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Croatia - Historical Military Flags

Last modified: 2001-08-23 by dov gutterman
Keywords: croatia | military | osijek | vukovar | bjelovar | st. stephen | crown | hussar | karlovac |
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Flag of the Croatian Central Bransk Troops During Napoleonic Wars 1797

This is a cavalry guidon of Croatian domobran ("home-defenders") comapany. The reverse show in the pannel the Hungarian corwn sitting on a red cussion. The flag was supposedly originally red, but the colour seems faded away.
Zeljko Heimer , 16 March 2000

Flag of the 369th Infantry Regiment of the Independent State of Croatia

by Zeljko Heimer (based on a photo from the Croatian History Museum)

by Zeljko Heimer (based on a photo from the Croatian History Museum)

from Croatian History Museum site by courtesy of Jelena Borosak Marijanovic:

Flag of the 369th Infantry Regiment of the Independent State of Croatia

Silk rep, multicoloured relief silk embroidery and gold embroidery, accessories, wood
85 x 120 cm; length of staff 230 cm

Rectangular flag, the obverse in the colours of the Croatian tricolour, the reverse in golden-white silk. Obverse: a Croatian tricolour edged with a silver border with small red, white and blue triangular flames. The centre of the field holds the state coat of arms. Above the coat of arms, in the red field, the inscription reads: STO BOG DA, while the inscription in the blue field reads: I SRECA JUNACKA. The top corner near the staff holds the number of the regiment: 369. Reverse: the centre of the field holds the monogram AP (Ante Pavelic) embroidered in dark red. The embroidered inscription around the monogram reads: ZA POGLAVNIKA I ZA DOM. The flagstaff is simple, and the finial has not been preserved.
Bigger images at: and
J. Borosak-Marijanovic, Zastave kroz stoljeca, Zagreb, 1996, page 128, 129.

What seems odd to me is the high number assigned--somehow I doubt that there were 368 other regiments in the FSC army. It may be that the regiment was actually carried on the German establishment as a volunteer formation. It wouldn't have been at all unusual four such a unit to have a distinctive "national" color, even if its troops did wear German uniform.
Tom Gregg , 30 September 1999

Possibly, but both of us are guessing... However, there might be that the practice was (as it is today in Croatia, BTW) that each "type" of units would have similar numbers, and not necesserily all numbers be filled. Comparing with today (imagining numbers for I do not know them exactly), and armoured battalion would be (say) 671th through 679th, while there'd be no other units with numbers of 600 through 700.
Zeljko Heimer , 4 October 1999

I checked "Axis Forces in Yugoslavia 1941-5" , and together with "Flags of the Third Reich; 2: Waffen-SS" (Brian L. Davis,  (Men-at-arms series, no. 274), Osprey Publishing, 1994.) it has the answer I think.
From the first source I quote from the chapter "Germany" (note that "Croatia" about the Croatian Army and the Ustasha Army is another chapter!):

"Unwilling to divert front-line units from Russia to Yugoslavia, the German high Command explored local sources of manpower. In August 1942, the 369th Infantry Division, the 'Devils Division', was established as a Legionary Division with Croatian troops under a german cadre. It had two infantry regiments (369 and 370), an artillery regiment (369), anti-tank, reconnaissance, engineer  and signal battalions. 369 Infantry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 369 Artillery Regiment, formed earlier 1941, served as the Croatian Legion in Russia. It was replaced in the Division by the 969 Infantry Regiment and 969 Artillery Battalion. These unites adopted their predecessors' numbers when the Croatian Legion was destroyed at Stalingrad in December 1942. In January 1943 a second Legionary Division, the 373 'Tiger Division', was formed."

From the second source I quote (just the relevant parts not in the first source):

"Of the three Croat infantry divisions raised by the Germans - the 369th ('Devils Division' - Vrazja Divizija), the 373rd ('Tiger Division' - Tigar Divizija) and the 392nd ('Blue Division' - Plava Divizija, not to be confued with the Spanish 'Blue Division') - only the 369th played any significant role in these vicious anti-partisan operations. The 'Devils Division' received their special Colour during a ceremony held in Croatia on 16 May 1944."

Conclusion: it wasn't the 369th Infantry Regiment of the Independent State of Croatia, but of the German Waffen-SS. I think this makes more sense, although I know nothing about the structure of the Waffen-SS or any other armies.
Mark Sensen, 5 October 1999

The only additional comment I'd add is that the 369th ID wasn't on the "Waffen-SS" establishment.It was, rather, as its number indicates, on the German Army establishment.
Tom Gregg , 5 October 1999

The inscription on the flag are (obverse) "By the Grace of God and the Deeds of Heros," and (reverse) "For the leader and Fatherland."
The 369 Inf.Rgt. , like the 369, 373, and 392nd were indeed German formations with Croatian troops and was not Croatian Army (Domobran) or Waffen-SS. The Regiment was formed soon after the order to do so was given on July 2, 1941 as an all volunteer force which was sent to the Eastern Front as part of the 100th Mountain Division, where it was destroyed at Stalingrad. The flag in question may have been awarded to the unit in July 1941, although I have seen no photographic evidence of the flag when the unit was reviewed by "Poglavnik" (Leader) Ante Paveli in Zagreb or by Croatian Field Marshal Slavko Kvaternik that Fall. The exact flag in the photograph may have been issued or reissued to the "second" 369 Rgt. (Grenadier Regiment) which was the "tradition bearer" of the first unit and which had "first" 369 Inf.Rgt. soldiers who, usually wounded, had been evacuated before it was destroyed at Stalingrad.
The "second" 369 Gren.Rgt. was formed in September 1942 and trained in Dollersheim (now Austria) under the command of Oberst (Col) Fritz Neidholt (Brigadier as of October 1, 1942). The 369 Gren.Rgt. became the foundation of the 369 Infantry Division formed on December 18, 1942, which was followed by the 373rd and 392nd Inf.Div.s, all with Croatian troops and German, as well as some Croatian officers. In addition to the 369 Gren.Rgt. , within the 369 Inf.Div., were found the 370 Gren.Rgt. ; the 369 Recon Section 369 Art. R.; 369 Armored-Ranger Section; 369 Engineer Bn.; the 369 Communications Section; and the 369 Field Reserve Bn. Any or all may have had some form of this flag. The official 369 Inf. Div. flag was not presented until May 16, 1944. It had the same "AP" reverse as the flag pictured. I have never seen the obverse.
Most of the information above is from F. Schraml's "Kriegsschauplatz Kroatien" (Neckargem?nd, Germany: Kurt Vowinckel Verlag, 1962) the definitive history of the three divisions with an excellent picture of the 369th flag on parade (p. 48A) being held by its commander, Oberst Fischer in German uniform with Croatian sleeve insignia. This photo was taken in late 1942 and the flag may well be a reproduction of the first which, if it went to Stalingrad, could not have come back. Since the flag only has the number "369" and no notation of "Inf." or "Gren." whether this is the original or not is unknown.
Michael McAdams, 4 July 2000

In the catalogue of the exhibition of flags held in 1996, it is indeed stated that the flag in question is made only in 1943, after the new regulations on unit flags was issed on 4-MAY-1943 and new flags were authorized (granted) by Poglavnik.
I have not seen the regulations (but it should be available published in the official gazette of 1943), and I do not know how much different that flag is from flags previously granted. It may even possibly be that the flag was given to the unit in 1944.
The note in the description of the flag in the catalogue mentiones that the enchanced 369 Infantry Regiment was formed in the beginning of July 1941 with headquarters in Karlovac.
I am reffering to 369 Inf. Reg. for "369. pjesacka pukovnija" in Croatian, being the only unit name mentioned in this context I encountered. I am not sure what would "grenadier regiment" equivalent be in Croatian, not infantry division (unless be it "pjesacka divizija", that I have not encountered with either).
Zeljko Heimer, 5 July 2000

Flag of the Italian Legion

The flag of the little-known Italian Legion, which drove trucks on the Eastern Front was the standard red-white-blue with 25 field chessboard, bordered in gold in the center. Above the shield, in the red was the ancient crown of the Croatian Kingdom (Crown of King Zvonimir), since Italy appointed its own "king" of Croatia. The crown is unique with a rounded shape and "sideburns" more like a Roman helmet. To left and right of the shield are fasces, blades out, and the motto "Bog i Hrvati" ("God and the Croats"). The entire flag was bordered with red, white, and blue triangles like the 369 flag and the Poglavnik's flag. The reverse had the letter "U" for "Ustasha" (Revolutionary) Party surrounded by braid of three strands. It also had the fasces and an inscription starting with "Za D om Spremni" (For the Homeland Ready). Attached to the top of the flag was a streamer, color unknown
Michael McAdams, 4 July 2000

"Lako Prevozni Zdrug" means Light Transportation Company, though I'm not sure the company is the right translation for that unit level (I'm not familiar with Croatian military terminology of WWII).
Zeljko Heimer, 5 July 2000

Flag of the Imperial Royal Hungaro-Croatian Home Guard Regiment

from Croatian History Museum site by courtesy of Jelena Borosak Marijanovic.
Bigger images at: and

Flag of the Imperial Royal Hungaro-Croatian Home Guard Regiment with streamer made after 1868
White silk, multicoloured silk embroidery, wood, brass, embroidery;
128 x 136 cm, length of staff 299 cm

Rectangular flag with a border of alternating triangles in the colours of the Croatian tricolour. Obverse: in the centre of the field the coat of arms of the Hungarian crown lands surmounted by the Crown of St Stephen; the coat of arms is held by two angels. Reverse: in the centre of the field the embroidered initials of the ruler FJ I (Francis Joseph I), surmounted by the Hungarian crown. The flagstaff ends with a finial decorated on one side with the Hungarian coat of arms, and on the other by the initials of Francis Joseph I. The year 1874 is engraved on the staff.
The flag belonged to the 84th Bjelovar Regiment.


Blue silk, tassels, gilt metal tassels, silk embroidery, gold embroidery length of bands: a) 120 cm, b) 160 cm; width 20 cm

Streamer with two bands in the centre, fashioned into a loop with a rosette and a bought cord with tassels for tying it to the staff. The inscriptions on the bands: Ljudevita Grofica Jankovic Montbel with family coats of arms on the end of the band; Bog, Kralj i Dom!; Sreca i pobjeda; Belovarskoj 84. domobranskoj ceti with the coat of arms of the town of Bjelovar.

J. Borosak-Marijanovic, Zastave kroz stoljeca, Zagreb, 1996, page 127.

Standard of the Military Border Hussar Troop of the Karlovac Regiment

from Croatian History Museum site by courtesy of Jelena Borosak Marijanovic.
Bigger images at: and

Standard of the Military Border Hussar Troop of the Karlovac Regiment Austrian (Hapsburg) lands 1746-1749
Yellow silk damask, braids, flat stitch embroidery with silk and silver metal thread, fluted wood, silvered finial
55 x 88 cm, staff length 299 cm

Double-edged cavalry standard richly embroidered and edged with fringes. Obverse: in the centre of the field, richly decorated with floral motifs, is the embroidered Austrian dynastic coat of arms. Reverse: the field holds an embroidered medallion in the Baroque manner, depicting a set of Roman military trophies. The flagstaff, fluted like a tournament lance, ends in a finial, which has on one side the incised coat of arms of the Prince of Sachsen Hildburgshausen, and on the other the figure of St John Nepomucene.
The standard was donated by the parish office of Slunj.

J. Borosak-Marijanovic, Zastave kroz stoljeca, Zagreb, 1996, catalogue number 52, page 121.

Croatia International Brigades

Recently it was reported to me about a flag of the CROATIA INTERNATIONAL BRIGADES (in spanish "Brigadas Internacionales de Croacia") led by a spanish named Rosa Flores. According a interview Flores command the forces that defend Osijek, in first line, after the fall of Vukovar. My correspondant qualified Brigades of fascist people (but also serbians qualified fascist).
The flag is yellow-ochre (golden) with a larger black emblem in center. The emblem is unknown
Jaume Olle', 24 September 1999

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