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Kingdom of Bulgaria, 1944-1946

Last modified: 2022-10-14 by rob raeside
Keywords: bulgaria | homeland front |
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[Bulgarian flag, 1944] image by Željko Heimer

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Changes During 1937-1944

The flag for the Commander of a Division was introduced in January 1937. Soon thereafter, on 19 December 1937, the flags for several main naval units were ceremoniously handed out (these would be called "colours" in English). I report a summary from Ivanov (1998), pp. 146-147:

These were given by King Boris III himself to the Naval Academy, Maritime Police Service and Danube Police Service. (I believe that these are military police services rather then anything else, but it is hard to tell for me.) In the description of the ceremony, it is mentioned that the minister of the army, Major General Lukov, was granted 17-gun salutes, in comparison to the Commander of a Division, who was due 13. The flag of the Naval Academy (that was in Sozopol) is now preserved in the National Military History Museum (Natsionalni voennoistoricheski muzei, NVIM, presumably in Sofia). It is neither pictured nor described further in Ivanov (1998).

With the end of the World War II and the change of the political system on 9 September 1944, the old flags (entire sets of colours, ensigns, jacks, pennants, etc.) became obsolete. It seems that the commanders had considerable autonomy in this respect and that they chose designs at their whim. Although  it may have seemed a long time, it was indeed in the navy that the new flags were established (as opposed to army and air force flags that followed later). It was on 30 May 1955 that the commander-in-chief of the navy issued an order (numbered No. I-M-131) establishing the ensign, jack, pennants and personal flags in the navy with validity on 1 July 1949.

Ivanov (1998) therefore is silent on the flags used in the period 1944-1949. It seems they were not uniform and they were not standardised in any way. Probably one of the designs that might have been in use might be one that I reported from a Croatian atlas issued in 1955 (see above), and probably other variations have been used. One report of the 1949 ensign in use in the period 1944-1949 seems to be wrong -- the ensign with the red star below the lion was not adopted until 1949 and used until 1955. However, surely, there may have been examples of this ensign being used before its official establishment in 1949 (after all, the official establishment might have been only the official recognition of a predominant or preferred unofficial practice)
Željko Heimer, 16 January 2004

Bulgarian Flag of 1944

The Bulgarian OF flag was used from 1944, when Russians occupied/liberated the country, until 1947, although I found it in an atlas of 1955. The letters OF stood for Otechestven front (Homeland Front) -- the communist-led organisation that led the anti-Nazi struggle. As far as I know, the front was not organised until 1944.
Željko Heimer, 24 April 1996

A Bulgarian tricolor with black Cyrillic capitals "ОФ" centered on the green stripe, standing for Отечествен фронт.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 30 September 2017