The Fourragere Rope is a Military “Unit” Award given to a specific Unit for recognized activities of Military Merit or Heroism. There are many Countries that currently utilize such Awards. The Fourragere is often confused with The Aiguillette (which as discussed), is worn and used by Aides to General Staff Officers (although it’s origins are connected). Developed by Napoleon I in the early 19th Century, The Fourragere Rope was given to those Units that had distinguished themselves in Combat (above normal operations). It was worn through the Arm Sleeve of the Uniform, on the Outer most garment (Coat). Double braided, the Rope originally did not have a Metal tipped end (but was frayed, in design).
In time, The Fourragere was adopted by other European Nations in design and Award criteria. Many of these Nations were once under Napoleon’s “rule” and kept the tradition with their own Armies after the end of French Rule (The Napoleonic Wars). The Award fell into disuse for a Period, was re-established in World War I. The Award is unique in that it is Awarded to other National Armies for joint Service or participation in Combat (in defense and assistance). The most issued between 1943 and 1953, was both The Belgium and French Croix de Guerre (which were based on a Medal Award).
The Fourragere is worn currently when a Soldier is assigned to a specific Unit (Division), to which the original Award was made to. It becomes a permanent part of The Dress Uniform only while the Soldier is assigned to duty with said Division. The exception is if the Soldier was serving with The Division when The Award was given by The Country of issue. If so, the Soldier would wear The Fourragere with his Dress Uniform – permanently regardless of future assignment. Many American Units that served in France and Belgium during World War II were awarded a Fourragere Rope, that is still worn on a Divisional “level”. These resemble the 19th Century versions, but now include a Brass elongated tip, which hangs down (front facing), through the Right or Left Shoulder Sleeve (under the arm). A loop affixes the Rope to the shoulder Epaulette. Many examples of Fourragere Ropes are also used by Civilian Marching Bands and Civil Service Organizations (although their criteria of Wear and use is different from The Military).