Gorget - Encyclopedia

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GORGET (0. Fr. gorgete, dim. of gorge, throat), the name applied after about 1480 to the collar-piece of a suit of armour. It was generally formed of small overlapping rings of plate, and attached either to the body armour or to the armet. It was worn in the 16th and 17th centuries with the half-armour, with the plain cuirass, and even occasionally without any body armour at all. During these times it gradually became a distinctive badge for officers, and as such it survived in several armies - in the form of a small metal plate affixed to the front of the collar of the uniform coat - until after the Napoleonic wars. In the German army to-day a gorget-plate of this sort is the distinctive mark of military police, while the former officer's gorget is represented in British uniforms by the red patches or tabs worn on the collar by staff officers and by the white patches of the midshipmen in the Royal Navy.

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