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Norway - Officer Rank Flags

Norge, Noreg

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by phil nelson
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'Pure' National Rank Flags - 1905-

With the dissolution of the union with Sweden, the union mark disappeared from all Norwegian flags. This happened by order of the cabinet dated 7 June 1905, the official change of flags took place 9 June 1905. In the rank and command flags, the insignia were moved up to the top hoist position previously occupied by the union mark. The flags that appeared in 1905 are basically the same today.

The commodore's broad pennant is in proportions 1:2, the horizontal stripes in relationship 6:1:2:1:6 at the hoist and 2:1:2:1:2 at the fly end. This one is still in use.

Commanders of detachments have a pennant 1:3 with horizontal stripes in ratio 6:1:2:1:6 at the hoist. This one is also still used today.

There also used to be a senior officer's pennant with vertical red-white-blue-white-red stripes. It is mentioned in the soldiers handbooks up to 1928.

Non-commissioned officers used the plain red pennant of 1858. This one is mentioned in the soldier's handbook of 1965.

The jack of 1905, still used today, is a square version of the flag (the relations between the fields are 6:1:2:1:6).

The union mark was also taken out of the naval pennant (or commissioning pennant). This pennant has a swallowtail that is 1/3 of the length of the pennant, the red-white-blue-white parts at the hoist end are in proportions 4:1:2:1:4 (height) to 16:1:2:1:x (length). GIFs sent separately. Images based on information in Munksgaard and the various soldiers' handbooks.


· Handbok for menige. "Blaboka", Horten, 1965
· Norsk soldatbok, Oslo, 1928
· Soldatens bok, Kristiania, 1914
· Beutlich, F: "Flag og kommandotegn", in C. Sparre (ed): Norges sjöforsvar 1814-1914, Kristiania, 1914
· Munksgaard, Jan Henrik: "Militaere kommando- og rangflagg i Norden. Norge", Nordisk flagkontakt, No. 19, 1994, pp. 12-2

Jan Oskar Engene, 14 February 1997

For images, see:

Current flags of the Chief and Minister of Defence, Inspector Generals

In 1937 the style of the arms of Norway was changed. Compared to the old version, the new style was stricter and gave the lion a more stylized appearance. With minor revisions, this is still the version of the arms used for official purposes today (except the Royal standard and the standard of the Crown Prince). The change in style is also reflected in the flags of the Minister of Defence and Chief of Defence. The lion appears entirely in white on the flag of the Minister of Defence, and in yellow on the flag of the Chief of Defence.

In some sources, for instance the flag book by Cappelen and Beck, the entire emblem is in yellow. However, the navy handbook of 1965 has the blade of the axe in white, the rest is yellow. I have followed the navy source in the GIF. The Inspector General of the Air Force has a flag based on the war flag, but with a wing emblem in the upper hoist red field. The wing emblem has the crowned arms of Norway in the centre. The Inspector General of the Home Guard has a similar flag with the service emblem in the top hoist red field. The emblem is in yellow on red and consists of the letters 'HV' (= Heimevernet) within a wreath of laurel and with a crown over it all. The current flag of the Inspector General of the Army has crossed yellow command staffs with double red lines at each end. The command staffs are white and set as a saltire on the flag of the Inspector General of the Navy (or literally, Inspector General of the Sea Defence).


Handbok for menige. "Blaboka", Horten, 1965
Cappelen, Hans and Beck, Peter: Fakta om flagget, Oslo, 1987
Munksgaard, Jan Henrik: "Militaere kommando- og rangflagg i Norden. Norge", Nordisk flagkontakt, No. 19, 1994

More about the flags of admirals:

In the soldiers' handbooks of 1923 and 1928, the colour plates show *six-pointed* stars in the flags of admirals. I have always assumed that the stars have been five pointed since the introduction of star charged admirals' flags. So I was pretty surprised to see them six-pointed. I called the Navy Museum in Horten to ask about this, and they were as surprised as I was. They did not have six-pointed admirals' flags in their collection, and (after a week of research) were not able to find other documentation than the said handbooks. However, they thought the handbooks are to be trusted.

Air Force Rank Flags

I called the Defence Head Quarters in Oslo. I spoke to the adjutant of the Inspector General of the Air Force. He informed me that generals of the air force indeed use flags with yellow stars.
Jan Oskar Engene, 19 February and 20 February 1997

For images, see:



Air Force:

Home Guard:

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