The guidon, also referred to as the colours or the standard, is an important and time honored piece of the military's history that is still observed and revered today. The guidon is thought to have originated from ancient Egytptian times, where it was believed to have represented rulers and the armies they commanded. The idea endured well into medieval European times as it was used to depict each commanders' specific coat of arms. This is so that each soldier could see through the dust and smoke created from the battlefield where their particular regiment was located, so as not to be separated from them.
We still use guidons today, though maybe not for the same purpose or in the same situations, mainly because of how advanced warfare has become. However, they are still used to represent a particular group, whether it be a company, battalion, or an entire regiment, and each is also unique. The image on each may depict something of historical significance or some past achievement specific to that group. The guidon is basically a trademark for the unit and should always be guarded.
The guidon is used for a variety of reasons. One reason is to mark the location of the command headquarters for a particular regiment. They serve as a focal point for rallying troops, promote esprit de corps, and also serve as a memorial to the fallen and a link to the unit's past. Many times over, past enemies have tried to steal the colours. Those who defended the colours and prevented their capture have been regarded as heroes in their own time. It is for this reason that the guidon ceased to be simply an identifying marker and established itself a much greater significance among each regiment. They became the heart of the regiement. Such became the significance in this context that, for a regiment to lose its colours was (and still is) a major disgrace, with the capture of an enemy's colours (or equivalent) being seen as a great honour. This is why that, whenever the...
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