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Italy - Naval Rank Flags

Last modified: 2018-04-16 by rob raeside
Keywords: italy | admiral | captain |
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Chief of Defence Staff

The French Naval Album ed. 10, 2017, shows "Chief of Defence Staff" (medium blue, four white stars on a diagonal within a white double tressure) and "General Secretary of Defence or Chief of Staff Armed Forces" (white, four red stars, single tressure).
Željko Heimer, 28 March 2018


Chief-of-Staff of Navy

image by Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

Dark blue field with four golden stars placed diagonally inside a golden-outlined dark blue rectangle
Ivan Sache,13 July 1999

According to Italian Navy site this is the "Insegna del Capo di Stato Maggiore della Marina" (Chief-of-Staff of Navy ).
Dov Gutterman and Pier Paolo Lugli, 5 September 2000


Commander in Chief of Italian Navy in Combat


by Jaume Olle and Dov Gutterman, 5 September 2000

According to Italian Navy site this is the "Insegna del Comandante in Capo delle
Forze Navali in combattimento"  (Ensign of the c. in c. of the Navy Force on battle).
Dov Gutterman and Pier Paolo Lugli, 5 September 2000

The French Naval Album ed. 10, 2017, gives two shades of blue for Italy, together with specification for red and green, all given as approximations:
  dark blue 287c C 100 - M 70 - Y 0 - K 10
  blue 300c C 0 - M 90 - Y 86 - K 0
  red C 13 - M 97 - Y 85 - K 3
  green C 86 - M 18 - Y 100 - K 4

The dark blue is used only in the 3rd quarter of the composed coat of arms in the (naval and civil) ensigns, the jack and the flag of the Commander of a Naval Force in Wartime (being a "medium" blue bordered jack, and the only one using two shades of blue simultaneously). The dark blue is also used as border in the presidential flag. All other listed flags employ the "medium" blue. 
Željko Heimer, 28 March 2018


Fleet Admiral

image by Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

According to Album des Pavillons, correction #30 (June 1998), pp. 146-147 [pay], it is "Admiral with Command in Central Mediterranean Sea" - same with four stars
Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

According to Italian Navy site this is the "Insegna di Comando per Ammiraglio d'Armata"
Dov Gutterman, 5 September 2000

Ammiraglio d'Armata translates directly as "Admiral of Fleet."  As I recall from the MMI rank insignia pages, this rank doesn't exist at present.
Joe McMillan, 5 September 2000

In the French Naval Album ed. 10, 2017, the 4-star admiral is captioned "Admiral Commanding in Central Mediterranean".
Željko Heimer, 28 March 2018


Squadron Admiral

image by Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

According to Album des Pavillons, correction #30 (June 1998), pp. 146-147 [pay], it is "Fleet Admiral" - Dark blue field with three golden stars placed diagonally
Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

According to Italian Navy site this is the "Insegna di Comando per Ammiraglio di Squadra"
Dov Gutterman, 5 September 2000

"Squadra" is "squadron," same as French "escadre" or Russian "eskadra."
Joe McMillan, 5 September 2000


Division Admiral

image by Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

Same with two stars
Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

According to Italian Navy site this is the "Insegna di Comando per Ammiraglio di Divisione"
Dov Gutterman, 5 September 2000


Rear Admiral

image by Ivan Sache , 13 July 1999

Same with one star
Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

According to Italian Navy site this is the "Insegna di Comando per Contrammiraglio"
Dov Gutterman, 5 September 2000


Captain of Vessel with Senior Command

image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 3 March 2018

Blue triangular pennant. Source: Album des Pavillons, correction #30 (June 1998), pp. 146-147.
Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

In the French Naval Album ed. 10, 2017, the blue triangular pennant is no longer shown.
Željko Heimer, 28 March 2018

image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 3 March 2018

I compared the images that based on Album des Pavillons with the site that Pascal Vagnat found in 7 January 1999 (Italian Navy site) and one flag is different: "Insegna di Comando per Cap. di Vascello comandante superiore navale"
Dov Gutterman, 26 July 1999

Here it is: a 2:3 blue swallow-tailed (fork depth 1/3th of flag width) ensign
Ivan Sache, 27 July 1999

The flag is used by the Capitano di Vascello (Warship Captain) when holding the higher rank in the fleet.
Pier Paolo Lugli, 30 July 1999

"Cap. di Vascello" is a Captain, Italian Navy, with superior command
Jack Kowalski, 31 July 1999

In the French Naval Album ed. 10, 2017, the blue swallow-tailed pennant is captioned "Force Commander (Captain)".
Željko Heimer, 28 March 2018


Senior Commander of Lower Rank than Captain of Vessel

image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 3 March 2018

White triangular pennant with a red cross all over it
Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

According to Italian Navy site this is the "Guidone per comandante superiore navale di grado inferiore a Cap. di Vascello".
Dov Gutterman, 5 September 2000

In the French Naval Album ed. 10, 2017, the "St. George" triangular pennant is for "Force Commander (Rank Captain)".
Željko Heimer, 28 March 2018


Captain of Vessel Commanding a Flotilla

image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 3 March 2018

Triangular pennant with 10 alternating blue and red diagonal stripes
Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

I have a doubt on the guidon cross red / white which is presented twice in the Italian Navy site:
1 - captain commanding a flotilla or squad
2 - office of rank lower than captain, same command -
In my opinion (based on an official ital navy documents) it should be a guidon with red and white bands obliquely from top hoist to low fly
Armand du Payrat, 7 January 1999

In the French Naval Album ed. 10, 2017, the white-red striped pennant is listed as "Flotilla or Squadron Commander (Commander to Lieutenant)".
Željko Heimer, 28 March 2018


Captain Commanding a Flotilla or Squadron

image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 3 March 2018

According to Album des Pavillons, correction #30 (June 1998), pp. 146-147 [pay], it is "Frigate Captain, Corvette Captain or Vessel Lieutenant Commanding a Flotilla"
Ivan Sache, 13 July 1999

According to Italian Navy site this is the "Guidone per Cap. di Fregata o di Corvetta o Ten. di Vascello comandante di Squadriglia o di Flottiglia di Unità minori" (Ensign for Captain of Fregate or Corvette or Tenente of Vessel leading a Squad or a Fleet of minor ships).
Dov Gutterman and Pier Paolo Lugli, 5 September 2000

Capitano di vascello equates to English captain  (French capitaine de vaisseau).  Frigate captain and corvette captain equate to US/UK commander and lieutenant commander respectively (Fr. capitaine de fregate/capitaine de corvette; Ger. Fregattenkapitän/Korvettenkapitän).  I'd translate as "pennant of a captain commanding a flotilla or squadron." There's a running problem with the English term "squadron" when translating into other languages.  It can mean either escadre/squadra, which is a large unit commanded by a senior flag officer as Squadron Admiral, or squadriglia and the equivalent, a small force of destroyers, submarines, etc., usually commanded by a captain
Joe McMillan, 5 September 2000

In the French Naval Album ed. 10, 2017, the blue-red striped pennant is listed as "Flotilla or Squadron Commander (Captain)"
Željko Heimer, 28 March 2018


Other pennants

In the French Naval Album ed. 10, 2017, Other pennants shown are (all in 2:3 ratio; all triangular, but the last):

  • Lights and Signals Ship: vertically divided white-blue, blue fouled anchor in the first
  • Auxiliary Ship of the Navy: vertically divided blue-white, yellow fouled anchor in the first
  • Ministry of Finance Vessel.: yellow with blue fouled anchor (of the same design as above)
  • Vessel of the Police: red with yellow fouled anchor (similar but wider than above)
  • Constabulary Vessel (French: Navire de la Gendarmerie): blue, red border, yellow enflamed grenade
  • Navy Nautical Club: blue with white fouled anchor (wider version, as for Police) topped with the white naval crown (as in the naval ensign)
  • Navy Nautical Club (Racing Flag): rectangular blue with white "wide" fouled anchor, no crown.
Željko Heimer, 28 March 2018