Oberst Hans von Tippelskirch (1863-1945, retired as Generalmajor) posing here as commander of the Infanterie Lehr Regiment--
a position he held only between 18 July 1916 and 18 January 1917--
is wearing "fashion statement" Minimalist awards.
With only three ribbons (Iron Cross 2nd Class, ?, and what was probably his pre-war Red Eagle Order 4th Class) his ribbon bar would NEVER have been atributable to him, loose. It would also have made no sense-- since he has dropped his long service cross, 1897 jubilee medal, and other ribboned awards.
But this was fairly typical of a style of "field" wear that left off the clutter and retained the most important awards in each wearer's subjective opinion.
Sometimes an officer might wear only wartime decorations, or just the ribbons of his own home state with the ever-present Iron Cross.
Regulations did not apply here-- this was spontaneous personal whim.
Courtesy of Deruelle and thanks to arb.