Location1533 NE 39TH AVE - APT C OCALA, Florida34470
- Listed: August 29, 2023 10:01 am
Another item of Dad’s WW II memorabilia offered for sale, this WIGWAG SIGNAL FLAG may have been used on his B-17 in times of distress or to signal other planes in formation.
The wigwag system consisted of a signalman waving a single large flag or other display device in different motions sequentially.
The white flag was the most common and was used against dark backgrounds.
At night, a lamp on a pole could be used, or over short distances the signalman might hold a small disk.
BACKGROUND ON THE WIGWAG SIGNAL FLAG
Wigwag (more formally, aerial telegraphy) is an historical form of flag signaling that passes messages by waving a single flag. It differs from flag semaphore in that it uses one flag rather than two, and the symbols for each letter are represented by the motion of the flag rather than its position. The larger flag and its motion allow messages to be read over greater distances than semaphore.
The most common code used with wigwag had three motions, only two of which were needed to form letters of the alphabet. These two were waving the flag, respectively, to the left and right – the wigwagging motion. A character was formed by sequentially displaying a number of motions (elements). Like Morse code, the number of elements in each character was not fixed, the most common letters being assigned the shortest codes. A number of other codes were used at times, some of them with a fixed number of elements and up to four different motions. Morse code was used with wigwag after it became an international standard.