Original German WWII 100cm x 170cm Battle Flag by Textildruck Arlt - Reichskriegsflagge

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Reichskriegsflagge (Imperial War Flag) was the official name of the war flag and war ensign used by the German armed forces from 1933 to 1945. This included the Heer, Luftwaffe, and Kriegsmarine, as it was a National flag. Recently acquired from a veteran's estate this is without a doubt the most impressive battle flag of the German WW2 era, it measures 39.4" x 66.9" or 100cm x 170cm.

Constructed of what feels like cotton or a wool & cotton blend, the flag design features a bright red background with a large white central circle displaying a large Swas (hook cross), overlaid on the German Naval Balkenkreuz (Beam Cross) design also in black to the edges. In the top corner (Canton) is a black on white Eisernes Kreuz (Iron cross) cross pattée. It features a canvas header, with a halyard running the full length inside that terminates in loops on both ends.

This battle flag is totally original and is in very good lightly used condition, with just a bit of wear and tear. There are a few small tears, but no major tears or other issues. The colors show very little age toning, and the red is still vibrant. There is no mothing we can see, however the flag does look to probably have been laundered during service, which has made the markings faint. It is still nicely stamped on the header with the manufacturer information faintly legible:

Textildruck Arlt
inb. Oskar u. Kurt Arlt

Schönheide is a municipality in Saxony's district of Erzgebirgskreis. It lies in the western Ore Mountains, and was founded as an industrial village. This company, run by Oskar and Kurt Arlt is a known maker of WWII flags such as this. The flag is also marked (very faded) Kr.Fl. 100 x 170, indicating that it is a 100cm x 170cm Reichskriegsflagge. There are no Naval markings, so this was a flag intended for ground forces use.

This is a wonderful example of this hard to find flag by one of the rarer makers!

Designed personally by Adolf AH, this flag served the Heer and the Luftwaffe as their War Flag, and the Kriegsmarine as its War Ensign (the National Flag serving as Jack). This flag was hoisted daily in barracks operated by units of the Wehrmacht combined German military forces, and it had to be flown from a pole positioned near the barracks entrance, or failing this, near the guard room or staff building. New recruits in the latter part of World War II were sworn in on this flag (one recruit holding the flag and taking the oath on behalf of the entire recruit class with the recruits looking on as witnesses - before, this was done on the regimental colors).

The flag had to be formally hoisted every morning and lowered every evening. These hoisting and lowering ceremonies took the form of either an ordinary or a ceremonial flag parade. At the ordinary raising, the party consisted of the Orderly Officer of the Day, the guard, and one musician. At the ceremonial raising, one officer, one platoon of soldiers with rifles, the guard, the regimental band, and the corps of drums were all present.

The proportions of the flag are 3:5. Fusing elements of the NSDAP German Flag (swas and red background) with that of the old Imperial Reich War Flag (four arms emanating from off-center circle and Iron Cross in the canton), these flags were uniformly produced as a printed design on bunting.

Raised for the first time at the Bendlerstraße Building (Wehrmacht Headquarters) in Berlin on November 7, 1935, It was taken down for the last time by British occupation forces after the arrest of the Dönitz Government at the Naval Academy Mürwik in Flensburg-Mürwik, Germany, on May 23, 1945.

In his book, Inside the Third Reich, Albert Speer states that "in only two other designs did he (Adolf AH) execute the same care as he did his Obersalzberg house: that of the Reich War Flag and his own standard of Chief of State."

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