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Flags of the Army 1935-1945 (Germany)

deutsches heer

Last modified: 2012-09-05 by pete loeser
Keywords: third reich | cross: swastika (black) | iron cross | cross: formy (black) | eagle (black) | wreath (grey) | bordure (grey) | crosses: 5 (swastika) |
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Colour for Infantry Units 1936-1945
Fahne für Infanterie Einheiten

[Colour for Infantry Units 1936-1945 (Third Reich, Germany)] 1:1 Image by Santiago Dotor based on a scan by Marcello Ravaioli

     The design of these colors which dates from 1936 is: a square white flag with a black Iron Cross extending nearly to the edges of the flag; the cross has a silver border followed by a thinner black edge and a white fimbriation; in each corner is a black swastika. At the center of the flag is a white disk surrounded by a silver wreath and containing a black ("Army type", with wings directed downward) eagle grasping a black swastika - thus similar to the eagle that frequently appeared on Army steel helmets.
     By the way, engineer units flew a similar flag with background (not disc) black rather than white. Cavalry and other units altered the shape of the flag by extending the top and bottom, creating a swallow tail effect. In each case, the background was in the arm of service color (Waffenfarbe).
Norman Martin, 24 February 1997

     On the German infantry flag model 1936 the sewn-on wreath - really an embroidered oakleaf garland of 40 leaves - is in aluminum silk, shaded in white, green and brown. The bow at the crossing-point of the twigs is in gold. The eagle was embroidered in black, dark and light brown silk; the beak and talons were in gold and the eyes in light grey silk.
Marcello Ravaioli, 20 April 2001

     This flag is described in full detail in Davis 1975, pp. 55-56 (including an excellent colour plate), and in Davis 2000, pp. 23-24. Most if not all 1936-1945 army colours (Fahnen, used by infantry, engineers, Jäger, etc.) as well as the smaller swallowtailed guidons (Standarten, used by armour, artillery, cavalry, etc.) followed this pattern, changing only the field colour to that of the branch of service colour (Waffenfarbe). Some can be seen at the WehrmAcht-Forum website. The only other exceptions were minor modifications to the standard pattern used by those few regiments which had a particular tradition in the German (mostly in the Prussian) army.
Santiago Dotor, 28 May 2002

Other Colours and Guidons
Fahnen und Standarten

The Standarte für Kavallerie Einheiten [standard for cavalry units] and Standarte für Artillerie Einheiten [standard for artillery units] used the same basic design as the Fahne für Infanterie Einheiten [flag for infantry units] but were swallowtailed. The Kavallerie used an orange colour [Waffenfarbe] and the Artillerie a red one. See this image [showing a Standarte für Panzer Einheiten i.e. a standard for armoured units, with pink as its Waffenfarbe].
Marcus Wendel, 10 January 2000

     The Fahne für Jäger Einheiten [colour for light infantry units] was the same as the infantry colour but had a green background instead of a white one.
     The Standarte für Kavallerie Einheiten and Standarte für Artillerie Einheiten used the same basic design as the infantry colour, but were swallowtailed. The cavalry used an orange colour and the artillery a red one.
     The Fahne für Fliegertruppen [colour for air troops] (yellow instead of red) and the Fahne für Flakartillerie [colour for anti-aircraft crews] (red) was the same basic design as the Flagge des Reichsminister der Luftfahrt und Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe with these exceptions:

  • Reverse (compared to the obverse of the Oberbefehlshaber-flag):
    • No Pour le Merit
    • Silver Luftwaffe-eagle
    • Black swastikas
    • No gold border
    • Silver fringes
  • Obverse: same as the reverse but with an iron cross instead of Luftwaffe eagle.
     The Fahne für Marineteile an Land was the same basic design as Flagge des Reichsminister der Luftfahrt und Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe with these exceptions:
  • Obverse:
    • Black swastika instead of Luftwaffe eagle (same design as in the Reichskriegsflagge)
    • No swastikas in the corners, instead gold anchors in the top left and lower right, and iron crosses in the top right and lower left
    • Gold wreath
    • Gold instead of black on the diagonal lines, note that these are not straight lines, but rather "wavy"
    • Gold fringe
    • No gold border
    • Blue instead of red background
  • Reverse: As obverse with these exceptions:
    • Iron cross instead of swastika in the center
    • Gold eagles instead of iron crosses in top right and lower left corner.
     Source: Der Zweite Weltkrieg, section Fahnen und Uniformen der Wehrmacht, Buch + Zeit Verlag, ISBN 3-8166-0158-8.
Marcus Wendel, 7 January 2000

Images of those air and marine troops' flags can be seen at the here and here at the WehrmAcht-Forum website.
Santiago Dotor, 28 May 2002

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