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Pennants of the African French army

Fanions de l'armée d'Afrique

Last modified: 2017-05-31 by ivan sache
Keywords: pennant | african chasseurs | spahis | crescent (silver) |
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P. Charrié, in Drapeaux et étendards du XIXe siècle [chr92] reproduces a colour plate from a private collection showing "commanding officer's pennants used in Kabylia, 1857", The flags have been drawn and coloured by hand, and captions have also been written by the anonymous author.

The flags are all 2:5 and swallow-tailed, the indentation depth being 1/3 of the flag length. The plate shows also commanding officer's pennants.

Ivan Sache, 8 November 1999

First Regiment of Chasseurs, Sixth Squadron

[1st chasseurs]by Jaume Ollé

The pennant was orange with in the middle a silver crescent pointing upwards and the number I. In 1863, this Squadrin captured a Mexican flag in San Pablo del Monte and was awarded a honour pennant.

Ivan Sache, 8 November 1999

Third Regiment of Spahis, First Squadron

[First squadron]by Ivan Sache

The pennant was dark blue with a yellow border. Blue was most probably the colour identifying the Regiment, whereas the Squadrons were differenciated by the colour of the border.

A spahi was, initially, a beneficiary in Central Asia, who did a personal military service (sipari means warrior in Persian). In the Ottoman Empire, a sipahi was a rider who received the use of a land in Anatolia or Roumelia. The benefit became progressively hereditary. Until the end of the XVIIIth century, spahis constituted with the janisaries (infantrymen) the elit of the Ottoman army.
After the conquest of Algeria, France constituted Spahi regiments (1834), belonging to the light cavalry, armed, mounded and dressed in the Arabic way. However, they were more and more often recruited among the French population.

Ivan Sache, 8 November 1999