A uniform is the uniform dress of members of armed forces to belong to an army, their function and rank read. Furthermore, uniforms are distinguished after use in everyday uniform, service uniform and operational uniform.


Uniforms in antiquity:

The soldiers in the ancient world usually fought in their folk costumes.
The first uniform equipment of soldiers took place in the formation of the Roman legions. The mass production of textiles and armor made the uniforms cost-effective and therefore mass-produced.



Assyrian warriors in his typical costume


Roman legionnaire in uniform clothing




Uniforms in the Middle Ages:

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the beginning of the early Middle Ages, the uniform uniforms of the respective armed forces were lost again. At that time, few rulers maintained standing armies, in case of war they brought in farmers and artisans who went into battle with their respective work clothes. The knights, who wore chain mail or armor, were clearly better dressed and at least roughly uniform. For identification, however, it was customary to flag bearer with the coat of arms of each ruler on the side to identify the affiliation.

However, in the course of the Middle Ages, isolated rulers and / or organizations went back to introducing uniform apparel such as the Teutonic Order.



Medieval Knights


English infantry in the Hundred Years' War




Uniforms in the early modern period:

After the Middle Ages, mercenary armies shaped the wars, which were run like a kind of company. So these were usually equipped by the textile industry in addition to the actual mercenary army also in the possession of the entrepreneur, which increased his profits, in part, considerably.





French soldiers




Uniforms in the Revolutionary Age:

From the middle of the 18th century, the European states again began to maintain standing armies. With the advent of the local textile industry, garments could be mass-produced and inexpensively produced and the armed forces equipped with them. The designs were based on the civilian fashion and were often colorfully equipped and thus offered no camouflage possibilities.



US soldiers in the civil war




Uniforms during the World Wars:

With the emergence of new ranged weapons and the incoming new tactics of warfare, the appearance of the uniforms changed and they began to introduce camouflage colors into the armed forces from the 19th century to better hide the soldiers against enemy fire. By the beginning of the First World War, all participating forces were already equipped with such uniforms. Thus, the gray-green uniform prevailed in the German army, which the soldiers on the battlefields were much better camouflaged.



Early German uniform in the First World War




During World War II, the uniforms were almost identical in color technology to those of the First World War. In the course of the war, however, the first uniforms with camouflage patterns were also introduced and e.g. worn by German paratroopers and later units of the Waffen-SS.



Uniform of the Wehrmacht


Camouflage uniform of the Waffen-SS




Uniforms in the modern age:

After the Second World War, the camouflage pattern prevailed worldwide and was introduced in almost all modern armed forces. Particularly well-known here are the pattern "Woodland" of the US armed forces or the "flecktarn" of the German Federal Armed Forces. The camouflage patterns differ in the uniforms also according to the location, so the color in bright desert areas and greenish in forest areas.



Snow Camouflaging uniform


Uniform with digital camouflage pattern




The combatant status in uniforms:

After the Second World War, it was established under international humanitarian law that wearers of uniforms are legally subordinate to the status of combatants and are thus subject to the rules of the Geneva Conventions in warfare. This allows warring parties to combat and kill members of the combatant status, usually members of the enemy force. But the legal basis in the case of prisoner of war and the care of injured people should be regulated.




Equipment of a uniform:

A uniform consists of a complete set of
- headgear
- outerwear
- legwear
- Footwear
- Accessories such as medals, rank insignia, coat of arms and country flags






You can find the right literature here:


An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Uniforms of the Roman World

An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Uniforms of the Roman World: A Detailed Study of the Armies of Rome and Their Enemies, Including the Etruscans, ... Gauls, Huns, Sassaids, Persians and Turks Hardcover – February 16, 2013

An unprecedented visual reference of the fighting men of the period from 8th century BC to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, with over 670 expert images of military dress, weaponry, artillery, ships, siege engines and fortifications.

Click here!



An Illustrated History of Uniforms from 1775-1783: The American Revolutionary War

An Illustrated History of Uniforms from 1775-1783: The American Revolutionary War Hardcover – July 28, 2008

An expert guide to the uniforms of the American militias and Continental Army, the armies and navies of Great Britain and France, German and Spanish units, and American Indian allies, with over 450 color illustrations. The uniforms of the fighting men of the American War of Independence are a vivid illustration of the difficulties and complexities of the conflict, and this book brings together for the first time a sweeping survey of what they should have worn, what they really wore, how they were armed, and what they carried with them. As well as illustrations of the soldiers, equipment and kit – with over 450 in total and an unrivalled level of detail in the depiction of the uniforms – the campaigns and battles are explained with specially commissioned maps and plans, and plates and fine-art paintings of the period.

Contains an unprecedented wealth of illustrative detail, with over 450 illustrations of uniforms, battle plans, technical drawings and campaign maps.

Gives a concise, authoritative record of America s fight to become independent of its colonial founders, with detailed analysis of the decisive encounters and landmark engagements of the conflict.

Click here!



The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of World War I

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of World War I: An expert guide to the uniforms of Britain, France, Russia, America, Germany and Austro-Hungary with over 450 colour illustrations Hardcover – October 16, 2011

Expert and stunning illustrations show in painstaking detail the uniforms and their developments for all the major nations involved in World War I.

Click here!



An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of World War II

An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of World War II: An Expert Guide To The Uniforms Of Britain, America, Germany, Ussr And Japan, Together With Other Axis And Allied Forces Hardcover – December 7, 2015

An expert visual history of military personnel, with 600 images of uniforms and contextual analysis.

Click here!






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