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Flags of Car Convoy of the Armed Forces and Civil Protection Forces (Germany)

Kolonnenflaggen der deutschen Streitkräfte und des Katastrophenschutzes

Last modified: 2020-11-21 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: convoy(cars) | bundeswehr |
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[Federal Service Flag / Bundesdienstflagge] 3:5 image by M. Schmöger, 14 Mar 2001
Federal Service Flag / Bundesdienstflagge
See also:

Introduction of German Convoy Flags

NATO-agreement STANAG 2154 describes "Regulations for Military Motor Vehicle Movement by Road", or shortly, how to move a convoy of vehicles on public roads. In Germany there are additional traffic rules described in 27 StVO (Straßenverkehrsordnung).
The complete convoy is de iure considered to be one single vehicle. 27(2) requires appropriate distances between the single vehicles. 27(3) requires that the convoy has to be recognisable for all other road users and that every single vehicle has to be recognisable as part of the convoy. 27(4) requires appropriate illumination of every vehicle of the convoy, especially using dimmed headlight and tail-light also by day.
The flag details are not mentioned within 27 StVO. Acc. to NATO rule a flag has to be hoisted at the front of any vehicle of the convoy on the inward side, i.e. left by driving on the right lane and right by driving on the left lane. A ratio is not given (I chose 2:3 arbitrarily)
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020


The flags are used as follows:

Leader' s Flag

[German convoy flag /leader] 2:3 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020

It is parted per bend sinister of black and white and used by the first vehicle, but the leader is always allowed to change his position within the column, if required.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020

Tail's Flag

[German convoy flag /tail] 2:3 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020

It is green and used by the last vehicle.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020

Malfunction Flag

[German convoy flag /malfunction] 2:3 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020

It is yellow and used by vehicles not able to move due to breakdowns.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020

Risk Flag

[German convoy flag / risk] 2:3 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020

It is red and used by vehicles carrying dangerous goods as e.g. explosives and fuel.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020

Usual Flag

[German convoy flag / usual] 2:3 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020

It is blue and used by every vehicle except the last one (using the green flag) and sometimes the first vehicle, when not using the leader's flag.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020

Flag Use Details

An important feature is, when a convoy is passing crossroads. As soon as the first vehicle enters a crossing with green traffic light, it may pass and the passage has ended when the last vehicle has passed the crossing, no matter whether the traffic light has meanwhile turned to red. In theory other participants can recognise the end of the convoy by seeing the green flag, which marks the last vehicle. As many participants don't know or have forgotten, the crossing convoy is however secured by Military Police.

The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr/BW) use the full set.
The Technical Relief Organisation (Technisches Hilfswerk/THW) and the German Firefighters (Feuerwehr) use the full set with additional flashing blue light.
The Federal Police (Bundespolizei) and the Thuringian Police use the full set except the red flag, and the leader's flag is on the right side of the vehicle.
The Hamburgian Police uses only the green and the red flag and flashing blue light, but only occasionally.
The Bavarian Police uses only the blue and green flag with additional flashing blue light.
All of them use dimmed headlight due to 27 StVO.
Source: this webpage
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 Nov 2020


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