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Old August 22nd, 2012, 01:00 PM   #1

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beards in the army


Beards have had a long and rich history in the military,
we often see pictures of rough sappers with big beards and big axes, or French Poilus with lavish moustaches and long goatees.

But at times beards were also forbidden for soldiers, for example, only after Boulangers reforms beards became legal in the army of the third republic.

What is the history of beards in the armies of other nations?

What are the hazards of having a beard and what are the benefits?
I suppose it is a danger for soldiers to get stuck in mechanics or get lice but in colder climates a soldier would be happy with a big beard.

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Old August 22nd, 2012, 01:52 PM   #2

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an interesting fact, in the Dutch army of the 1750's only grenadiers were encouraged to grow moustaches.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 02:43 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bartieboy View Post
I suppose it is a danger for soldiers to get stuck in mechanics or get lice but in colder climates a soldier would be happy with a big beard.

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i guess beards are not allowed in many modern armies today. afaik the reason is because it's a hazard to putting on gas masks (might cause some gaps). but some full beard can be an advantage in cold climates. i heard stories about some clean shaven soldiers getting face paralysis because of the cold.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 03:05 PM   #4

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As I understand it, long beards were especially associated with pioneer/sapper units in the British, French, and American armies in the 18th/19th Centuries.

Mustaches, beards, and goatees of a variety of lengths and styles - ranging from stylish even by modern standards to utterly ludicrous - were worn by soldiers in the American Civil War.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 04:46 PM   #5

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Beard means high hierarchy in Turkish army in the past. Commanders could wear It. It would be inapropriate for lower rank military people wear beard.

Moustacle was very common in the past to an extent that It was regardes as symbol of being male.

The photo in my avatar belong to Ahmet Cevdet Pasha. You see him with beard as an symbol of high rank.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 06:42 PM   #6

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Many German soldiers in WW1 also wore a distinct mustache.

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Old August 22nd, 2012, 07:00 PM   #7

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Indians.... Obviously wear beards and moustaches...but I think most units have clean shaven soldiers.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 07:56 PM   #8

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In the Australian armed forces the navy can wear full beards, but not moustaches alone. the army and air force can wear moustaches but not beards, although I believe that engineer sergeants in the army by wear a beard, but very few do.

In the navy beards must not be so long as to interfere with the wearing of protective equipment, and on deployment to a war zone are usually odered to be shaved off.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 09:45 PM   #9

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Quote:
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Indians.... Obviously wear beards and moustaches...but I think most units have clean shaven soldiers.
Sikh soldiers are allowed to have beard and long hairs.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 09:50 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinit View Post
Sikh soldiers are allowed to have beard and long hairs.
I said 'most'.
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