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silverfoxes

dimensions of US flag on USF Constitution

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Can anyone with access to some good reference material answer a question that I have regarding what the size of the US flag (stars and stripes) was in 1812?   Specifically, what were the dimensions of the US flag on the USF Constitution during her engagement with HMS Guerriere? 

 

The problem being that I recently purchased a supposedly 1/96 scale 15 star flag to go on my Revell plastic model of the same scale.   However, when the item arrived, it measured out to being 30 scale feet long and a tad over 14 feet wide.

 

That's one large flag!  Could the supplier of this item perhaps have made it in 1/87 or even 1/72 scale in error and then sold it as being in 1/96 scale?   The product is a good one, printed on cloth on both sides.   It just seems huge for supposedly being in 1/96 scale.    If incorrect for 1/96, what scale would it be appropriate for?

 

Thanks.  Any insight into this question is appreciated. 

 

Edited by silverfoxes

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When I went to my first NRG conference in 1999 I met a guy who wrote a book on flags.  As I recall he asserted that back in the sailing ship days the length (fly) of the battle ensign was the beam of the ship.  The fly of the next size flag was the same as the hoist (height) of the size above it.  I'm not sure how correct that is, but you flag would be inside those dimensions I believe.

 

The battle ensign was meant to be large.

Edited by Chuck Seiler

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I will see what may be in some of the pursers records, but that may take some time.

 

A quicker tactic would be to peruse contemporary paintings and see how large the ensign is (compare several to allow for artistic exageration).

 

 

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For your consideration.  The garrison flag flown over Fort McHenry in 1814 was 30 x 42 feet.  It was intended to be the largest flag ever yet flown.  The next size down from that one was the 'storm flag' at 17 x 25 feet.

 

Not the same thing as a ships battle ensign, I know, but it just shows that they were making them this size.

 

The battle ensign for the Spanish San Idelphonso at the battle of Trafalgar was 32 x 47 ft.

The one from the French Genereaux in 1800 was 27 x 52 ft.

Battle ensigns in the British Royal Navy during the 17th and 18th centuries were about 20 x 40 ft.

 

Regards,

Edited by popeye2sea

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