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"Battlefield banners in the 20th Century?" Topic


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Saginaw13 Dec 2020 8:19 a.m. PST

By the 20th Century, most of the world's major armies ceased from carrying their national and regimental colors onto the battlefield as in the previous centuries' wars. I can only think of two "modern" wars where visibly sizeable banners were possibly/likely carried:

- The Spanish Civil War (1936-39)
- The First Indochina War (1946-54; mostly the Viet Minh according to the period newsreels)

Were there any other 20th Century wars where a nation's banner(s) were carried onto the battlefield?

Thank you.

Legion 413 Dec 2020 8:27 a.m. PST

At the beginning of the war IJFs carry the Rising Sun banner on a staff with IIRC, each Plt ? So the Lde/Cdr could see where his troops were on the battlefield. It was seen on Wake Island, IIRC. Obviously this was a bad idea. If the Ldr/Cdr could see where his troops are … So can the enemy …

That is the problem with any banner carried in combat, it makes the unit a target for mortars, FA, etc., etc.

dBerczerk13 Dec 2020 8:43 a.m. PST

I recall reading that U.S. Army forces participating in Operation Torch, November 1942, went ashore carrying their national colors in the hope it would prompt defending Vichy forces to hold their fire.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2020 9:06 a.m. PST

How about the Russians and Chinese?

Cuprum2 Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2020 9:21 a.m. PST

The Soviet army used flags only during battles in the city, to visually indicate captured buildings. Perhaps sometimes – for propaganda photos))) Oh! And very widely – in wargame)))
Megaphones were also used only in computer games and Hollywood films)))

The Germans used flags to mark their own equipment on the battlefield to prevent erroneous attacks from their own aircraft.

Cuprum2 Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2020 9:27 a.m. PST

In the Russian Civil War, banners were widely used by almost all parties. Since all sides had practically the same uniforms, the identification of friendly and enemy units on the battlefield was a big problem.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2020 10:00 a.m. PST

I was thinking more of the RCW and Russo-Polish War than WWII.

Cuprum2 Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2020 10:15 a.m. PST

These hostilities were in many ways a return to the mode of action of the mid-18th century. The absence of a continuous front, is quite weak saturation of machine guns and artillery, weak supply, difficulties with the control of the troops.
And at the same time – tanks, armored trains and aircraft)))

And the revival of colorful colored uniforms (at least in the elite units).

Mollinary13 Dec 2020 10:49 a.m. PST

The German Armies in 1914 took large numbers of their battalion and Regimental colours into the field in 1914. According to Major Ewald Fiebig in his 1936 work on German military flags, ‘Unsterbliche Treue' , essentially only the flags of the Jägers, Infantry Regiment fourth battalions, Artillery and Pioneer Regiments were left behind. There were of course other exceptions. The flags were carried in the front line in the early battles, but once trench warfare set in they were sent back to staff headquarters. This is a very inadequate summary of the nearly forty pages of text and four page Annex that he devotes to the use of flags in the field in the First World War.

Glengarry513 Dec 2020 1:25 p.m. PST

Legion 4
You mean… the Japanese? :)
The Japanese carried flags into battle long before WW2, during the 1st Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japaenese Wars.

Legion 413 Dec 2020 5:32 p.m. PST

Yes, the Imperial Japanese Forces, I took it he was talking about around the WWII time frame. Which would include Khalkhin-Gol in '39. link Which now that you mention it IIRC I saw IJFs carrying the Rising Sun banner/flag there too.

Imagined they did carry banners before WWII, IIRC, it may have gone back to the Samurai. But I knew that they carried them on Wake Island and probably before.

I said in the beginning of WWII because as the war progressed I don't remember seeing it. As I pointed out it made the unit an easy target.

tomrommel114 Dec 2020 2:09 a.m. PST

The VC and NVA used flags during the Vietnam War

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