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List of flags of the German Navy (1935–1945)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Reichskriegsflagge on a ship
Reichskriegsflagge on a ship

This article shows a list of flags of the German Navy, which includes flags, standards and pennants that used in the years between 1935 and 1945 by the German Kriegsmarine and merchant navy.

National and merchant flag

Flag Date Designation Description
Flag of Germany (1935–1945).svg
1935–1945 National and merchant flag, and Marine jack  The width ratios of red area: circular disk: red area behaved as 9: 18: 13. At sea was used since 1933 exclusively and prescribed the version with the inwardly offset swastika.

Merchant flag with the Iron Cross

Flag Date Designation Description
Handelsflagge mit dem Eisernen Kreuz 1935.svg
1935–1945 Merchant flag with the Iron Cross Used by merchant navy captains who were retired Navy officers (reserve officers)


The Reichskriegsflagge, which was introduced on 7 November 1935, was widely used in the Wehrmacht. Thus, it also served the Kriegsmarine as the naval ensign, which was hoisted on Flag days regardless of the location of the ship. These were 1 January (New year), 18 January (founding day of the German Empire in 1871), 30 January ("day of national survey"), 20 April (Adolf Hitler's birthday), 1 May ("Labor Day") and 31 May (anniversary of the World War I Battle of Jutland). In addition, ships in home waters had to hoist the Reichskriegsflagge on 1 March (commemorating the 1935 reintegration of the Territory of the Saar Basin into Germany), 29 August (the day of the founding of the Prussian Navy in 1859), the first Sunday after Michaelmas and the day of the Harvest festival. Regardless of these days, all warships that received a head of state were obliged to show the Reichskriegsflagge.

Flag Date Designation Description
War Ensign of Germany (1935-1938).svg
1935–1937 Reichskriegsflagge Introduced on 7 November 1935
War ensign of Germany (1938–1945).svg
1938–1945 Reichskriegsflagge The width and the course of the black stripes were changed compared to the previous version. This change was likely made in December 1937, but there are no official publications about it.

Reich service flag

The Reich service flag was used by all state authorities, such as the Reichsbahn, Reichsautobahn and Reichsbank. In the navy, the Reich service flag was carried by all state-owned vessels that were not allowed to hoist the Reichskriegsflagge. In the case of the absence of the Reich service flag, the national and merchant flag had to be flown in its place.

Flag Date Designation Description
Reichsdienstflagge 1935.svg
1935–1945 Reich service flag The flag had the proportions of 3 : 5. There was an upstanding swastika in the centre, on a white circle with a black boarder. A Reichsadler is placed in the upper hoist.

Flags of the Kriegsmarine

Most command and rank flags of the German navy had traditional character and were already used in the Imperial and before the Prussian Navy.[1] The flag of a Grand Admiral was very similar to the version used in the Imperial Navy. Completely new, however, was the rank of General Admiral, which Erich Raeder, the Commander in Chief of the Kriegsmarine, adopted in 1936. In order to avoid Raeder having a higher rank than the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe (Colonel General Hermann Goering) and the Army (Generaloberst Werner von Fritsch), the rank of General Admiral was introduced. The actual intended rank of a Grand Admiral as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy was "postponed" and a special flag introduced for a commander-in-chief who is not Grand Admiral. Raeder was promoted to Grand Admiral in 1939, meaning the special flag was still official, but found no use. This continued with the successor of Raeder, Karl Doenitz, who in 1943, was promoted from the rank of Admiral to General Admiral, skipping General Admiral.[2]

Higher command rank flags

Flag Date Designation Description
Kriegsmarine Flag-OBKM 1939-1939 v1.svg
(de facto until 1939)
Flag of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, if not a Grand Admiral Two crossed Admiral swords on which the Admiral cross is placed.
Kriegsmarine Grossadmiral-Flag 1945.svg
1939–1945 Grand Admiral's Flag Arranged on an Admiral cross two crossed Großadmiral batons and the Wehrmacht eagle in yellow. Striking is the "shading technique" used in this flag. Both the Grand Admiral Staff and the Wehrmacht eagle were equipped with shadow elements.
Kriegsmarine Admiralinspekteur-Flag 1945 v1.svg
1943–1945 Flag of the Inspector Admiral of the Navy of the Greater German Reich with the Rank of Grand Admiral Flag of a Grand Admiral with a wide light blue border which was one fifth of the width of the inner flag. The position of Admiral Inspector was held by Erich Raeder.
Kriegsmarine Generaladmiral-Flag 1945 v2.svg
1935–1945 General Admiral's Flag An Admiral cross with two crossed swords in yellow and brown in the lower hoist
Kriegsmarine Admiral-Flag 1945 v2.svg
1935–1945 Admiral's Flag The Admiral Cross was already introduced in the Prussian Navy
Kriegsmarine Vizeadmiral-Flag 1945 v1.svg
1935–1945 Vice Admiral's Flag An Admiral cross with a black ball in the upper hoist.
Kriegsmarine Konteradmiral-Flag 1945.svg
1935–1945 Rear Admiral's Flag An Admiral cross with black balls in the upper and lower hoists.

Other command flags

Flag Date Designation Description
Kommodorestander 1935.svg
1935–1945 Commodore pennant The pennant raked in the topmast was cut to 60% of the total length.
Kommodorestander 1935.svg
1935–1945 Seniority pennant Like the Commodore pennant but hoisted on the Yard.
Führerstander 1935.svg
1935–1945 Leader pennant Like Kommodorestander, but freely swinging.
Flotillenstander 1935.svg
1935–1945 Flotilla pennant Hoisted in the top mast
Flotillenstander 1935.svg
1935–1945 Group pennant Like the Flotilla pennant but hoisted on the Yard.
Kommandowimpel 1935.svg
1935–1945 Command pennant The pennant was cut in a quarter of the total length and had a height-to-length ratio of 15 : 1000

Vehicle flags and pennants

Flag Date Designation Description
Kfz Marineoffiziere im Admiralsrang.svg
1940–1945 Vehicle pennant for Admirals as a land troop commander All pennants and flags had a length-to-height ratio of 5 : 3[1]
Kfz Seekommandanten.svg
1940–1945 Vehicle pennant for sea commanders and Brigade Commander of the Kriegsmarine
Kfz Abteilungskommandeure.svg
1940–1943 Vehicle pennant for department commanders of the Kriegsmarine
Kfz Abteilungskommandeure 1943.svg
1943–1945 Vehicle pennant for department commanders of the Kriegsmarine The yellow, clear anchor was added on 20 January 1943
Kfz Festungskommandanten.svg
1940–1943 Vehicle pennant for Navy Fortress Commanders in Staff Officer Positions and Navy Regimental Commanders
Kfz Festungskommandanten 1943.svg
1943–1945 Vehicle pennant for Navy Fortress Commanders in Staff Officer Positions and Navy Regimental Commanders The yellow, clear anchor was added on 20 January 1943
Dienstwimpel für Admirale.svg
1940–1945 Car Pennant for Admirals The pennant had a width of 35 cm and a height of 23 cm. The golden border, decorated with a total of 42 swastikas, had a width between 25 and 30 mm. The Reichsadler was of yellow color.
Dienstwimpel Angehörige Kriegsmarine.svg
1940–1945 Car Pennant for Other Members of the Navy The pennant had a width of 33 cm at a height of 22 cm. The golden edge had a width of 6 mm. The Reichsadler was of yellow color

War Merit pennants

Flag Date Designation Description
1941–1945 War Merit Pennant[3] Awarded to captains of vessels not sailing under the Reichskriegsflagge for "extraordinary merit in warfare".
Doppelstander Vernichtung von Schiffen.svg
1943–1945 Swallowtailed Pennant for the Destruction of Enemy Ships by the Coastal Defence Awarded to Coastal Defence units for the destruction of cruisers and above
Wimpel Vernichtung von Schiffen.svg
1943–1945 Pennant for the Destruction of Ships by the Coastal Defence Awarded to Coastal Defence units for the destruction of destroyers and below
Wimpel Abschuss von Flugzeugen.svg
1940–1945 Pennant for the Downing of Enemy Aircraft Awarded to the responsible unit for downing of enemy aircraft (one for each aircraft) by anti-aircraft batteries or light anti-aircraft weapons

Flag for Landwehr Kriegsmarine units

Flag Date Designation Description
Marinefahne links.svg
1936–1945 Flag for land-based troop units or installations of the German Navy (left side) Introduced on 8 September 1936. As prescribed for all flags of the Wehrmacht, the dimensions of the flag were 126 by 126 cm. It was attached to a 3 meter long flagpole
Marinefahne rechts.svg
1936–1945 Flag for land-based troop units or installations of the German Navy (right side) Same as above

Other naval flags

Flag Date Designation Description
Wassersportflagge 1935-1936.svg
1935–1936 Water Sports Flag The black-white-red flag with a white, 45 degree twisted anchor on the black stripe. Used from 31 May 1935 to 17 January 1936.
1936–1945 Water Sports Flag On a black, white-lined, clear anchor placed a white disc with the swastika. Adopted on 6 April 1936
Lotsenflagge 1935.svg
1935–1945 Pilot Flag Flag of the pilot vehicles and pilot signal. The height or width of the white stripe was one fifth of the height of the inner flag
1935–1945 Identification mark of the Weserlotsen vehicles Placed in the topmast and indicated that the pilot vehicle has ready-to-use pilots on board. The size ratios of the flag were 5: 9
Schiffspostflagge 1935.svg
1936–1945 Postal Navy Flag Introduced on 14 March 1936

Flags for special occasions

Flag Date Designation Description
War Ensign of Germany (1933-1935).svg
1935–1945 Black-white-red Imperial War Ensign Hoisted on commemoration days on special orders.
War Ensign of Germany (1903-1918).svg
1935–1944 Imperial War Ensign Hoisted as a flag on every 31st of May (remembrance of the Battle of Jutland)
1940–1945 Austro-Hungarian war flag Raised as a flag on the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in place of the Imperial War Ensign on every 31st May

See also


  1. ^ a b "Flags of the Navy 1933-1945 (Germany)". Flags of the World. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  2. ^ Busch & Röll 2003, p. 28.
  3. ^ "Award pennants of the Kriegsmarine". Flags of the world. 11 November 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2018.


  • Angolia, John R.; Schlicht, Adolf (1993). Die Kriegsmarine - Uniforms & Traditions 3 Volume. R. James Bender Publication. ISBN 9780912138459.
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939–1945 — Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [The U-Boat War 1939–1945 — The Knight's Cross Bearers of the U-Boat Force from September 1939 to May 1945] (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 978-3-8132-0515-2.
  • Davis, Brian Leigh (1984). Flags & standards of the Third Reich: Army, navy, & air force, 1933-1945. Arco Pub. ISBN 978-0668036207.
  • Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine (1992). Das große Flaggenbuch (in German). Mauritius Buch Verlag. ISBN 978-3980334204.

External links

This page was last edited on 26 June 2019, at 02:44
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