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Command Rank flags (Sweden)

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by christopher oehler
Keywords: sweden | rank | navy | command sign |
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Personal Command Sign of H.M. the King

[Personal Command Sign of H.M. the King of Sweden] by Kristian Söderberg

The Royal Command Flag was introduced by the army Field Service Regulations of 1943. Santiago [Dotor] is nevertheless right in assuming that this banner is not used at sea (it is, strictly speaking, a banner not a flag - a distinction often lost in English speaking vexillology). It is primarily for use in the army, at ceremonial occasions as far as I understand.

Note that this banner, it is termed His Majesty's Personal Command Banner, is a one-of-a-kind sort only: There is only one copy existing, a beautiful piece of craftsmanship created by Einar Kedja, a renowned Swedish heraldic artist. The cloth is permanently attached to a pole with a crown serving as finial.

In this image the brown part on the left is intended to represent the staff to which the cloth is permanently attached.
Jan Oskar Engene 23 February and 8 March 2000

Personal Command Sign of H.M. the King: This flag, a banner of the Greater State Arms, is used on land, when His Majesty is present at military occations. Theoretically, it is also to be used if the King is acting as commander-in-chief of the armed forces (överbefälhavare), but though he has the rank of General in the army and in the air force and the rank of Admiral in the navy, this is just formality.

When His Majesty is aboard a ship of the navy, his rank sign is the Royal Flag with the Greater State Arms together with the Royal Pennant (which is blue over yellow, swallowtailed, and has the Greater State Arms on a white field closest to the hoist). The flag and the pennant are hoisted on the same staff, with the pennant above the flag.
Elias Granqvist, 9 August 2000

See also for a sample of this flag in use.
J.C., 31 October 2017

Command Sign of the King

[Command Sign of the King] by Jan Oskar Engene

Command Sign of the King: If a Swedish Prince or Princess is present at a military occation on land, but the King is not, the flag to be used is blue with the three crowns of Sweden upon it, i.e. a square banner of the Smaller State Arms. The same flag would be used for an acting head of state.
Elias Granqvist, 9 August 2000

Minister of Defense

[Minister of Defence Rank Flag] by Zejlko Heimer

A square flag, parted vertically with the Swedish three crowns in the hoist half and a blue sword on yellow in the fly half. The Defence Minister is the only member of the cabinet who has a rank flag.
Elias Granqvist, 18 May 2001

As these rank flags are heraldic banners, an effort is made to make the charges fill the field as well as possible.
Jan Oskar Engene, 22 May 2001

Flaggenbuch Image

[Minister of Defence Rank Flag, 1939] by Zejlko Heimer

The national ensign defaced in canton with two white batons in saltire.

The construction details of the canton are given: canton height 60/150 hoist; staff width: 4; length: 48.5; staff axis along the diagonals; distance from top of staff to corner: 24. The same flag is shown in National Geographics 1917, so it must have been adopted in early 1900 (after 1905) and was at some point, say after WWII, replaced with the current square "kommandotecken".
Željko Heimer, 16 March 2003

The Commander-in-chief of the armed forces

[Commander in Chief rank flag] by Zejlko Heimer

A square flag, parted horizontally with the Swedish three crowns in the upper half and two crossed marshal staffs on yellow in the lower half. The Commander-in-chief usually has the rank of general.
Elias Granqvist, 18 May 2001

Ceremonial Flag Usage

At this site (PDF file), I ran across the volume of the Swedish Armed Forces ceremonial regulation that covers flag usage. Unfortunately, I can divine only bits and pieces of the Swedish, but it's clearly a very important source not only on military usage but on royal and state flag use as well.

First, in the section of state funerals, there is the following passage:Riksbaneret och Serafimerbaneret. Riksbaneret, eskorterat av enhonnörsstyrka (grenadjärkompani), skall vid Konungens begravningsprocession föras enligt särskilda anvisningar. Serafimerbanerets förande regleras i särskild ordning."

The photograph that goes with this passage is from the 1973 funeral of Gustaf VI Adolf and shows a party of officers carrying a large swallowtailed banner, no cross visible but what looks like a large crown embroidered near the top, with the tails of the flag ending in tassels. Is the "riksbaneret" another kind of royal flag besides those already covered? I assume the Serafimerbaneret is the banner of the Order of the Seraphim, right?

Secondly, the section on military unit colors (fälttecken) says the following:

5 För utformningen av fandukar och standardukar skall följande gälla, om inte annat fastställts i särskild ordning.

1. Förband för vilka Konungen är hederschef skall ha vita dukar med stora riksvapnet i mitten.

2. Arméns övriga förband skall över hela duken ha landskapets, länets eller förbandets vapen eller lilla riksvapnets tre kronor. Hemvärnet skall ha hemvärnets vapenbild.

3. Flottans enheter skall ha den tretungade flaggan som fanduk.

4. Kustartilleriets förband skall ha röda dukar med kustartilleriets emblem i mitten.

5. Flygvapnets förband skall ha blå dukar med flygvapnets emblem i mitten. Fanspetsarna utformas med genombrutet blad med krönt namnchiffer för den regent under vilkens tid fanan har överlämnats. Fanspetsar för fanor vid enheter inom hemvärnet utformas med genombrutet blad med hemvärnets vapenbild.

I can make sense of some of this:

1. Units of which the king is the [honorary?] commander have a white field with the great state arms [riksvapnet] in the middle.

2. [Something like:] Other army units have banners of the arms of the landskapet, [and then I get lost, something about] the lesser state arms . . . Home Guard units have the Home Guard arms.

3. Fleet units have the three-tailed [national] flag...

4. Coast artillery units have a red field with the coast artillery emblem in the middle.

5. Air force units have a blue field with the air force emblem in the middle.

[Then a description of the finials].

Joe McMillan, 4 September 2002

On index page at that site there is still eight other publications (those under "Ytterligare publikationer").
Željko Heimer, 4 September 2002

CerR FM 1 has regulations about flags and colours.

CerR FM 2 has some regulations about symbols

CerR FM 3 has regulations about marching etc. Should include rules about how to display the regimental colours at ceremonies.

CerR FM 5b shouldn't have anything in particular about flags.

CerR FM 8 could perhaps have something about how to display colours and flags outside the royal castle.

FMR, UniR FM 1999, UniR FM- Remiss, Utlandsstyrkan shouldn't have anything in particular about flags.
Elias Granqvist, 4 September 2002