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Panzerpionier

Royal House Order of Hollenzollern as an intermediate award?

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Posted (edited)

Dear sirs

I just read elsewhere (Wikipedia IIRC) that crosses of Royal House Order of Hollenzollern were awarded as an intermediate step between Iron Crosses and Order Pour le Merite. Unfortunately, no source for that statement was provided. That piece of data would be very useful for muy current research. Could you confirm it? Is there any reliable source (book) supporting that statemenent and that could be cited? Language is no problem.

Thanks in advance for your help and support

Edited by Panzerpionier

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Dear Panzerpionier,

It's true. It was rare that a PLM recipient didn't get Knight's Cross (or other cross) of the Royal Hohenzollern House Order first. During WW1 8291Knight's Crosses of HHO and 687 PLMs (plus 122 Oak Leaves) were awarded. A good example is Werner Voss. First he got Iron Cross 2nd Class, then Iron Cross 1st Class, later Knight's Cross of HHO and finally PLM (strangely no other awards). You can read about it for example in excellent Neal W. O'Connor's "Aviation Awards..." vol. II (Prussia).

Cheers,

Albert

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It is not accurate to say that it was an intermediate award, at least in the sense that you appear to mean. Most Pour le Merite recipients had the House Order of Hohenzollern, but there was no formal requirement that one have it before one could receive the plM.

Also, the HOH3X was typically awarded only to colonels and below. Generals, and some colonels (usually brigade commanders), usually received the Crown Order with Swords and/or the Red Eagle Order with Swords before being considered for the Pour le Merite. A few of these received a higher grade of the HOH with swords, but not many. The Red Eagle and Crown Orders were the preferred awards for senior commanders.  By contrast, the lower grades of the Red Eagle and Crown Orders with Swords were not commonly awarded in World War I.

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Thannk you very much for your replies, which are very interesting and helpful.

I forgot to specify that the sourde I read stated specifically that crosses of Royal House Order of Hollenzollern were awarded de facto as an intermediate step between Iron Crosses and Order Pour le Merite, i.e. there was no formal requirement (regulation) about it, but it actually happened that way.

Dave says that generals and colonels acting as brigade commanders usually received the Crown Order with Swords and/or the Red Eagle Order with Swords before being considered for the Pour le Merite, some of them higher grades of the  Royal House Order of Hollenzollern. That seems to support the theory that an intermediate order was awarded between the Iron Cross and the Pour le Merite, albeit diferent orders were awarded depending of the rank of the recipient.

Is there any source that could be cited in this way? O'Connor's "Aviation Awards..." series seens too specific, and Werner Voss example seems too specific to be considered a factual pattern. On the other hand, I have Neville's "Medal Ribbons & Orders of Imperial Germany & Austria", but it seems to be too basic and lacks information about award criteria and figures.

Thanks again for your help and support

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Dave - you're right, during WW1 lower grades of Red Eagle and Crown Order were not commonly awarded, while HHO was (well, of course if we say "common" about Order awarded only over 8000 times). Before the war, it was the other way round. The reason for this change is not known.

Panzerpionier - sorry, right now I don't remember in which other book than "Aviation Awards..." vol. II we can read about HHO being an intermediate award to PLM.

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There probably is not a primary source since it was apparently a de facto policy. If you want a secondary source, Nimmergut states in Deutsche Orden und Ehrenzeichen: 1800-1945

Für den Erwerb des Pour le Merite war das Ritterkreuz mit Schwertern des Hausordens von Hohenzollern Voraussetzung. Für diese Handhabung des Militärkabinetts liegt jedoch keine Ordre vor. Von dieser Regelung gibt es zahlreiche Ausnahmen, erinnert sie hier nur an Schörner und Rommel, die späteren Generalfeldmarschälle, an Kapitänleutnant Otto Weddigen oder Leutnant Otto von der Linde.

Other exceptions include: 

Prussian Army
Hermann v. Balcke
Cord v. Brandis
August v. Götzen
Karl v. Hagen
Hans-Joachim Haupt
Georg Johow
Konrad Kalau vom Hofe
Kurt Rackow
Markus Stachow
Adolf Steinwachs
Emil Trebing
Eduard Wittekind

Imperial Navy:
Hans Adam
Nikolaus Burggraf u. Graf zu Dohna-Schlodien
Otto Hersing
Hugo v. Rosenberg

Bavarian Army:
Karl Paulus
Johann Schmidtler

There were also a handful of junior officers who received the golden Military Merit Cross, the highest award for Prussian NCOs, and later the plM after they were commissioned. 

Regarding the higher ranking officers, also note that several of them received the plM before they received another Prussian war decoration with Swords. Erich Ludendorff is an example (his HOH2aX came in late 1914), as are other early-war recipients of the plM. Generalfeldmarschall Remus v. Woyrsch received the plM with Oakleaves without receiving another higher Prussian war decoration at all. 
 

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Posted (edited)

Dear Dave

 

4 hours ago, Dave Danner said:

There probably is not a primary source since it was apparently a de facto policy. If you want a secondary source, Nimmergut states in Deutsche Orden und Ehrenzeichen: 1800-1945

Für den Erwerb des Pour le Merite war das Ritterkreuz mit Schwertern des Hausordens von Hohenzollern Voraussetzung. Für diese Handhabung des Militärkabinetts liegt jedoch keine Ordre vor. Von dieser Regelung gibt es zahlreiche Ausnahmen, erinnert sie hier nur an Schörner und Rommel, die späteren Generalfeldmarschälle, an Kapitänleutnant Otto Weddigen oder Leutnant Otto von der Linde.

 :thumbup: That quote should be enough to support my point. Thanks a lot!

On the other hand, I have a copy of 2005/2006 edition of Nimmergut's catalog Deutsche Orden und Ehrenzeichen: 1800-1945, but as it has no text at all, only pictures amd prices, I understand that you refer to a different book. Could yo provide a more complete reference for locating a copy of the book?

Thanks in advance

Edited by Panzerpionier

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There seems to be indeed no primary source. The secondary source Nimmergut (mentioned above) quotes in the case of the Hausorden von Hohenzollern with swords is Hans Möller-Witten. He is the author of Geschichte der Ritter des Ordens pour le mérite im Weltkrieg from 1935. In 1965 Möller-Witten published a short article in the Zeitschrift für Heereskunde about the Hausorden von Hohenzollern mit Schwertern. I add this article in the re-published version of 1980 (from Orden & Militaria Magazin).

Zeitschrift für Heereskunde 1965.JPG

HOHX Möller-Witten 1.jpg

HOHX Möller-Witten 2.jpg

Another exception for receiving a pour le mérite without a Hausorden von Hohenzollern Ritterkreuz mit Schwertern before is General der Infanterie Roderich von Schöler.

Schoeler, General der Infanterie a. D. Roderich von, plm.jpg

Schoeler, General der Infanterie a. D. Roderich von, Schnalle.JPG

Schoeler, General der Infanterie a. D. Roderich von, RAO2StELX.jpg

Generalleutnant Schöler ca. 1915.jpg

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Komtur's reply is simply fantastic :thumbup::thumbup: thank you so much!!!

As my German is not good enough for understanding while reading, I will translate Möller-Witten's article in order to fully understand it... Of course I would share the resulting translation, but please note that my mother tongue is Spanish and not English, and therefore I will translate it into Spanish.

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Komtur - many thanks for your great post, especially for attaching the article on HHO!

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