress green Royal Intelligence Corps
Cambridge blue Army Air Corps
Maroon 10 Parachute Brigade
Scarlet Royal Military Police Corps
Dark blue other Army branches
Royal Malaysian Navy
Colour Wearer
       Dark blue Regular and reserve force personnel
Magenta PASKAL (Navy Special Forces)
Royal Malaysian Air Force
Colour Wearer
       Dark blue Regular, reserve force and RMAF Provosts personnels
Sky blue PASKAU (Air Force Special Forces)
Red Close Escort Team (VIP Protection)

Maldives

The beret colours worn by the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) are as follows:

  • Maroon – Special Forces
  • Red – Military Police
  • Green – Marines and other support units
  • Black – Parade Beret for Coast Guard

Mali

Malian security forces during a coup d'état in 2012. Foreground: a soldier of the National Guard. Right: a soldier of the Army (green béret). Second from the right: a police officer.

The beret colours worn by the Malian Armed Forces are as follows:

  • Red – Paratroopers
  • Brown – National Guard
  • Green – Infantry and other army units
  • Dark blue – Air Force
  • Blue – Police

Mexico

Mexican Army Paratrroopers during the 2015 September 16 military parade in the Zócalo

In the Mexican Army, the beret is worn by:

  • Green – Special Forces
  • Maroon – Paratroopers (formerly purple, circa 1980s)
  • Black – Presidential Guards Corps
  • Steel Grey – Armor
  • Brown – Airmobile Units

In the Mexican Navy:

  • Black – Paratroopers, Navy Special Forces

Armed Forces wide, the blue beret with the UN arms is used by peacekeeping forces beginning in 2015–16, when Mexico sent armed forces personnel to UN peacekeeping operations.

Mongolia

Mongolian army soldiers in dark green beret

In 2002, new army uniforms were introduced to the Mongolian armed forces and along with new uniform design, dark green berets were issued to all personnel. According to the rules, all military berets are pushed to the right and displays a "Soyombo" symbol in middle of golden oak leaves in the right side.

Berets are worn by Mongolian Police since 1994. Police berets are different from the army beret in color and in shape, while it is pushed to the left while army berets are pushed to the right.

  • Dark green – All branches of Armed forces
  • Red – Internal troops
  • Dark blue – National emergency troops (rescuers)
  • Black – Police unit (pushed to the left)
  • Light blue – UN peacekeepers (pushed to the right)

Morocco

The Moroccan military Uniform is inspired from the French Uniform, the berets are usually pulled to the left with the badge worn over the right eye or temple.

  • Lime green – Armed Forces (Les Forces armees royales), including Paratroopers
  • Red – Royal Guard (La garde royale)
  • Blue – Royal Moroccan air force
  • Dark blue – The Air Force and Security Forces
  • UN blue – Moroccan-United Nations troops Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions
  • Brown – Moroccan Auxiliary troops

Mozambique

Mozambique Marines practice tactical movements during exercise Cutlass Express 2017.

Presently, the following berets are in use by the Defense Armed Forces of Mozambique:

  • Brown – Army general use
  • Red – Commandos
  • Olive Green – Forcas Especiais (Special Forces)
  • Navy blue – Fuzileiros (Marines)

N

Namibia

Colour Wearer
       Black Artillery, Engineers, Signals, Logistics, Air Defence, Namibian Air Force, Namibian Navy, Namibian Marine Corps
Green Infantry
Dark blue Personnel serving with Southern African Development Community missions
Maroon Namibian Special Forces
Red Military police
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

Nepal

The Chief of Indian Army Staff, General Bikram Singh and the Nepalese Army Chief, General Gaurav Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana witnessing the combined training exercise, in Pithoragarh District of Uttarakhand on September 30, 2013.

Netherlands

Veterans Day 2014, Netherlands
Colonel Jelte Groen, commander of the Korps Commandotroepen

When the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces acquired new modernised uniforms (designed by the Dutch couturier Frans Molenaar) in 2000, the berets changed as well. Since 2004, soldiers of the Royal Netherlands Army have worn a petrol (blue-green) beret, whereas previously they wore brown.

The following colours are also used (before and after the modernisation):

Navy:

Army:

Note: The only Dutch military unit that do not wear a beret are the Gele Rijders (Horse Artillery), who wear a blue garrison cap with yellow trimming.

Air Force:

Military Police:

Other:

All regiments and services have their own distinctive colours. There are quite a lot, but the number of colours in the logistic services was reduced in 2001. This colour is shown in a patch of cloth behind the beret flash. The intendance (maroon), transport troops (blue), military administration (pink; hence the nickname 'Pink Mafia'), technical service (black), and medical troops and service (green) lost their colours and all now wear yellow patches. In 2010, the technical service and medical troops and services recovered their colors. The intendance and transport troops merched into one regiment with new colours (maroon with blue border) and the administration got the crimson color.

  • Infantry – Red, except:
    • Grenadier Guards – Red with blue border
    • Rifle Guards – Green with yellow border
    • Fusilier Guards – Orange with blue border
    • Regiment van Heutsz – Black with orange border
    • Limburg Rifles Regiment – Green with maroon border
  • Korps Commandotroepen – Black with dark green border
  • Cavalry (Armour) – Blue with white, red or orange border
  • Cavalry (Reconnaissance) – Blue with black border
  • Artillery – Black with red border
  • Engineers – Brown
  • Signals – Blue with white border
  • Logistics – Yellow (obsolete since 2010)
  • Legal Affairs – Black with white border
  • Psychological and Sociological Service – Red
  • Protestant Chaplains – Black
  • Catholic Chaplains – Blue
  • Jewish Chaplains – Black
  • Humanist Society Chaplains – Bright green
  • Hindu Chaplains – Bright blue
  • Troops in Initial Training – Red
  • Royal Military Academy Cadets – Red with yellow border
  • Physical Training Instructors – Blue
  • Technical Staff – Maroon

New Zealand

Royal New Zealand Navy –

New Zealand Army –

Pre 2002 beret colours –

  • Khaki – Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
  • Green – Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
  • Jet black – Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps
  • Royal blue – Royal New Zealand Military Police
  • Red – Regular Force Cadet School
  • Rifle green – Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals
  • Grey – Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps
  • Cypress green – New Zealand Intelligence Corps
  • Sand or 'ecru'[42] – New Zealand Special Air Service
  • Dark blue – All other corps

Post 2002 beret colours –

  • Sand or 'ecru'[42] – New Zealand Special Air Service
  • Dark blue – Royal New Zealand Military Police
  • Rifle green – All other corps

Royal New Zealand Air Force –

The RNZAF does not currently wear berets except for:

  • Dark blue – Military police

Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan Armed Forces wear berets in the following colours:

Berets in Nicaraguan Army:

  • Green – Special Forces (COE)
  • Black – Generals of Staff's Protection VIP

Berets in Nicaraguan Navy:

  • Dark blue – Special Naval Forces

Nigeria

  • Dark green – Infantry soldier
  • Light red – Military Police
  • Dark red – Medical
  • Dark blue – Artillery
  • Black – Engineering
  • White – Provost

Norway

Norwegian soldiers from Telemark Battalion, Task Force Viking, march to their staging position for the Latvia Day Parade in Riga, Latvia, on November 18, 2014.

The Norwegian armed forces use the beret as a garrison cap, but some units (mostly armored vehicle personnel) also use it in the field. The Norwegian beret and all other headwear except those of the Navy and His Majesty The King's Guard always have the current king's cipher as a badge in gold (most of the army) or silver (the air force); currently this is a numeral 5 inside an H, for "Harald V". The navy has a crowned gold anchor for their enlisted personnel, a crowned gold anchor surrounded by a circle of rope for their petty officers, and a crowned golden anchor surrounded by leaved branches for officers. The colours used are:

The special operations units of the Navy wear the same berets as the rest of the navy. However they have a coloured patch behind the cap badge, the colour of which determines the unit:

O

Oman

The Royal Omani Armed Forces wears the beret as its standard headgear. Each color divisions are as follows:

HM the Sultan of Oman congratulating SSF personnel
Colour Wearer
       Black Royal Navy of Oman
Red Royal Army of Oman
Lavender Sultan's Special Force
Maroon Royal Guard of Oman
Blue gray Royal Air Force of Oman
Brown Royal Omani Military Engineers
Dark gray Royal Omani Police

P

Pakistan

Paraguay

The Paraguayan Armed Forces wear berets in the following colours:[43]

Berets in Paraguayan Army:

  • Green – Paratroopers
  • Dark blue – Presidential Guard[44]

Berets in Paraguayan Navy:

Berets in Paraguayan Air Force:

  • Red – Air Force Infantry and Airborne personnel

Panama

Berets were widely worn by many units in the Panama Defense Forces (PDF) under Manuel Noriega. The PDF was abolished in February 1990, and with it all of the old military units stood down. Unique beret insignia were never approved, so units authorized to wear berets wore a combination of the approved shoulder insignia, as well as rank and qualification insignia (e.g. parachutist wings) on the berets. The following were being worn at the time of the 1989 invasion:

  • Black – 7th Infantry Company "Macho de Monte"; Comando Operacional de Fuerzas Expeciales (COFFEE - Special Forces Command)
  • Maroon – Battalion 2000; 2nd Airborne Infantry Company "Puma"; 3rd Infantry Company "Diablo Rojo"
  • Lime green – 4th Infantry Company "Urraca"
  • Camouflage – 7th Infantry Company "Macho de Monte"; Comando Operacional de Fuerzas Expeciales (Cadre)

Philippines

Philippine Army
Color Wearer
       Army green Philippine Army Units, formerly Special Operations Command
Olive drab Special Forces
Grey Light Reaction Regiment Around 2022 or perhaps earlier, the unit has shifted to a grey colored beret. They previously wore dark green berets.
Black 1st Scout Ranger Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Army units assigned to the Presidential Security Group
Tan Personnel assigned to the Civil Military Operations Regiment.
Maroon Members assigned to the 1st_Brigade_Combat_Team_(Philippines).
UN blue AFP personnel assigned to UN Peacekeeping Operations, Cadets of the Peacekeeping Operations Center
Philippine Air Force
Color Wearer
       Dark blue Air Force Base Security personnel
Camouflage Pararescue
Black 710th Special Operations Wing, Air Force units assigned to the Presidential Security Group
Special Operations Command (Philippines)
Color Wearer
Brown Previously known as the PA-SOCOM and includes the Special Forces, Scout Ranger and Light Reaction Regiment and wearing a dark green beret. The Command was elevated as a Combatant Command and has expanded to include the PAF 710th SPOW, the Marine Special Operations Group and the Naval Special Operations Command as well as a K9 Platoon from the deactivated AFP Joint Special Operations Group, a predecessor of SOCOM. The command has shifted to a dark brown beret at around September 2020.

Poland

Black berets were introduced before World War II for tank and armoured car crews. During World War II, berets were widely adopted in the Polish Army on the Western Front, armored troops – black, airborne – grey, commando – green. After the war in the communist era, berets were worn only by armoured units (black), navy for field and work uniform (black), paratroopers (maroon), and marines (light blue). After 1990, the beret became the standard headgear in the Armed Forces of Republic of Poland. Around the year 2000 the design of the Polish Army Beret changed, the beret sewn together from three pieces of material with four air holes, two at each side was changed to a smaller beret molded from one piece of material with no air holes. The following colours are in use:

Soldier of the Maltese Armed Forces and the Polish Honor Guard
Polish Military Police officers wearing scarlet red berets
Colour Wearer
       Black Armoured troops, Navy, Military Unit Formoza (for field and work uniform)
Blue 7th Coastal Defense Brigade, Peacekeeping Missions Training Center
Brown Territorial Defence (discontinued)
Olive green Territorial Defence (present)
Green Army general use
Dark green Special Forces Command
Light grey Military Unit GROM (JW GROM)
Steel grey Air Force (no longer in use, replaced by camouflage side cap)
Maroon Paratroopers
Scarlet red Military Police

Berets in other ministries:

Colour Wearer
       Black Border Guards Naval Units, Firefighters (for service dress)
Light green Border Guards (no longer in use, replaced by camouflage cap)
Steel grey Border Guards Air Units
Sapphire Government Protection Bureau (no longer in use) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs' Troops (disbanded)
Navy blue Police anti-terrorist units (SPAP)

The black beret is also the distinctive headgear of World War II veterans, particularly Armia Krajowa veterans.

The dress code of the Polish armed forces states than when not worn on the head or kept in a locker the beret should be placed under the left shoulder loop. This practice was discontinued due to introducing new field uniform (wz. 2010) with rank insignia placed on chest.

Portugal

Portuguese Army badge, used in all Army berets when attached to a general army unit. The beret however remains the same colour of the original unit.

The beret was first introduced in the Portuguese Armed Forces in 1956, when the Air Force Paratroopers adopted the green beret. The Portuguese Army adopted the brown beret for its Caçadores Especiais special forces in 1960, generalizing its wear to all units in 1962.

The following colors of berets were or are still worn by the Portuguese Military and Paramilitary forces:

Colour Wearer
Army
Black Army general use
Moss/dry green Special Operations Troops (Rangers)
Red Commandos (worn unofficially by some units since 1966 and officially since 1974)
       Green Paratroopers
Navy
Blue Navy general use
Dark blue (Ferrete) Marine Corps
Air Force
Light blue Air Force Police
GNR – National Republican Guard (Portuguese Gendarmerie)
Dark green GNR general use
Beige GIPS (GNR rescue unit) until 2013 (still worn unofficially since then)
International
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions
Decommissioned
Brown Caçadores Especiais in 1960–1962, Army general use 1962-2019
Yellow Special Groups of Mozambique until 1975
Maroon Paratrooper Special Groups until 1975
Camouflage Guinea 3rd and 5th Commando and native caçadores companies (unofficial) in 1966–1968, Flechas until 1975
White Volunteer Aerial Formations until 1975
Black Provincial organization of volunteers and civil defence until 1975

R

Rhodesia

Acting Lieutenant Nigel John Theron of 2 Commando, Rhodesian Light Infantry, receives the Bronze Cross of Rhodesia in 1976.

Zimbabwe-Rhodesia made changes to the army in 1979 and shortly after Zimbabwe disbanded all the regiments Rhodesian Security Forces in favour of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in 1979–1981.

Up to this point the Security Forces wore the beret as the primary working dress and service dress headgear. Like most countries formerly associated with the British Empire, Berets were coloured according to unit or service branch, with a distinctive regimental cap badge pinned above the left eye. The Rhodesian Security Forces were integrated into the new Zimbabwe Defence Forces in 1980.

Rhodesia introduced the brown beret as a new colour for specialist berets, for use of the Selous Scouts, which has since been used for specialist units in the Finnish and Brazilian forces, and with the New Zealand SAS

Rhodesian beret colours were as follows:

Colour Wearer
      Grey Grey Scouts
Brown Selous Scouts
Black Rhodesian Armoured Corps
Maroon Medical Corps
Beige Special Air Service
Scarlet Internal Affairs Ministry and the Rhodesian Military Police
Green Most infantry regiments, including the Rhodesian Regiment and the Rhodesian African Rifles
Tartan green Rhodesian Light Infantry (from 1964, when they were designated a commando regiment)
Dark blue Generic - worn by all other units of the Army
Blue grey Rhodesian Air Force parachute instructors
Bright blue Psychological Operations

Like the United Kingdom, Rhodesia also used flashes and hackles behind cap badges on their berets, such as:

  • The blue, yellow and red shield on the medical corps beret
  • The blue diamond flash on the military police beret
  • The red outline of the Rhodesian Artillery beret
  • The red tombstone of the Grey Scouts beret
  • The red diamond hacking of the Rhodesian Regiment beret (similar to that of the KRRC)
  • The Blue and White hackle of the 4th Battalion Rhodesian Regiment Beret

Romania

Romanian special forces soldiers send commands to the a Raven unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during a Raven UAV familiarization flight at the Romanian Land Forces facility in Buzau, Romania, June 2, 2011.
Colour Wearer
       Black Anti-air Artillery and Missiles, Artillery, Military Automobile Troops (automobilişti militari), Tanks, Communication and Informatics structures, Engineers, Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) Defense and Naval Forces
Green Mountain Troops (or Mountain Hunters, Vânători de Munte), Special Operations Forces
Dark blue Military Justice, Romanian Gendarmerie (Jandarmeria Română)
Maroon Paratroopers
Red Military Music
Dark red (bordeaux red) Military Medicine
Violet Military Logistics, or administration (intendenţă)
Light grey Military Police
Light blue Air Force and Radar Troops (radiolocaţie)
Dark brown Infantry

Russia

Russian Naval Infantry with their three-piece berets pulled left for a pass-in-review during the 2008 Moscow Victory Day Parade

The Soviet Union's beret color scheme detailed below (e.g. for airborne troops and naval infantry) remained in effect in post-1991 Russia. In the late 1990s the Russian Ministry of Extreme Situations introduced orange berets for its own troops.

In the Soviet Union berets were sewn together from three pieces of material (top, front, and rear) with four air holes, two at each side, worn with the service badge centered between the eyes and draped to the right in most circumstances. When appearing in public on parade, the berets were draped to the left side so that the insignia shows to observing dignitaries and the public. The multi-piece beret has changed to a smaller beret molded from one piece of material with no air holes.

In 2011 the Russian defence ministry authorised the wearing of berets by all non-naval military personnel as part of their field uniforms.

The current beret colour scheme is:

Colour Wearer
       Black Naval Infantry, OMON and SOBR units of the National Guard of Russia, FSB counter-terrorist units, Russian commando frogmen, Logistical Support of the Russian Armed Forces
Sky blue Airborne Troops general issue berets, Spetznaz units of the Russian Ground Forces (will often wear headwear of other units in the field to avoid identification)
Cornflower blue Special units of Federal Security Service, Federal Protective Service and Presidential Regiment
Light green Border Guard
Dark green Armed Forces reconnaissance units - soldiers are allowed to wear this beret after passing special tests
Olive Russian Ground Forces standard beret, Strategic Missile Troops, Aerospace Defence Forces, Air Force, Railway Troops, National Guard Forces Command
Orange Ministry of Emergency Situations general issue berets
Rust red (orig. Krapovyi) 604th Special Purpose Center, 7th OSN, 19th OSN of the National Guard Forces Command Spetsnaz - soldiers are allowed to wear this beret after passing special tests
Bright red Military Police (since 2010), Young Army Cadets National Movement

S

Saudi Arabia

Saudi military police
Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia
Colour Worn by[45]
       Olive green Royal Saudi Land Forces
Dark blue Royal Saudi Air Force
Black Royal Saudi Navy
Dark green Royal Saudi Air Defense
Red Military Police of the Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia National Guard
Maroon Paratroopers Units and Special Security Forces

Senegal

  • Tan/sand – Bataillon de Parachutistes (Army Parachute Battalion)
  • Brown – Bataillon de Commandos (Army Commando Battalion)
  • Black – Detachment Forces Speciales (Special Forces Detachment)
  • Orange – Groupement Mobil d'Intervention (Mobile Intervention Group)
  • Blue – Legion de Gendarmerie d'Intervention (Gendarmerie Intervention Unit)
  • Green – Compagnie Fusilier de Marine Comandos (COFUMACO)(Navy Marine Commandos)

Serbia

Paratroopers from the 63rd Parachute Brigade wearing red berets

The Serbian Armed Forces are wearing berets as their standard headdress.

Colour Wearer
       Olive green Army
Green Recconaissance units of Army infantry battalions
Dark blue River Flotilla
Cobalt blue Air Force and Air Defence
Royal blue Guard
Maroon 72nd Brigade for Special Operations
Red 63rd Parachute Brigade
Black Military Police

Singapore

A lieutenant from the Singapore Army, wearing the Dark Green Infantry beret as part of an older uniform standard

The Singapore Armed Forces have adopted the beret as their standard headdress. The different color divisions are as follows:

Colour Wearer
       Olive green Infantry Regiment (Previously Dark Green)
Black Armoured Regiment
Khaki Guards
Red (Crimson) Commandos
Dark blue Signals Formation, Artillery, Combat Engineers, Medical Corps, Transport and Logistics, Military Police, SAF Volunteer Corps, Navy
Air Force blue (Bluish grey) Air Force
Grey Digital and Intelligence Service
UN blue UN Peacekeeping Force

The berets are all adorned with the Singapore Armed Forces coat of arms, with the exception of the Air Force beret, Military Police beret, navy beret, Digital and Intelligence Service beret which are adorned with their respective cap-badge. Officers in the navy have a different cap-badge from the ratings. Officers of the rank of colonel and above have a different cap-badge.

  • Green – National Cadet Corps (Land)
  • Blue – National Cadet Corps (Air)
  • Black – National Cadet Corps (Sea)
  • Dark blue – National Police Cadet Corps
  • Black – National Civil Defence Cadet Corps

All berets have the National Cadet Corps, National Police Cadet Corps or National Civil Defence Cadet Corps crest on the front.

Slovakia

Colour Wearer
       Black tank forces, army air defense
Green units of high readiness, immediately reaction battalion
Dark blue military police
Maroon paratrooper units,5.regiment of special assignment(airborne)
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

Slovenia

  • Rifle green – Special forces
  • Green – Military Police
  • Olive green – Signal units
  • Black – Armour units
  • Maroon – motorised infantry/Paratroopers
  • Dark blue – Navy units
  • Light blue – Air force
  • Grey – Mountain units
  • Sand – NBC units
  • Red – Guard unit

Somalia

Brigadier General Odowaa Yusuf Rageh wearing the Khaki Infantry Beret and rank slide

The Somali Armed Forces has the beret has the standard headgear since its inception in 1960. Each function within the security forces of Somalia has a unique colour.

Colour Wearer
       Black Logistics (Army), Navy
Blue Police
Red Presidential Guard (BD)
Khaki Infantry
Slate National Intelligence and Security Agency Special Forces
Green Custodial Corps
Navy Air Force
Maroon General Issue
Sky blue TURKSOM candidates and graduates

South Africa

The South African National Defence Force wears the beret as its standard headgear. The different color divisions are as follows:

Colour Wearer
       Black Armour, Intelligence, Maritime Reaction Squadron (SA Navy)
Dark green Infantry
Red Military Police
Dark blue Artillery
Light blue Logistics
Olive Munnitions Corps
Light maroon Military Health Services
Beige Signal Corps
Purple Chaplain Corps
Orange Human Resources, Mechanics
Maroon Parachute Infantry, Special Forces
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

The berets are all adorned with the unit's insignia. Some of the traditional units wear other headgear - for example, the Cape Town Highlanders Regiment and the band of the South African Military Health Service.

Outside of Army, the South African Military Health Service wear light maroon berets. The South African Special Forces Brigade which is a separate entity, not part of the army, also wear the Maroon beret which is traditional for parachute units in the western world.

South Korea

Berets are worn by members of the Republic of Korea Army and some elite units of the South Korean Military, including:

Other than these units, several secret commando units (mostly disbanded in the mid-1990s, among them the "Unit 684" which became infamous for its mutiny) formed to infiltrate North Korea during the Cold War days wore black berets and adorned them with the badges of individual units. Korean liaison soldiers serving in the U.S. Eighth Army (KATUSA) have also been wearing black berets along with American uniforms since that beret became a standard headgear of the U.S. Army in 2001.

South Vietnam

American advisers assigned to these units wore the berets.[46]

  • Red – Paratroopers
  • Green – Marines, LLDB
  • Maroon – Rangers
  • Black – Navy Junk Force
  • Black – Palace guards
  • Tan – political officers

Soviet Union

Soviet naval infantry in 1985

In the Soviet Union berets were sewn together from three pieces of material (top, front and rear) with four air holes two per side seam, one per each side, worn with the service badge centered between the eyes and draped to the right in most circumstances. When appearing in public on parade, the berets were draped to the left side so that the insignia shows to observing dignitaries and the public. Berets were worn only by:

Colour Wearer
       Black Naval infantry, tank troops (only for coveralls), OMON special militia units
Raspberry Airborne troops (till 1969, unofficially from 1963 with jump uniform only)
Sky blue Airborne troops (since 1969)
Green 103rd Airborne Division (while subordinate to Border Guards in 1989–91)
Rust red (orig. Krapovyi) MVD special troops (from end of the 1980s)
Blue Navy (WMF) – as a part of working and technical uniform for enlisted and petty officers (officially matrosy i starshiny in Russian)

During this period berets were also worn by female personnel of the Armed Forces for everyday and parade uniform. The colour of the beret corresponded with that of the main uniform (e.g. Army and Air Force everyday uniform – olive, Navy uniform – navy blue or white, Army parade uniform – sea green, Air Force parade uniform – dark blue).

Spain

Spain's Crown Prince Felipe de Borbon (in blue beret of the Royal Guard) speaks with a Spanish engineer soldier about the capabilities of a bomb disposal robot during a visit to Spain's San Gregorio training area to meet with participants in exercise Interdict 12, Oct. 30.

The beret is used in the various armed forces of Spain. The colours used are:[47]

Colour Wearer
       Black Airborne Brigade (BRIPAC), Mechanized Division "Brunete", Air and Space Force Police.
Maroon 1st King's Immemorial Infantry Regiment of AHQ.
Royal blue Royal Guard, Army Helicopters (FAMET).
Ash grey Cyber Defence Joint Command.[48]
Mustard Military Emergencies Unit (UME).
Red General Military Academy
Green Mountain Brigade (Jefatura de Tropas de Montaña).
Dark green Special Operations units (MCOE, MOE, UOE, FNGE, EZAPAC).
Olive Spanish Army general issue berets.
Brown Military Police.
Tan BRILCAN (Brigada de Infantería Ligera Canarias XVI).
White Regiment of the Guards of His Excellency the Head of State.[49] (1949-1975, ceremonial)
Grey BRILAT (Brigada de Infantería Ligera Galicia VII).

Sri Lanka

  • Maroon – Army Commando Regiment
  • Black – Sri Lanka Armoured Corps, Army Special Forces Regiment, Navy Special Boat Squadron, Air Force Regiment Special Force
  • Commando green – Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment, Mechanized Infantry Regiment, Military Intelligence Corps, Sri Lanka Army Women Corps, Sri Lanka Rifle Corps, Special Task Force
  • Green – Gajaba Regiment (Infantry)
  • Blue – Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment, The Gemunu Watch (Infantry) & All Other Ranks of Artillery, Engineers, Signals, Light Infantry & all Service Corps
  • Khaki – All Officers of Sri Lanka Artillery, Corps of Engineers, Corps of Signals, Light Infantry, Service Corps, Corps Engineer Services, General Service Corps, Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, Sri Lanka National Guard, Sri Lanka Army Pioneer Corps
  • Red – Military Police
  • Dark blue – Sri Lanka Air Force

Sweden

Swedish Amphibious Corps soldier with green beret

The beret is used in the various armed forces of Sweden.

  • 2015 regulations:[50]
Color Wearer
       Dark blue Army unless otherwise stated, Air Force
Black Life Guards (infantry), I 19, P 4, P 7, P 18, MSS
Rifle green Life Guards (cavalry), I 19/AJB, LJG, SAFR, K 3, FMUndSäkC
Commando green Swedish Amphibious Corps
Maroon Parachute Rangers in the 32nd Intelligence Battalion and FskE/SFE
Khaki Home Guard
Scarlet Life Guards (musicians)
UN blue Military personnel in UN service
Yellow EU monitors etc.
Bright blue Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Wing
Olive green SOG, FM SOF according to the CO of the Special Forces Command
  • 2009 regulations:[51]
Color Wearer
       Dark blue Generals in the army and amphibious corps, personnel in the organizational unit that have not assigned another beret color except the navy's naval unit (fleet)
Black Life Guards (infantry), I 19, P 4, P 7 and MSS
Rifle green Life Guard (cavalry), K 3, I 19/AJB (193th Ranger Btn), LJG, SAFR and FMUndSäkC
Commando green Amf 1
Maroon Parachute Ranger Company in the 32nd Intelligence Battalion
Khaki Home Guard
Scarlet Life Guards (musicians)
UN blue Military personnel in UN service
Yellow EU monitors etc.
Bright blue Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Wing
Olive green Special Operations Group (SOG) and the Special Forces Command

Sudan

The beret is worn by all police and military personnel.

  • Maroon – Paratroops
  • Pink – special police

Switzerland

Since 1995, when it replaced the grey side cap, the beret is worn with the dress uniform and with the personally issued battle dress uniform by all Swiss soldiers. In training, a black beret (without insignia) is worn by mechanised units, otherwise a camouflage-coloured field cap is worn instead.

The colours used are:[52]

  • Black — armoured and mechanised units; signals and headquarters troops; rescue troops; NBC specialists; intelligence, military justice and general staff personnel
  • Green — infantry, musicians
  • Red — artillery
  • Deep blue — Air Force
  • Blue — medical personnel
  • Dark red — logistics troops
  • Grey — military police
  • Light blue — troops on UN missions
  • Tan (Sand) – Special Operation Forces

Syria

General Hafez al Assad in uniform wearing the dark blue beret of the Syrian Arab Air Force.

The beret is used uncommonly in the Syrian Arab Armed Forces as the patrol cap is the standard headgear in all branches of the military, Syria inherited most of their beret colors from Egypt during the period of the United Arab Republic.

  • Maroon – Republican Guard
  • Forest green – Armour
  • Dark blue – Air Force
  • Black with red band – Police
  • Black – Artillery and Navy
  • Red – Military Police
  • Green – Engineers

T

Thailand

The beret is used in the various armed forces of Thailand. The colours used are:

  • Maroon – Airborne units, 1st Special Warfare Division, 31st Ranger Regiment
  • Khaki green – Army Reserve Force Students
  • Black – All other Army units, Air Force, Thahan Phran (Army Paramilitary), Airborne Police units, Border Patrol Police (BPP)
  • Camouflage – Royal Thai Marine Recon, Marine Paramilitary and Navy SEALs
  • Navy blue – Volunteer Defense Corps (VDC) Part of Department Of Provincial Administration (DOPA), Ministry of Interior
  • Scarlet – Speciel Operation of Royal Thai Air Force (Commando)
  • UN blue – Personnel serving with the United Nations on peacekeeping missions

The black beret is also worn by ordinary police in certain situations.

Togo

The beret colours worn by the Togolese Army are as follows:

  • Black — Armoured Corps
  • Maroon — Para-Commando Regiment
  • Green — Presidential Guard Commando Regiment.
  • Dark blue – All other Arms and Corps

Turkey

Colour Wearer[53]
Black Armoured Corps.
Blue Commando Brigades.
Green Gendarmerie General Command.
Maroon Special Forces Command.
Sky blue Personnel serving in United Nations missions.
Tan Infantry.

U

Ukraine

Ukrainian paratrooper wearing maroon beret
Marines in black berets, 2003
Tankman in black beret, 2017
Ukrainian national guard, 2020

In the Ukrainian army, the tradition of wearing a beret in uniform begins in 1991 - after the collapse of the USSR. In many respects, the young army imitated and actually continued the traditions of the Soviet Army, in particular, the Airborne Assault Troops and the Marines of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wore the corresponding berets of blue and black colours. The situation changed radically after the beginning of the hybrid war against Russia starting in 2014, when the society, and in particular the Ukrainian servicemen, fundamentally revised their attitude towards the eastern neighbour and their recent past. After fierce battles with Russian special forces, among whom there were paratroopers and marines of the Russian armed forces that fought against Ukrainians in the Donbas during 2014-2015,[54] Ukrainians were disgusted with the military traditions that the russian army inherited from the Soviet Army. In 2017, new elements of the uniform, including berets, were officially introduced in the Armed Forces. Thus, the Special Operations Forces created in 2016 started wearing light grey berets. Meanwhile, Ukrainian paratroopers as well as marines of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that joined them later have been willingly wearing the new colours since then.

Since 2017, the Armed Forces have worn berets of the following colours:[55]

Colour Wearer
Olive Drab Ukrainian Ground Forces general issue, including Mechanized Infantry
Blue-gray Ukrainian Air Force
Dark blue Ukrainian Navy
Steel grey Special Operation Forces
Maroon Ukrainian Air Assault Forces, formerly wore light blue
Flame Rocket Forces and Artillery
Black Armoured Forces
Dark grey Mountain Infantry
Sea green Ukrainian Marine Corps, formerly wore black (reinstated 2023 in armored battalions)
Light red Military Police
Purple Separate Presidential Brigade

Other formations:

Colour Wearer
Green State Border Guard Service of Ukraine
Blue National Guard of Ukraine, formerly wore Red

United Arab Emirates

The Armed Forces of the UAE and National Service use berets with distinct colours to display the specific branch of the armed forces. All berets displays the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces emblem.[56]

Emirati military personnel may also choose to wear military camo coloured ghutra in a turban fashion in keeping with traditional Arabic attire.

The colours are as follows:

Colour Wearer
       Blue United Arab Emirates Navy
Green Military recruit
Red Military police
Sky blue United Arab Emirates Air Force
Maroon Presidential Guard
Tan United Arab Emirates Army and Medical Corps.

United Kingdom

Bermuda Regiment recruits wear generic dark blue berets.

The British Army beret dates back to 1918 when the French 70th Chasseurs alpins were training with the British Tank Corps. The Chasseurs alpins wore a distinctive large beret and Major-General Sir Hugh Elles, the TC's Colonel, realised this style of headdress would be a practical option for his tank crews, forced to work in a reduced space. He thought, however, that the Chasseur beret was "too sloppy" and the Basque-style beret of the French tank crews was "too skimpy", so a compromise based on the Scottish tam o'shanter was designed and submitted for the approval of George V in November 1923. It was adopted in March 1924.

During the Second World War, the use of the black beret was extended to all the regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1940. The maroon beret was adopted by British airborne forces in 1941 and the green beret by the Commandos in late 1942. A khaki beret was worn by the Reconnaissance Corps from 1941 until 1944,[57] and the Royal Air Force Regiment adopted a blue-grey beret in 1943.[58] Later in the war, a rather baggier beret-like hat, called the General Service Cap, was issued to all ranks of the British Army (with RAC, parachute, commando, Scottish and Irish units excepted), to replace the earlier Field Service Cap.[59] The GS Cap was not popular, and after the war was replaced with a true beret.[60][61]

Today, English and Welsh military units wear a beret (the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Royal Irish Regiment and London Irish, wear the tam o'shanter and the caubeen respectively, the Scots Guards and Irish Guards, however, wear berets). Many of these berets are in distinctive colours and all are worn with the cap badge of the service, regiment or corps. The cap badge for all services in the UK is usually worn directly over the left eye.

Royal Military Police, 1984
RAMC Lieutenant General Martin Bricknell wearing a dark-blue beret with ACDS insignia.
A soldier of the Parachute Regiment wearing the maroon beret
The pale "Cambridge blue" berets of the Army Air Corps in London, 2006
Blue Royal Marine beret
Green Royal Marine beret
Royal Marine berets; blue berets with red cap badge backing are worn by personnel who are not commando-qualified, while green berets without any cap badge backing are worn by personnel with commando qualification.
An officer of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (on the right), showing the coloured backing patch behind the regimental cap badge
Royal Air Force airman wearing that service's blue-grey beret
Beret colours

The colours are as follows:

Color Wearer
       Khaki Foot Guards, Honourable Artillery Company, Most English and Welsh infantry regiments, except the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (who wear blue), The Rifles (who wear Rifle green), 4/73 (Sphinx) Special OP Battery Royal Artillery[62]
Light grey Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Dark grey Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps
Gunmetal grey Ranger Regiment (United Kingdom)
Brown King's Royal Hussars, Royal Wessex Yeomanry
Black Royal Tank Regiment, C&S (Westminster Dragoons) Squadron, Royal Yeomanry
Rifle green The Rifles, Royal Gurkha Rifles, The Royal Dragoon Guards, Small Arms School Corps, 36 (Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron
Maroon Parachute Regiment, All ranks serving with 16 Air Assault Brigade
Beige Special Air Service including attached troops who are not SAS-qualified (a white beret was briefly worn on formation of the regiment in 1942 and a maroon beret from 1944 to 1956)
Emerald grey Special Reconnaissance Regiment[citation needed]
Cambridge blue Army Air Corps, 47 Regiment Royal Artillery, some elements of Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers,[63][64] any army personnel serving in an aviation unit.[65]
Cypress green Intelligence Corps
Scarlet Royal Military Police
Green Adjutant General's Corps (except Royal Military Police, who wear scarlet; Army Legal Services Branch, who wear black; and the Military Provost Guard Service, Military Provost Staff and the Educational and Training Services branch, who wear navy blue)
Dark blue Generic: worn by all other Army units (except Scottish and Irish line infantry regiments), Royal Navy, Royal Marines who are not commando-qualified who include recruits in training, musicians and instructors of the affiliated cadet organisations.[66] (and who wear the Royal Marines cap badge with red backing). Also worn by Sea Cadets, including Royal Marines Cadets.
Commando green Commando-qualified Royal Marines, Commando-qualified personnel of all services serving in 3 Commando Brigade, Special Boat Service
RAF blue grey Royal Air Force (including RAF Regiment) and Air Cadets (Combined Cadet Force and Air Training Corps[67])
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on peacekeeping missions

General rule for wearing a British Army berets taught at training depots is to shape the head dress back and to the right for the material and to have the leather band level around the head with the cap badge two fingers above the left eye. Scottish Infantry have different rules for the Tamo'shanter with the cap badge worn on the left side of the head.

Other adornments

Some regiments and corps wear a coloured backing behind the cap badge. These include:

Members of the Royal Tank Regiment, 4/73 (Sphinx) Special OP Battery Royal Artillery,[68] Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, Army Air Corps, Parachute Regiment, SAS and Intelligence Corps wear berets in Nos 1, 2, 3 and 6, Dress. Other English and Welsh Regiments and Corps wear peaked caps in these orders of dress.[69] Troops from other services, regiments or corps on attachment to units with distinctive coloured berets often wear those berets (with their own cap badge). Colonels, brigadiers and generals usually continue to wear the beret of the regiment or corps to which they used to belong with the cap badge distinctive to their rank.

Old units

Former regiments and corps, now amalgamated:

United States

Army Special Forces soldiers wearing green berets at remembrance ceremony
Army soldiers from the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade wearing brown berets at activation ceremony
An Army NCO from the U.S. Army Military District of Washington wearing black beret
An Army officer from the 75th Ranger Regiment wearing tan beret
An Army officer from the 82nd Airborne Division wearing maroon beret at an Army Birthday celebration
An Air Force special tactics officer and TACP NCO wearing their scarlet and black berets, respectively
An Air Force Security Forces airman wearing dark-blue beret on guard
An Air Force SERE specialist wearing sage-green beret
Air Force combat aviation advisors wearing brown berets
Then CMSgt Ramón Colón-López wearing maroon beret
An Air Force SOWT—redesignated Special Reconnaissance—wearing grey beret

Berets were originally worn by select forces in the United States Army. The first were worn during World War II, when a battalion of the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment were presented maroon berets by their British counterparts.[70] Though unofficial at first, the green beret of the US Army Special Forces was formally adopted in 1961. Maroon airborne and black US Army Ranger berets were formally authorized in the 1970s.

"D" Troop 17th Cavalry were authorized a maroon beret in Vietnam.[71]

After the Vietnam War, morale in the US Army waned. In response, from 1973 through 1979 HQDA permitted local commanders to encourage morale-enhancing uniform distinctions; however, these distinctions were allowed to be worn only on the post. Consequently, many units embraced various colored berets, for example armor and armored cavalry units often adopted the black beret. Similarly many other units embraced various colored berets in an attempt to improve dwindling morale. In particular, the First Cavalry Division assigned various colored berets to its three-pronged TRICAP approach. In this implementation, armored cavalry, airmobile infantry units, air cavalry units, division artillery units, and division support units all wore different colored berets, including black, light blue, Kelly green, and red. The 101st Airborne Division was authorised a dark-blue beret.

In 1975 all female soldiers of the Women's Army Corps were authorized to wear a black beret variant as standard headgear for the service uniform.[72]

In 1975 the 172nd Light Infantry Brigade at Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright, Alaska, wore olive-drab berets.

In 2001, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki ordered the black beret worn as standard headgear army-wide, a controversial decision because it was previously reserved for the rangers. The rangers were then authorized to wear a tan beret, exclusive to them. The decision was implemented in hopes of boosting morale among conventional units. However, many soldiers began complaining that the new black beret was not practical with the utility uniform. In June 2011, Army Secretary John McHugh, acting on the recommendations made by Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey and Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler, once again chose the traditional patrol cap to be worn with the utility uniform. The black beret may be authorized with utility uniforms at commander's discretion for special ceremonies. The beret remains part of the Army's dress uniform for all units.

United States Army berets now use the following distinctive colors:

US Army
Color Wearer
Black Worn by all soldiers with the Army Service Uniform as standard headgear (The patrol cap is the standard headgear with utility uniforms such as the ACUs; however, the black beret may be authorized with utility uniforms at commander discretions.[73])
Rifle green Special-forces-qualified soldiers
Tan Soldiers assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade (Soldiers that have served one consecutive year in the regiment and are assigned to a USASOC component may continue to wear the tan beret.)
Maroon Soldiers assigned to airborne/parachute units
Brown Soldiers assigned to the Security Force Assistance Command and its subordinate units
Dark grey Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (AJROTC) cadets[74]

Special forces, ranger, and airborne unit berets sport distinctive organizational flashes. All other units use a standard pale blue flash bordered with 13 white stars. Officers wear their rank insignia within the flash, while enlisted ranks wear their distinctive unit insignia.

US Air Force
Color Wearer
Black Airmen assigned to the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP), and Air Force JROTC cadets.[75]
Maroon Pararescuemen and combat rescue officers
Scarlet Combat controllers and special tactics officers
Pewter grey Special reconnaissance and weather parachutist[76] qualified airmen. Formerly CWT and SOWT.
Dark blue Airmen assigned to the Security Forces, United States Air Force Academy first-class cadets, Basic Cadet Training cadre, and second color for AFJROTC cadets[75]
Sage green Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialists
Brown Airmen assigned to units designated as combat aviation advisors[77]
White Third color for AFJROTC cadets[75]
CNO and COMRIVPATFOR wearing black berets with River Patrol Force TF-116 patch (1969)
Female U.S. Navy sailor wearing the female black beret

In the United States Navy, female officers and sailors were allowed to wear black berets instead of a combination hat or garrison cap while in service uniforms until 2016. The black berets were phased out in October of that year due to a lack of widespread use and a desire by the U.S. Navy to make its uniforms more unisex in appearance. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy created special boat teams, unofficially dubbed the brown-water navy, to patrol coastlines, estuaries and rivers. Naval personnel assigned to these teams wore black berets as part of their uniform, as portrayed in the movie Apocalypse Now.[78] U.S. Navy SEAL teams serving in Vietnam wore camouflage berets in the field, the only beret somewhat standardized in the SEALs.

Uruguay

  • Military
    • Grey – Army 14th Parachute Battalion
    • Green – Army 13th Armor Battalion (Combined Arms)
  • Police
    • Black – Police Coraceros Regiment

V

Vatican State

A member of the Pontifical Swiss Guard with beret and halberd

The Pontifical Swiss Guard wears large black berets.

Venezuela

Berets are worn by some units in the Venezuelan National Armed Forces, with distinctive colors for some units or functions. The beret colours are as follows:

Colour Wearer
Venezuelan Army
       Black Venezuelan Army general issue berets; included, the comandos (Army special forces units).
Green Army Counter-insurgency troops (caribes).
Red 311th Infantry Battalion "Simon Bolivar" (Army). Wears the red beret as the first and oldest active infantry battalion of the Army.
Red 42nd Airborne Brigade (Army).
Dark blue Army Headquarters and Security Group (Lieutenant General Daniel Florencio O'Leary Headquarters Battalion).
Venezuelan Navy
       Black Venezuelan Marine Corps general issue berets (since 2009).
Venezuelan Air Force
Blue Venezuelan Air Force Infantry units (Infantería Aérea) and Air Force Police personnel.
Black 20nd[clarification needed] Special Forces Group (since 2016).[79][80][non-primary source needed]
Venezuelan National Guard
       Maroon Venezuelan National Guard general issue berets.
Berets in inter-service units
Red Presidential Honor Guard Brigade (armed forces joint unit).
Red Armed Forces General Headquarters (Minister Of Defence troops (Caracas Battalion), armed forces joint unit).

Note: Before the conversion to the red berets, the Caracas Battalion wore dark blue berets similar to those used by the O'Leary Battalion.

Note: Bolivarian National Police general issue red berets (since 2017).

Vietnam

Berets used by the Vietnam Coast Guard and the Vietnam People's Navy are:

  • Blue – Enlisted Seamen
  • Black – Officers and NCOs
  • Dark blue – Marine Commandos and Naval Infantrymen

During the celebration of the 40th Reunification Day, the People's Army of Vietnam presented new models of berets:

  • Green and camouflaged berets are worn by Infantry Reconnaissance troopers and Ground Commandos respectively.
  • Red berets are worn by airborne forces.

Army's servicemen served within the United Nations will bear the UN blue beret.

Y

Yemen

Rear Admiral Abdul Karim Yahya Muharram, Former Chief of Staff of the Yemeni Navy, wearing his black beret

Berets are worn as standard headgear in the Yemeni Armed Forces, with most beret colors inherited from the South Yemeni armed forces.

Colour Wearer
       Black Yemeni Navy
       Dark blue Yemeni Police Force
       Red Yemeni Military Police
       Sky blue Yemeni UN Peacekeeper Force
       Green Yemeni Armour Corps
       Blue-grey Yemeni Air Force
       Maroon Yemeni Republican Guard

Z

Zambia

  • Black – Armoured troops
  • Green – Zambia rifles (Infantry)
  • Maroon – Paracommando
  • Scarlet – Military police
  • Dark blue – Worn by all other Army units
  • Khaki – Colonels and general officers with combat uniform
  • Grey-blue – Air Force personnel
  • Khaki-black – Zambia National Service personnel

Zimbabwe

  • Green – Infantry
  • Black – Armoured Regiment
  • Maroon – Parachute Battalion
  • Tartan green – Commando Battalion
  • Tan – Special Air Service
  • Yellow – Presidential Guard
  • Cherry red – Military Police
  • Blue-grey – Zimbabwe Air Force
  • Dark blue – All other units

International forces

United Nations

Bangladesh officer (Major Tasawar) wearing UN blue beret
Colour Wearer
       UN blue Military personnel of any country serving with the United Nations peacekeeping forces.

Multinational Force and Observers

A Canadian Army officer and U.S. Army soldier wearing the MFO beret
Colour Wearer
       Terracotta Military personnel of any country serving with the Multinational Force and Observers wear a terracotta-colored beret or bush hat in lieu of their normal headgear.

African Union

Officers wearing the African Union beret
Colour Wearer
       Green Military personnel of any country serving with the African Union peacekeeping forces wore a green-colored beret.[81] AU forces in Mali and Darfur have since been turned over to UN administration and swapped their berets for UN light blue ones.[82][83]

NATO Multinational Corps Northeast

Multinational Corps Northeast
Multinational Corps Northeast
Colour Wearer
       Dark blue Military personnel of any country serving with the Multinational Corps Northeast forces.

European Gendarmerie Force

Polish officer serving in an EUROGENDFOR beret
Colour Wearer
       Medium blue Military personnel of country serving with the European Gendarmerie Force France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Romania and Poland.

Camouflage berets

A U.S. Navy SEAL in Vietnam with a camouflage beret

A camouflage beret is intended for use on the battlefield when wearing combat fatigues. They are mostly issued to the likes of special forces, particularly in jungle warfare operations.

History

Students of the Polish high school in Casarano, Italy wearing the Cap, General Service

Camouflage berets possibly originate from the General Service cap "Cap, General Service" issued to the British Army in a Khaki material before the introduction of berets. It was first introduced under "Army Council Instruction 1407" of September 1943. This cap was designed to replace the "Field Service cap" or "FS Cap" that had been worn since the outbreak of war. These caps were issued in priority to units serving overseas. UK based units got theirs later on. It was at first unpopular due to its over large appearance. This cap was not a beret. It was made from several pieces of drab cloth material, whereas a beret was a one piece item. It was based on the Scottish balmoral bonnet in design. First issues were made from the same gaberdine cloth as the old "FS" cap. Badges worn on it were the conventional officers' bronze, and ORs' badges in both plastic and metal. Units which had special distinctions could still wear these on the "GS" cap. The General Service cap was worn by regulation one inch above the eyebrows, with the badge over the left eye and the cap pulled down to the right. But many wartime photos will show it worn pushed back on the head, which seemed to be a fashion with many soldiers late in the war.

Officers could only obtain the cap upon repayment to the RAOC. They were not allowed to buy the cap until their unit had been issued with it wholesale. Higher ranking officers often got away with wearing a khaki beret, which was against regulations. Fashion conscious ORs would also risk punishment from NCOs/officers buying one of these for "walking out".

Not exactly camouflage, but an early example is the Jungle Beret issued to the Australian Army during WW2.[84][85][86]

Users

See also

  • Uniform beret, for the use of berets as uniform headgear outside the military

Military berets by color:

References

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