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Hi, I am a new member of the gmic and have been an enthusiastic Euro medals and orders collector for 17 years (when I am not collecting coins). Question: Is this an accurate guess about this medal bar or can it be made more specific or corrected? I know some of this is slight conjecture...thanks  This was awarded to a Prussian commissioned officer, probably holding the rank of major or oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel).  This officer presumedly 59d9b3bfdb9ad_imperialgermanmedalbarcloseup.thumb.jpg.9680b51f5b3acbc69b424b2c20b7fa9f.jpgwas retired from service sometime during the Weimar period. The presence of the Kyffhauserbund Medal and the Ehrenlegion medal confirm that this bar is of the Weimar period. It is pre-1934 as there is no Hindenburg Cross on the bar. The retired officer was around 60 years old by the mid 1930s.

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Hi and welcome to the forum. 

Assuming the medal bar has not been tampered with, and the correct medals are there (with clips, obviously, medals can be switched out), the bar most likely fits field-grade officer (Major/Oberstleutnant/Oberst) who was retired during the war. 

The Crown Order 3rd Class with Swords (KO3X) was not a common award. Before World War I, it might have been awarded for China or colonial service to a senior field-grade officer, but in that case there would be a campaign medal (China, Southwest Africa or Colonial) on the bar.  

During World War I, the Order of the Red Eagle and the Crown Order were not commonly awarded in the lower grades, since the Iron Cross filled the role these orders did in the colonial wars. However, there were a number of awards, mostly to officers forced to retire or placed zur Disposition for various reasons. If these officers already had a Red Eagle 4th Class, the next decoration in the normal peacetime progression was the Crown Order 3rd Class. Since these officers had been at the front, in their case it was awarded with swords on the black-white ribbon. Other officers who retired during the war, but who had served in the Heimat, such as Wehrbezirk officers, might receive the order on the normal blue ribbon.

As noted, there weren't many awards during the war. In the Militär-Wochenblatt, there were 51 KO3Xs gazetted (also 1 award of swords to a prewar KO3).  The small number makes sense, since few officers retired during the war, since there was, of course, a war on.  Those that did were usually forced to retire due to invalidity, in which case if they had enough service a decoration was appropriate, or due to incompetence, in which case no decoration was appropriate.

Do you have a better picture of the medal bar? What is after the Ehrenlegion Medal?

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First of all, thank you. To answer the more recent question, that order with the swords is gold (appearance, proper weight, W hallmark). I am enclosing a better picture of the medal bar and also the one above it. Please also comment, all of you on the one above it. This is what I was told of the medal bar above it. That one likely was awarded to a Bavarian commissioned officer who was most likely a lieutenant during WWI. He was out of the military after WWI but then recalled to active duty circa 1939 for service in WWII. He was probably promoted to Hauptmann (captain) at the time he was recalled to active service.

latest_of_two_imperial_german_parade_medal_bars.jpg

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Hi again,

Yes that is reasonably likely scenario for the bar with the Bavarian order. However, there were plenty of awards of the Bavarian Military Merit Order with Swords to non-Bavarians and to Bavarians in the navy. So while it was most likely a Bavarian lieutenant, it could also have been a Prussian lieutenant in a unit like Infanterie-Regiment König Ludwig III. von Bayern (2. Niederschlesisches) Nr. 47

For the Wehrmacht Dienstauszeichung, the 4th Class here required at least four years' service. The next grade required at least 12 years' service. There was no double counting of wartime service, as with Prussian long service awards.  The Wehrmacht Dienstauszeichung was first awarded on 2 October 1936 and awards were made until WW2 broke out in September 1939. So we know he was active between those dates, but cannot say for certain when he returned to active duty.

The typical case was a wartime volunteer in 1914, commissioned as a Leutnant (der Reserve) during the war and released from service when the Imperial Army was drawn down between 1918 and 1920. As the Reichswehr/Wehrmacht was expanded beginning in 1934, many of these former officers were recalled, often as supplementary officers (Ergänzungsoffiziere). The typical former Leutnant was recalled as a Hauptmann (E).  Since they usually only had 4-5 years of service in the Imperial Army, and less than 5 years' service in the Wehrmacht (1934/5-1939), they did not reach the 12-year threshold for the Wehrmacht Dienstauszeichung 3.Klasse. During the war, they might have advanced as far as Oberst.

There were of course, exceptions, but this is a typical case. Many E-officers were only active in service on the homefront, so they may have only received a Kriegsverdienstkreuz 2.Klasse mit Schwertern during the war.  They also may not have had an opportunity during the war to wear a full medal bar, so never bothered to upgrade the medal bar with any wartime awards. 

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I think on Pos.2 there would be a HOH Ritter X more plausibel.?

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Under normal circumstances, I would agree. The KO3X is, as I noted, rather uncommon. And as I also noted, with a clip-on medal bar, medals can be easily removed. However, all four clips for the first four decorations are at the same height. If second place was for an HOH3X, the clip should be higher to account for the crown. It's not 100% either way, but the KO3X does fit.

Also, the overwhelming majority of RAO4/HOH3X/DA recipients are known to have at least one Landesorden from another state besides Prussia.  And that is even with all of the missing rolls, including those of several larger states such as Hamburg and Hessen. So, while the number of KO3X awards is small, so too is the number of known RAO4/HOH3X/DA combinations without a non-Prussian decoration.

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Here is the same combination, where wie only find a Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer instead the both inofficial decorations in the end.

 

S 128 a - Kopie.jpg

Edited by Komtur

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