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Two-fingers salute
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Two-fingers salute

Note: This article is about the custom of saluting with two fingers. For information about the offensive two-fingers salute, see the article about its close cousin, the one-finger salute.

The two-fingers salute is a salute given using only the middle and index fingers, while bending the other fingers at the second knuckle, and with the palm facing the signer. This salute is used by Polish military and uniformed services and by Cub Scouts.

Two-fingers salute in Poland

The salute is performed with the middle and index fingers extended and touching each other, while the ring and pinky fingers are bent and touched by the thumb. The tips of the middle and index fingers touch the visor of the hat. The salute is performed only when covered.

The two-finger salute appeared in Polish military forces propably before or during the Napoleonic wars, or Kościuszko;'s uprising in 1794. Legends attributing creation of the salute to the Battle of Olszynka Grochowska during November's insurrection 1830-1831 are apparently inaccurate since at an earlier time than this, Tsar's Viceroy in Poland Grand-Duke Constantine was reported to say that "Poles salute him with two fingers because in the other three they are holding a stone ready to throw at him". All legends, however, attribute the two-finger salute to an incident when a soldier saluted his superior (most legends specify a general) with a wounded hand, from which his ring and pinky fingers had been detached as a result of a shrapnel explosion. In remembrance all Poles salute using only two fingers.

The two-finger salute is said to have caused problems for Polish units serving with the Allies on the western front during World War II. Allied officers thought that Polish soldiers saluting with two fingers were making fun of them or were deliberately trying to offend them. As a result many soldiers were arrested, but the practice was later explained by their Polish superiors. This led to the temporary use of the full hand salute when saluting foreign officers.

Cub Scouts' two-fingers salute

Cub Scouts also salute with two fingers. Cubs salute by touching their caps, while Poles touch the sides of their cap's visors; Cubs salute to their brow when uncovered, while Poles don't salute uncovered.

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