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Kev in Deva

THE ROMANIAN'COMMEMORATIVE CROSS OF THE 1916 - 1918 WAR.

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To the gentlemen :beer:

Tonight I would like to post some pictures and information with regards a Post WW1 Royal Romanian award:

THE COMMEMORATIVE CROSS OF THE 1916 - 18 WAR.

The cross itself had been established through a Royal Decree, number 1744 of the 8 July 1918 and was awarded to civilians and military personnel that participated to WWI.

Designer: (for the moment unknown.)

The cross was of a Byzantine cross design with the cypher of King Ferdinand on the obverse and the years 1916-1918 on the reverse.

The cross measures 40 mm by 43,5 mm (including the ribbon ring mount).

There are variations in the cross caused by contracts to different manufacturers, also there is a cross which appears to be in gilt and I am told this was for officers, leaving the more darker coloured crosses for the other ranks.

The ribbon is with 4 dark blue stripes interspaced with 3 green stripes, variations in the ribbon can be seen, but are normaly caused by exposure to light, age, and wear, some home made replacements have also been encountered, as there is nobody making replacement ribbon of the quality, size and style of the WW1 & WW2 awards.

Miniture versions also exsist for the 1916 - 1918 and the 1916 - 1919 Crosses.

The participants to the 1919 campaign* received a different version of the cross that had the years 1916-1919 on the reverse, but the front was identical to the 1916- 1918 Cross.

Battle-Bars for the Commemorative Cross of the 1916 - 1918 War;

Participation in a number of Battles was commemorated by the addition of a bar or number of bars to the Cross, the bar or bars were accompanied by a Brevet or certificate of entitlement.

1916. 1918, 1919, and 1 9 1 9 (note the spacing of the numbers.)

ARDEAL and A R D E A L (note the spacing of the letters.)

BUCUREŞTI, (Bucharest)

CARPAŢI, C A R P A Ţ I (note the spacing of the letters.) English translation the Carpatians.

CERNA.

DOBROGEA. DOBROGIA (note the spelling of the word.)

DUNĂREA. German-English translation the Donau or Danube)

ITALIA. (Italy). Very Rare. (some Romanian Collectors say there is a ROME bar but I have not found one yet or seen any pictures of one.

JIU.

MĂRĂŞEŞTI, M Ă R Ă Ş E Ş T I (note the spacing of the letters).

MĂRĂŞTI, MĂRĂŞTI ◊ (with symbol at the end of the word.)

OITUZ.

SIBERIA (rare issue to the Romanian Volunteers Legion of Siberia.)

T?RGUL-OCNA, T.G. OCNA (note Variation in spelling).

TURTUCAIA.

TRADITIE. English translation TRADITION, a rare bar that can be confered along with at least 3 otherRomanian decorations, as far as I understand it was awarded to a Father who was an officer if his son a officer was killed in war or vice versa, the number of father and son combinations would make this a rare award.

* the reason for the 1916 -1919 Cross and 1919 bar was that at the close of WW1 the Romanians took back the area of Transylvania**, and marched on and occupied the capital Budapest, only leaving when preasure was brought to bear by the Allied Powers in 1920.

** Which had been a bone of contention for many years, the Hungarians claim it belongs to them (and they briefly re-occupied the area in WW2) even today it is a bitter subject both to the Hungarian communities who live in Transylvania and Romanians who live across the border in Hungary.)

Points to note; other battle-bars can be found for the Romanian Crusade Against Communisum Medal of 1941, while some bear the same names as some of the WW1 bars, they are strictly for battles fought in the same areas in WW2 and of a slightly different design.

Names of Bars in Bold are in my collection at the moment, (please see photographs.) As more information is discovered and more bars added to my collection updates will be posted.

Kev in Deva.

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Close ups of the individual crosses as good as I can do with the picture size restriction to a newbie :P

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Close ups of the individual crosses as good as I can do with the picture size restriction to a newbie :P

The veterans pin came with the Cross with the Marasesti bar and 1918 with it was also the mini cross, looking at the spaceings on one of the ribbons (Cross 1) I also believe a bar is missing :( but one has to take what one can get :jumping:

Also it is common to find them having been worn with the dates outward and the King Ferdinand Cypher FF outward as well.

Kev in Dev

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Nice collection there ! Here's mine, with the Carpati bar amongst them ... I've always wondered if these bars are in the right order of wear. Is there a rule on the precedence of these bars ?

[attachmentid=29111]

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Nice collection there ! Here's mine, with the Carpati bar amongst them ... I've always wondered if these bars are in the right order of wear. Is there a rule on the precedence of these bars ?

[attachmentid=29111]

Hallo Hendrik :beer:

nice example of bars you have, with regards the bars and order of precedence, I am trying to compile the history of the battles in order of fighting, logic then dictates which order the bars would have been worn, and depending on the various units which saw action, for instance the BUCARESTI bar, was it awarded only to combatant units or units involved in the defence of the city?. This I hope to clarify soon. But I know for sure the 1919 bar has to be the last bar, but then the question is would a soldier involved in the 1919 campaign in Transylvania and Hungary have exchanged his 1916-1918 cross for a 1916 -1919 cross, or did he just add the 1919 bar to his first cross!

What dates have you on your cross?

Kev in Deva.

Edited by Kev in Deva

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What dates have you on your cross?

the reverse dates are 1916 - 1918 but I've always felt that somewhere along the road a couple of bars may have been added by a previous owner/seller to get a better price for the item, e.g. the position of the 1919 bar looked a bit suspicious to me as I would have expected that one to be on top of the others ...

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the reverse dates are 1916 - 1918 but I've always felt that somewhere along the road a couple of bars may have been added by a previous owner/seller to get a better price for the item, e.g. the position of the 1919 bar looked a bit suspicious to me as I would have expected that one to be on top of the others ...

Hallo Hendrick, :beer:

I have just compared my collection of bars to other I have seen in photographs both on and off the net, and the 1919 bar being placed at the bottom and the 1918 bar being second last are correct.

Here are the list of ones I have seen so far, including yours:

ARDEAL, DUNEREA, CARPATI, BUCURESTI, MARASESTI, DOBROGEA.

ARDEAL, DOBROGEA, CARPATI, BUCURESTI, MARASTI.

ARDEAL, CARPATI, TARGUL-OCNA, OITUZ, 1918, 1919.

ARDEAL, CARPATI, 1918, 1919.

BUCURESTI, CARPATI, ARDEAL, MARASTI, JIU, MARESESTI.

BUCURESTI, MARASESTI, CARPATI, ARDEAL, 1919.

CERNA, JIU, CARPATI, MARASESTI, OITUZ.

DOBROGEA, MARASTI, CERNA, 1919.

CARPATI, ARDEAL, 1918, 1919.

T.G. - OCNA, MARASTI, DOBROGEA.

CARPATI, DOBROGEA, MARASESTI.

CERNA, 1919.

JIU, MARASTI.

MARASTI, 1918.

MARASESTI, OITUZ.

MARASESTI, CARPATI.

TURTUCIA.

1 9 1 9.

Some of the 5 & 6 Bar groups are from large Romanian Officer bars, and it could be presumed they would have the bars in the correct order.

I am still trying to formulate the sequence of Battles fought by the Romanian Army in WW1.

Kev in Dev

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Also with the Romanian COMMEMORATIVE CROSS OF THE 1916 - 18 WAR. variations are known to exsist in the design of the surface of the inside of the Cross arms, what I call the "Big Squares and the Little Squares"

Another design variation that can be noted are the points at which the ribbon ring fixing point is mounted on the upper arm of the cross, a Ball type can be found as well as a Barrel type and a Post type, please see pictures.

Kev in Dev. :beer:

Edited by Kev in Deva

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Hello Kev,

How interesting but strange ! Looking at the bar combinations you've listed, one would have to deduce there's really no particular order in which they are worn. And the 1919 bar, being the last timewise, not being added on top of the others received, is uncommon too I would think. It just starts to look to me as if the recipients just put on the bars in their very own order of precedence ...

Interesting note on the variations too ! One assumes that various manufacturers all had their way of producing these crosses.

I'm looking forward to your findings on the various battles. Someone told me once that Marasesti could be called the Romanian Verdun ...

Cheers,

Hendrik

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Hello Kev,

How interesting but strange ! Looking at the bar combinations you've listed, one would have to deduce there's really no particular order in which they are worn. And the 1919 bar, being the last timewise, not being added on top of the others received, is uncommon too I would think. It just starts to look to me as if the recipients just put on the bars in their very own order of precedence ...

I'm looking forward to your findings on the various battles. Someone told me once that Marasesti could be called the Romanian Verdun ...

Cheers,

Hendrik

Here is some basic information with regards the Battles / Campaigns the bars are named after:

1, ARDEAL :

-refers to the initial offensive of the Romanian troops across the Carpathian Mountains into Transylvania and the subsequent defeat

-it lasted for almost 40 days, from the beginning of the war (for Romania) on 28 August 1916 to 8 October 1916

2. TURTUCAIA :

-the destruction of the Romanian 17th Infantry Division in the fortress south of the Danube by the Bulgarian 3rd Army, which had an important impact on the state of mind of the Romanian society and General Staff, - it lasted between 2-6 September 1916.

3. CARPATI :

-it refers to the defence on the Carpathian Mountains, following the defeat in Transylvania.

-it was made up of several different battles fought in several different sectors of the mountains and lasted roughly between 10 October and 15 November.

4. CERNA :

-it refers to the sporadic fighting in a secondary sector of the front, which lasted between 28 August to 4 October 1916.

5. DOBROGEA / DOBROGIA

-it is Dobruja, the region between the Danube and the Black sea, there were just two different spellings from the clasps.

-the fighting there lasted between 1 September and the end of November 1916, when the Romanian troops were retreated to Moldavia, leaving just the river fleet and the Russian troops on that front.

6. JIU :

-it refers to the battles on the Jiu Valley and at Targul Jiu, which lasted between 23 October and 17 November 1916.

7. DUNAREA :

-it probably refers to the fighting between 23-27 November 1916 with Marshal von Mackensen's Danube Army.

8. BUCURESTI :

-it refers to the battle of Bucharest or the Battle of Neajlov-Arges as it is also known.

- It took place between 29 November and 3 December 1916.

BATTLE OF MARASESTI : (August-September 1917)

- The new offensive was going to be launched west of the Siret River, on the Focsani ? Marasesti ? Adjud direction, with the German 9th Army (general Johannes von Eben) and on the Oituz Valley with the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army (Archduke Joseph). The objective was to encircle and destroy the 2nd Army.

For much help in the obtaining the following information my thanks must go to:

Author Victor Nitu and "Carol I " of:

http://www.worldwar2.ro/forum/index.php?act=idx

I will post more as its uncovered :cheers:

Kev in Deva.

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Hello Kevin,

Excellent !!! Great information, keep it coming ! :beer:

Thanks,

Hendrik

Edited by Hendrik

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Info about the other bars:

MARASTI:

The offensive of the Romanian 2nd Army, in June 1917, which defeated the 1st Austro-Hungarian Army and broke its front, advancing 20 km. The offensive was stopped because the Russian armies did not cooperate as promised.

MARASESTI:

Following the defeat at MARASTI, the Germans decided to try and crush the Romanian Army and kick Romania out of the war. The Germans planned a two-pincer offensive, in the sectors held by the Russian troops (which were desintegrating because of the Russian Revolution). The Germans routed the Russians but were stopped after a fierce battle by Romanian reinforcements redeployed to the area. The battle of MARASESTI (August-September 1917) was indeed the "Romanian Verdun", also because of the large number of casualties on both sides.

OITUZ:

At the same time with the offensive at MARASESTI, the Central Powers also attacked the Romanian 2nd Army in the Carpathians, at the Pass of Oituz (August 1917). After a bloody battle, the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army was repulsed.

TARGUL-OCNA:

This bar was awarded to the troops that defended the town of Targu-Ocna during the Battle of OITUZ (August 1917).

ITALY:

Awarded to the Romanian volunteers that fought on the Italian Front.

1918:

Awarded for the battles with the Hungarians in Transilvania and with the Red Army in Bassarabia.

1919:

The war with the Hungarian Soviet Republic, which ended with the occupation of Budapest and the end of the Hungarian communist state.

There is no "TRADITIE" bar for this medal. This bar was only authorised for the Trans-Danube Cross, which was awarded for the War of Independence (1877-1878). Only officers whose faters were awarded the cross were authorised to continue to wear it, with such a bar.

Also, there are no common bars for the WW1 Cross and the Crusade against communism medal.

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Two of the bars (Italia and Siberia) were authorised later than the others. These two bars are extremely rare.

The precedence of the bars is usually cronological, but not always.

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Two of the bars (Italia and Siberia) were authorised later than the others. These two bars are extremely rare.

The precedence of the bars is usually cronological, but not always.

Hallo Dragos, :beer:

Welcome to the club, and thank you for the information, every little piece helps us understand more about Romania's part in World War 1, alot of this information, has been missing from people outside of Romania with military history interest, and, who are also interested in Romanian Military awards.

Kevin in Deva :cheers:

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Hello Kevin,

Excellent bit of very useful research - Many thanks for your efforts !!!

Cheers,

Hendrik

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Hallo Gentlemen, :beer:

over the course of the weekend (June 3rd) I located this Romanian WW1 Cross at the Collectors Exposition in Deva, it is the variant with small square pattern in the arms of the cross and a post type ribbon ring holder, it came without a ribbon but have a small spare piece to put on it.

Another variation I have spotted concerning these crosses is in the design of the crowns, some have a wide space in the "cut-out" areas of the upper crown, the other type has a more narrow open space.

Kevin in Deva, :beer:

Edited by Kev in Deva

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Hello Kevin,

Here's the cross in the Belgian Army Museum in Brussels that we were talking about - thanks to Guy Deploige for his pictures of it.

Cheers,

Hendrik

[attachmentid=44814]

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And a close up of the bars

[attachmentid=44815]

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A little more information of this cross, it has the inventory Nr 1105715 and was a gift of the Roumanian gouvernement on 28/03/1924 to the Royal Army Museum in Brussels.

See olso the collection database of the musuem

and i think it can be a reference for the claps (bars) that exist for this cross ;)

Edited by g_deploige

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And a close up of the bars

[attachmentid=44815]

Hallo Hendrik, :beer: glad to see you were able to obtain very good pictures of this item, :jumping::jumping::jumping: and thanks to g_deploige :beer: as well.

Seeing this was an official presentation from the Government of Romania I presume we can conclude that the "battle bars" are all official ones, with regards to style and shape of the letters and therefore any that differ are variations, with a slight possibility of some "repros" being offered for sale on the net.

Now I wonder did the Romanian Government present similar to France, Great Britain, etc...etc...

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

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After the 1st World War the Curator (Mr Leconte) at that time of the Royal Army Museum in Brussels recieved Carte Blange of the Belgian Governement to buld out the Museum, He asked at all Countries invalded in the 1st Worldwar to get uniform, equipments, wapens, etc... Thats why the Army Museum in Brussels has the bigest collection in the world 1st World War. The museum got olse whole sets of decorations, like from Finland (Order of the Liberty Cross), Estland (the museum is the only one who has the Order of Liberty of Esland compleet), Roumenie (Order of the Star, Crown etc, all made by Lemaitre in Paris), Luxembourg, USA, ...).

I dont think other Countries like France And GB worked at the same way

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After the 1st World War the Curator (Mr Leconte) at that time of the Royal Army Museum in Brussels recieved Carte Blange of the Belgian Governement to buld out the Museum, He asked at all Countries invalded in the 1st Worldwar to get uniform, equipments, wapens, etc... Thats why the Army Museum in Brussels has the bigest collection in the world 1st World War. The museum got olse whole sets of decorations, like from Finland (Order of the Liberty Cross), Estland (the museum is the only one who has the Order of Liberty of Esland compleet), Roumenie (Order of the Star, Crown etc, all made by Lemaitre in Paris), Luxembourg, USA, ...).

I dont think other Countries like France And GB worked at the same way

Hallo g_deploige, :beer:

thank you for your information, do you know if any Belgian medals or orders were presented to either the King of Romania or the Romanian Government? I have a picture in my possesion which shows King Ferdinand wearing the French, Italian as well as the Romanian Cross of War.

Kevin in Deva :beer:

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Hallo Hendrik, :beer: glad to see you were able to obtain very good pictures of this item, :jumping::jumping::jumping: and thanks to g_deploige :beer: as well.

Seeing this was an official presentation from the Government of Romania I presume we can conclude that the "battle bars" are all official ones, with regards to style and shape of the letters and therefore any that differ are variations, with a slight possibility of some "repros" being offered for sale on the net.

Now I wonder did the Romanian Government present similar to France, Great Britain, etc...etc...

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

Actually the official bar "ITALIA" is missing, since it was probably authorised later than the donation to the museum.

I don't think that variations in the shape and style of letters denote fakes. There were probably many manufacturers of the cross and its bars. I also don't think that this award is faked yet.

Thank you g_deploige for the excellent close-up of the bars of the cross in the museum.

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Dear Kevin

The Roumanian king recieved the grandsach of the Order of Leopold, I have a little list at home from roumanian who recieved the Order of Leopold, from the Memorial of the Order of Leopold 1832-1932 at home, il will post it this evening, when i am back from work

Guy

Edited by g_deploige

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