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Flags for Rocroi

Updated: Jun 6, 2022

The wonderful little museum at Rocroi has some interesting illustrations of flags carried by the combatants at the 1643 battle. As I am always on the search for flags to copy for my miniature troops, so I thought I should share these.

Spanish cavalry flags. The round-ended ones are labelled cornotte (coronet) and the rectangular one as guidon. We normally associate round-ended flags (especially with swallow tail) as guidons carried by dragoons with the rectangular or square flags as coronets being carried by horse. It would seem that in the first half of the 17th century rounded coronets were carried by horse in both the Spanish and French armies (see also French flags below).

The first of these Spanish infantry flags is that of the Sardinian Tercio de Castelvi, the second of Frangipani’s German regiment. Both are interesting variants of the standard Spanish Burgundian cross and German double-headed eagle.

Two Swiss regiments fought for the French at Rocroi — Watteville and von Roll. The pennon-shaped flag for von Roll is puzzling as infantry flags were usually large squares. Perhaps it is a junior officer’s pennon? If anyone has any ideas please do let me know. The regimental flag for von Roll’s regiment is shown on the next image.

French infantry flags are relatively well known as they did not change from the Thirty Years War through to the War of Spanish Succession (see Warflag). The only problem is that colonels did change and junior regiments carried the name of their colonels. As a result the regimental name changed over the years even if the flag did not.

The flags below are from Stéphane Thion's Excellent book, French Armies of the Thirty Years War.

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