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Croatia - Naval Flags - Part I

Last modified: 2004-03-06 by dov gutterman
Keywords: croatia | navy | naval jack | jack |
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Naval Ensign

by Zeljko Heimer

The Naval Ensign - (the text call it literary "stern flag", but that is because this is precise term used in Croatian for an ensign. In part with images it is captioned litterary "Flag of naval ships of RH (on stern)".
As far as I know, this is a new flag, i.e. before this decision the Croatian Navy used the same flag as civil vessels did, i.e. the national flag in 2:3 ratio.
The Naval Ensign is equal to the Civil Ensign (tricolour with Coat of Arms in the middle), differentiated in two yellow anchors in saltire behind the coat of arms.
Zeljko Heimer, 24 October 1999

One may not see the red outline of the Coat of Arms in the crest that is otherwise "lost" in the red field of the flag. There is, of course, also a white line between this red and the shield proper, but hardly visible on such small images.
Zeljko Heimer, 4 October 2000

Beautiful photo of the Croatian naval ensign beneath a rainbow, taken in December 2002 in Komiža, island of Vis at <>.
Zeljko Heimer, 26 Febuary 2004

Naval Jack

by Zeljko Heimer

The Naval Jack - (or as it is called litterary "bow flag") - This is the flag of the Croatian Navy (Hrvatska Ratna Mornatica), reported before.Thou, the flag used until now had somewhat more ornamented shield shape, which is now "reverted" to the official shield shape of the Croatian Coat of Arms. Anyway, this is, As far as I know, the first document officializing this flag. The flag is blue, bordered with thick red border (outer and thin white border (inner). In the middle of the blue filed there is the Croatian coat of arms and two anchors behind it as on the naval ensign.
According to my calculations, based on the images from official gazette, and which I used during constructioning of this flag, that seem reasonable - the red border width is 1/10 of the flag hoist, and the white border is half as much (i.e. 1/20). The symbol in the middle is another 1/10 from upper and lower edge of the blue filed, therefore allowing 1/2 of the flag hoist to be the total symbol height.
Zeljko Heimer, 24 October 1999

Flag in Use

by Zeljko Heimer

You might remember the flag of the Croatian Navy (HRM, Hrvatska ratna mornarica) that is the flag used as the naval jack on Croatian Navy ships. If you check, you shall see that the legaly prescribed flag contains the Coat of Arms in the middle, but that formerly used flag had a veriation of the Coat of Arms, most notabe difference being the shape of the shield. The same design with the more ornamental shield is shown in Album 2000.
Whatever the 1999 regulations (that intoduced the flag as the jack, and that prescribe "simple" Coat of Arms version) prescribe the older ("transitional") version is still much in use, I presume for practical reasons. I guess that the difference is rather minor and that the old flag was retained in use anywhere where it was already existing (that's cheaper solution). As a matter of fact, I have not yet seen the new prescribed version in use anywhere. Knowing how strict budgets are these last years, I doubt that the aquirement of new flags would be the first thing on their mind anyway.Especially since the difference is not esencial one, I believe. So, I guess that the old flags shall be left in useage until their detoriation due time. As the flag of this design is not only used as the jack (where weather conditions might be hasher), but also as the flag of the Navy, so also in parade and indoor versions, these might be used for quite a time.
In any case, in recent number of the weekly magazine of the Croatian Ministry of Defense the interview with the commander of the Naval District North Adriatic was issued, illustrated with his photo infront of a indoor version of  this flag (gold fringed, and with gold tassle). The emblem in the flag is very well visible (hosit of the flag is about 20 cm in the photo) enableing rather good drawing. It also confirms well my estimate that the red border is 1/10 of the hosit, and the white one being half that width.
Zeljko Heimer, 7 April 2001

I have seen just few days ago the Croatian naval jack, in fact those that is titled "Flag in Use". I guess again that these are "leftovers" of the previously "semi-officially" used jack and authorized flag of the Croatian Navy.
Zeljko Heimer, 1 september 2001

Transitional Croatian Navy Flag (and Jack (?))

by Zeljko Heimer

In the site of the Croatian Ministery of Defense there is an photo of the second chief of HQ, one vice-admiral, there is a table size flag on his desk, very similar to the flag used by the Croatian Navy, that I couldn't indentify for a long time. However, this flag is different in that there are no crossed anchors on it. It might be concluded that these flags might be rank flags of various admirals. I already wrote a mail asking some questions to them, and we'll see if they anwser.
Zeljko Heimer, 19 May 1997

some time ago I posted an image of the flag of HRM (Croatian Navy). The flag was reported by me long ago as used as naval jack, but afterwards I saw it used elsewhere, and was not sure about it use. I also suggested that it might be a rank flag of admirals etc. Now, when I posted the image a month ago, I finally confirmed what the flag is - the flag of the Croatian Navy (Hrvatska ratna mornarica), but I still did not found any rules for its hoisting on vessels.
Now I have a photo if its use as naval jack. I attach the part of the photo, showing the jack on the jackstaff of the presidential vessel "Ucka". This conforms that the flag is used as naval jack (at least sometimes).
From this photo you can judge how good I made a GIF. Not specially good in the whidth of white border, certainly. What about the ratio of this flag? Is it 1:2 or 2:3, I can hardly decide.
Zeljko Heimer, 7 September 1998

Zeljko's description of the use of the Croatian naval ensign says that he's unclear on whether this is actually the ensign or not.  I checked photos in Jane's Fighting Ships and am not sure what to conclude.

- Landing craft DJC-103:  blue ensign at ensign staff and jackstaff, national tricolor at masthead.  Under way with sailors manning rail.
- ex-Presidential yacht HRM Yadranka:  national tricolor at ensign staff. (ship not under way)
- Coast Guard 1-PU:  national tricolor at gaff; under way
- HRM Sibenic:  national tricolor at gaff; under way
- HRM Dubrovnik:  national tricolor at gaff; under way
- Midget submarine Velebit:  national tricolor at ensign staff; not under way
- HRM Andrija:  national tricolor at ensign staff; not under way
- Minelayer DSM 110:  national tricolor at gaff; under way
- HRM Krka:  blue ensigns at jackstaff and ensign staff; national tricolor at gaff; under way with sailors manning rail.

Not sure what to make of this, but interesting that only appearance of blue flag is with sailors in ceremonial formation and that the national tricolor seems to be used in all situations.
Joseph McMillan , 2 October 1999

With all my efforts I have found no slightest suggestion of whan the flag of the Navy is to be hoisted either as ensign or as jack (or whatever). But, as the photographs confirm, the flag is used from time to time, as it seems mostly in ceremonial occasions.
I have seen photos of ex-Presidential yacht HRM Yadranka with the naval flag at ensign staff, too (again with crew manning the deck!).
IMHO, the use of the naval flag is sporadic and left to the commander's will, but as a rule the national ensign is used, and the commander's will is exercised only in some ceremonial ocassions. Again, IMHO, the regulations regarding this are still to be developed and I would guess that would be so in time, as the Croatian military is in process of making many such documents. I hope it is just a question of time when I would be able to report on such rule-book
Zeljko Heimer , 4 October 1999

Those flags can be considered now as "temporarily" or "transitional" flags. There was actually only one flag (similar to the new jack!), and possibly another variation of it without the anchors. They are to be considered "unofficially" used in ceremonious occasions before the law now determined the "real" flags.
Zeljko Heimer , 29 October 1999

Supreme Commander of the Republic of Croatia Armed Forces

by Zeljko Heimer

The flag of the Supreme Commander of the Republic of Croatia Armed Forces: This is exactly the same flag as the flag of the President, which is not unusual since the President is by default the Supreme Commander. The flag was originally adopted at the same time as the national flag (21-DEC-1990), and this law "only" confirms it in this function (i.e. as the flag used by the Navy).
The flag is square, blue, bordered with a border of 29 red and white squares along one edge (including the two corner squares, which are red). [BTW, this confirm the border elements to be squares, something that was not quite clear before!] . In the middle is the Croatian coat of arms (shield), surrounded with five square lozenges containing the five coats of arms from the crest of the national coat of arms. Both from the main shield, and from the five smaller shields there is hanging a fringe-like pattern, for lozenges composed of yellow, white and red fringes - 1Y, 4 R+W one each side around central fring - the central yellow fringe being longer then others - all ending in 45 degrees lines. The fringes of the main shield are all red and white except for the two outermost. Above the shield is a ribbon in national colours outlined in yellow and bearing letters RH also in yellow.
Zeljko Heimer, 30 October 1999

President of Sabor (Parliament)

The flag

by Zeljko Heimer

The detail of the emblem

by Zeljko Heimer

The flag of the President of Sabor (the Parliament): The flag is red square with an emblem canton. The emblem is a gray (silver ?!) vertical oval bordered with a yellow "tripple wattle" ornament consisting of 20 curls. In the oval there is the coat of arms of Croatia above the letters RH. The size of the oval (to the edges of the ornament) is approximately 41% of the hoist in height and 32% whide. The space from the oval top to the top of the flag is 10% and from hoist to the oval is 5%.
Zeljko Heimer, 30 October 1999

President of Government

by Zeljko Heimer

The flag of the President of Government (Prime-minister): The flag is white square bordered with blue with the same oval as in the flag of the President of Sabor. The width of the blue border is 5% of the flag hoist. The oval is of the same size as in previous flag, and offset from top also, but it is offset from hoist approximately 12%.
Zeljko Heimer

The flag of the Minister of Defense

The flag

by Zeljko Heimer

Details of the emblem

by Zeljko Heimer

The flag of the Minister of Defense: The flag is red square, bordered with a border of 20 squares, in the national colours. The upper hoist corner square is red, next one along both edges is white, then blue, then again repeating red-white- blue until the other corner (so, two corners are white) , continuing pattern around the corners toward the fly bottom corner which is blue. In the middle of the flag there is the emblem of the Minister of Defense. That is the same oval as in the flags of President of sbaor and Prime-minister, but instead of the letters RH, there are yellow crossed a sword (with white lozenge on the hilt) and an olive branch in salitre, and below those a yellow letter M. The size of the oval is 43% in height and 34% in width (i.e. bigger somewhat then in the previous two flags!). This emblem is the official emblem of the Minister of Defence, as such defined in a law defining the rank and function emblems in the Armed Forces (au contraire, I'm not aware of any official documant defining the emblem used on the flags of the two presidents above!).
Zeljko Heimer, 30 October 1999

Cont. (Part II)