In 1901, the flag alphabet was introduced for the first time in Germany with the edition of the International Signal Book. The flag alphabet published by the Board of Trade in 1857, which had already been adopted in Germany in 1870, served as the basis. Since its introduction, it has been revised and streamlined over the years.
Pennants and standards However, the basic principle of the flag alphabet has not changed since 1901. However, the number of standards and pennants has increased over time. In addition to ten number and 26 letter pennants, there is one signal pennant, four auxiliary pennants, and for regattas, two course pennants and one finish pennant. Generally, only a maximum of four different letters are set at the same time, reading from top to bottom.
Signals of the International Signal Book are given as one-, two- or three-letter signals. Signals from more than three flags are used to indicate, for example, bearing, date, time, positions. However, as already mentioned, only flag signals of up to four different flags at the same time are common. The use of the international signal book is always announced to the other party by the reply pennant (AP) or by radio by the word INTERCO.