Badge soldier, personal label, dog tag - as soon as people do not call him, and the military itself. However, all these names quite clearly define its intended purpose - to quickly identify those killed and wounded in combat conditions. Its form in different countries has different meanings, but, as a rule, a personal sign is a metal token, worn on a chain around his neck, on which is written the personal identification number of a serviceman or a member of the special services. In a number of states, they also indicate the name, surname or additional information - about belonging to a specific division, about blood type, religion.
For the first time, tokens appeared in the German army at the end of the nineteenth century, during the period of the Austro-Prussian War 1866. Already at that time it was ordered to each soldier of the German army to possess a personal identification mark. But the innovation met with massive rejection of innovation by even the most disciplined Prussian soldiers. They simply threw out the personal signs issued to them, at best, “forgot” in the wagon train. The fact is that any soldier in a war sooner or later becomes superstitious, especially with regard to death. Therefore, the requirement of commanders to be sure to carry the “herald of death” on themselves caused the superstitious fear among the Prussian soldiers that it is this “messenger” that would bring them quick death. It was even said that the tin plate of a personal sign possesses the magic power to attract bullets to itself. Only active propaganda by officers among their soldiers of the need to constantly carry a personal sign, as a guarantee that a soldier’s family would receive a pension, eventually turned the tide, and the wearing of personal signs by all servicemen in the German army became the norm.
By the beginning of the First World War, tokens appeared in the armies of other foreign countries. Germany’s coalition allies took into account the German experience in creating personal identification marks and introduced a similar system of registering marks with minor changes and additions. The identification badge of a Finnish army soldier, for example, had the shape of a bone and consisted of two identical halves, easily breaking apart along the kerf in the middle.
The personal identification marks of the Hungarian army consisted of two bonded plates, on which a special number, uniquely identifying the owner, was perforated with holes. At burial, the plates are separated. One remains on the body of the soldier who is buried, the second is withdrawn by the funeral team for registration. The same signs were in the Italian army.
By the beginning of World War II in the German army, with the intrinsic Germans, a whole system was created for recording and identifying the dead. Her main detail was a personal identification mark, which was issued to the Wehrmacht soldier immediately upon appeal. An oval-shaped aluminum or galvanized plate was worn on a cord around the neck and consisted of two equal segments separated by special kerfs. The medallion, if necessary, was easily broken in half. The broken off half, along with the loss report, was sent to WAST - the German Central Bureau for Accounting for Military casualties and prisoners of war. The numbers of the received identification mark were reconciled with their own data. This confirmed the fact of death and recorded the next specific loss. Naturally, such an accounting system eliminated any duplication of losses, misunderstandings, and false reports about the death of a serviceman. Over the past half century, past since the end of the Second World War, in the work of WAST nothing has changed in principle.
In the Russian army, the first tokens appeared by the end of the XIX century. AT "Stories Life Guard Eger regiment for 100 years. 1796 – 1896 “It says that in the 1877 year, when the regiment was preparing to be sent to the Russian-Turkish front in Bulgaria, all the soldiers and officers received metal tokens with a cord for wearing around their necks. On the counter, the abbreviations of the regiment's name, battalion number, company and personal number of the serviceman were knocked out. But this, one might say, was an experiment.
The appearance of the first personal identification medallion for all military personnel of the current Russian army dates back to the end of the First World War. The Minister of War, General of Infantry, Belyaev, signed a special order: “On the 16 day of January 1917, the Emperor ordered to establish a special cervical sign to identify the wounded and the dead, as well as to mark the St. George awards of the lower ranks on the proposed drawing. I declare this to the highest will of the military department indicating that the mark should be worn under uniform clothing on snuria or tape, worn on the neck, and the record attached to it should be printed on parchment paper. " The neck mark was an amulet with a form inside. The serviceman had to use a small hand to manage to write a lot of information about himself. Indicate your regiment, company, squadron or hundred, rank, name, surname, awards, religion, estate, province, county, parish and village. But the troop en masse did not have time to enter. With the beginning of the October Revolution, all the tsar was recognized as a relic of the past and, therefore, canceled.
In the Red Army, the mention of the token refers to the mid-20-s. The soldier's medallion was introduced by order of the Revolutionary Military Council No. 856 from 14.08.1925 of the year. He relied on all conscripts of military units, ships, staffs, directorates, institutions and establishments of the military and maritime departments after arriving at his unit when they were enrolled in the service. A special form (liner) was put in the medallion, which was made by printing on parchment paper, which contained the necessary information about the soldier: surname, first name, patronymic name, place and date of birth, position held. The use of parchment paper was supposed to protect the form from damage when wearing the medallion, which was a bureaucratic thing on a par with equipment and had no statute of limitations. In case of its loss, a new one was immediately issued. But when using this token during the Finnish campaign, it turned out that the medallion is leaky and the parchment sheet quickly becomes unusable. In March 1941, it was canceled. But he was replaced by a new instance.
Now the medallion was in the form of an octagonal plastic case with a screw cap, with an insert on parchment paper in duplicate. The medallion was worn in a special pocket on the belt of the trousers, but there was also a version of a pencil case with an eyelet for wearing the medallion around the neck. Since the beginning of World War II due to the lack of standard medallions in the parts of the Red Army, both wooden and metal medallions were used. Sometimes, instead of a pencil case, a regular rifle cartridge was used, and instead of a standard liner printed by typographical method, the servicemen put in a medallion a note with personal identification data on scraps of paper or newspaper, leaflets.
In October, 1941, by order of the USSR NKO, the Red Army book was introduced as a document certifying the identity of the Red Army man and junior commander. Sending to the front of the Red Army and junior commanders without Red Army books was strictly prohibited. The officers were issued personal ID cards. It was these documents that were seized from the soldiers and officers who were killed and died from the wounds and were transferred to the headquarters of the unit or medical institution, where they were used to compile lists of irretrievable loss of personnel. It was because of this approach that in November 1942 of the year an order was issued by NKO No. 376 “On the removal of medallions from the supply of the Red Army”. This led to an increase in the number of missing military personnel due to the inability to identify the deceased.
With the end of the Second World War, nothing has changed. Soldiers of military service did not have medallions. In the 60 of the twentieth century, to the officers of the Armed Forces of the USSR, after graduating from college, tokens were issued on which the personal number of the serviceman was printed. Many wore such a keychain tag, but most simply stitched to the officer’s identity card.
Nothing has changed in the army of the Russian Federation. Even the military conflict in the Chechen Republic did not help to eradicate the rank of an unknown soldier. For some reason, the army leadership continued to stubbornly resist this introduction, when folk art from different manufacturers offered tokens of all stripes and for every taste. Soldiers were forced to buy them.
Even in the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 1997, conclusions were drawn from the tragic events in the North Caucasus, and the police department issued order No. 446, according to which steel tokens were entered for the private, non-commissioned officers and officers, which were assigned a personal number.
Only ten years later, a similar order appeared in the Ministry of Defense. New army tokens have a rectangular shape with rounded corners, on which the RUSSIAN ARMY plus the personal number of the soldier is written using laser engraving.
However, we note that against this background, in the special forces of the internal troops there was and there is a tradition to surrender the squad token - the personal number plate of the soldier with the symbolism of the special forces unit. The handing over to the token takes place either as part of a group or as part of several groups. The overall test plan comes from the net exam test, but the standards are lower. The token is handed over on the solemn construction of the whole part and its owners automatically receive the right to wear the special form.
We already said above that today army tokens are used not only by the military. They are very popular as a fashion accessory in the style of "military". And contributed to this by the US military.
The history of American tokens has an exact date. By order No. 204 of December 20, 1906, the US military obliged the soldiers and officers to wear round tokens “about the size of a silver fifty cent coin”. The name, surname, rank and designation of the unit were knocked out on the aluminum round. For the similarity with the tokens, which must necessarily have been present on the collars of all American dogs, this particular sample was nicknamed the “dog tag” - the Dog tag.
Then, over the years, these tokens changed their appearance, until 15 February 1940 was introduced a new sample that has the same look as nowadays: a rectangular shape with rounded ends and a new way of applying symbols - using a punching machine. The information contained on the tokens occupied the 5 strings. The first placed the name and surname, the second - the registration number, the date of tetanus immunization and blood type, the third name of the person to be notified if the badge owner died, the fourth is the address of this person, the fifth city and state of the notified person and token owner's religion. It should also be noted that the soldiers of the Jewish religion, who fought in the European theater of operations, very rarely indicated their religion.
Over 70 years, only the composition of the tokens for the US Army has changed. They are made of a light alloy based on aluminum that appeared for the first time during the time of Vietnam. The only change in the composition of the signatures was that from 1969, instead of the registration number, they began to write the social security number.