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Wondering if any one can tell me how flags were layed out in the flag locker on the bridge. Can't find any pictures which might show flags folded, stacked or general placement. Were they in drawers, cubby holes, or hanging on rods. I want to have the box open on a 196 scale ship WW II era naval ship.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Yankee Clipper

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It depends on the vessel.. Signal flags are sometimes rolled up and put in "pigeon-holes" when stored out of the weather. (There's plexiglass in the locker doors, if you look closely.) These are aboard the British Royal Yacht, Britannia.


WW II era U.S.Navy practice on most all larger vessels would have been, as now, to store signal flags hanging in a purpose-designed flag locker at the base of the signals masts. These lockers permitted the flags to be attached to the flag halyards, and to each other in a hoist, while they were hanging in the flag locker, and when the hoist was raised, they would deploy directly from the locker.
Good photos of the port and starboard flag lockers on the signals bridge of USS New Jersey can be found here: http://ussnewjersey.com/wrk_10-3.htm
Flag locker: SS Lane Victory as restored to WW II configuration:
See the source image
Flag locker in use aboard USS Maryland, BB-46, during WW II : See: http://navsource.org/archives/01/046/014600l.jpg
USN Flag locker design varied a bit from ship to ship, but all worked the same way. Larger vessels had larger lockers holding more flags.  You'll have to research the ship you are modeling to recreate the flag lockers aboard her. Follow the flag halyards down to the signals bridges and that's where you'll find the flag lockers.

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Posted (edited)



Here is a blueprint for the "flag board" (also known as the flag bag) on a Cleveland class cruiser guided missile conversion in the 1950s. I suspect (but I am not certain) it is the same flag bag that was used on cruisers during WWII and was reused after the conversion. It is the same basic design shown in the photos Bob posted.


This shows the general shape and size of the flag bag, and is an example how it was arranged with respect to the signal mast and halyards.


This is a prettty large drawing showing the details clearly, but it looks like the Forum reduces it drastically. Contact me through this link and I'll send you the full sized drawing:


https://www.okieboat.com/Contact page.html


I might even find some more photos of cruiser flag bags.




Edited by Dr PR

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Remember, too, that USN scaled the size of flags used by a ship, by the ship's size.  This as by numeric designation, Size 1 through 7, largest to smallest.

This is why the locker (flag bag) dimensions varied.


The flags were made up wit ha toggle at the top, and a pendant that was at least the hoist of the flag, or five feet (152cm), whichever was longer.


The signal would come down from the bridge, and then be broken out into groups of four flags, which would be laid out in order on the correct side of the ship (occasionally both sides ).  When ready, the signal was hoisted up until only the last pendant was out of the box, so that the Signals LPO could check it.  It then went to half-mast, this was known as Preparatory,  The rest of the ships in the signal group (squadron, usually) would then match the flags they could see At the Half.  With all the ships answering, the lead vessel then hoists to two-block the signal indicating Execute.  The remaining ships repeat that, two-blocking the signal to indicate execution.


To really make the signalmen's day, just Dress Ship, where the signals are laid out (in a prescribed order) from jack to tore top to main top to aft to the flagstaff.  This emptied the lockers (mostly).  It also exposed all the signals to the XO's eye, who might call for extensive washing of the signals (since they are stored somewhat in the weather).  Although some larger ships had a stowed set of signals already made up to dress ship.

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Modern signal flags are made with a ring spliced into the top of the tack line, which runs through the tabling on the hoist of the flag and extends beyond the bottom of the flag, and a snap hook spliced into the bottom of the line.  The snap hook also has a hole with a sharpened edge that takes the marline that can be used to make up the flag for breaking after running it aloft in a rolled bundle.


If you look closely in the WWII flag bags (still used today) you will see that the flags are held in racks of "fingers" that have slots to hold the rings and snap hooks of the flags vertically.  Each set of fingers holds two of the same flag.  The flags are arranged in the flag bag grouped together by type and alphanumerically (letters, numeral flags, numeral pennants, special pennants, substitutes).  In operation you have a flag bag operator and a man on the halyard uphaul.  The halyard uphaul has a snap hook spliced in the end.  The flag bag operator snaps the hook on to the first flag of the hoist and the up haul is hauled pulling the ring out of the fingers.  While the flag is coming out of the bag the flag bag operator is snapping the hook from the first flag onto the ring of the second flag. This continues until the hoist is complete.  The last flags snap hook is then hooked into the halyard downhaul and the hoist is the raised to the required height (at the dip which is halfway up, or close up which is fully raised to the yard arm). Depending on the ship you can fit a half dozen flags or more in a single hoist.  Additional halyards are employed until the signal is complete.  Signals are hoisted from outboard in.  A well trained signal crew can raise a hoist of flags in seconds from receiving the coded signal.



a USN Signalman

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