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Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

Last modified: 2015-07-29 by ivan sache
Keywords: spanish civil war | international brigades | star: 3 points (red) | italian legion | legión italiana | canton: italy |
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International Brigades

Brigadas Internacionales

[International Brigades (Spanish Civil War)]
image by Vincent Morley

The central symbol is not a triangle, but rather a three-pointed star, which was the symbol of the International Brigades. I have a book, International Solidarity with the Spanish Republic (Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975), which shows several flags of individual brigades on which this symbol appears – but they all have additional devices or text along with the star – usually the arms of the Spanish republic or a symbol of the country or countries from which the brigade was recruited. The simplest flag is that shown in a photograph of the brigades' final parade in Barcelona before their departure from Spain. That is a tricolour, with the star on the lower purple stripe (and it must have been a very pale purple because the star appears darker in this black and white photo – or perhaps the star was black in this example?) with text in the upper stripe of which only the word Mixta is visible in the fly – my guess would be that it read Brigada Mixta [Combined Brigade].

Vincent Morley, 12 Mar 1999

See this website and its links for the three tined star of the International Brigades and a wide range of Spanish republican imagery.

Knut A. Berg, 12 Mar 1999

A section of our Catalan friends' ACV website is dedicated to flags of the various International Brigades.

Jan Mertens, 30 Aug 2006

Incorrect International Brigades flag, reported as flag of the Republican Provisional Government
[International Brigades incorrect flag, reported as Republican Provisional Government]
image by Jorge Candeias

Commune of Paris Battalion

Batallón Commune de París / Bataillion Commune de Paris

[Commune of Paris Battalion (Spain)]
image by Sergio Camero, 02 Oct 2005
[Commune of Paris Battalion (Spain)]
image by Sergio Camero, 02 Oct 2005

The Commune of Paris Battalion was part of the XI and XIV International Brigades of the Republican side in the Spanish civil war of 1936 – 1939, and was composed mostly of French and Belgian Walloon Communists, but also English and Americans. The colour was offerred by the Communists of Espinardo (Province of Murcia). The Battalion fought in the defense of Madrid, and in the battles of Jarama, Guadalajara, La Granja and the Ebro, where it was annihilated. At the moment the color is deposited in the Spanish Army museum.

Source: Banderas Militares

Sergio Camero, 02 Oct 2005

Mackenzie-Papineau Batallion

[Mackenzie-Papineau Batallion]
Official Flag
image by Sebastia Herreros

[Mackenzie-Papineau Batallion]
1937 Flag
image by Sebastia Herreros


British Battalion

The 1936 flag of the British Battalion, International Brigade, during Spanish Civil War, is shown here.

Valentin Poposki, 29 Aug 2006

This fine flag can also be seen here.

Jan Mertens, 30 Aug 2006

Connolly Column

[Connolly Column (15th International Brigade) (Spain)]
image by Marc Pasquin, 22 Mar 2005

I drew the flag of the Connolly Column (15th International Brigade) based on a picture found here. Not sure if was created for the occasion, or if it truly is from the Spanish Civil War. The uncial-type font is an interesting touch.

Marc Pasquin, 22 Mar 2005

Naftali Botwin Company

I just found a small story about the Jewish Naftali Botwin Company with a black and white image of the flag. It was (probably) in the colours of the Republican flag with additional lettering.

Story with image is here.

Valentin Poposki, 04 May 2006

Lenin Barracks

Caserna Lenin

[Lenin Barracks (Spain)]
image by João Madureira and Eugene Ipavec, 05 Aug 2006 and 26 Mar 2010

In the Portuguese edition of the George Orwell book, "Looking Back On The Spanish War," ISBN 972-608-042-8 (the book also includes two other George Orwell essays about the Spanish Civil War), a picture of George Orwell's unit, the Caserna Lenin, or Lenin Barracks, of the POUM militia, heading for the Aragonese front, in which this flag appears heading the column. The photograph is in black and white and the colours are undeterminate, but I'm assuming it's gold on red.

POUM, or Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (Worker's Party of Marxist Unification), was actually a Trotskyist party that was later the subject of persecution by the more powerful Marxist-Leninist PSUC (Catalan Unified Socialist Party).

George Orwell served 6 months in the POUM militia, though his decision to join was caused by ignorance of the situation in the field, he wrote that if given the chance he would have joined the CNT-AIT militia.

João Madureira, 05 Aug 2006

I believe that the flags of POUM were red with white symbols and inscriptions. I don't have any images in war posters where the hammer and sickle or name are shown in yellow. I assume that white and red is the most probable.

The words "Caserna Lenin" were written in a different font than the word "POUM." The font used in the word "POUM" must be nonseriffed. As far I know the POUM hammer and sickle was without a star. The flag ratio was about 4:5 or 5:6 or so.

Jaume Ollé, 26 Aug 2004

First Pamplona Requeté

Primer Requeté de Pamplona

[First Pamplona Requeté (Spain)]
image by Sergio Camero, 31 Aug 2006

[First Pamplona Requeté (Spain)]
image by Sergio Camero, 31 Aug 2006


I´m sending you the "Primer Requeté de Pamplona" Flag (1936). On the obverse there are the arms of the city of Pamplona, bordered in gold and silver, with the words "PRIMER.REQUETE.DE.PAMPLONA"; on the reverse the is the Cross of Burgundy in red. Size is 88 x 96 (cm?); proportions are 11:12.

The flag was used by the "Carlistas" (National side), during the 1936-1939 Civil War. At the moment it resides in the "Carlista" museum (Tabar, Navarra). Two bullet holes are visible in the flag, one above the first "P" and the other 10 cm below the third "E."

The unit was part of the García Escámez Column, and fought at Somosierra and Navafría, where it won the Collective Military Medal. It later saw combat at Sigüenza and Guadalajára.

Sergio Camero, 31 Aug 2006 (translated by Eugene Ipavec)

The obvious question pops up: what's a "requeté"?

Jorge Candeias, 31 Aug 2006

It's the name that the members of "Carlism" receive during the 36-39 civil war. For that reason, the Requeté, in itself, should be placed in the period of the IInd Republic and the Civil War, as a counter-revolutionary force, by antonomasy, placing itself beyond a simple dynastic struggle.

Carlism is a traditionalist and Catholic movement that emerges in Spain after the successory troubles following the death of Fernando VII. The Carlists defend that rights to the throne of Fernando VII's brother – Carlos Maria Isidro -, while the King designated as his successor the daughter of his fourth marriage, the one that eventually became Isabel II. From that moment on, several civil wars erupted in Spain between the government and the Carlists (Carlist Wars).

As I've told you initially, the Carlists fought in the nationalist side, calling themselves "Requetés." Once the civil war ended with the victory of the nationalist side, a bitter time, filled with setbacks, started for Carlism. It benefited very little from its positioning in the war, and that inevitably led it to a position of domestic opposition to the Franco regime.

More information at [].

Sergio Camero, 01 Sep 2006 (translated by Jorge Candeias)

Burgos Tercio

Tercio de Burgos

[Tercio of Burgos (Spain)]
image by Sergio Camero, 16 Sep 2005

This flag of the "Tercio" of Burgos was used by the Carlists (Nationalist side), during the 1936 – 1939 Civil War.

Sergio Camero, 16 Sep 2005

Tercio of Montejurra

Tercio de Montejurra

[Tercio of Montejurra (Spain)]
image by Sergio Camero, 16 Oct 2005

[Tercio of Montejurra (Spain)]
image by Sergio Camero, 16 Oct 2005


The "Tercio" of Montejurra was a Carlists (Nationalist side) unit during the 1936 – 1939 Civil War. This unit has as its first commander Rafael García Valiño, who later commanded the 1st Navarre. It took part in the taking of San Sebastian, was subsequently incorporated in the in the 1st Navarre Brigade, and continued its actions in Biscay, Asturias. Once in the new 1st Division Navarre, participates in the conquest of Teruel, the Maestrazgo campaign, the battle of the Ebro and the Catalonia campaign. It suffered over 300 casualties and was awarded two medals.

Sergio Camero, 16 Oct 2005

Condor Legion

Legión Condor

[Condor Legion (obverse)]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 27 Feb 2007
[Condor Legion (reverse)]
image by Luis Miguel Arias and Eugene Ipavec, 27 Feb 2007

I found an image of the flag of the Condor Legion (or Legión Condor in Spanish).

Source: The Axis History Factbook, by Marcus Wendel

Additional information:

The official name of this flag should be: Estandarte de la Legión Cóndor (Condor Legion Standard). The symbols are, from left to right, clockwise:

  1. Luftwaffe eagle
  2. 1938-1945 Spanish CoA
  3. Letters 'L.C." for Legión Cóndor
  4. Spanish Phalanx symbol

The Luftwaffe eagle of the first symbol is also featured in the middle of the flag. The color scheme is yellow and red, the colors of Spain. The finial on the staff should be an eagle clutching a swastika, as on the flag.

Esteban Rivera, 11 Dec 2005

As a matter of interest the standard of the Condor Legion was 52cm wide by 53 cms long. It had a 3.5cm gold fringe around three sides, and was attached to its staff by five 6cm wide loops, with the topmost loop being fixed to the staff by yellow cord. The reverse consisted of the Spanish triband, with the arms of Spain (as introduced by Franco in 1938) in its centre.

The symbols in the four corners of the left side of the flag were clockwise from the top left: a silver Luftwaffe eagle and swastika, the 1938 arms of Spain, silver coloured letters LC edged in black and the Falange symbol in bright red (five arrows passing through a yoke). There were also two sets of streamers.

Christopher Southworth, 11 Dec 2005 and 06 Jan 2006

As this photo shows, the inscription "L.C." should be in silver, not in red.

Brian Davis [dav75] has a lengthy text on this flag, plus colour plates showing the obverse and reverse. This flag was only presented to the Legion shortly before departure (April 1939). It was shown during the victory parade in Madrid (19 May 1939) and at the farewell parade at Leon on 23 May 1939, as well as during at least two occasions back in Germany. After the dissolution of the legion, it was transferred to the "Ehrenmal unter den Linden" in Berlin, later to the Air Ministry. It was captured by the Soviets in 1945 and brought to Moscow, where it presumably still is (Davis mentions the "Central Museum of the USSR Armed Forces." I don't know what the current name of this institution is).

Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 08 Jan 2005

The Russian Museum he mentions is called the "Central Armed Forces Museum" ( – English and Russian versions of the site). It is located in Moscow.

Also, a book with the picture of the Condor Legion flag on it can be seen at

Esteban Rivera, 08 Jan 2005

Italian Legion

Legión Italiana

[General Worker's Union 1937 (Spain)]
image by José Manuel Erbez

Flag shown in one of a series of postcards about the actions of the Legión Italiana (Italian Legion), a nominally voluntary corps (in fact regular troops) sent by Mussolini to help the Nationalist side.

Source: Jordi and Arnau Carulla, La Guerra Civil en 2000 Carteles (The Civil War in 2000 Posters), 1999

José Manuel Erbez, 14 Mar 2000

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