Alex K

Bulgarian Order of Military Merit

18 posts in this topic

Hi yet another award in my collection, I believe it to the the Order of Military Merit 6th class. Does this have the correct ribbon? and secondly, I have seen other pieces which have the Cypher on the obverse central medallion, My piece has a tricolour enamelled centre, as they only differ in the central medallion, would this identify any specific period that it would have been awarded?

Thanks for any input

regards

Alex K

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I have seen other pieces which have the Cypher on the obverse central medallion, My piece has a tricolour enamelled centre, as they only differ in the central medallion, would this identify any specific period that it would have been awarded?

That would identify it as a "Regency issue" from the end of WWII.

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Carol I Thanks for the speedy reply

regards

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This could be either a "regency" (1944-6) or "republic" (1946-50) issue Bulgarian Military Merit Order piece. The two major recent (post-2000) Bulgarian texts (Denkov and Petrov) illustrate this type. Some claim the "regency" issue retains the crown over the obverse center lion's head while "republic" types omit it--yours seems not to have a crown. I'd suppose the availability of insignia components would really determine the manufacturing date and "regency"/"republic" issue.

Your piece has a Bulgarian Balkan War comm. medal ribbon. "Republic" badges supposedly were issued with Bulgarian Civil Merit Order ribbon [utilizing Bulgaria's national red/green/white colors] replacing the "Czarist/Coburg" black/white/yellow ribbon usually seen on Bulgarian Military Merit Order insignia. Balkan War medal ribbon colors certainly reflect Bulgaria's national colors. Some "regency"/"republic" Military Merit Order badges came on the market without ribbons; vendors added whatever was at hand.

Besides their Axis partners, the Bulgarians presented "republic" WW II-related decorations to a number of Allied personnel as late as 1950. Documents for these awards, especially for the Military Merit Order named to Russians, appear on eBay from time to time.

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Besides their Axis partners, the Bulgarians presented "republic" WW II-related decorations to a number of Allied personnel as late as 1950. Documents for these awards, especially for the Military Merit Order named to Russians, appear on eBay from time to time.

Interesting piece of information. I was under the impression that no awards of the old orders were made in the first years of the republic and that the republican issues were only made to replace the royal insignia.

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Hi 922F, interesting information, so in effect you are saying the correct ribbon would be the attached?

regards

Alex

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Hello Gentlemen,

First, Alex, your pictured ribbon 'candidate' is basically correct if you consider your piece a 1946-1950 Bulgarian "republic" award. I outline a likely slight color variation below. However, if you identify the item as a 1944-46 "regency" decoration, the "usual" Bulgarian Military Merit Order white-black-yellow ribbon would be appropriate.

Dragomir Acovic, of Belgrade, noted these insignia changes in writings first available in "the West" as early as the late 1970s. He later published this information, in the early-mid 1980s, but I don't have his correspondence or book to hand now to provide exact information/dates. The Bulgarian "regency" was established after Boris III's death to "administer" the country before Simeon's coming of age. As in other nations, a more-or-less "bourgeois republic" was the transition from the "regency" until the communists openly and formally took control of Bulgaria.

To restate: Bulgar "regency" [1944-46] Military Merit Order ribbon is the same color/design as that used for Bulgarian Czarist Military Merit Order ribbon. I describe "regency" authorized insignia design changes below.

The 1946-1950 Bulgar "republic" Military Merit Order ribbon is the same as the 1891-1950 Bulgar Civil Merit Order {c.f. Acovic, Todor Petrov "Orders & Medal of Bulgaria" Sofia, 2000, pix on page 131, cite: Council of Ministers Decree 18 of 18 July 47; T. Petrov, "Bulgarian Orders and Medals", Sofia, 2005 p 129, same cite; P. Pavlov "Bulgarian Orders and Medals" Sofia, 2002, p 131 text, photos p 146 ff.. I don't have Denkov's book handy but he reports the same ribbon and design changes. Worth noting--this ribbon stock, like much post-1936 Bulgarian Civil Merit Order stock, uses lighter green and purple shades that the pre-1936 stock. The piece of ribbon you illustrate has the older color value.} The "republic" estabished insignia changes, described below, as well.

Same sources report [seemingly as part of a 1944 and the 1946 Decrees] a mandated replacement of Ferdinand's cypher (obverse medallion center) with the Bulgar lion--sometimes displaying a crown above the lion's head <"regency"?>, sometimes without <"republic?">--(former reverse center). At the same time, an (enameled) Bulgarian tricolor took the (czarist) reverse center lion medallion position. Why? So far, no information but maybe to distinguish "regency" and "republic" issued Military Merit Order awards.

Besides altering insignia centers and changing the ribbon color, "republic" issues of Civil Merit and Military Merit Orders (plus the St. Alexander Order, merit and lifesaving etc. awards) swapped out Czarist Bulgarian suspension crowns [for insignia that had them] for an unenamelled wreath comprised of oak leaves and roses. Some pieces that would (should?) have had a suspension crown or wreath, like commander or grand cross badges, lack any kind of intervening element and just have a suspension loop. "On-the-Spot" alterations to czarist insignia probably explain these types. Ebay vendors offer insignia with all these variations from time to time. Victor Baychev, among others, also offers such items on his website.

Secondly, in addition to "regency" and "republic" military awards, others including Bulgarian and foreign civil servants, the 1950 Yugoslav National Literary and Nobel Prize winner, diplomats, and perhaps even some Americans received Bulgarian "regency" and "republic" decorations. Civilians usually got the Civil Merit Order but "National Order of Alexander Nevesky" [as the "republic" restyled the St. Alexander Order] awards are also documented.

Within Bulgaria, many people openly wore royal, "regency" and 1946-50 "republic" decorations and medals, especially the Military Bravery Order, alongside their "socialist/communist" medals during the communist regime. Communist era active duty soldiers wore medal groups containing both Military Bravery and Merit Orders; these appear complete with associated ribbon bars and document booklets [suggesting the groups are not modern lash-ups] on eBay several times a year.

Specific legislation {i have not seen it!} supposedly approved in 2000-01 allows honorees to publicly display and wear czarist, "regency" and 1946-50 "republic" decorations. (With Simeon then serving as Prime Minister, maybe this is not too odd!) Nowadays, some wear their communist awards as well.

Ask me a yes or no question and you get this kind of lengthy reply! In any case, I am happy to share this esoteric information!

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Hi 922F, It is a lengthy reply but one full of useful information. I will take my time to digest the info contained, as I'm sure it will help me in the future. A number of Bulgarian awards are a particular theme of mine.

The ribbon I posted is from an early Order of Civil Merit Commander class so may show different shades to those described by you for later awards.

Thanks for the input.

Regards

Alex

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I have some images from eBay to illustrate these.

Same sources report [seemingly as part of a 1944 and the 1946 Decrees] a mandated replacement of Ferdinand's cypher (obverse medallion center) with the Bulgar lion--sometimes displaying a crown above the lion's head <"regency"?>, sometimes without <"republic?">--(former reverse center). At the same time, an (enameled) Bulgarian tricolor took the (czarist) reverse center lion medallion position. Why? So far, no information but maybe to distinguish "regency" and "republic" issued Military Merit Order awards.

Wartime badge of the Order for Military Merit (on the ribbon of the Order for Bravery), regency issue (1944-1946).

bgmilmeroec2.jpgbgmilmerrxn9.jpg

Besides altering insignia centers and changing the ribbon color, "republic" issues of Civil Merit and Military Merit Orders (plus the St. Alexander Order, merit and lifesaving etc. awards) swapped out Czarist Bulgarian suspension crowns [for insignia that had them] for an unenamelled wreath comprised of oak leaves and roses.

Order for Civil Merit, republican issue (1946/7-1950)

bgcivmerte4.jpg

The wreath seems more oak leaves and wheat ears.

bgrepwreathtr8.jpg

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Hi Carol I, excellent photo's, thanks. I've never seen the republican version with the oakleaves.

regards

Alex

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ID: 11   Posted (edited)

Carol I's correct, I omitted mentioning the suspension wreath wheat ears component. The rose bloom appears between the infulae where they join the wreath. Symbolism indicates 1) Bulgarian valor and forest resources (oak), 2) Bulgarian care for human values and the valley of roses (rose), and 3) state values and agricultural production (wheat).

The relative size of the wreath is odd. Breast badges have larger sized wreaths than neck and sash badges.

Sofia's Military Museum displays a 'proto-type' or 'individually created' suspension wreath on a Military Bravery 3rd 2nd grade badge. It adds/includes a cog wheel around the rose bloom. The cog wheel appeared to be a seperately applied piece and probably was intended to represent Bulgarian industrial production.

Wheat ears and cog wheels appear in many communist symbols so their inclusion may have been a hint at things to come.

More on ribbons--as illustrated above, it is important to remember that "regency" and "republic" Military Merit Order 6th thru 4th class (both with and without surmounting suspension crown or wreath) awards could be presented on the Military Bravery Order ribbon just like the czarist types. That ribbon would usually indicate an award for combat service and is especially useful in determining 6th class classification since the 6th class did not use [as far as is now known] the "combat" oak/laurel wreath superimposed on the cross.

Edited by 922F

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On ‎5‎/‎15‎/‎2007 at 09:07, 922F said:

More on ribbons--as illustrated above, it is important to remember that "regency" and "republic" Military Merit Order 6th thru 4th class (both with and without surmounting suspension crown or wreath) awards could be presented on the Military Bravery Order ribbon just like the czarist types. That ribbon would usually indicate an award for combat service and is especially useful in determining 6th class classification since the 6th class did not use [as far as is now known] the "combat" oak/laurel wreath superimposed on the cross.

This is one of the most complete and informative threads that I have seen in some time.  I wanted to send a special thanks to Carol I and 922F for all of the wonderful information that they provided, as well as Alex K for the great question. 

I'm also grateful for the info regarding why the bravery ribbon was sometimes used.  I have a screen capture of a Bulgarian Ribbon Photo Gallery that I made from a webpage off the Internet, which showed both the Bravery Ribbon and the black-wh-yellow ribbon as valid ribbons for the Order of Military Merit during the Kingdom of Bulgaria era.  There was a footnote stating that the bravery medal could only be awarded to classes 4 thru 6, but it didn't provide an explanation.  I now see why I've only seen it on the 6th class silver crosses.

I currently have an Officer's Class Order of Military Merit with crown, swords, original case, and ribbon rosette.  I also have gold and silver Bulgarian Soldier's Crosses for Bravery.  A 4th class bravery medal (or better) is on my future shopping list. :)

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Hi Nicolas 7507

 

This is a very nice site and i hope it will get better and better.

 

Only  problem for this topic is that the site cover only Royal period Orders

For Camelneck will bo more cleared , if not yet to see pictures of different ribbons used with the Military Order

I will try to show some examples for a better understanding

The yellow/black /white ribbon is the Standard one use all through Royal period 1900 -1944 and also is use fro the lower Classes during the Regency period 1944-1946

The Bravery Order Ribbon( blue with white/silver line) was used also during those periods and also the Regency Period for Classes 4th, 5th and 6th During the Regency period for the High Classes (Grand Cross, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Classes) was used the Civil Merit ribbon(white/red/green)

Therefore during the Regency Period we had the yellow.black/white ribbon, the blue with a white/silver line ribbon, and the white/red/green ribbon

During the Republican period 1946-1950) only the Civil Merit Ribbon was used Note

As 992F stated the Civil Merit Ribbon for the Regency and the Republican period is with slightly different shades of Red and green colours

 

Here are some examples

First pictures are only during the Royal period Prince/ King Ferdinand and King Boris III

Next pictures are for the Regency period

And the last pictures are from the Republican period you can see as 992F stated the central medallions of the Star is bigger then then the ones on the Cross

 

Graf

009.JPG

005.JPG

GRCRIST0302__1.jpg

6.2.1.25 (Thomas)01.jpg

BulgariaOMM Com.Reg.jpg

004.JPG

005.JPG

OMM REPUBLIC SET.JPG

Pic029.JPG

Pic027.JPG

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I would like also to enrich the topic and to add the pictures of the Order for MM of the Regency period.

DSC02798.JPG

DSC02799.JPG

DSC02800.JPG

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Nice Regency award!

Box is incorrect - it's from WWI, Ferdinand period (pre-1918), and for award with military distinction.

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It's one of the most beautiful awards

z3003.jpg

z3004.jpg

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1 hour ago, ruiz said:

It's one of the most beautiful awards

z3003.jpg

z3004.jpg

Agreed!

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