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Honor Harrington's Universe

Military Uniforms

Robbie Matthews <robbiem@dynamite.com.au> has collected this information about military uniforms in David Weber's books about Honor Harrington.

Military Uniforms

  1. Royal Manticoran Navy (RMN)
  2. Royal Manticoran Marine Corps
  3. Grayson Navy (GN)
  4. Grayson Marines
  5. Masadan Navy (GN)
  6. Navy of the Anderman Empire (IAN)
  7. Navy of the Peoples' Republic of Haven (PN)


1. Royal Manticoran Navy (RMN)

The normal uniform is "Black and Gold" (primarily black, though. There is little reference to which bits are gold)(Assumably just highlights).

The Captain wears a white beret, all other crew wear a black beret. The beret has a badge showing the Manticoran coat of arms on it.

There is a tunic (primarily black) (NO buttons) with epaulets, and a turtleneck white blouse worn underneath. Trousers are black, with a gold stripe along the outer seams (This may be the dress uniform only)

Previous hyper-capable commands are indicated by a series of gold stars embroidered on the breast of the tunic (left?)

There is a Shoulder Flash on the right shoulder of the tunic, showing a rampant manticore in black on a red background.

On the left shoulder is a horseshoe shaped patch with the ships name on it.

Assumably there are also unit/speciality patches as well, but they are not mentioned specifically in the books.

The full Mess Dress uniform includes a ceremonial sword, and there is mention of considerable amounts of braid (for senior ranks)

      Known Rank insignia:
Ensign 1 gold band on sleeve
Lt-Jg 1 1/2 gold bands on sleeve
Lt 2 gold bands on sleeve
Lt-Cmdr 2 1/2 Gold bands on sleeve
Commander# Three Gold Bands on Sleeve
Captain JG# Four Gold Bands on sleeve, 4 "pips" on collar
Captain of the List# Four Gold Bands on sleeve, single "planet" on collar
Commodore# Broad band, 3 normal bands, 2 x "planets" on collar
Rear Admiral 2 Broad bands, 2 normal, 1 x 9-pointed star
Vice Admiral 3 Broad bands, 1 normal, 2 x 9-pointed stars
Admiral# Four broad gold Bands on sleeve, 3 x 9-pointed stars on collar

(The '#' are confirmed by actual book references, the others are inferred)

Staff offices wear a gold "aguilette" (a loop of braid) dangling from the left(?) shoulder.

A half band is a very thin band
Pips are diamond shape used by Commonwealth Forces (British, Canadian, Australian, etc).

      Enlisted Ranks:
Tech/crewmember 3rd 1 stripe
Tech/crewmember 2nd 2 stripes
Tech/crewmember 1st 3 stripes
Petty Officer (P.O) 3rd class 1 chevron
P.O. 2nd class 2 chevrons
P.O. 1st class 3 chevrons
Chief P.O. 3 chevrons & 1 rocker
Senior Chief P.O. 3 chevrons & 2 rockers
Master Chief P.O. 3 chevrons & 3 rockers
Snr Master C.P.O.# 3 chevrons & 3 rockers, with crown (or is it a wreath) on top rocker.
(For the "Bosun" put an anchor in the center of the chevrons)

1) "Gunny" is the highest ranking Marine NCO on a ship.

2) The highest ranking Navy NCO on a ship is called "Bosun".

3) The anchor between the chevrons and rocker indicates that the wearer is a "boatswain's mate".

COMMENT: The rank "Bosun" may be somewhat unofficial, an unwritten rule. So perhaps there are no uniform details to indicate that a NCO is the "Bosun". // Bo Johansson

(A Chevron is a sort of 'V', a "rocker" is a curved line over the chevron (like (>>> (on it's side))) and the stripes in this case refer to short diagonal lines)

It's a reasonable guess that specialty badges would also go in the same general vicinity, but that's not actually supported by any references.

Enlisted ranks wear re-enlistment stripes ("hash marks"), these are given every 3 Manticoran years (5 T-years) of service.

This is a useful site for background info:

This is the sum total of my knowledge from scouring through the books.

The rank insignia seem to be more or less in line with the current US Navy rank insignia, although there does not appear the be an equivalent of "Captain (Junior Grade)" in either the US or British navies.

That being the case, the following collar insignia could apply:

      Collar Insignia
Ensign 1 'closed' pip
Lt. JG 1 'closed' pip and 1 open 'pip'
Lt. SG 2 'closed' pips
Lt. Cmdr. 2 'closed' pips and 1 open 'pip'
Cmdr. 3 'closed' pips
Capt. JG 4 'closed' pips
Capt. SG Full planet
Commodore 2 planets
Rear Admiral 1 star (nine pointed)
Vice Admiral 2 stars (nine pointed)
Admiral 3 stars (nine pointed)
Fleet Admiral 4 stars (nine pointed)

COMMENT: There should be something to indicate if an admiral is "of the Red" or "of the Green". // Bo Johansson

(A 'closed' pip is a solid shape, and an 'open' pip is a hollow shape)

As for noncoms, nothing specific is mentioned in the books but:

"US Army uses long diagonal stripes on left fore-arm for enlistments, short horizontal bars for combat tours (hershey bars)."

"Officers wear enlistment stripes only if earned for service prior to receiving a commission."


2-7. Other Services:

Manticoran Marines wear green and black

Grayson Navy wears blue.

"...The short waisted tunic was a lighter blue than the trousers, which seemed an equally unnatural reversal of the way things ought to be, and the gold leaves on her visor...." "...high peaked, visored cap..." (from Flag in Exile) (and mentions archaic buttons)

Grayson Marines wear green and brown

Masadan Navy wears Scarlet and Gold

IAN (Anderman Navy) wears white.

I THINK that the PN has a uniform similar to the RMN, but there is no actual mention I can find for sure.


HHhomg Go to my "Homage to Honor Harrington", where you will also find links.
HHranks Military Ranks in the different military services mentioned in the Honor Harrington Novels.
HHdate Go to the Honor Harrington Date Conversion Calculator
HHtbru Or see what David Weber himself says about ranks and uniforms in an excerpt from his "Tech Bible".

Most recent revision 8 JAN 1999.
(Minor update 15 JUL 1999, 15 OCT 2000, 10 DEC 2000, 21 JAN 2001)

The information on this page has been collected by Robbie Matthews <robbiem@dynamite.com.au>.

© Bo Johansson 2014-10-18

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