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Armed Forces' Flags (Spain)

Last modified: 2006-02-25 by
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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 June 1999

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

Santiago Dotor, 14 July 1999

The Spanish Air Force fin flash a black thin saltire on white represents the Burgundy Cross, a 500-year-old Spanish (mostly military) flag.

Santiago Dotor, 14 October 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 February 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 February 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:

Santiago Dotor, 7 June 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 October 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, 5 February 2002

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).

Santiago Dotor, 2 February 2001