GREATER GERMAN REICH
 


 

NAVAL ENSIGNS & FLAGS  •  1933-45
 

Images Added September 2003

Ceremonial Masthead Flags, Jutland Anniversary & Cruiser Prinz Eugen
 

One of Hitler's first acts after assuming power in 1933 was to decree the abolition of the black-red-gold flag. The black-white-red flag of the Imperial era was restored with the proviso that on land in Germany it was to be flown jointly with the flag of the National Socialist Party. The new naval ensign and jack, black-white-red with a large Iron Cross set slightly toward the hoist, was very similar to the jack of the Imperial Navy. A black-white-red ensign with the black eagle from the state arms on the white stripe was adopted for vessels operated by the Ministry of War that were not part of the Navy.

In 1935 the black-white-red flag was abolished and the Nazi Party flag became Germany's sole national flag. A new naval ensign, similar in style to the ensign of the Imperial Navy, was introduced at the same time. Later it was also made the war flag for use on land. The national flag served as the naval jack, and with a small Iron Cross added in the upper hoist it was flown by merchant vessels whose masters were naval reserve officers. The 1933-35 naval ensign was retained for use as a masthead flag on ceremonial occasions.

Since 1926, German warships had hoisted the old ensign of the Imperial Navy as a masthead flag on May 31, the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, and this custom was continued in the Nazi era. Additionally, the cruiser Prinz Eugen (named for the famous Austrian commander of the War of the Spanish Succession) was granted the right to fly the war ensign of the defunct Austro-Hungarian Navy as a masthead flag on appropriate occasions, though as far as is known she did so only for her commissioning ceremony in 1940.

The Weimar-era commissioning pennant and naval rank flags (which had been inherited from the Imperial Navy) were not changed, but new ones were eventually added for the ranks of Grand Admiral, General-Admiral (as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy) and General-Admiral.

All these flags were abolished immediately after Germany's surrender in 1945, but the commissioning pennant and the five lower naval rank flags were readopted by the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1950's and are still in use today.

Nomenclature: The 1935-45 naval ensign was called the "Reich War Flag" (Reichkriegsflagge) and it could also be flown as a war flag on land.

Flag Proportions: Ensigns and jacks were made in 3:5 proportions. Rank flags (excluding pennants) were made square.
 



 

NAVAL ENSIGN & JACK  •  1933-35


 

MINISTRY OF WAR ENSIGN  •  1933-35

 

NAVAL ENSIGN & WAR FLAG  •  1935-45
Reichkriegsflagge

 

NATIONAL FLAG & NAVAL JACK  •  1935-45
 

 

NAVAL RESERVE ENSIGN • 1935-45

 

COMMISSIONING PENNANT • Kreigswimpel

 

CEREMONIAL MASTHEAD FLAGS

 

FORMER IMPERIAL WAR ENSIGN
Jutland Anniversary

 

FORMER AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN WAR ENSIGN
Cruiser Prinz Eugen

 

RANK FLAGS

 

GRAND ADMIRAL • Groίadmiral • 1939-45
 

 

GENERAL ADMIRAL • Generaladmiral
As Commander of the Navy  •  1935-45

 

GENERAL ADMIRAL  •  Generaladmiral
1935-45

 

ADMIRAL  •  Admiral
 

 

VICE-ADMIRAL  •  Vizeadmiral

 

REAR-ADMIRAL  •  Konteradmiral

 

COMMAND PENNANTS

 

COMMODORE • Kommodore  •  1933-45
Also the Senior Officer's Pennant, Depending on How Displayed

 

FLOTILLA COMMANDER  •  1933-45
 



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