Cold war era French tank flag question

Hi. I am hoping someone out there has the knowledge to help me on this. Does anyone know what the object circled in this image is?

I am assuming it is a rolled up flag, but I may be wrong.

If it is a flag, any idea what colour it would be? I know the US had a standard 3 colour mix, but did the French?

Or could it be a rolled up French National Flag in a canvas cover?

Appreciate any input.

Its probably a flag or flags used during gunnery (or for signaling).
If the French army is like the the US army three flags are used: Red, green and yellow.

…and one for when they encounter German forces :white_flag:

:beer: :cowboy_hat_face:


I’m not sure it is a flag at all. It looks to me like a spare .50 cal barrel with a cover on one end.


Gino might be right. The signal flags we used were shorter and the colors were the same as the US ones (probably NATO standard). Whereas the flages were mandatory in each vehicle they were not issued by the Army so they were homemade from broom sticks and pieces of cloth. We called it “systeme D”. :wink:



Now you mention it Gino, and with Olivier’s insight, I think you are right. And it makes perfect sense given the fitting between the ammo box and the hatch is the travel mount for the .50 inch. It would also fit in as this is a picture of a vehicle deployed in Algeria in 1960 during the Algerian War, not on practice.

Thank you very much everyone. Appreciate you all took the time to look at the thread.

Don’t you have a blue flag? The Bundeswehr uses 4 flags. Blue is for all vehicles in a convoy, except the last one which shows a green flag. A yellow flag means, this vehicle has a technical defect and a towing vehicle shows the red flag when it has the defect one “on hook”. During live fire shooting a red flag means “sharp ammo on board, reading for firing” and a green flag means “everything clear”. That’s what I remember from my olive green days.

No blue flag


There’s a STANAG (Standing NATO Agreement) for this I believe - well, that is for convoy movement: Blue at the front (of the convoy) Green at the rear, and Yellow when you’ve broken down. This is all distinct from activity on the ranges admittedly. If movement is at night then the front headlight of the lead vehicle is coloured blue, and the last vehicle also has its headlight coloured green. Not sure about what you do when you break down at night - probably just sleep until he repair boys turn up!


Glad I wasn’t the only one thinking about that other colored flag that some might consider standard issue.

The red flag on the gunnery range has been around for awhile

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Interesting! :thinking: Are there other NATO armies, which don’t use the blue flag?
Here is what I mentioned above on a truck of the German THW, which uses the same set of flags as the Bundeswehr.

Blue flag, all convoy vehicles except the last …

… green flag, last vehicle of a convoy …

… yellow flag, vehicle has technical problems …

… red flag, towing vehicle …
… of course the THW does not use red and green flags for live fire shooting … :grin:

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Great pic Frenchy. Love that dusty look to that AMX 30!

When I was in the US Army in Germany during the 1980s, we did not use flags for convoys, only on the firing ranges.

Yeah me too and I don’t recall flags being used on convoys; but knowing me at the time (85’-87’) I most likely wasn’t paying attention lol. Definitely remember using them on the ranges.

We used those flags in convoys as well. I remember there was a black and white flag too but I don’t remember its meaning.


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While we are talking about flags in convoys…
Many blue flags and a green one … :slightly_smiling_face:

Wow, a lot more flags, reflective stickers, and hi-vis items than we ever had in the 80s. Looks like the gun tubes are wrapped up in orange marking tape.
When we did convoys, we had escort vehicles at the front and back, the whoopie lights, and some (small) reflective stickers, and that was it. These photos are from 1982, we had just completed New Equipment Training on the then new M1 Abrams.

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