1st Battalion Rhodesian Light Infantry 

Origins of Light Infantry & their Distinctive Horn Badge


Prussian Light Infantryman from the late 1700’s era wearing green jacket & bugle horn hat badge The Light Infantry is descended from what was known as “light troops”. These soldiers were trained to be highly mobile and act independently on the battlefield, within the framework of the battle, with their role being to skirmish ahead of the main force to ambush enemy whilst enroute to the battlefield and/or, prevent the enemy from properly forming up for battle.

Prussia recruited light troops from its hunters (Jägers) and gamekeepers as these men were accustomed to operating independently in the forests, using ground & natural surroundings for concealment and, were skilled in marksmanship & observation.


By necessity, light troops needed to be highly mobile however, the established method for conveying orders on the battlefield (drum beat) was found to be too cumbersome and was quickly replaced by hunting horns, which were traditionally carried by German Jägers, and which could be used either as a musical instrument or, as a gunpowder container.

The term bugle originates from the French word bugleret, which was derived from the Latin buculus, meaning young bull The ancient European Wild Ox was called a Bugle and it was from this animal that German first obtained their hunting horns. Ancient European Ox Horn

Halbmond Horn Symbolically, bugle horns had for centuries been associated with hunters & foresters however, it was the Germans who first introduced the bugle horn badge and Jaeger (hunter) green dress into military uniform, one of the earliest Regiments, being the Prussian Field Jaeger Corps of 1744. As time went on bugle horns were made from metal with the large copper semi-circular The horn became a symbol for all Light Infantry & is correctly referred to as a Bugle Horn