List of Polish flags

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Flag of the Republic of Poland
Flag with coat of arms of the Republic of Poland

A variety of Polish flags are defined in current Polish national law, either through an act of parliament or a ministerial ordinance. Apart from the national flag, these are mostly military flags, used by one or all branches of the Polish Armed Forces, especially the Polish Navy. Other flags are flown by vessels of non-military uniformed services.

Most Polish flags feature white and red, the national colors of Poland. The national colors, officially adopted in 1831, are of heraldic origin and derive from the tinctures of the coats of arms of Poland and Lithuania. Additionally, some flags incorporate the white eagle of the Polish coat of arms, while other flags used by the Armed Forces incorporate military eagles, which are variants.

Both variants of the national flag of Poland were officially adopted in 1919, shortly after Poland re-emerged as an independent state in the aftermath of World War I in 1918. Many Polish flags were adopted within the following three years.[1] The designs of most of these flags have been modified only to adjust to the changes in the official rendering of the national coat of arms. Major modifications included a change in the stylization of the eagle from Neoclassicist to Baroque in 1927 and the removal of the crown from the eagle's head during the Communist rule from 1944 to 1990. Legal specification for the shades of the national colors has also changed with time. The shade of red was first legally specified as vermilion by a presidential decree of 13 December 1928.[2] This verbal prescription was replaced with coordinates in the CIE 1976 color space by the Coat of Arms Act of 31 January 1980.[3]

National flags[edit]

Main article: Flag of Poland

The basic variant of the national flag is a plain white-and-red horizontal bicolor. A variant defaced with the coat of arms is restricted to official use abroad and at sea. Legal restrictions notwithstanding, the two variants are often treated as interchangeable in practice.

Image English name
Polish name
Design Use
Flag of Poland Flag of the Republic of Poland
Flaga Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
Horizontal bicolor of white and red
Proportion 5:8[3]
FIAV 111000.svg ?
National flag, inland ensign[3]
Flag of with coat of arms Flag with coat of arms of the Republic of Poland
Flaga z godłem Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
Horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe
Proportion 5:8[3]
National flag ?
Polish embassies, consulates etc.; civilian airplanes during international flights; civilian airports and heliports; civil and state ensign[3]

Military flags[edit]

Rank flags used in all branches of the Armed Forces[edit]

Originally used only by the Navy, the use of these rank flags was extended in 2005 to all branches of the Armed Forces by an amendment to the relevant ministerial ordinance.[4] They are flown to mark the presence and pay respect to the highest civilian and military authorities: the President of the Republic of Poland who is ex officio commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces; the Minister of National Defence who acts on the commander-in-chief's behalf in peacetime; Marshal of Poland, the highest rank in the Polish army (no living holders since 1989); and the Chief of the General Staff.

Image English name
Polish name
Design Use
Presidential jack Jack of the President of the Republic of Poland
Proporzec Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
Red flag emblazoned with the white eagle of the arms of Poland and bordered with a white wężyk generalski, an ornate wavy line used in the Polish military as a symbol of general's rank
Proportion 5:6[5]
On Navy vessels when the President is on board.[5] On land when the President is present.
Flag of the Minister of National Defence Flag of the Minister of National Defence
Flaga Ministra Obrony Narodowej
Swallow-tailed horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced in the white stripe with the arms of Poland and in the red stripe with a white anchor entwined with an S-shaped rope and a yellow cannon barrel in saltire
Proportion 5:8[5]
On Navy vessels when the Minister is on board.[5] On land when the Minister is present.
Flag of the Marshal of Poland Flag of the Marshal of Poland
Flaga Marszałka Polski
Red flag with a double white border emblazoned with the Eagle of the Marshal of Poland holding two hetman's batons (buławy) in saltire
Proportion 5:6[5]
On Navy vessels when the Marshal is on board.[5] On land when the Marshal is present.
Flag of the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces Flag of the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces
Flaga szefa Sztabu Generalnego Wojska Polskiego
Red flag with a double white border emblazoned with the Generals' Eagle
Proportion 5:6[5]
On Navy vessels when the Chief of the General Staff is on board.[5] On land when the Chief of the General Staff is present.

Land Forces[edit]

Image English name
Polish name
Design Use
Flag of the Land Forces Flag of the Land Forces
Flaga Wojsk Lądowych
Swallow-tailed red flag emblazoned with the Land Forces Eagle
Proportion 10:21[6]
Ceremonial flag used on military holidays, visits of high civilian or military authorities, or representatives of foreign countries, as well as other ceremonies. Flown together with flags of other branches of the Armed Forces during Polish Armed Forces Day (15 August) ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw.[5]

Navy[edit]


War ensign

Navy flag

Commissioning pennant

The war ensign and the naval jack symbolize traditions of the Polish Navy[6] dating back to Polish privateer fleet of the 15th–17th centuries.[7] They are also symbols of a navy ship crew's courage, honor, unbreakable fighting spirit and readiness to defend Poland and its maritime rights.[6] Naval Service Regulations define when, where and how the flags should be raised and lowered on board a navy ship.[5]

Image English name
Polish name
Design Use
Naval ensign War ensign
Bandera wojenna
Swallow-tailed horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe
Proportion 10:21[6]
FIAV 000001.svg ?
Naval ensign[6]
Naval Jack Naval jack
Proporzec Marynarki Wojennej
Horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced with a cross pattée countercharged and, in the middle of the cross, with an armed arm brandishing a sabre (szabla) in a torteau (a red roundel)
Proportion 4:5[6]
Flown together with the war ensign on Sundays, holidays and other special occasions; flown everyday when in foreign waters[8]
Navy flag Navy flag
Flaga Marynarki Wojennej
Swallow-tailed red flag emblazoned with the Navy Eagle
Proportion 10:21[6]
Ceremonial flag used on military holidays, visits of high civilian or military authorities, or representatives of foreign countries, as well as other ceremonies. Flown together with flags of other branches of the Armed Forces during Polish Armed Forces Day (15 August) ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw.[5]
Commissioning pennant Commissioning pennant
Znak dowódcy okrętu
Swallow-tailed bicolor of white and red defaced with a cross pattée countercharged near the hoist
Proportion 1:25[6]
Ship commanded by a navy officer in a campaign[6]
Naval auxiliary ensign Naval auxiliary ensign
Bandera pomocniczych jednostek pływających Marynarki Wojennej
Blue flag with an image of the naval ensign in the canton
Proportion 3:5[5]
Auxiliary naval vessels, such as patrol boats, tugboats, replenishment oilers, mine trawlers and degaussing stations, which are not allowed to fly the war ensign[5]
Naval airport flag Naval airport (heliport) flag
Flaga lotnisk (lądowisk) Marynarki Wojennej
Horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced with the arms of Poland in the middle of the white stripe, the Air Force checkerboard in the white stripe between the coat of arms and the hoist, and a white anchor entwined with an S-shaped rope in the red stripe below the checkerboard
Proportion 5:8[5]
Naval airports and heliports[5]

Rank flags[edit]

Image English name
Polish name
Design Use
Flag of the Commander of the Navy Flag of the Commander of the Navy
Flaga dowódcy Marynarki Wojennej
Swallow-tailed horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe and a white anchor entwined with an S-shaped rope in the red stripe
Proportion 5:6[5]
On naval vessels when the Commander of the Navy is on board
Admiral's Flag Admiral's Flag
Flaga admirała
Swallow-tailed horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced in the white stripe with the arms of Poland and in the red stripe with three white five-pointed stars arranged in an equilateral triangle one of whose sides is parallel to the hoist
Proportion 5:6[5]
On naval vessels when an admiral is on board
Vice Admiral's Flag Vice Admiral's Flag
Flaga wiceadmirała
Swallow-tailed horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced in the white stripe with the arms of Poland and in the red stripe with two white five-pointed stars arranged in a line parallel to the hoist
Proportion 5:6[5]
On naval vessels when a vice admiral is on board
Rear Admiral's Flag Rear Admiral's Flag
Flaga kontradmirała
Swallow-tailed horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe and with a white five-pointed star near the hoist in the red stripe
Proportion 5:6[5]
On naval vessels when a rear admiral is on board
General's Flag General's Flag
Flaga generała
Swallow-tailed horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced in the white stripe with the arms of Poland and in the red stripe with two yellow cannon barrels in saltire above a yellow cannonball
Proportion 5:6[5]
On naval vessels when a general is on board

Rank pennants[edit]

Image English name
Polish name
Design Use
Pennant of the Chief of the Naval Staff Pennant of the Chief of the Naval Staff
Proporczyk szefa Sztabu Marynarki Wojennej
Pennant consisting of two horizontal stripes of white and red, and a red swallow-tail, defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe[5] On naval vessels when the Chief of the Naval Staff is on board
Flotilla Commander's Pennant Flotilla Commander's Pennant
Proporczyk dowódcy flotylli
Pennant consisting of two horizontal stripes of white and red, and a white swallow-tail, defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe[5] On naval vessels when a flotilla commander is on board
Division Commander's Pennant Division Commander's Pennant
Proporczyk dowódcy dywizjonu
Pennant consisting of two horizontal stripes of white and red, and a blue swallow-tail, defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe[5] On naval vessels when a division commander is on board
Group Commander's Pennant Group Commander's Pennant
Proporczyk dowódcy grupy
Pennant consisting of two horizontal stripes of white and red, and a green swallow-tail, defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe[5] On naval vessels when a group commander is on board

Air Force[edit]

Image English name
Polish name
Design Use
Air Force Flag Air Force Flag
Flaga Sił Powietrznych
Swallow-tailed red flag emblazoned with the Air Force Eagle
Proportion 10:21[6]
Ceremonial flag used on military holidays, visits of high civilian or military authorities, or representatives of foreign countries, as well as other ceremonies. Flown together with flags of other branches of the Armed Forces during Polish Armed Forces Day (15 August) ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw.[5]
Military airport flag Military airport (heliport) flag
Flaga lotnisk (lądowisk) wojskowych
Horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced with the arms of Poland in the middle of the white stripe and the Air Force checkerboard in the white stripe between the coat of arms and the hoist
Proportion 5:8[6]
Military airports and heliports[5]

Special Forces[edit]

Image English name
Polish name
Design Use
Flag of the Special Forces Flag of the Special Forces
Flaga Wojsk Specjalnych
Swallow-tailed red flag emblazoned with the Special Forces Eagle
Proportion 10:21[6]
Ceremonial flag used on military holidays, visits of high civilian or military authorities, or representatives of foreign countries, as well as other ceremonies. Flown together with flags of other branches of the Armed Forces during Polish Armed Forces Day (15 August) ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw.[5]

Flags of other uniformed services[edit]

Image English name
Polish name
Design Use
Flag of the Border Guard Flag of the Border Guard
Flaga Straży Granicznej
Horizontal bicolor of white and red with a green border defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe
Proportion 5:9[9]
Vessels of the Border Guard[9]
Police flag Police flag
Flaga Policji
Blue flag emblazoned with a badge used by waterborne Police units, i.e. a lifebelt and an anchor within a dark-blue diamond above a dark-blue ribbon with the word POLICJA written on it in white letters, all on a white eight-pointed star
Proportion 5:9[10]
Police vessels[10]

Special state service vessels[edit]

Special state service flags are used by state-employed civil special-purpose ships while on duty. These flags all follow the same basic design; a white flag with a horizontal stripe whose width is 1/5 of the flag's width. In the middle, each flag is emblazoned with the national coat of arms superimposed on a golden or yellow anchor whose height is 3/5 of the flag's width. The middle stripe is broken in the middle and does not touch the anchor or the arms. The type of special service performed by the ship is indicated by the color of the middle stripe.[11]

Image English name
Polish name
Design Use
Hydrographic vessel flag Hydrographic survey and Maritime Office flag
Flaga statku hydrograficznego i dozorczego urzędu morskiego
White flag emblazoned with the coat of arms of Poland placed on a golden anchor in the middle of a blue horizontal stripe
Proportion 5:8
Hydrographic survey vessels and vessels of Maritime Offices[11]
Lifeboat flag Lifeboat and pollution control flag
Flaga statku ratowniczego oraz specjalnego statku do zwalczania zanieczyszczeń
White flag emblazoned with the coat of arms of Poland placed on a golden anchor in the middle of an orange horizontal stripe
Proportion 5:8
Lifeboats and pollution control vessels[11]
Icebreaker flag Icebreaker flag
Flaga statku używanego wyłącznie do łamania lodów
White flag emblazoned with the coat of arms of Poland placed on a golden anchor in the middle of a violet horizontal stripe
Proportion 5:8
Vessels used exclusively for breaking ice[11]
Pilot boat flag Pilot boat flag
Flaga statku pilotowego
White flag emblazoned with the coat of arms of Poland placed on a golden anchor in the middle of an ash-grey horizontal stripe
Proportion 5:8
Pilot boats[11]
Fireboat flag Fireboat flag
Flaga statku pożarniczego
White flag emblazoned with the coat of arms of Poland placed on a golden anchor in the middle of a red horizontal stripe
Proportion 5:8
Fireboats[11]
Training ship flag Training ship flag
Flaga statku szkolnego
White flag emblazoned with the coat of arms of Poland placed on a golden anchor in the middle of a black horizontal stripe
Proportion 5:8
Training ships[11]
Customs ship flag Customs ship flag
Flaga statku celnego
White flag emblazoned with the coat of arms of Poland placed on a golden anchor in the middle of a green horizontal stripe
Proportion 5:8
Customs ships[11]
Hospital ship flag Hospital ship flag
Flaga statku sanitarnego
White flag emblazoned with the coat of arms of Poland placed on a golden anchor in the middle of a yellow horizontal stripe
Proportion 5:8
Hospital ships[11]
Telecommunication ship flag Telecommunication ship flag
Flaga statku telekomunikacyjnego
White flag emblazoned with the coat of arms of Poland placed on a golden anchor in the middle of a brown horizontal stripe
Proportion 5:8
Telecommunication ships[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kromer, Adam. "Polskie flagi, chorągwie, bandery..." [Polish Flags, Banners, Ensigns...] (in Polish). Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  2. ^ (Polish) Znamierowski, Alfred (1995). Stworzony do chwały [Created for Glory] (in Polish). Warsaw: Editions Spotkania. p. 299. ISBN 83-7115-055-5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Ustawa z dnia 31 stycznia 1980 r. o godle, barwach i hymnie Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej oraz o pieczęciach państwowych [Arms, Colors, and Anthem of the Republic of Poland, and State Seals Act], Dz. U. z 1980 r. Nr 7, poz. 18 (1980-01-31)
  4. ^ Zarządzenie Ministra Obrony Narodowej z dnia 14 grudnia 2005 r. zmieniające zarządzenie w sprawie szczegółowych zasad używania znaków Sił Zbrojnych Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej oraz ustalenia innych znaków używanych w Siłach Zbrojnych Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [Ordinance of the Minister of National Defence Amending the Ordinance on Detailed Rules for the Use of the Insignia of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland and Establishment of other Insignia Used in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland], M.P. z 2005 r. Nr 82, poz. 1165 (2005-12-14)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Zarządzenie Ministra Obrony Narodowej z dnia 29 stycznia 1996 r. w sprawie szczegółowych zasad używania znaków Sił Zbrojnych Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej oraz ustalenia innych znaków używanych w Siłach Zbrojnych Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [Ordinance of the Minister of National Defence on Detailed Rules for the Use of the Insignia of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland and Establishment of other Insignia Used in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland], M.P. z 1996 r. Nr 14, poz. 178 (1996-01-29)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Ustawa z dnia 19 lutego 1993 r. o znakach Sił Zbrojnych Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [Insignia of the Polish Armed Forces Act], Dz. U. z 1993 r. Nr 34, poz. 154 (1993-02-19)
  7. ^ (Polish) "Historia Marynarki Wojennej RP" [History of the Polish Navy] (in Polish). Marynarka Wojenna RP. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  8. ^ (Polish) Koczorowski, Eugeniusz; Koziarski, Jerzy; Pluta, Ryszard (1972). Zwyczaje i ceremoniał morski [Maritime Customs and Ceremonies] (in Polish). Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Morskie. p. 291. 
  9. ^ a b Rozporządzenie Ministra Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji z dnia 12 kwietnia 2002 r. w sprawie wzoru flagi oraz oznakowania jednostek pływających i statków powietrznych Straży Granicznej [Ordinance of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration on the Flag and Markings for Vessels and Aircraft of the Border Guard], Dz. U. z 2002 r. Nr 54, poz. 474 (2002-04-12)
  10. ^ a b Rozporządzenie Ministra Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji z dnia 18 kwietnia 2005 r. w sprawie wzoru flagi oraz oznakowania jednostek pływających i statków powietrznych Policji [Ordinance of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration on the Flag and Markings for Police Vessels and Aircraft], Dz. U. z 2005 r. Nr 84, poz. 724 (2005-04-18)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rozporządzenie Ministra Infrastruktury z dnia 21 października 2005 r. w sprawie wzorów flag dla statków morskich na oznaczenie pełnionej specjalnej służby państwowej oraz okoliczności i warunków ich podnoszenia [Ordinance of the Minister of Infrastructure on Flags for Special State Service Vessels and on Occasions and Conditions for Flying Them], Dz. U. z 2005 r. Nr 235, poz. 1998 (2005-10-21)

External links[edit]