The Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD or Federal Republic of Germany) was formed in 1949 from the British, French and US sectors of occupied Germany. The historic black-red-gold tricolor of 1848, which had also been used by the Weimar Republic from 1919 to 1933, was reestablished as the German national flag. With the arms of the state added, it also served as the flag for government authorities. In 1955, the BRD gained complete sovereignty, including the right to raise armed forces. The BRD armed forces, known collectively as the Bundeswehr, were officially established on September 00, 1956—the 200th birthday of the great Prussian military reformer, Gehard von Scharnhorst. The first units of the new armed forces began to be organized in 1957. The Bundeswehr initially consisted of three branches: the Heer (Army) the Luftwaffe (Air Force) and the Marine (Navy). In 2004, the Streitkräftebasis (Joint Support Service) and the Sanitätsdienststellen (Medical Service) were established as separate military branches; they were formed by consolidating most logistical support and medical functions of the combatant services. The Streitkräftebasis is also responsible for the four military districts (Wehrbereichskommandos) into which Germany is divided, and for the Joint Operations Command (Einsatzführungskommando), which controls international deployments.

The first flags of the Bundeswehr were introduced in 1957. They and those added since are mostly based on traditional German patterns. The military service flag (Bundesdeinstflagge), ceremonial military color (Truppenfahne), naval ensign and jack are variants of the national flag. Army and Air Force command flags for senior officers are similar in pattern to those used by the German Army during the first half of the twentieth century, using the black-red-gold national colors. Command flags for divisions and smaller units are very much the same as those used during World War II. Naval rank flags are identical to those used by Imperial Germany, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich.

Credit: Original drawings and information concerning many of these flags were posted to the FOTW Mailing List by Joseph McMillan. Information was also taken from Andreas Herzfeld's excellent illustrated monograph, "Command Flags and Pennants of the Bundeswehr since 1956."


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Flags of the Army  •  1957-2004


Flags of the Air Force 1957-2004

Ensigns & Flags of the Navy Since 1959

Armed Forces Command Flags Since 2004


Flags of the Air Force Since 2004

Command Pennants  •  Army Units