A wound stripe is a distinction of dress bestowed on soldiers wounded in combat. It was typically worn on military uniform jackets.
In the French Army, the wound bar or Insigne des blessés militaires, was awarded beginning in 1916.
The British Army began awarding a brass "Wound Stripe" in 1916, with approval by King George V. The badge was worn on the left forearm, fastened through the uniform cloth. Additional badges were granted for subsequent wounds. The badge was reintroduced in 1944 for the Second World War, and a cloth version was introduced for use with Battle Dress. British soldiers have not been awarded wound stripes for injuries sustained in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force, Canadian Expeditionary Force, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and other Empire troops followed suit in the First World War, and issued wound stripes according to British practice. During the Second World War, they also followed British practice. The wound stripe was not reintroduced for the Korean War, but a version for the Canadian Forces uniform was developed and worn by soldiers injured on operational deployments beginning in the 1990s, including Afghanistan. The Sacrifice Medal replaced the wound stripe for all members of the Canadian Forces in 2008. The award has also been opened to soldiers of an allied force or civilians working for Canadian Forces personnel.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Soviet soldiers in the Great Patriotic War wore a yellow cloth stripe over the right breast to indicate wounds received in battle requiring medical attention; a red stripe indicated less serious wounds.
In World War I United States soldiers received stripes called Wound Chevrons. These looked exactly the same as Overseas Service Chevrons, but were always gold and worn on the right arm. (At that time the brown Overseas Chevron was worn on the left sleeve. Today its redesigned successor, the Overseas Service Bar, is worn on the right sleeve. Service Stripes are now worn on the left sleeve.) In 1932 the Wound Chevron was replaced by the Purple Heart, and World War I veterans could apply for the new medal.
- Verwundetenabzeichen or Wound badge
- Sacrifice Medal — replaced the wound stripe for Canadians.
- Purple Heart — wound medal awarded to U.S. service personnel