ENSIGNS & PENNANTS OF NAVAL AUXILIARY VESSELS • 1700-1917
In addition to ensigns and pennants for warships, the navy of imperial Russia had a number of special ensigns for naval auxiliary vessels: transports, supply ships, ammunition ships, etc. Which ensign and pennant a particular auxiliary vessel flew usually depended on whether it was commanded by a commissioned naval officer, a warrant officer or a civilian master. Armed auxiliaries were permitted to hoist the masthead pennant used by warships.
Flag Proportions: Naval ensigns and flags of the Russian Empire were generally made in 2:3 proportions, as illustrated.
Credits: Many of my drawings are based on images posted to the FOTW Mailing List by Zeljko Heimer (Croatia). Information was also taken from VEXILLOGRAPHIA, the outstanding website devoted to the historical and current flags of Russia and related countries, from the Russian Navy's official website, and from Whitney Smith's Flags Through the Ages and Across the World (1975).
Images Added March 2014
Naval Aviation Ensigns
NAVAL AUXILIARY ENSIGNS & PENNANTS 1720-1804
During most of the eighteenth century, auxiliary vessels of the Russian Navy (transports, supply ships, etc.) flew the white-blue-red national flag as an ensign together with the naval jack. Armed auxiliary vessels also hoisted the white masthead pennant.
MASTHEAD PENNANT FOR ARMED NAVAL AUXILIARIES
NAVAL AUXILIARY ENSIGNS 1804-1917
In 1804 a distinctive ensign was introduced for auxiliary vessels of the Baltic Fleet: blue with the Russian tricolor in the canton over white crossed anchors. Later there were three such ensigns, colored to match those of the fleet's three divisions. They were abolished along with the squadron ensigns in 1865, when the Andrew Flag was made the sole Russian naval ensign. Two new naval auxiliary ensigns were introduced in their place: blue with the Andrew Flag as a canton for auxiliaries commanded by naval officers and blue with the tricolor as a canton for auxiliary vessels commanded by merchant marine officers. The naval jack and (for armed auxiliaries) the masthead pennant continued to be flown with these ensigns. Up to 1865, the color of the pennant, if displayed, matched the color of the ensign. Thereafter, the white pennant alone was used.
AUXILIARY VESSELS • FIRST DIVISION
AUXILIARY VESSELS • SECOND DIVISION
AUXILIARY VESSELS • THIRD DIVISION
AUXILIARY VESSEL • 1865-1917
NAVAL OFFICER IN COMMAND
AUXILIARY VESSEL • 1865-1917
MERCHANT MARINE OFFICER IN COMMAND
AUXILIARY VESSELS OF NAVAL FORTRESSES • 1913-17
In 1913, special ensigns with crossed cannons below the canton were introduced for naval auxiliary vessels attached to naval fortresses. Vessels commanded by a commissioned officer flew the ensign with the Andrew Flag in the canton, while those commanded by warrant officers flew the ensign with the tricolor in the canton.
COMMISSIONED OFFICER IN COMMAND
WARRANT OFFICER IN COMMAND
NAVAL AVIATION ENSIGNS
The first ensign for naval air stations had the naval jack as a canton and the naval aviation badge, a winged anchor, in the fly. In 1917 the canton was changed to the naval ensign.
FIRST PATTERN • 1906
SECOND PATTERN • 1917