Military uniform and cap badges have always been a popular collecting area, mainly because of the vast supply and breadth of items and the reasonably cheap prices attached. Generally badges from various countries can be obtained in quantity, especially disused stock. Generally speaking, badges used by the military were used as a means of identifying particular units or organisations with a countries army. Because the defence forces have a huge support network of corps and units to support the infantry, it was always necessary to ‘badge’ the soldier based on their trade or skill. Most countries currently retain corps and unit badges to identify these skilled areas, so the traditions of the old armies have continued today.
It is fairly easy to date corps and regimental badges that have been issued in British and Commonwealth countries, where apart from symbols, the writing on the scroll of the badge or frame usually gives away its origins and usage.
Qualification badges are also a common item to encounter. because of the various jobs necessary to fill in any defence force, specially qualified personel are required to fill these, and if not the extra pay, a great way to distinguish these people is by the badges they wear. Those technicians, pilots, divers, parachutists and other necessary types can thus be easily identified by these badges. Whilst most badges are commonly identified by writing and symbols, many are extremely difficult to identify, based on foreign languages and strange, often never seen symbols. One of the biggest range of these badges are worn by the US Defense Forces, who have hundreds of different trade and rank badges, specialist qualification badges and many other assorted items, for each of the arms of service. The list is endless and requires a lot of patience and historical study to nail down.