Lot 433

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A magnificent relic from one of the most successful American submarines of World War II, a "miniature" battle flag from the USS BARB, 39 1/2" x 32", believed to have been made for presentation to Capt. Eugene Fluckey at Pearl Harbor at war's end in August, 1945. This flag was most likely made, or at the very least, assembled ashore. It is highlighted by the sub's emblem at center, a green barb holding a stick of dynamite sewn onto a circular white field. The entire emblem is made of separate pieces of cloth with period-embroidered edges. Sixty-two emblems have been machine stitched to the black cotton field. Japanese warships sunk by the submarine are represented by miniature flags depicting a rising sun with rays, merchant ships sunk are represented by the Japanese national flag, and damaged ships are represented by miniature flags with hollow "meatballs". Other insignia show bombardments and rocket attacks on towns, and the railroad symbol designates a land-based attack by crewmen on a railroad train - the only American soldiers to land in Japan during the course of the war. These attacks are labeled in blue ink, and the German flag was placed in error when the BARB sank a Spanish merchant ship off Cape Finisterre on Dec. 29, 1942, believing it to be an enemy vessel. The small Japanese flags below the boat's name, each with a black "7" superimposed, represent seven small craft destroyed. The large naval sun ensign above the emblem represents the escort carrier Unyo. The 14 blue crosses may represent the 14 British and Australian prisoners of war picked up after the Barb torpedoed a transport ship. At top appear ribbons representing a Presidential Unit Citation given the crew, and Fluckey's Medal of Honor. The name "BARB" has been stenciled onto the flag - this may have been a later addition in light of the better quality of the flag's construction. The reverse, a white linen backing, has some brown staining which does not in any way affect the front. A fine war-era commemorative item in solid condition.

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September 10, 2013 11:00 AM EDT
Chesapeake City, MD, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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