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Bolivian Military Flags

Last modified: 2024-07-13 by daniel rentería
Keywords: fin flash | roundel | port commander | anchor (blue) | military color |
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Military flag

Military Flag of Bolivia
by António Martins, 17 Aug 2005 | 15:22

Art. 4, point II, of the flag law prescribes the millitary flag; like the state flag, but the national coat of arms between a laurel branch (left) and an olive branch (right).
António Martins, 19 Aug 2005


Military national emblem
by António Martins, 18 Aug 2005

According to art. 4, point II, of the flag law, the full emblem, with the additional branches, seems to take up the full height of the yellow stripe (trusting the illustration in the law) and as such leaving the main part of the emblem (without branches) in the same size as the one in the state flag (as far as is possible to measure it in the terrible illustration of §4.I).
António Martins, 19 Aug 2005

Military Colors

The color carried by Bolivian army regiments is called the bandera de guerra. It is a silk national tricolor flag with the national coat-of-arms surrounded by olive and laurel branches, about 38 cm square, embroidered in bold relief in gold and silver thread on the center of the obverse side. The name and number of the unit is inscribed in a straight line of 10 cm high letters on the obverse side immediately below the shield. Battle honors are inscribed on the reverse on the yellow stripe. The pike is 2.55 meters, topped with a finial about 35 cm long and 8 cm wide in the shape of a plated brass lance-head. Below the lance head are attached gold cord and tassels and moiré streamers in the national colors, about 135 cm long by 10 cm wide.

Authority for these flags:

  • Decree of 14 July 1888
  • Regulation on Salutes, Honors and Parades, RC-02-13
  • Regulation on Uniforms and Equipment, RA-01-04
  • Regulation of Ceremonial and Protocol, CJ-RCG-203
Source: Bolivia file at US Army Institute of Heraldry and various Bolivian army web pages with smatterings of information.

Joe McMillan, 13 Feb 2002

Information based on a US Army attaché report from La Paz from the early 1950s:

  • The dimensions of the flag are given as 60×93 cm, which seems more likely to be the size of a cavalry standard than an infantry color, but that’s what was reported.
  • More interestingly, the pictures provided in the report showed the coat of arms on the center of the flag rotated counterclockwise about 35 or 40 degrees, so that the it appears upright when the flag drapes down from a vertical staff.
  • The report also says that the pike had traditionally been covered with red plush, but that this practice had become obsolete.
  • The report does not mention the laurel and olive branches around the coat of arms, but the decree of 1888 does mention it.
Joe McMillan, 15 Feb 2002

This online photo shows Bolivian politicians in a press conference about the ongoing strike. Hanging on a wall behind them, the national flag on the left, the flag of Santa Cruz dep. on the right, and on the center what seem to be one of the Military Colors described above.
António Martins, 01 Dec 2006

Unit standard

In addition, each unit also has a standard, estandarte de la unidad, to which unit awards are attached, but I have nothing on the design.
Joe McMillan, 13 Feb 2002

Port Commander

port comm.
image by Željko Heimer, 11 Mar 2001

Album 2000 [pay00] shows triangular pennant in ratio ≅1:2, the upper half being horizontaly divided in blue-white-blue (blue being very dark — navy blue) and lower part being white with same blue anchor near hoist. This flag is new to me and I guess it is adopted only recently.
Željko Heimer, 11 Mar 2001

My source was a photo taken by Michel Lupant at Cochabamba, in April 1998
Armand du Payrat, 12 Mar 2001

Is Port Commander a Navy position, or a civilian one?
António Martins, 10 May 2004

Air Force symbols

Fuerza Aérea Boliviana was established as Aviation Corps in 1924 and became FAB in 1940 (according to [cos98], while Janes’ [jfs] 1945 says 1944).

Air Force roundel

fin flash
image by Nozomi Kariyasu, 22 April 2024
Based on image.

The Album 2000 [pay00] shows a red-yellow-green roundel.
Željko Heimer, 11 Mar 2001

This roundel is used since 1924 — says both [cos98] and [jfs] 1945.
Dov Gutterman, 12 Jun 2004

Air Force fin flash

Flag of Bolivia
by Nozomi Kariyasu, 22 April 2024
Based on image.

Fuerza Aérea Boliviana uses a square variation of the national flag as fin flash, according to [whe86].
Dov Gutterman, 07 Oct 1999

A note in Album 2000 [pay00] says that the national flag is painted on the fin.
Željko Heimer, 11 Mar 2001

Both [cos98] and [jfs] 1945 show rudder stripes. Who is the correct?… All are! (Besides the fact it is not square but rectangle…) Photos at

reveals the fact the comuflagued planes carries a small national flag as fin flash, non-camuflaged planes use rudder stripes. This is seems to be the “low visability” rule only since the 90’ies cause there are photos of the obsolete F-86 camuflagued but with rudder stripes (see this photo). The F-86 were retired in 1993.
Dov Gutterman, 12 Jun 2004

Alternative Wiphala fin flash, used since 2009

wiphala fin flash
image by Nozomi Kariyasu, 22 April 2024, based on image