Bestellen Sie Ihre Fahnen / Flaggen im Flaggen-Shop bei fahnenversand.de


Diese Website beschäftigt sich mit der Wissenschaft der Vexillologie (Flaggenkunde).
Alle auf dieser Website dargebotenen Abbildungen dienen ausschließlich der Informationsvermittlung im Sinne der Flaggenkunde.
Der Hoster dieser Seite distanziert sich ausdrücklich von jedweden hierauf u.U. dargestellten Symbolen verfassungsfeindlicher Organisationen.

This is a mirror of a page that is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website.
Anything above the previous line isnt part of the Flags of the World Website and was added by the hoster of this mirror.

Rank Flags of the Imperial Navy 1870-1919 (Germany)

Last modified: 2012-09-05 by pete loeser
Keywords: rank | imperial navy |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors



On this page: See also:

Introduction

Most of the rank flags were adopted in the Prussian Navy in 1858, then continued by the North German Navy in 1867, then by the German Imperial Navy after 1871, and continued in use by the Weimar Republic from the start and the Nazi regime until its end in 1945, and finally readopted by the Federal Navy in 1956 and are still in use - they were by the way not used by the German Democratic Republic Volksmarine). Some of the specialized flags were adopted later (e.g. Inspector General of the Navy) and these were generally not continued under the Weimar Republic.
Norman Martin, 2 Apr 2000


Emperor's Broad Pennant
Breitwimpel des Kaisers


Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 23 October 2009

A white broad pennant, in the hoist the Imperial crown on a crossed scepter and sword on an Iron Cross on a white field. It is raised only by special command of the Kaiser. It is the highest command symbol of the Navy. (Illustrated Crampton 1990 p. 42 and Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1912 vol. 4, facing p. 799).
Norman Martin, 1998

The ratio of the Broad Pennant of Emperor (Breitwimpel des Kaisers) is approx 1:4. The pennant is symmetric, has a square at the hoist side, becomes more and more narrow and ends in an embowed line. The pennant is white. On the square is an iron cross, superimposed by sword and scepter, crossed saltirishly. The whole is superimposed by the emperor's crown, all elements except the iron cross are yellow. Sources: [stl99]; opp.p.84, plate XXI, fig.I [sig12]; flagchart 24 row 2, left
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 23 October 2009


Empress' Broad Pennant
Breitwimpel der Kaiserin


Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 23 October 2009

Schlawe 1913 - published by Moritz Ruhl, who also published the Flaggenbuch 1905 for the German Navy - also shows an Empress's Broad Pennant which is white with a gold empress's crown on a white square at the hoist (Schlawe 1913 shows a thin black line dividing this square from the fly of the pennant).
Joseph McMillan, 6 Dec 2001

The ratio of the Broad pennant of Empress (Breitwimpel der Kaiserin) is approx 1:4. The pennant is white. The shape is the same like that one of the Emperor's broad pennant. On the square is the crown of the empress in natural colour. Sources: [sig12]; flagchart 24 row 2, right. My image is based on a spot, taken at Internationales Maritimes Museum, Hamburg, on 24 September 2009.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 23 October 2009

I've wondered about this construction before. Not just how it came into being, but also about what the images of such flags represent. There's usually a line between the square and the rest, but is this just drawing or would one see that? In this case it's in part transparent, as if the parts are separate pieces of cloth. But are they? Or are they at the least sewn together?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 5 January 2012

I can provide you at least with some details about the Empress Broad Pennat in Tamm-Museum in Hamburg. The pennant is made of linen or cotton in natural colour, probably double sided, the crown is painted onto the sheet, the corners at the hoist are strengthened/fortified, it looks as if the part with the crown and the rest of the pennant are sewn together.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 January 2012

The panel looks more or less square; is it assumed to be a square? But this would suggest the transparent partial dividing line in the image of the Emperor's Broad Pennant shouldn't be there; just the grey line. So, this is like a square flag with a hoist wide swenkel? Or do these represent the type of banner the swenkel was derived from? The panel could have come into existence trough a custom of displaying a special charge there. Is there a separate name for pennants which such a panel?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 11 January 2012


Flag of the State Secretary of the Imperial Naval Office
Flagge des Staatssekretärs des Reichs-Marine-Amts

[State Secretary of the Imperial Naval Office (Imperial Germany)] Image by Jaume Ollé

The admiral's flag with 2 crossed gold anchors in the lower hoist. (Illustrated Crampton 1990 p. 42, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1912 vol. 4, facing p. 799 and National Geographic 1917 p. 350, no. 595).
Norman Martin, 1998


Flag of the Inspector General of the Navy 1899-1919
Flagge des General-inspekteurs der Marine

[Inspector General of the Navy (Imperial Germany)] Image by Jaume Ollé

The admiral's flag with a red border occupying 1/5th of the length of the flag, outside of the cross. (Illustrated Crampton 1990 p. 42, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1912 vol. 4, facing p. 799 and National Geographic 1917 p. 367, no. 1016).
Norman Martin, 1998


Flag of the Naval Chief of Staff
Flagge des Chefs des Admiralstabes

[Flag of the Naval Chief of Staff] Image by Martin Grieve, 2 Oct 2008

The admiral's flag with, at the center, a disk of white in which is contained a rope circle and a downward pointing rope sword. (Illustrated National Geographic 1917 p. 367, no. 1019).
Norman Martin, 1998

     In the Admiralty Flag book of 1916 appears an illustration of Imperial Germany's Chief of Naval Staff - shown without any black balls. There is a note beneath this which reads: "As blazoned above, if of Admiral's rank with one or two black balls in Canton or Cantons next the staff, if of Vice Admirals or Rear Admirals rank as for the Admirals flag, Plate 87. Is saluted according to the rank of Flag Officer as laid down in the International Scale of Salutes."
     Plate 87 shows the rank flags of the various other Admirals: Chief of Naval Staff (Admiral), Chief of Naval Staff (Vice-Admiral), and Chief of Naval Staff (Rear-Admiral).
     The earliest illustration of this flag I have seen is the 1905 Flaggenbuch, and presumable these were no longer flown after 1918.
Martin Grieve, 2 Oct 2008


Chief of Naval Staff
Vice-Admiral

[Chief of Naval Staff; Vice-Admiral] Image by Martin Grieve, 2 Oct 2008


Chief of Naval Staff
Rear-Admiral

[Chief of Naval Staff; Rear-Admiral] Image by Martin Grieve, 2 Oct 2008


Grand Admiral's Flag
Grossadmiralsflagge

[Grand Admiral's Flag] Image by Martin Grieve, 2 Oct 2008

The admiral's flag with an imperial crown on 2 crossed batons at the center of the flag. (Illustrated Crampton 1990 p. 42, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1912 vol. 4, facing p. 799 and National Geographic 1917 p. 367, no. 1015).
Norman Martin, 1998


Minister of Navy
later changed to "Chief of Admiralty"

[Chief of the Admiralty?'s Flag] Image by Martin Grieve, 5 Oct 2008

In the 1889 edition of Album des Pavillon, plate IV fig.4 shows a square white flag defaced with the Iron cross and 4 red anchors arranged diagonally with flukes toward the centre. It is titled Chef de l'amirauté. Perhaps this is "Chief of the Admiralty?" I would appreciate any information on this flag.
Martin Grieve, 5 Oct 2008

In [sig12] flagchart 23; row 4 column 1, I found a very similar flag. I believe it is the same as yours. It is underlined as "Marineminister, später Chef der Admiralität 1865-1869" (Minister of Navy later Chief of Admiralty). As German Empire was established in 1871, it has to be a flag of Prussia or perhaps North German Federation instead. The author Rud SIEGEL was a German admiral. Therefore, I think his underlining is dependable.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 5 Oct 2008


The Commanding Admiral 1889-1899
Der kommandierende Admiral

[Commanding Admiral 1889-1899 (Germany)] 1:1 Image by Eugene Ipavec, 27 January 2012
(Image Source: "Flags of Maritime Nations", version 1899, published by Bureau of Equipment of the Department of the (US) Navy; plate no.67)

Admiral's flag with golden crown in the middle.
Norman Martin, 1998

The Commanding Admiral was not a rank in itself, but an appointment which existed before the rank of Grand Admiral was established.
Miles Li, 19 December 2011

In Jörg Karaschewski's excellent "Flags of the German Empire" (2009) he states "The Supreme Decree of 26 March 1889 was published on 30 March 1889. The rank flag of an Admiral in Command showed the Imperial Crown in the center of an Admiral's flag." (p. 47) He then further states: "The flag of an Admiral in Command was abolished by the Supreme Decree of 17 April 1899. Simultaneously the flag of the 'Inspector General of the Navy' was created and published on 20 April 1899."(p. 49) Based on this, I believe the dates of the flag should be 1889-1899.
Pete Loeser, 20 January 2012


Admiral's Flag 1867-1945 and since 1956
Admiralsflagge

[Admiral 1867-1945 and 1956-nowadays (Germany)] 1:1 Image by Marcus Schmöger

On a white field a narrow Iron Cross whose arms reach the edge of the flag. On a three-master, flown from the top mast by an admiral, from the fore mast by a vice-admiral, from the rear mast by a rear-admiral; on a two-master from the rear mast by an admiral, from the fore mast by a vice-admiral. This flag was probably in use as early as 1867, certainly by the mid 1880s and has continued in use until today, except for the few years in which there was no German Navy, and for East Germany from 1945 until 1990. As far as I know, the complex rule on officer's flags expired with the end of the Empire. Illustrated in Crampton 1990 p. 42, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1912 vol. 4, facing p. 799, National Geographic 1917 p. 350, no. 596 and Flaggenbuch 1939 p. 4.
Norman Martin, 1998

Until when was the Prussian (later German) Admiralflagge used for all admirals [admirals, vice-admirals and rear-admirals]?.
Santiago Dotor, 10 Oct 2000

Meyer's Encyclopedia early in the century said: Auf Dreimastern führt der Admiral diese flagge im Großtopp, der Vizeadmiral im Vortopp, der Konteradmiral im Kreuztopp; auf zweimastigen Schiffen führt der Admiral sie im hintern, der Vizeadmiral im vordern Mast. Note that at this time the rank flags with black balls had already been adopted. On 29 October 1904, the usage referred to was discontinued in favor of the black balls. Note that the black balls were already in use for single mast ships.
Norman Martin, 11 Oct 2000

     Also on boats and, in the case of the rear admiral's flag, on two-masted ships, according to the Flags of Maritime Nations 1899 and the British Admiralty's Drawings of the Flags in Use at the Present Time by Various Nations 1916. Note that the Admiralty book was still describing the use of the plain Iron Cross flag for all three ranks depending on the mast it was hoisted on 12 years after Norman Martin reports it as having been dropped. I wonder if British naval intelligence was just slow on the uptake or if usage had not caught up with regulations?
     Drawings of the Flags in Use at the Present Time by Various Nations 1916 also says that German ships of the 2nd Squadron of the Battle Fleet used red instead of black balls on vice and rear admirals' flags. Flags of Maritime Nations 1870 indicates the same system being used for French, British, and US flag officers - tricolor, St. George, and 13 red and white stripes respectively, flown at main, fore, or mizzen for admiral, vice admiral and rear admiral, with additional charges (stars or balls) added only for use aboard boats and tenders. In Flags of Maritime Nations 1882 the US had dropped this system, but UK and France still used it. France had dropped it in Flags of Maritime Nations 1899.
Joseph McMillan, 11 Oct 2000

Regarding naval rank flags in the past, it was common practice until the mid-to-late nineteenth century for admirals of any grade (admiral, vice admiral, rear admiral) to fly the same flag, their grade being distinguished by its being hoisted at the mainmast (admiral), foremast (vice admiral), or mizzenmast (rear admiral). Variations in the basic design were adopted originally for use in boats (where there was no way to differentiate ranks by hoisting the flag at different locations) and later carried over to use aboard ship as developments in ship design progressively eliminated one or two of the traditional three masts. As a result, between about 1860 and 1890 you will find all major navies moving to the modern system of a different flag for each grade.
Joseph McMillan, 16 Oct 2001

Schlawe 1913 - published by Moritz Ruhl, who also published the Flaggenbuch 1905 for the German Navy - shows and describes the vice admiral's and rear admiral's flags with black balls as still used only in ships with less than three masts and in boats. In three-masted ships, Schlawe still has the plain admiral's flag used for all ranks, with distinction between them reflected by hoisting on the main, fore, or mizzen mast. Norman Martin says above that this system was discontinued in 1904, presumably by the Flaggen-, Salut- und Besuchsordnung of that year, which is listed at the beginning of Schlawe 1913 as one of its sources.
Joseph McMillan, 6 Dec 2001


Vice Admiral's Flag 1867-1945 and since 1956
Vizeadmiralsflagge

[Vice Admiral 1867-1945 and since 1956 (Germany)] 1:1 Image by Marcus Schmöger

The admiral's flag with a black ball in the upper hoist. Used only for one-mast ships during the Empire. This flag was probably in use as early as 1867, certainly by the mid 1880s and has continued in use until today, except for the few years in which there was no German Navy, and for East Germany from 1945 until 1990. Illustrated in Crampton 1990 p. 42, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1912 vol. 4, facing p. 799, National Geographic 1917 p. 350, no. 597 and Flaggenbuch 1939 p. 4.
Norman Martin, 1998

The diameter of the black disc should be 9/50ths of the flag's height, according to Flaggenbuch 1939.
Santiago Dotor, 25 May 2000


Rear Admiral's Flag 1867-1945 and since 1956
Konteradmiralsflagge

[Rear Admiral 1867-1945 and since 1956 (Germany)] 1:1 Image by Marcus Schmöger

The admiral's flag with a black ball in the upper hoist and one in the lower hoist. Used only for one-mast ships during the Empire. This flag was probably in use as early as 1867, certainly by the mid 1880s and has continued in use until today, except for the few years in which there was no German Navy, and for East Germany from 1945 until 1990. Illustrated in Crampton 1990 p. 42, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1912 vol. 4, facing p. 799, National Geographic 1917 p. 350, no. 598 and Flaggenbuch 1939 p. 4.
Norman Martin, 1998

The diameter of the black discs should be 9/50ths of the flag's height, according to Flaggenbuch 1939.
Santiago Dotor, 25 May 2000


Commodore's and Senior Officer's Pennant 1867-1945
Kommodore- und Dienstalterstander

[Commodore's and Senior Officer's Pennant 1867-1945 (Germany)]
2:5 Image by Marcus Schmöger

White swallow-tailed flag with narrow Iron Cross in hoist, extending to inner point of swallow tail. Also used by the senior officer of a unit. This flag was probably in use as early as 1867, certainly by the mid 1880s and continued in use until 1945. Illustrated in Crampton 1990 p. 42, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1912 vol. 4, facing p. 799, National Geographic 1917 p. 350, no. 600 and Flaggenbuch 1939 p. 5.
Norman Martin, 1998


Flotilla Pennant 1867-1945 (now Squadron Commander Pennant)
Flotillenstander

[Flotilla Pennant 1867-1945 (Germany)]
2:5 Image by Marcus Schmöger

Same as the Commodore's Pennant, but hung from a point [i.e. displayed with the hoist attached to a crossbar, like a vexillum]. This flag was probably in use as early as 1867, certainly by the mid-1880s and continued in use until 1945. Illustrated Crampton 1990 p. 42, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1912 vol. 4, facing p. 799 and Flaggenbuch 1939 p. 5. This flag has continued in use by the Federal Navy for the Squadron Commander although the rank of Commodore no longer exists.
Norman Martin, 1998


Division Pennant 1867-1945 and since 1956
Divisionsstander

[Flag for an Officer Commanding a Division 1867-1945 and since 1956 (Germany)]
Image by Marcus Schmöger

White triangular pennant with narrow Iron Cross in hoist. This flag was probably in use as early as 1867, certainly by the mid 1880s and has continued in use until today, except for the few years in which there was no German Navy, and for East Germany from 1945 until 1990. (Illustrated Crampton 1990 p. 42, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1912 vol. 4, facing p. 799, National Geographic 1917 p. 350, no. 600 and Flaggenbuch 1939 p. 4).
Norman Martin, 1998


Commissioning Pennant 1867-1945 and since 1956
Kriegswimpel (War Pennant)

[Commissioning Pennant 1867-1945 and since 1956 (Germany)]
Image by Marcus Schmöger


Task Group Leader Pennant
Führerstander

[Task Group Leader Pennant or 'Führerstander' 1871-1918 (Germany)]
Image by Jaume Ollé

     A black-white-red burgee pennant. Schlawe 1913 - published by Moritz Ruhl, who also published the Flaggenbuch 1905 for the German Navy - labels this flag as Führerstander, categorizes it as an Unterschiedungszeichen [distinguishing sign/flag] and describes its use on page 129 as: Wenn zwei oder mehrere Kriegsschiffe - einshl. der Torpedoboote - vorübergehend zu Uebungen oder sonstigem militärischen Zussamenwirken auf Anordnung eines Seebefehlshabers zusammentreten, so hat der mit der Führung beauftragte Offizier für die Dauer der Führung der ihm unterstellten Schiffe auf dem Führerschiff den Führerstander zu setzen, sofern er nicht zur Führung eines Rangabzeichens, des Flotillen- oder des Divisionstanders berechtigt und hierdurch an sich als Führer kenntlich ist. Which means, in summary, that the officer temporarily in charge of a group of two or more ships given a special assignment  -i.e., a task group - flies the Leader's Pennant to identify his ship if he is not otherwise entitled to a rank flag or a flotilla or division command pennant.
     This pennant was formerly shown on FOTW as "Navy Minister's flag" by mistake. Firstly, there was no Navy Minister in the German Empire, the more-or-less equivalent position being State Secretary of the Imperial Navy Office (Staatsekretär des Reichs-Marine-Amts), who was an admiral and had his own flag. Secondly, this burgee is as explained above the distinguishing flag for a task group leader.
Joseph McMillan, 6 Dec 2001


| Return to Home Page |   | Return to Top of this Page |

 
Anything below the following line isnt part of the Flags of the World Website and was added by the hoster of this mirror.

Bei fahnenversand.de erhalten Sie eine Vielzahl an günstigen Flaggen, Pins und Aufnähern, zum Beispiel:
Fahne Neuseeland
 (150 x 90 cm) Flagge Flaggen Fahne Fahnen kaufen bestellen Shop Freundschafts-Pin
 Deutschland - Jemen Flagge Flaggen Fahne Fahnen kaufen bestellen Shop Flaggen in 150 x 90 cm
nach Ihrer Vorlage Flagge Flaggen Fahne Fahnen kaufen bestellen Shop Flagge Loire-Atlantique
 (150 x 90 cm) Flagge Flaggen Fahne Fahnen kaufen bestellen Shop Flagge Albanien
 im Hochformat (Glanzpolyester) Flagge Flaggen Fahne Fahnen kaufen bestellen Shop