Military uniforms refer to the standard form of dress worn by troops and other defense forces such as the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. And each country has a different one. The very first uniforms were in accordance with specifications made based on the soldiers’ homeland.
However, as tactics of the enemy changed, the uniforms were also altered to camouflage and to be less noticeable.Each uniform is tailored to a particular situation and service members can be immediately recognized by their uniform and its specifications. The style and color of these have also transformed greatly over the years. For instance, as of October 1st, 2019, all US Navy sailors will wear the Navy Working Uniform Type III when in port or on shore. This will replace the blue, black and gray Uniform Type 1 which was reported to be heavy and ineffective. This is just a small part of the many alterations made to the armed forces’ uniforms. Before 2002, members either wore the forest tones of the Battle Dress Uniform, or the beige, pale green and earth brown of the Desert Camouflage Uniform. These were discontinued in the 2000s after being introduced in the 1990s.
What we're trying to determine today is whether or not you can identify military uniforms from around the world. Do you think you can pass this test? Let's find out.
Canada is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations (made up mostly of countries once ruled by Britain). As such, Canada’s military attire has its roots in the uniforms worn by British armies throughout history.
Military uniforms in Russia reflect the country’s history both as a part of the Soviet Union and (before that) when it was the Russian Empire. For practical reasons, the Russian military retained use of the uniforms worn during the Soviet era for at least one year after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
In terms of the number of personnel, Fiji’s military is among the smallest in the world. Interestingly, several of Fiji’s neighbors, such as Samoa, have no formal military of their own. They instead rely on assistance from larger neighbors, such as New Zealand.
Officially, the country is known as the Kingdom of Morocco and its military as the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces. Many members of the Moroccan military fought in both world wars, linked to French Allied forces.
The Chinese military is officially known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA). This is in line with the country’s official name being the People’s Republic of China. With over two million active members, the PLA is the largest national military in the world.
The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic include the country’s land and air forces, as well as a special unit known as the Castle Guard. The Castle Guard is specifically assigned to protect Prague Castle, which was built in the 9th century and now serves as the seat of government.
The Portuguese Armed Forces operate throughout continental Portugal and its two autonomous regions – Madeira and the Azores. In 2016, Portugal was ranked the 5th most peaceful country on the Global Peace Index. In 2017, the country’s rating improved to third place.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines were first established in 1935. Douglas MacArthur, who was a retired five-star general and Chief of Staff of the United States Army, was mandated by the government of the Philippines to oversee formation of the military and training of personnel.
Although Sweden has a large and flourishing military, it remained a neutral state throughout the 20th century, including during both World Wars. Over the past few years, the Global Peace Index has consistently ranked Sweden among the top 20 most peaceful nations in the world.
The Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) serve all seven emirates which make up the country. Along with this, each of the individual emirates has its own armed forces.
The United States of America (USA) has the third largest military force, in terms of the number of active personnel – only China and India have larger numbers. The USA’s military forces are quite widespread, as it maintains nearly 800 bases outside the country.
This landlocked country in Central Europe has no navy but does have formidable land and air forces. Since 1955, Austria has adopted a stance of everlasting neutrality in all current and future conflicts.
When the numbers of its active, reserve and paramilitary forces are combined, North Korea has one of the largest militaries in the world. Continued defense of the border between North Korea and South Korea has been among its primary objectives since the 1953 signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement put a hold on hostilities in the Korean War.
India’s military forces are ranked as second in the world (behind China) in terms of the number of active personnel. One title India does win, however, is that of being the country with the largest volunteer army – as opposed to some countries where military service is mandatory.
Jordan Armed Forces (a.k.a. the Arab Army) is highly regarded as one of the most organized and formidable within the region. Jordanian military forces have consistently maintained a strong presence among the UN Peacekeeping missions.
Egypt’s military is one of the largest in all of Africa – it is also one of the best equipped. Since the end of the Second World War, the Egyptian Armed Forces have been involved in many other conflicts, including the Arab-Israeli War, the Suez Crisis and the Gulf War.
Tajikistan has a relatively small military, with just about 9,000 members serving actively. That number remains under 20,000 when all active and paramilitary personnel are considered.
Indonesia is the world’s largest island nation and has the fourth largest population of all the countries in the world. Its military, officially referred to as the Indonesian National Armed Forces, is ranked at 12th largest in the world, with just under 400,000 active members.
Israel has a system of conscription (mandatory service) for all citizens over 18 years old. This lasts three years for males and two-to-three for females. There are regular annual refresher courses once this service is complete.
The military forces of Algeria are officially known as the Algerian People's National Armed Forces. It is very highly involved in the political life of the country. While Algeria has not been in conflict with any external forces since the 1970s, internal conflicts have led to its 109th place ranking on the last compiled Global Peace Index.
In Switzerland, there is mandatory military service for all males over the age of 18 years. The country, however, has only roughly 30,000 active military personnel and has taken a stance of neutrality in all world conflicts.
The Bundeswehr (or Federal Defence) is the collective name given to the German military forces. The term “Bundeswehr” was originally used for the military in West Germany but upon reunification, the East German military (Nationale Volksarmee or National People’s Army) was disbanded and some elements absorbed by the Bundeswehr.
The Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (as the country’s military is officially known) has just over 20,000 active members. They are mostly concerned with quelling conflicts within their ranks and social unrest within the country. The United Nations has maintained a peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire since 2004.
The military forces of the Kingdom of Denmark are known as the Danish Defence. They are charged with protection of Denmark and its two autonomous constituent countries: Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
In terms of the number of active personnel, Pakistan’s military ranks sixth out of all countries in the world. Throughout the 20th century, the country has been in several conflicts with its neighbor, India (which ranks second).
Singapore, a city-state, has adopted a strategy of total defence. This means that apart from the protection its military forces can provide in the event of armed conflict, the country is also vigilant against economic and social attacks, as well as natural and man-made disasters.
Finland has a policy of mandatory military service by all males over the age of 18 years. It is reported that close to 80% of all males complete this service which lasts for up to one year. Females may volunteer to serve in the military for a short period or to pursue military careers.
France’s number of active military personnel is just over 200,000, putting it just outside the top 20 countries. It is, however, ranked third in terms of nuclear deterrent, with only Russia and the USA having greater nuclear capabilities than France.
During the existence of the Soviet Union, Turkmen military forces were a part of the Soviet Armed Forces. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia continued to provided much-needed support for military in Turkmenistan.
Within the Americas, only the United States of America has a larger active military force than Brazil. Although heavily involved in infrastructure building, the Brazilian Armed Forces have much work to do patrolling the country’s large territorial borders.
Sri Lanka is now officially known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. While under British colonial rule (1802 – 1948) and up to 1972, however, the country was known as Ceylon. As a result, past names for Sri Lanka’s military forces include: Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers, Ceylon Defence Force and Ceylon Armed Forces.
Norway’s first military force was established in the 9th century and was primarily concerned with naval conflicts. This has since grown to include sectors such as: the Norwegian Army, the Royal Norwegian Navy (and Coast Guard), the Royal Norwegian Air Force and the Home Guard.
Thailand has a population of nearly 70 million people, approximately 600,000 of which serve the Royal Thai Armed Forces on either active duty or as reserves. Over 65,000 Thai soldiers fought alongside UN troops during the nearby Korean War (1950 – 1953). Close to 500 of them were either killed or wounded.
The Republic of Ireland tied with Japan in 10th place on the most recent Global Peace Index. Ireland’s Defence Forces has less than 10,000 members, combined, serving in the Army, Air Corps, Naval Service and Reserve Defence Forces.
During the Croatian War of Independence (1991 – 1995) the country’s government allocated as much as 12% of its budget toward military expenditure. This figure has fallen tremendously in recent years, with just over 1% of the budget being earmarked for military defense.
The military forces of the United Kingdom go by several names. These include: the British Armed Forces; the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom; Her Majesty's Armed Forces; and the Armed Forces of the Crown.
Since the official name for the country is the Hellenic Republic, the military forces of Greece are called the Hellenic Armed Forces. All males over the age of 18 years are required to complete at least 9 months of compulsory military service.
Vatican City has no true military of its own. There is only a small military force known as the Pontifical Swiss Guard which primarily functions as the pope’s bodyguard. Since Vatican City is located completely within the city of Rome, the Italian Armed Forces are responsible for protecting Vatican City from outside threats.
The current Nigerian Armed Forces were established around the time of the country’s independence from Britain (1960). Since then, political and social unrest have seen the Nigeria’s military being involved in several conflicts within the country. Nigeria has still managed to develop into one of the top 20 economies in the world.
The Romanian Armed Forces played a pivotal role in the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Initially, they followed orders from the country’s leader, Nicolae Ceaușescu, to fire upon (and kill) protesting civilians. Later on, however, it was the army which captured the fleeing Ceaușescu, who was quickly tried and executed.
The Kingdom of Tonga is made up of 169 islands, of which only 36 are inhabited. Defense of Tonga’s borders is carried out by His Majesty's Armed Forces (the official name of Tonga’s military forces).
Just as it is with North Korea, South Korea has one of the largest military forces in the world when all of its active, reserve and paramilitary personnel are taken into account. Technically, the two countries are still at war, since the 1953 armistice they signed only put a formal hold on hostilities but was not an actual peace agreement.
In terms of area, the Principality of Monaco ranks as the world’s second smallest country (only Vatican City is smaller). There are less than 300 soldiers in Monaco’s military, making it the third smallest military force in the world – Antigua and Barbuda (a twin island state in the Caribbean) and Iceland have slightly larger numbers.
The Peruvian Armed Forces are tasked with the defense of Peru’s 31.5 million citizen. With troops totaling over 300, 000, the Peruvian Armed Forces is separated into four branches: the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.
The Australian Defence Force allows people to go through the selection process once they have reached 16.5 years old. Service in the military, however, is restricted to those 17 years and older. Furthermore, a soldier has to be at least 18 years old to be deployed on operations.
On the latest Global Peace Index, Kenya was ranked at 125th out of all the countries in the world. The country's problems with civil unrest have kept its military busy in the past decades. The Kenya Defence Forces have also taken part in operations in neighboring Somalia.
Following its experiences in the Second World War, the government of Japan resolved to never develop or use nuclear weapons. Japan is, however, so technologically advanced that it is regarded as capable of quickly building a nuclear program, if the need arises.
If Togo’s policy on mandatory military service were enforced, then persons above the draft age of 18 years would be required to serve for a two-year period. Currently, however, the Togolese Armed Forces is made up of completely voluntary servicemen and women.
His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni is listed as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. There are roughly 125,000 active members within the Cambodian military forces, serving in the Royal Cambodian Army, Navy and Air Force. The Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia is a paramilitary arm of the country’s defense force.
The Spanish Armed forces are known in Spanish as the Fuerzas Armadas Españolas. Spain is one of several countries with nuclear power plants but no nuclear weaponry.