History of Communication with Sign Flags
Sign banners and pennants have important functions today. These are important elements that enable ships to communicate among themselves or between ships on duty at the beach. If we give information about the date of the communication with signal flags. The colors and shapes of these banners and pennants which have international communication codes feature have different meanings. 40 different cloths were frequently used among seafarers for this purpose. Of the 40, 26 represented letters, while 10 represented numbers.
Among the remaining ones, 3 were used as repetitive and 1 as an answer. It is important to see these flags and banners in open seas. These banners and streamers are also made of colors and shapes with this feature so that they can be seen easily in open seas. In general, yellow, red, black, white, blue colors and combinations of these colors are used.
The banners and pennants drawn to the post have different meanings according to the number and order of the grain. It is always a matter of curiosity that this system has reached such an order and how it has become today. To satisfy this curiosity, it is useful to examine the flag banners and the historical process of the pennants. To satisfy this curiosity, let's take a look at the history of the flags and pennants that have different meanings.
The tradition of using flags and pennants dating back to 2000 years is still being implemented today. In the Roman period and Ancient China, different shapes and colors were used to separate the different parts of the army and to transmit orders to the desired unit of the army over long distances. In ancient Greece, this method was frequently used in the maritime field. The captains of the ship drew flags of different colors on the mast for the sea fleet to easily communicate with other ships.
This practice, which has been available since the middle ages, has started to become systematic over time. During the centuries that followed, the current system has progressed and improved. The communication systems used by the ships until the beginning of the Sailing Age had a very primitive structure. Until the Renaissance period for communication, many different flag designs were made with the military aim. Probably different flags have been used for centuries to mean special communication between ships.
The most common of these flags was the black or plain yellow colored flag that occurred in Europe in the 14th century and was used during the plague epidemic that destroyed 1/3 of the life in Europe. In later periods, these flags were used to indicate death or illness on the ship. Another sign that was used very often in the medieval periods was the red-colored flags, which were frequently used during the war in ancient times. The name of this red flag was the Bloody Flag. This meant that it was considered as a warning for surrender to the ship. If the other ship did not surrender despite this flag, it meant that it would not hurt anyone during the attack. This ship would be taken over by force.
Along with the medieval maritime states such as Pisa, Genoese and Venice, military structures such as the Knights Hospitaller and Templar Knights also used special signboards of different colors and shapes, among which nobody knew the meaning. These flags and pennants were used only to transfer different information within the team with the same purpose, rather than have an international meaning, that is, international. The Maltese Knights, who came after the Hospitality Knights, skillfully used a similar system. The galley ship's captains used different signal flags, single, double or tri-colored, in green, red and yellow colors and in many different ways to communicate within themselves.
These special streamers were used to easily transmit commands from the starboard to other ships. The meaning of the filament varied according to its shape and the post it was taken from. As an example; The triangular streamer meant retreat if the foresail series was drawn into the maintop. When the foresail boom or Grandi sailed on it, this meant that the sails foraged. In some special cases, it is also frequently encountered that streaks are used in harmony with smoke. If the triangular green streamer was drawn to the Grandi pole with a single smoke, this meant asking for help. Although the same streamer was shot with two fumes, this meant affirmation or recognition.
Red, green and yellow square flags were also used. If the yellow flag was raised by hand on the bow, this flag meant a fire command. If the green flag was raised manually on the bow, in the same way, this command meant landing. Modern, communication or signing procedures through flags emerged in the mid-17th century. Sign flags were used only for simple daily communications when it was first used and used. For example, it served to provide communications on the deck that was as simple as communicating the request for a meeting.
In the future, these methods were used by captains to convey maneuvering movements. The British Royal Navy published a guideline for the transmission of different orders issued by British admirals in 1653 through flags. Since this century, the signaling and communication methods used in shipping have gained widespread development. A book was published on this subject in 1691. The name of this book describes the system of numerical signal flags as Naval Tactics or a Study on Maneuver and Signals. This system based on numerical signal banners has become a new system. In this system, a special code system consisting of 336 different orders and signals was used before. An extra preparation flag was drawn to the communication protocol to indicate that the message was about to be transmitted. According to Bigot, it was suggested to repeat every sign code taken as a precaution to understand that the message was transmitted. The first widely used standard flag sign system was implemented in 1790 through Admiral Lord Richard Howe. According to Lord Richard's system, there were 6 check flags beside the numerical number of flags.
The system's code list initially contained 260 signals. This number improved to 340 in 1799. Secret military code lists and sign flags were used in a combinatorial manner each semester. Military code systems have a constantly updated structure. Using these methods, a secret communication could be provided from ship to ship or ship to land. The method used to prevent these lists from falling into the hands of their enemies has been to aggravate them using lead. These lists were thrown into the sea in case the ship collapsed or the enemy took over. So the lists could not be in the hands of the enemy.
Years later, the idea of turning the Commercial Shipping code into a general code system adopted by all countries emerged. With this in mind, a commission was created in 1887 by the British Department of Commerce. As a result of the work of this commission, the existing system was revised and adapted to the needs of the day. As a result of the completion of the study in 1897, this system was published as the International Sign Code. However, even in this new system, there were still some deficiencies. Due to deficiencies in the system, some confusion occurred in communications. These problems were solved with the changes in 1930. Finally, with the amendment made in 1969, International Sign Codes have taken the present form. We hope that we tried to give detailed information about the history of communication with the flag banners.