The following is a list of references that I have found useful. If there are references that you would like to see included, contact Insigne.
The Internet is an extraordinary resource, but to find what you need, a search engine is a necessity. Google is probably the most famous of the many engines out there—to the extent that its name has entered the language as a verb. There was a time when I used Google exclusively. That changed after I added a lengthy article to this website, and a search of its title on Google, well over a month later, failed to turn it up. I ran the same search on Yahoo’s search engine, and the article was the second item listed among the matches. Since then, I have found other instances where Yahoo produced better results. The moral of the story: for best results, use more than one search engine.
Authorized Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. Army, compiled and published by Chris Aleck, 2005. Spiral-bound, loose leaf reference that contains approximately 1,000 black and white line drawings of cloth insignia that were authorized for wear by the U.S. Army. In addition to stating the colors of the patches illustrated, the various fields of the drawings contain patterns of lines, dots, and dashes that are coded to colors. Also specified are the type of unit (Regular Army, Organized Reserve, etc.), dates the unit was active, and whether the patch was color, subdued, subdued twill, or desert subdued. A copy of the book may be obtained directly from the author for $10 plus $3 shipping (within the U.S.). Chris Aleck, P.O. Box 283, Worth, IL 60482. Email: email@example.com.
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. Armed Forces 1941-1945 by Richard A. Smith & Roy A. Pelz, published by Richard W. Smith, 1981. Features 32 color plates of nearly 500 cloth insignia of the WWII period and concise histories of the units that each represents. A solid, basic reference book. Out of print.
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. Army 1946-1989 by Richard A. Smith, published by Richard W. Smith, 1978, 1985, 1990. Features 39 color plates and very brief descriptions of the units represented. Out of print.
OSS Weapons II by Dr. John W. Brunner, Phillips Publications, 2005. Richly illustrated, meticulously researched, and written by a veteran of OSS, this is the most authoritative and comprehensive work on this subject. A must-have reference for historians and the serious collector of OSS artifacts. The book may be obtained directly from John W. Brunner Books.
The Airborne Album by John C. Andrews; Phillips Publications. Vol. 1 (softbound, 1981): Parachute test platoon to Normandy; Vol. 2 (hardbound, 1994): Normandy. Pictorial records of the U.S. Airborne from its inception through WWII. Out of print.
Fakes and Reproductions of the Vietnam War, volumes 1 and 2, by Gilbert W. Burkett. An extensive, indispensable reference for collectors of insignia of the Vietnam War . Available in two CDs (volumes 1 and 2) that require Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free download) for reading and printing, and, of course, a computer. Each volume is available from the author at 15017 Dorcas Circle, Omaha, NE 68144-2037, for $19.95 plus $4.25 for priority mail shipping within the US and $8.50 outside the US. Orders may be placed via PayPal by making payment to firstname.lastname@example.org
Some Talk of Private Armies by Len Whittaker; Albanium Publishing, 1984. A slender book focusing on a handful of units and their insignia (SAS, Phantom, LRDG, Auxiliary Units, Women's Transport Service, Britis Security Co-ordination, Political Warfare Executive, SAS, Indian Long Range Squadron, Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army, British Army Aid group, V Force, Chindits, Greek Sacred Squadron, Popski's Private Army, Burma Intelligence Corps, Indian Field Broadcasting Units, Raiding Support Regiment, Lushai, Brigade, R Force, Land Forces Adriatic, D Force, SAARF). Features color photographs of 58 rare insignia. Out of print.
Allied Special Forces Insignia 1939-1948 by Peter Taylor; Leo Cooper, Pen & Sword Books, Ltd., 2000. This ambitious book covers the insignia of the Commandos, SAS, OSS, Rangers, Allied airborne units, various private armies and other 'special forces' of the WWII era. This is accomplished through many illustrations of rare insignia and of personnel wearing them, and through text sketching the history of the units and their insignia. As tends to be the case when one addresses a broad topic, the quality and depth of coverage is uneven. I noted several errors and the inclusion of a few insignia of questionable authenticity in sections where I have expertise. Whether this trend continues throughout the book, I cannot say. (I would expect that it does not, as those sections I do not feel qualified to judge are ones where I would expect the author, who is British, and his sources to be on firmer ground.) My overall sense is that with a little more research and greater care editing for accuracy, the text of this book could have been raised to the level of the illustrations, producing a truly outstanding reference. Nevertheless, this is a reference that collectors with an interest in the topic that is the title of the book will wish to add to their libraries.
Military Badges of the British Empire 1914-18 by Reginald Cox; Ernest Benn Ltd., 1982. A large, richly illustrated (b&w photos) work that is a must-have reference for anyone with an interest in its subject (includes Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa). Out of print and expensive when it turns up.
Head-dress Badges of the British Army by Arthur L. Kipling and Hugh L. King, published by Frederick Muller Ltd. 1973, revised 1978. Volume 1 covers up to WWI; volume 2 covers WWI to present (circa late 1970s). The standard reference for British badges. Out of print.
Distinguishing Colour Patches of the Australian Military Forces 1915-1951 by Keith Glyde, published by Skennerton (Tasmania), 1999. describes over 1,500 different colour patches.
Australian Army Badges: A collectors Reference by J. K. Cossum; privately published by the author, 1994. Softbound. Part 1: 1930-1942; Part 2: 1900-1930. Features b&w photographs of badges of the periods in question. An easy to use, useful reference.
Military Badges of the Australian Colonies 1800-1903 by Rick Grebert; Landera Publishing, 2000. Features b&w photographs of early Australian badges.
The Regimental Badges of New Zealand by D. A. Corbett; Ray Richards publisher, 1970. Covers the badges of the Army of New Zealand from the 1840s to the 1970s. Features b&w photographs and histories of the units represented
Badges and Insignia of the New Zealand Army by Geoffrey P. Oldham; Oldham Books (NZ). Softbound. Covers army, police, and militia badges from 1867 to 1997, and gives estimates of value at the time of publication. A useful guide for collectors. The author is a well-known dealer of militaria in NZ; the book may still be available from him.
The Indian Army by Boris Mollo; Blandford Press, 1981. A history (not an insignia guide) of the Indian Army from the 1600s to 1947.