FINLAND
 

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MILITARY & NAVAL ENSIGNS & FLAGS    1918-20
 

Notes
 

When Finland broke away from Russia in 1918 it was first assumed that the country would become a kingdom, probably with a German prince on the throne. The provisional government accordingly appointed a Regent (Carl Gustav von Mannerheim) to act in the future monarch's place. But Germany's defeat in November 1918 and the outbreak of civil war in Finland shelved these plans. After the victory of the anti-communist Whites in 1920, Finland proclaimed herself a republic.

The white and blue national flag of Finland was adopted in 1918, its colors (symbolizing the country's numerous lakes and the snows that cover the land for much of the year) being suggested by the poet Sakari Topelius. To stress Finland's connections to the other countries of the region, the design of the offset Scandinavian cross was chosen for the new national flag. Finland's ancient national symbol, the gold lion on a field of red, was retained as the national coat of arms, and it figured in the design of several of the flags that were adopted between 1918 and 1920.

Though the national flag was rectangular, Finland followed the tradition of the other Scandinavian countries by adopting a "tongued flag" as its war flag and naval ensign. The first version, adopted in 1918, displayed the Finnish arms at the intersection of the cross under a ducal crown. (Constitutionally, Finland was at that time a Grand Duchy.) A naval jack, obviously influenced by the Russian jack, was adopted at the same time. This jack incorporated all four Finnish colors: white and blue from the flag; red and gold from the arms. In 1919 the ensign and jack were supplemented by a range of flags for officials and commanders of the armed forces, all based on the national flag. There was also a special flag for the Regent. These official flags were modified in 1920 when Finland became a republic, but the basic elements of their design survived, as Finland's present-day military flags show.
 



 

WAR FLAG & NAVAL ENSIGN


 

NAVAL JACK

 

NAVAL COMMISSIONING PENNANT

 

APPOINTMENT & COMMAND FLAGS

 

REGENT OF FINLAND

 

MINISTER OF DEFENSE

 

SUPREME COMMANDER

 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE NAVY

 

CHIEF OF THE NAVAL STAFF

 

COMMANDER OF THE COAST ARTILLERY

 

COMMANDER OF A COASTAL FORTRESS

 

COMMANDER OF A NAVAL BASE

 

FLOTILLA COMMANDER

 

NAVAL RANK FLAGS

 

ADMIRAL
 

 

VICE-ADMIRAL
 

 

REAR-ADMIRAL
 



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