QUOTE(Paul R @ Dec 13 2006, 11:31 )
What was the award criteria for these medals? Valor on the field? Political?
Which one? The White Falcon or the Wilhelm-Ernst Kriegskreuz?
The White Falcon, which has one of the longest official names of a German order - Gro?herzoglich S?chsischer Hausorden der Wachsamkeit oder vom Wei?en Falken
(Grand Ducal Saxon House Order of Vigilance or the White Falcon) - was the grand duchy's house order. It was its principal award for any merit to the crown, from valor to politics.
With swords, it was a military award for bravery in the field or for military merit. Since Saxe-Weimar did not have an Iron Cross "equivalent", the order filled that role as well for officers. Thus, for a Saxe-Weimar lieutenant or captain, the White Falcon Knight's Cross Second Class with Swords was the primary bravery award (and that grade without swords was the main peacetime military merit award). Higher grades went to higher ranks - the Knight 1st Class generally went to majors and lieutenant colonels.
Although there were gold and silver merit crosses of the White Falcon which could be awarded with swords to NCOs, these were not common awards. The Saxe-Weimar Iron Cross "equivalent" for enlisted men was the General Honor Decoration with swords clasp, which came in gold, silver and bronze classes.
The Wilhelm-Ernst Kriegskreuz was founded in June 1915 to fill the gap for repeated acts of bravery. Since the White Falcon and the General Honor Decoration were awarded based on rank, one couldn't get a higher grade as a second award unless one were promoted. There was no equivalent to the Iron Cross 1st Class. The Wilhelm-Ernst Kriegskreuz was intended to fill that gap, but also had stricter criteria that made it a much rarer award. You had to already have the Iron Cross 1st Class and you had to be either a native of the grand duchy or serve in the grand duchy's units (primarily IR 94, but I think it probably extended to the grand duchy's reserve and Landwehr
regiments and battalions as well).