Original German WWII Captured Battle Flag Signed by 4th Armored Division with Wartime Markings 100cm x 170cm

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is incredible. Perhaps the most impressive captured German flag with USGI signatures we've ever offered. This German WW2 Reichskriegsflagge features more than 80 serviceman's signatures with locations of where they fought, trained and more. Most of the men were members of the 51st Armored Infantry Battalion, 4th Armored Division. However, multiple other battalions are mentioned on the flag such as the 51st Armored Infantry Battalion. the 53rd Armored Infantry Battalion, 10 Armored Infantry Battalion, 8th Tank Battalion, 35th Tank Battalion, 37th Tank Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery Battalion, 66th 22nd Field Artillery Battalion, 94th 22nd Field Artillery Battalion, 24th 22nd Field Artillery Battalion, 144th Signal Battalion, 46th Medical Battalion, 126th Ordnance Maintenance Battalion, and the 25th Cavalry.

The central portions of the flag read Omaha Beach, Central France, Bastogne, Central Germany including locations, dates and battles as well as over 80+ names of men. Of particular note is that Major General John S. Wood appears at the top of the flag.

John Shirley Wood (January 11, 1888 – July 2, 1966) was a United States Army major general. He was a career officer who served in World War I, and is most notable for training and commanding the 4th Armored Division which spearheaded General Patton's Third Army drive across France in World War II.

In May 1942, Wood took command of the 4th Armored Division (activated April 15, 1941) after Major General Henry W. Baird, and was responsible for the 4th Armored's organization and training. On June 21 he was promoted to major general.

On July 28, 1944, he personally led the 4th Armored into combat in France after the Normandy breakout as part of Operation Cobra and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The 4th Armored led the Third Army's drive east across France. Wood was known for leading from the front, often flying in a light observation plane that would land him near his lead elements so he could observe and provide direction.

In August 1944, Wood ran into difficulty when command of his higher headquarters within Third Army, the XII Corps, was assigned to Manton S. Eddy. Wood thought he'd earned the opportunity to command a corps, but was bypassed by Omar Bradley, the commander of Twelfth United States Army Group, which included Third Army. Wood was an Artilleryman, and may have been passed over in favor of Eddy, who was an Infantryman, as was Bradley.

Wood did not get along with Eddy, including refusing to provide Eddy's headquarters with routine reports or copies of 4th Armored Division's operations orders. Eddy eventually complained to Patton, and Patton replaced Wood with Major General Hugh J. Gaffey on 3 December 1944, shortly before the Battle of the Bulge. Wood received the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Star for his service as commander of the 4th Armored Division.

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. Recently acquired from a veteran's estate this is without a doubt the most impressive battle flag of the German WW2 era, it measures 100cm x 170cm or 39.6" x 67".

Constructed of wool with a bright red background with a large white central circle displaying a huge swas with the German Naval Cross design also in black to the edges. In the top corner is a black on white Iron cross.

This battle flag is totally original and is in very good condition only with no discernible damage anywhere. Nicely stamped N.V.P.F. v VLISSINGEN & CO'S KATOENFABR. HELMOND (HOLLAND) 100 x 170. This is among the very best examples of this flag available anywhere.

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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