This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Naval Rank Flags (Spain)

Last modified: 2002-12-20 by santiago dotor
Keywords: rank | admiral | vice admiral | rear admiral | captain | commander | senior officer | discs: 3 (blue) | discs: 2 (blue) | disc (blue) | discs: 3 (red) | discs: 2 (red) | disc (red) | anchor (blue) | star: 5 points (blue) | swallow |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors




See also:


Other sites:


Introduction

Do Spanish Navy flag officers still use the traditional rank flags — square versions of the national flag with 3, 2, or 1 blue circles to indicate rank? If so, approximately what shade of blue?

Joseph McMillan, 31 December 1999

As far as I know, they still do. The best book on the matter, Album des Pavillons 1990, details them very well. The shade of blue is the same for all these symbols on the Spanish ensigns (Royal Crown for recreational boating, HH with crowns for Revenue Service, CM for Postal Service), and for rank flags (crossed anchors for the Minister of Defence, horizontal anchor for Capitán General = 'commander-in-chief', horizontal anchor and 5-point star for the Admiral at the General Staff of the Armed Forces, and the 3, 2 or 1 dots for the Admiral, Vice-Admiral and Rear-Admiral in charge of the Navy), and FOTW dark blue (B+) fits well. It is azul marino in Spanish (navy blue). In the Spanish Navy Official Website there is a link to the Naval Museum, in Madrid, where some flags can be seen on the museum's walls.

José Carlos Alegría, 1 January 2000

In Album des Pavillons (recapitulative edition, 1995) the (...) blue shade looks more or less like the United States blue.

Ivan Sache, 1 January 2000

The US Navy usually equates capitán de navío with captain, capitán de fragata with commander, and capitán de corbeta with lieutenant commander; likewise for French, Italian, and other navies using the same "captain of ~" system of ranks.

Joseph McMillan, 1 January 2000

There's a large range of rank flags in Spain. I have images of 48 different rank flags of the 1939-1977 period. I believe they are still in use. The rank of Capitán General exists but as far I know nobody has had this rank except Franco and currently the King. However captaincy-generals are normally headed by a lieutenant general (for instance the "Captain General of the II Military Region" has the rank of lieutenant general).

Jaume Ollé, 9 January 2000


Commander-in-Chief of the Navy

Captain-General of the Navy / Capitán General de la Armada

[Commander-in-Chief of the Navy (Spain)] 1:1
by Ivan Sache

The rank of Capitán General still exists in the Navy but has now been assumed by the King of Spain, therefore this rank flag has become obsolete because the King has his own standard. Nevertheless the rank flag has not been abolished as far as I know. I have browsed the Spanish Navy website and found no information about it.

José Carlos Alegría, 1 January 2000

Square national flag with a blue anchor pointing to the fly placed horizontally in the middle of the yellow stripe.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000

Actually Captain-General of the Navy is the title given in Spain to the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. This position is occupied by the King himself, so this flag is never used in practice, the royal standard being flown instead. Source: Calvo and Grávalos 1983.

Santiago Dotor, 17 November 2000


Admiral Chief-of-Staff of the Navy

Almirante Jefe del Estado Mayor de la Armada

[Admiral Chief-of-Staff of the Navy (Spain)] [Admiral Chief-of-Staff of the Navy (Spain)] 1:1
by Ivan Sache by Zeljko Heimer

Square national flag with a blue anchor placed horizontally pointing to the fly and a blue five-pointed star, both in the yellow stripe.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000

Album des Pavillons 2000 shows a segmented black-blue star. The anchor is different from the one shown in Album des Pavillons 1990 and in other sources, including FOTW. I am inclined to believe tht the 'thin' anchor might be a pre-1977 pattern, is it so?

Zeljko Heimer, 6 August 2001

My sources (Calvo and Grávalos 1983 etc.) show no changes in the width of the anchors in 1977 or otherwise. They always (even before 1931) appear to be quite 'thick', like in Zeljko's es~cns.gif. Also, the 1977 Decree shows the star as plain blue, not faceted.

Santiago Dotor, 4 September 2001

The star appears faceted in Nueva Biblioteca de Legislación, published in Banderas, 1978, page 43.

Armand Noel du Payrat, 4 December 2002


Commander of a Naval District

Jefe de Región Marítima

[Commander of a Naval District (Spain)] 1:1
by Zeljko Heimer

Square national triband with horizontal anchor. A similar flag was previously used for the Commander in Chief of the Navy, but this title is now taken by the King, so the flag is reassigned for this new function now. The anchor is of a different design though, as in the flag for the Admiral Chief-of-Staff of the Navy. Source: Album des Pavillons 2000.

Zeljko Heimer, 6 August 2001

None of my sources (except for Album des Pavillons 2000) shows this flag as that of a Commander of Naval District. I find it weird that the former flag of the highest-ranking commander in the Navy, a position currently occupied by the king or the head of state himself, was 'reused' as that of a regional commander.

Santiago Dotor, 4 September 2001

My source was an information dated 1989 from the Spanish naval Attaché in Paris.

Armand Noel du Payrat, editor of Album des Pavillons 2000, 4 December 2002


Commanding Admiral

Almirante (con mando)

[Commanding Admiral (Spain)] 1:1
by Ivan Sache

Square national flag with three blue discs placed horizontally in the yellow stripe.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000


Admiral

Almirante

[Admiral (Spain)] 1:1
by Ivan Sache

Admiral without command: square national flag with three red discs placed horizontally in the yellow stripe.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000


Commanding Vice Admiral

Vicealmirante (con mando)

[Commanding Vice Admiral (Spain)] 1:1
by Ivan Sache

Square national flag with two blue discs placed horizontally in the yellow stripe.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000


Vice Admiral

Vicealmirante

[Vice Admiral (Spain)] 1:1
by Ivan Sache

Vice Admiral without command: square national flag with two red discs placed horizontally in the yellow stripe.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000


Commanding Rear Admiral

Contralmirante (con mando)

[Commanding Rear Admiral (Spain)] 1:1
by Ivan Sache

Square national flag with a blue disc in the yellow stripe.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000


Rear Admiral

Contralmirante

[Rear Admiral (Spain)] 1:1
by Ivan Sache

Rear Admiral without command: square national flag with a red disc in the yellow stripe.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000


Captain Commanding a Group

Capitán de Navío con Mando en División, Escuadrilla, Flotilla o Agrupación Operativa

[Captain Commanding a Group (Spain)] 3:5
by Zeljko Heimer

National forked broad pennant with a blue disc shifted to the hoist.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000

Album des Pavillons 2000 shows its ratio as 3:5. The swallowtail cut appears to be an equilateral triangle, its side 1/2 of the hoist. The blue disc is set halfway between the hoist and the deepest point of the cut.

Zeljko Heimer, 6 August 2001

According to the 1977 Decree this flag should have the following dimensions:

  • distance from hoist to centre of ball: 1/2 hoist
  • diameter of ball: 1/4 hoist
  • slant length of the swallowtail edges: 1/2 hoist
As indicated, the last dimension is measured along the slant edge of the swallowtail cut, indeed forming an equilateral triangle. The horizontal distance from the innermost point of the swallowtail cut to the fly end of the flag is thus (0.5 hoist × sin 60º) or approximately 0.433 hoist.

Santiago Dotor, 4 September 2001


Commander or Lieutenant Commander Commanding a Group

Capitán de Fragata o Corbeta con Mando en División, Escuadrilla, Flotilla o Agrupación Operativa

[Commander or Lieutenant Commander Commanding a Group (Spain)] 3:5
by Ivan Sache

National forked broad pennant.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000

Album des Pavillons 2000 shows its ratio as 3:5.

Zeljko Heimer, 6 August 2001


Senior Officer Pennant

Comandante más Antiguo en Reunión de Buques (Jefe de Bahía)

[Senior Officer (Spain)] 3:5
by Ivan Sache

Triangular national flag, but with the red stripes converging with the yellow stripe.

Ivan Sache, 12 March 2000

Album des Pavillons 2000 shows its ratio as 3:5.

Zeljko Heimer, 6 August 2001


Mistaken Minister of Defence rank flag

José Carlos Alegría mentioned that Album des Pavillons shows a rank flag with "crossed anchors for the Minister of Defence". That is the flag adopted in 1977 for the Minister of the Navy. As far as I know, it was never used, because of the merger of the Ministries of the Army, Navy and Air Force into the current Ministry of Defence shortly thereafter. A similar flag but with smaller anchors —not touching the red stripes— was in use 1923-1931 and 1938-1977.

I wonder whether Armand du Payrat, editor of Album des Pavillons, assumed that the Minister of Defence inherited this flag or whether he has official information that the flag is currently in use.

Actually the 1977 Flag Decree also adopted flags for the Ministers of the Army and of the Air Force. I understand the Minister of Defence might choose the flag of the former Minister of the Navy to represent him when on board a navy vessel, but the question is not clear at all.

Santiago Dotor, 20 November 2000

I agree with Santiago Dotor, I have information from the Spanish Attaché in Paris that the Minister of Navy's crossed anchors flag is not in use. It does not appear anymore in Album des Pavillons 2000.

Armand Noel du Payrat, 20 November 2000