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These two flags are very closely related in time, space and history, and they are featured together for this reason. 

This American Flag is one of the few surviving World War II liberation flags which were made primarily in France and Belgium during the period of 1944-1945 to welcome American soldiers who liberated France following the D-Day Invasion at Normandy.  This particular flag was made and found in Saint-Samson-de-Bonfossé, which is a commune located in the Manche District of Normandy, France, just 54 kilometers from Utah Beach.  Even today, the main street that runs through Saint-Samson-de-Bonfossé is called Rue de la Libération, a constant reminder of the momentous events of 1944.  The liberation flag was made to welcome the next flag in the Rare Flags showcase, the battle flag of the 1st Battalion, 314th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division.  The 314th Infantry Regiment landed at Utah Beach, also in the Manche District of Normandy, during Operation Overlord from June 12-14, 1944.  The regiment fought in the Battle of Cherbourg, liberating the port city of Cherbourg on June 20, 1944.  Following the battle of Cherbourg, the unit fought several engagements in the Manche District, and ultimately continued to Le Mans, France and on across Europe to Germany. The map below gives an idea of how closely the flags and events of the day are related.  In fact, although further research of the exact movements of the 1st Battalion, 314th Infantry Regiment would have to be examined, it's quite possible that these two flags passed each other on the street, perhaps along the Rue de la Libération in Saint Samson-de-Bonfossé or in nearby Saint-Lô, as the 314th made its way south to Le Mans.



The two flags possibly meet in the vicinity of Saint Samson-de-Bonfosse when the 1st Battalion,
314th Infantry Regiment, is en route to Le Mans, France, in early August, 1944.

The liberation flag is extremely folky, featuring an unusual star count of 49 stars.  While it's likely that the maker knew that the flag consisted of even rows of aligned stars, they only produced 5 rows, rather than 6, which would have made the correct 8 x 6 pattern of 48 stars.  The stars themselves are very unusual, made of large twine that has been embroidered to the flag in the shape of the stars.  It is a unique and very beautiful way of producing a star on the flag.  It's apparent that the flag was made from scarce materials at hand, with several areas of the flag being pieced from different cuts of fabric.

The battalion battle flag of 1st Battalion, 314th Infantry Regiment, is also a great rarity.  The flag, at just over 50 inches square, is smaller than a full regimental sized battle flag, which tends to be larger, at more than 70 inches square.  The size of the flag, along with the small circular patch, sewn to the top right corner of the flag with an I in it, is clear indication that this is a battalion battle flag for the 1st Battalion.  The eagle, crest and scrollwork of the flag are all beautifully hand embroidered.  The coat of arms for the unit is embroidered over the chest area of the eagle, consistent with the design of World War II era battle flags, and differing from the design of the Model 1904 flags from the World War I era where the eagle's chest is covered with the U.S. Shield emblem.  The flag's condition shows clear evidence of field use, and without a doubt, was the flag that accompanied the 1st battalion from its landing at Utah Beach in June, 1944, across Europe to its eventual final mission occupying the Dortmund, Sudetenland, and Bavarian regions of Germany in 1945.
 


 

Learn more about Liberation Flags. Star Count:  49

Dates:  1944

War Era:  World War II

Statehood:  Liberation Flag / American Battle Flag

Construction:  Cotton with Embroidered Stars / Silk with Embroidery

Catalog Numbers:  IAS-00275 (Liberation Flag), IAS-00273 (1st Battalion, 314th Infantry)

   
   

Next:
Stand of Allied Liberation Flags
World War II


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