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Armed Forces' Flags (Spain)

Last modified: 2011-06-10 by eugene ipavec
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Spanish Military Flags

For those interested in military flags, I have recently acquired a book Soldados de España, Bueno, Madrid 1998. Although it is primarily a book on Spanish army uniforms, it has more than 50 Spanish military flags – mostly regimental standards or unit guidons – all in color, from 1600 to the present. I think it is still in print and it is no doubt most easily obtainable in Spain.

Norman Martin, 19 Jun 1999

Most – if not all – military colours, cavalry and armoured units' guidons etc. are 1:1.

Santiago Dotor, 14 Jul 1999

Regimental Colours

I have seen (I think in Sergio Camero's website, but certainly at the website of Infantry Regiment no. 1 Inmemorial del Rey) that at least some modern Spanish regiments still have coronela colors in addition to the red-yellow-red regimental color or standard. What are the rules for these coronelas and how they are used today? The red-yellow-red flag with arms and inscription would seem to fill the traditional role of a coronela, and I recall the Infantry Regiment no. 1 website specifically saying that in the 19th century the old coronelas were replaced by the color based on the national flag.

Also, do you know if the modern Guardia Real carries any special flags other than the red-yellow-red?

Joseph McMillan, 12 Feb 2002

In the present Spanish Army, all regiments and other units such as independent brigades, logistical groupings etc. have a red-yellow-red regulation colour. Apart from that, each battalion has a guión and each company of each battalion a banderín but these are second order flags which do not have the value of a regimental colour, nor do they receive any type of honour. These guiones and banderines have recovered symbols of the old flags, such as the Burgundy cross and some look similar to the former coronela and sencilla colours. The Royal Guard is no exception to this practice.

A different question is that certain old regiments – such as the Inmemorial del Rey, one of the oldest continuously-existing units in the world – keep reproductions of their old coronela colours and use them in certain occasions in order to maintain their traditions, but unofficially and not subject to Regulations.

The red-yellow-red colours were introduced in 1843, even if some units kept using the old coronela colours until the first years of the 20th century.

Sergio Camero, 12 Feb 2002

Flags at Spanish Military Museums

Madrid's Naval Museum has a new website with one or two pictures from each room, reachable through a clicable map [broken link, apparently now here]. Not many clear flags though, the larger ones being in:

  • room 12;
  • room 14 with two royal standards;
  • room 15 with three republican flags, one of them president Manuel Azaña's; and
  • the Patronato room with what appears to be a further royal standard or ensign.

Santiago Dotor, 07 Jun 2000

Apart from the main Spanish Army and Navy Museums, both in Madrid, there are several other military museums in Spain, one of which is the Historical Military Museum at Valencia. It has a website – hosted within the Spanish Army website – with a very nice virtual exhibit (Spanish text only), including a page about the Flags and Uniforms room – pitifully with no flag images and the usual museum habit of displaying flags so that the minimum possible area is visible...

Santiago Dotor, 19 Oct 2000

Sorando 1998 is an interesting article about the flags kept at the Spanish Army Museum and their recently prepared catalogue (Catálogo Razonado de Banderas), available online here [broken link but cached by Wayback Machine here, uncached image here].

Santiago Dotor, 05 Feb 2002

See Also:

Flags and Ensigns in the Military Museum of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Unit Colours in the Military Museum of Palma de Mallorca

Air Force Colours and Guidons

Roberto Pla, webmaster of the unofficial (but very good) Ejército del Aire website (Spanish Air Force) sent me some air force flags, basically unit colours which he photographed at the Spanish Air Museum. He mentioned that unadecuate light in the Museum produced greenish shades which he tried to correct. Summarized translation:

The three flags were made in the 1940's (early after the Spanish Civil War), since they display the former Air Force emblem (which was no longer used after the early 1950's) and the units named on the flags no longer exist.

Those showing the national colours (red-yellow-red) are estandartes [i.e. cavalry guidons, smaller than Army banderas or colours]. Since the Air Force was considered to consist of mounted units, it had guidons instead of colours. I seem to recall it was in 1980 when the first colour was granted to an Air Force unit, the MACOM or Mando Aéreo de Combate (Air Combat Command).

  • The first picture has the lettering Grupo de Escuelas de Levante (Eastern Group of Training Centres), Escuela Elemental Nº 7 [?] (Elementary Training Centre No. 7). Note that the flag displays the black saltire fin flash, whose origin is actually the Burgundy cross on Spanish military flags since 1506.
  • The second picture has the lettering Arma de Aviación (Air Force, former name), 2a. Brigada (2nd Brigade).
  • The third picture has the lettering Ejército del Aire (Air Force), Ala de Caza Bombardeo Nº 7 (Fighter Bomber Wing No. 7).

Santiago Dotor, 02 Feb 2001

Spanish Army Car Rank Flags

Brigadier General
[Spanish Army Car Rank Flags (Spain)]
Major General (unconfirmed)
[Spanish Army Car Rank Flags (Spain)]
Lieutenant General (unconfirmed)
[Spanish Army Car Rank Flags (Spain)]
images by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 17 June 2009

All the car rank flags are square, with dark blue 4-point stars within the yellow stripe:

  • General de Brigada (Brigadier General) one dark blue 4-point star
  • General de Division (Major General) two dark blue 4-point stars
  • Teniente General (Lieutenant General) three dark blue 4-point stars
I can only confirm the existence of the brigadier's car flag; both others are only based on my inference, though there might logically not exist a corresponding flag. As no year was given in the subtitle, the observed flag might in the end turn out as current pattern. I observed the flag of the brigadier at the Military Museum of Palma de Mallorca in San Carlos castle on 26 May 2009.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 17 June 2009