A review of the distinctive colors of its various Arms and Corps

The meaning of the colors of the guidons and flags of the Spanish Army

If there is something that distinguishes the Spanish military flags from those used in other countries, it is because of their color and their ornamental richness.

Cross of Burgundy: origin and history of the oldest of the flags of Spain
When the infantry of Spain and Poland fought under the same Cross of Burgundy

The use of the Cross of Burgundy in the flags of the Spanish Army

A common element, which has been rightly recovered during the current Monarchy, is the use of the Cross of Burgundy -with different colors, but mostly red- in the scripts and pennants used by different units of the Spanish Army. We have already seen here the historical origin of this symbol, but many may be wondering what the different colors that are used in combination with that cross respond to.

Flags and guidons of different Spanish Army units at the start of the 7th "Galicia" Brigade Patrol Contest in Tuy, Pontevedra (Photo: Elentir).

The custom of using the Cross of Burgundy on different backgrounds is not current. It already occurred in the time of the Tercios Viejos, when the emblem of the Hispanic Monarchy was generally combined with designs and ornaments that They usually represented the field maestre, which was the position held by the person in charge of each Tercio. Obviously, this custom was lost, since today the emblems of each military unit are not linked in this way to their commanders. So, what do those colors respond to?

Flags and guidons of the different units of the Spanish Royal Guard (Photo: Guardia Real).

Each Arm and Corps of the Spanish Army has distinctive colors

The explanation is very simple: for many years, each Arm or Corps of the Spanish Army has a distinctive color. This is not exclusive to Spain, as other armies -such as the German or the Polish- also have this custom. It is not easy to find an official document that indicates the corresponding colors in the Spanish case. In the legislation of the Army I have not found anything regard. The most I have found is a list of the distinctive colors of the units of the Royal Guard, which coincide with the uses of the Army.

The guidon of the disappeared Special Operations Group (GOE) "Granada" II, and in the background the pennants of its companies (Photo: Ejército de Tierra).

The distinctive colors established in November 1936

As for the origin of these distinctive colors, the furthest I have found appears in the BOE edited in Burgos on November 5, 1936, which published an order issued on November 2 by General Germán Gil y Yuste, a member of the Defense Board of the national side, in which the colors that would be worn in the "cookies" where the badges and emblems are placed were indicated:

"Distinctive colors of the various Arms and Corps:
Infantry (Regiments).-Red
Idem (Mountain Battalions).-Green.
Cavalry.—Azure blue.
Artillery.—Red and black (upper half black, lower half red).
Legal Corps.—Purple.
Quartermaster.—Blue tub.
Military Health.—Yellow".

Flags and guidons of the artillery units conserved at the Segovia Artillery Academy (Photo: LosMadriles.es).

A curious detail is represented by the colors of the Artillery Weapon, red and black. Regardless of the epic interpretations that can be given to them, the colors clearly evoke two common elements of their trade: fire and gunpowder. The fact is that those colors were also used on the Republican side, but the other way around (the upper half red) by the anarchists. Today, in the Army there are various combinations of both colors, the most common being the one that places red at the top.

Guidons on a black and white background of the Information Operations Regiment number 1. In the center, the guidon of the Regiment. On the right, the guidon of Information Operations Group I, and on the left, the guidon of Information Operations Group II (Photo: Ejército de Tierra).

Distinctive colors currently used in scripts

The current distinctive colors of the Arms and Corps of the Army do not coincide with those established in the aforementioned order of November 1936. Right from the start, the purple color that was traditional for the colonel flags of engineers has been recovered. From the data I have managed to gather, the current colors are as follows:

Red: Infantry.
Red and black: Artillery.
Light blue: Cavalry.
Medium blue: General Staff and FAMET.
Medium green: Mountain Troops and Special Operations.
Light green: Logistics.
Purple: Engineers.
Purple and white: Transmissions and Electronic Warfare.
Purple and blue: Information Systems, Telecommunications and Technical Assistance.
Brown: Military Police.
Yellow: Health.
Black and white: Intelligence and Information Operations.

Guidons of different units of the Brigade "Galicia" VII (BRILAT). From left to right, I/12 "Santiago" Light Armored Cavalry Group, with light blue background; VII Field Artillery Group, with red and black background; Sappers Battalion VII, with purple background; Logistics Group VII, with a light green background; and Headquarters Battalion, with medium blue background (Photo: Elentir).

There are exceptions to the use of these colors. For example, Legion and Parachute Brigade (BRIPAC) units use different colored flags. Likewise, the guidon of the Brigade "Galicia" VII (BRILAT) is blue, which does not correspond to its original condition as an infantry unit. On the other hand, company pennants, smaller than the brigade and regiment scripts, are blue, red, yellow and green (if I'm not mistaken) depending on the corresponding number of the company. In this case there are also exceptions, such as the colorful pennants of BRIPAC companies.

Guidon of the Electronic Warfare Battalion I/31 South (Electronic Warfare Regiment No. 32) and pennants of its companies (Source: Ejército de Tierra).

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