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Holy Roman Empire Military Flags

Heiliges Römisches Reich militärische Markierungsfahnen

Last modified: 2012-11-12 by pete loeser
Keywords: holy roman empire |
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Military Flag of the Holy Roman Empire 1200-1350
Militärische Flagge des Heiligen Römischen Reiches

Image by Jaume Ollé

Note: The colours red and white were very significant in the Holy Roman Empire. When the Holy Roman Empire took part in the Crusades, a red and white war flag was flown alongside the black-gold Imperial banner. This flag had a white cross on a red background: the reverse of the St. George's Cross used as the flag of England.


On this page: See also:

Introduction: The Army of Holy Roman Empire.

     The Imperial Army of the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsarmee) was first created in 1422. The army was not a permanent standing army, but was mustered when there was some danger. Because of this, many of the imperial troops had stronger local ties than any loyalty to the Emperor.
     The size of the Army was controlled by the Imperial Army Constitution (Reichsdefensionalordnung) of 1681 which determined the composition of the army, and fixed the levy of how many troops had to be provided by the various "Imperial Circles" of the Empire.
     The Imperial Register (Reichsmatrikel or Heeresmatrikel) determined levy of the individual states. The total strength was eventually set at 40,000 men, consisting of 28,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry, including 2,000 dragoons (mounted infantry). In emergencies, however, the size of the army could be increased by doubling or tripling the contingents.
Text edited from Wikipedia


Imperial Assault Banner/Imperial War Banner
Reichsturmfahne


Speculative image by Pete Loeser, 24 July 2011

Like the Imperial Banner the War flag had a black (one-headed) eagle on a gold field, with a red Schwenkel attached.
Norman Martin, 14 January 1998


Imperial War Flag (Saint George's Flag) 1200-1350
Imperial Krieg Flagge (St. George Flagge)

[Imperial War Flag (Holy Roman Empire, Germany)]
Image by Jaume Ollé

Two additional flags associated with the Empire worth mentioning are the Sankt Georg Fahne - a white St. George's cross on a red field frequently with a Schwenkel - (Smith 1975, p.115, labels this the Imperial War Flag) and the Reichsturmfahne.
Norman Martin, 14 Jan 1998

Even though I found no reference to the Sankt Georg Flagge as war flag except in Smith 1975, it is clear that its primary use was military and in view of Smith's identification, I would not be surprised if it were sometimes or even frequently called Reichskriegsflagge.
Norman Martin, 15 Mar 2000


6th Company, Infantry, Regiment Waldmannshausen 1620
6. Kompanie, Infanterieregiment Waldmannshausen

[Unterpfälzisches Regiment  zu Fuß Waldmannshausen (1620) (Holy Roman Empire, Germany)] Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009

Unterpfälzisches Regiment  zu Fuß Waldmannshausen (1620) - 6th Company: yellow with red bend.

Source: Fahnen und Flaggen. Eine bunte Fibel by Ottfried Neubecker, 1939 [neu39a], p.26-27

  1. Accroding to source this regiment was divided into at least 10 companies. The image of the 6th company is given, the flags of the companies 7, 8, 9 and 10 are described.
  2. [neu39a] mentions, that this type is very seldom. The companies of this regiment all have the same pattern, but the colours are varied. So having the same pattern, the flags can be reconstructed.
  3. All companies of this regiment had a flag with ratio est. 4:5 and had been divided per bend.
  4. The flags of companies 1 to 5 are not described. Probably the basic colour of 1st company was white (colonel), but there is no proof.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009


7th Company, Infantry, Regiment Waldmannshausen 1620
7. Kompanie, Infanterieregiment Waldmannshausen

[Unterpfälzisches Regiment  zu Fuß Waldmannshausen (1620) (Holy Roman Empire, Germany)] Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009

Unterpfälzisches Regiment zu Fuß Waldmannshausen (1620), 7th Company: blue with red bend.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009


8th Company, Infantry, Regiment Waldmannshausen
8. Kompanie, Infanterieregiment Waldmannshausen

[Unterpfälzisches Regiment  zu Fuß Waldmannshausen (1620) (Holy Roman Empire, Germany)] Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009

Unterpfälzisches Regiment zu Fuß Waldmannshausen (1620), 8th Company: yellow with blue bend.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009


9th Company, Infantry, Regiment Waldmannshausen
9. Kompanie, Infanterieregiment Waldmannshausen

[Unterpfälzisches Regiment  zu Fuß Waldmannshausen (1620) (Holy Roman Empire, Germany)] Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009

Unterpfälzisches Regiment zu Fuß Waldmannshausen (1620), 9th Company: blue with yellow bend
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009


10th Company, Infantry, Regiment Waldmannshausen
10. Kompanie, Infanterieregiment Waldmannshausen

[Unterpfälzisches Regiment  zu Fuß Waldmannshausen (1620) (Holy Roman Empire, Germany)] Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009

Unterpfälzisches Regiment zu Fuß Waldmannshausen (1620), 10th Company: blue with white bend.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009


Flags of Battle of Moncontour 1569

Brief history of Third Huguenot War (1568-1570)

  1. Parties were Catholics and Protestants(Huguenots), which had been followers of the Calvinist wing of Protestantism.War broke out half a year after the end of the 2nd Huguenot war. The Protestants were defeated on 13 March 1569 at Jarmac and their leader Louis I of Bourbon-Condé had been captured and executed.
  2. Winner was the later king of France Henry III, the new leader of the Protestants, admiral Coligny also was defeated at Moncontour on 3 October 1569.
  3. Duke Wolfgang of Palatinate-Zweibrücken was a follower of Calvin, while most German protestant rulers were Lutherans. The duke decided to help his French brothers in face. He died during the campaign. The colours of his regiments got lost in the battle of Moncontour. Probably they can be seen somewhere in France.
  4. According to [neu39a] the troops on foot of that era used rectangular flags, sometimes with embowed ends and fixed at a short flagpole, while the cavalry used triangular standards. I denote troops on foot as infantry, though this denomination probably was introduced later in Spain(?) (troops of the infante).
Some of these flags look like I’ve plundered a harlekin`s wardrobe and converted his costumes to flags. It was, however, very common in the 16th century to use monochrome pieces of the same colours diffferently shaped as distinguishing marks of the single companies.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009

There are several places called Moncontour in France. The Battle of Moncontour took place near the village of Moncontour (1,008 inhabitants in 2006), located in the department of Vienne, historical province of Poitou. The battle was of short duration, but particularly bloody: the Huguenots lost 6,000 men (nearly one third of their troops), while the Catholics lost "only" 600 men. Henri III then bore the title of the Duke of Anjou.

  1. An engraving representing the Battle of Moncontour (with flags) is available here.
  2. The original is shown at the Georges Turpin Museum, Parthenay.
  3. Another representation of the battle, in colours (with flags), is available here.
  4. A detailed account of the battle is available here (in French).
Ivan Sache, 24 Jun 2009


Ducal Regiment Flag

[Ducal regiment flag (1569) (Holy Roman Empire, Germany)]
Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009

Ducal regiment flag: The ratio was approx 11:19 plus an embowed end added to the fly. The hoist consists of diamonds of the colours blue, red, yellow and white. The fly consists of  nine horitontal stripes in order: yellow-blue-red-yellow-red-blue-white-yellow-red. One single red diamond is superimposed by a small white cross like that one of Schwyz canton, but in this case it is the ensign of the alliance of Huguenots.
Source: [neu32], p.31, image no.98
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009


Ducal Cavalry Flag

[Ducal cavalry flag (1569) (Holy Roman Empire, Germany)]
Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009

Ducal cavalry flag: It is a triangular pennant, mainly white but with blue, black and yellow pieces of cloth. The white cross of the alliance of Huguenots is placed into the upper blue piece of cloth.
Source: [neu32], p.31, image no.99
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009


Regiment Hohengeroldseck

[Regiment Hohengeroldseck flag (1569) (Holy Roman Empire, Germany)]
Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009

Regiment Hohengeroldseck: The ratio was approx 11:19 plus an embowed end added to the fly. The hoist was yellow, flamed five times horizontally red. The fly was red with the white cross of the alliance of Huguenots in its centre. The regiment was lead by count Quirin Gangolf of Hohengeroldseck, which was a small territory in the Black Forrest. The count was colonel of 15 companies and in service of Wolfgang of Palatinate-Zweibrücken. The flags of all companies were red and yellow with the white cross. The patterns of the companies were different.
Sources: [neu32], p.31 , image no.100;  [neu39a], p.27
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009


Regiment Granweiler

[Regiment Granweiler flag (1569) (Holy Roman Empire, Germany)]
Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009

Regiment Granweiler: The ratio was approx 11:19 plus an embowed end added to the fly. It was a 7-stripes flag, divided horizontally with ratio 1:1:1:3:1:1:1. The central stripe was red with with the white cross of the alliance of Huguenots in its centre. The others were from top to bottom: red-yellow-mixed - mixed-blue-white. The mixed stripes were divided horizontally twice into:blue-red-yellow-white(upper) and white-yellow-red-blue(lower). I found no information about Granweiler.
Sources: [neu39a], p.27
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 Jun 2009


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