Last modified: 2002-08-02 by joe mcmillan
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Brazilian military units carry the national flag as their principal color, but most are also authorized a "historic standard" (estandarte histórico). These standards measure 120 x 180 cm, are trimmed with gold fringe, and carry unit devices, mottoes, battle honors, and the "historic denomination" of the unit, usually the name of a past commander, a famous battle, a former designation, etc. Virtually every Brazilian unit has such a historic designation, although there are a handful of exceptions. Both the national flag and the standard are carried on staffs with spearhead finials.
The mother lode of information on these unit standards is the site of the Center for Documentation of the Army (CDocEx). The CDocEx site includes copies of the grants of estandartes históricos to many units, images of a number of these standards, and the "General Instructions for the Granting of Historic Denominations, Historic Standards, and Historic Distinctive Insignia to Military Organizations of the Army" (IG 11-01, approved by Commander of the Army Order (Portaria) No. 580, 25 October 1999. Contrary to what I had thought before, there are now standard patterns for these unit colors, but--unlike other countries--Brazil allows units that were granted "historic standards" during earlier periods to keep using the same design originally granted, while new grants are made in accordance with IG 11-01. Here are the flag-related provisions of IG 11-01, translated as best I can.
Chapter III - Of the Historic Standard
Art 4 - The historic standard is intended to recognize:
I - the military organizations honored with historic denominations; andArt 5 - The historic standard is made in accordance with heraldic norms and complies with the following characteristics:
II - the educational establishments of the Army, large school units, and school units.
I - rectangular form of the universal type of flag, that is, with the longer side one and a half times the shorter side, with gold fringe on the upper, left, and lower edges.
II - the field is of the heraldic colors of the Brazilian Army, the arm, service, or unit.
III - the coat of arms of the military organization or its historic distinctive insignia is represented.
IV - the staff is covered with sky-blue cloth with a spiral of red cloth, with nickel-plated lance-head and ferrule.
V - the military cravat [laço militar] is in the national colors, having inscribed in gold characters the military designation.
VI - color belt in the heraldic colors of the Army [i.e., blue-celeste and red]
Sole paragraph. Evocative inscriptions may be included on the historic standard only of a unit that has participated in operations against a foreign enemy, or that has been distinguished by feats of military valor in the life of the army or in episodes in the national history, either through its own participation or that of a unit from which it was formed.
Annex A prescribes the dimensions as 1.20 m fly by 0.80 m hoist, the staff 2.12 m in length with
a 3.5 cm diameter.
Joseph McMillan, 2 June 2001
The cravat is two lengths of silk divided vertically green and yellow, 0.12 m wide and 0.80 m long, tied with a bow at the base of the finial and fastened with the national cockade (escarapela). This is a device consisting of three concentric circles of ribbon, each 5 cm wide for a total diameter of 15 cm, blue in the center, then a ring of yellow, and green on the outside. On the blue center are five silver stars depicting the constellation of the Southern Cross. At the lower end of the cravat, each length of silk has a 5 cm gold fringe. The unit designation in abbreviated form is inscribed in gold letters. The 3rd Guards Cavalry Regiment, for example, is designated as 3° RCG. The ribbons of orders and decorations awarded to units are fastened below the cockade. Joseph McMillan, 2 June 2001