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Command Flags and Pennants of Army Units (Germany)

Kommandozeichen der Einheiten des Heeres

Last modified: 2012-11-10 by pete loeser
Keywords: kommandozeichen |
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Introduction

Command flags and pennants of German Army formations are in the color of the branch or Waffenfarbe white for armour (Panzer), green for mechanized infantry (Panzergrenadiere), red for artillery, etc. with black markings. The pioneers have black as their Waffenfarbe and therefore the markings are changed to white, see for instance the command flag for a pioneer regiment. Source: Schnell and Seidel 1983, a Bundeswehr handbook.
Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001

Some of these (from brigade down to batallion) were also used up to the end of the Second World War, perhaps even dating from Imperial times.
Santiago Dotor, 7 Mar 2001

The Stabsflaggen or black-white-red flags for the Army, Corps and Division Headquarters date from 1885. Those of lower commands divided by Waffenfarbe seem to date from early in the 1920s most of them were in effect by 1925. The pattern for the higher commands were changed in early 1925, but reverted to their earlier design in April 1933. Of course all of these flags disappeared (except as souvenirs) with the German defeat in 1945. In 1957 (for a few of the higher command flags in 1959), the present flags [were adopted] basically these were the same as the earlier flags for the lower commands (except for a few changes due to Waffenfarbe changes). Most of this data comes from Jürgen Rimann's paper at the 15th International Congress.
Norman Martin, 10 Mar 2001


Branch-of-Service Colour
Waffenfarbe

Waffenfarben also predate the Second World War, but I am not sure either whether they date from Imperial Germany or not. Some of them appear to have changed in the Bundeswehr (...). What is the present-day infantry Waffenfarbe? It used to be white.
Santiago Dotor, 7 Mar 2001

In the Imperial German Army, standard branch-of-service colors were not used since the Army was technically made up of state contingents, some of which (Bavaria, Saxony) had their own uniforms. Everybody did wear feldgrau [field gray], but there were many state and regimental distinctions. In today's German Army, green is the branch-of-service color for infantry; in the Second World War it was white for infantry and green for panzer grenadiers, mountain infantry and light (Jäger) infantry. Armored reconnaissance (Panzeraufklarung) troops were part of the Panzer arm. Pink is still the color for Panzer troops.
Tom Gregg, 7 Mar 2001

Waffenfarben date from 1915, although some have them have changed in the interim (some e.g. engineer's black and field artillery red have stayed the same). Except for the period from the end of the Second World War until 1957, they have been in use. Since 1957, the infantry wears Jägergrün rather than the previous white.
Norman Martin, 9 Mar 2001

The full list of Waffenfarben in the Heer is:

 
General Staff   Carmine red
Armor   Pink
Armored reconnaissance   Golden yellow
Artillery   Red
Antiaircraft artillery   Coral red
Pioneers (engineers)   Black
Signals   Lemon yellow
Infantry (Jäger and Panzergrenadiere)   Grass green [Rifle green?]
Technical troops (engineers and logistics)   Blue
Army aviation   Light gray
Nuclear/chemical defense   Crimson
Military police   Orange
Bands   White
Medical   Dark blue
Joseph McMillan, 9 Mar 2001

     Here is a complete list of the Bundesheer's arm of service or branch colors, according to Army Badges and Insignia Since World War II (Rosignoli):

  • Infantry: rifle green
  • Panzer Troops: pink
  • Armored Reconnaissance Troops: golden yellow
  • Artillery: red
  • Antiaircraft Troops: coral red
  • Signals Troops: lemon yellow
  • Engineers: black
  • NBC Defense Troops: bordeaux red
  • Technical Troops: blue
  • Medical Troops: dark blue
  • Military Police: orange
  • Army Aviation: light grey
  • Military Bands: white
  • General Staff Service: crimson
     These branch colors were adopted in 1957 and appeared initially as a backing to the traditional German double-bar collar badges that were adopted at that time. Since 1962 they have also appeared as piping around the shoulder straps. On the field uniform, they often appear as a colored band slipped over the shoulder straps.
     For the most part, these are the same colors that were used by the German Army during World War Two. At first, rifle green was for Infantry, grass green was for Panzer Grenadiers and dark green was for Antitank Troops, but the last two branches were later made part of the Infantry and adopted its branch color. Quartermaster Troops used light blue until being absorbed into the Technical Troops.
     From the illustrations in the book it appears that "coral red" is a slightly lighter shade of true red, "bordeaux red" is actually dark purple, and the blue for Technical Troops is actually ultramarine blue.
Tom Gregg, 11 Mar 2001


Division Command Pennant
Kommandozeichen einer Division

[Armoured Division Command Pennant (Germany)]
Image by Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001

Example: armoured division - Panzerdivision

Triangular pennant in the color of the branch or Waffenfarbe with black cross. Illustrated: Panzerdivision. Source: Schnell and Seidel 1983.
Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001


Brigade Command Pennant
Kommandozeichen einer Brigade

[Mechanized Infantry Brigade Command Pennant (Germany)]
Image by Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001

Example: mechanized infantry brigade - Panzergrenadierbrigade

Triangular pennant in the color of the branch or Waffenfarbe with two horizontal black stripes. Illustrated: Panzergrenadierbrigade. Source: Schnell and Seidel 1983.
Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001


Regiment Command Flag
Kommandozeichen eines Regiments

[Artillery Regiment Command Pennant (Germany)] Image by Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001

Example: artillery regiment - Artillerieregiment

Rectangular flag in the color of the branch or Waffenfarbe with one horizontal black band. Illustrated: Artillerieregiment. Source: Schnell and Seidel 1983.
Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001


Pioneer Regiment Command Flag
Kommandozeichen eines Pionierregiments

[Pioneers Regiment Command Pennant (Germany)] Image by Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001

The pioneers have black as their Waffenfarbe and therefore the band is changed to white. Source: Schnell and Seidel 1983.
Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001


Batallion Command Pennant
Kommandozeichen eines Bataillons

[Armoured Reconnaissance Batallion Command Pennant (Germany)]
Image by Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001

Example: armoured reconnaissance batallion - Panzeraufklärungsbataillon

Triangular pennant in the color of the branch or Waffenfarbe with one horizontal black band. Illustrated: Panzeraufklärungsbataillon. Source: Schnell and Seidel 1983.
Joseph McMillan, 6 Mar 2001


Company Command Pennant
Kommandozeichen einer Kompanie

[Engineers and Logistics Company Command Pennant (Germany)]
Image by Joseph McMillan, 7 Mar 2001

Example: engineers and logistics company - Technische Truppen Kompanie

[Army Aviation Company Command Pennant (Germany)]
Image by Joseph McMillan, 7 Mar 2001

Example: army aviation company - Heeresfliegertruppekompanie

Triangular pennant in the color of the branch or Waffenfarbe with a vertical black stripe. Shown are pennants marked in the source as Kompanie TTr and Kompanie HFlg [Heeresfliegertruppe]. Source: Schnell and Seidel 1983.
Joseph McMillan, 7 Mar 2001


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