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Under the Third Reich, military (and in rarer circumstances, civilian--there being far fewer of THOSE) long service awards from the Hohenzollern Empire continued being worn with Third Reich long service awards. Oddly enough, the old awards normally had their completed service recounted and included in the new 1,000 Year Reich ones.

So that a regular career NCO who had received 12 years military credit for serving 1914-20 was ALSO creditted for those same years (only as calendar years, not double wartime Pension Years) and received a 25 Years Whatever in 1939.

According to regulations, the old long service award was to be worn first-- in the order that the awards had been received. But very often the Third Reich awards were placed first.

Here are three nice Police example. Both the top two ribbon bars belonged to the same long serving policeman from Mecklenburg-Schwerin (probably in the Gendarmerie), who had been a career NCO in one of that imperial state's own regiments:

Note the Polizei 25 gold eagle device: on the UPPER bar it is correctly preceded by his Mecklenburg army long service cross. On the lower bar--using a "close enough for government work" noncombatant Friedrich Franz Cross ribbon, that imperial long service award has been placed incorrectly AFTER the Polizei long service cross.

The former Bavarian NCO and senior policeman below that pair has incorrectly placed his Bavarian army long service award (probably a XII Years Service Medal from the Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with Swords and Crown he received as a junior NCO) after his Polizei 25.

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But it wasn't only the Police who got things mixed up. The bean counters and clerks of the civil service did the same thing!

First, a couple of Prussians who got the regulations right (note unofficial but nifty Prussian XV Years Service Cross device on the lower bar to tell all those same same same :banger: dark blue ribbons apart):

But THIS guy made the very common mistake of placing his Third Reich long service ahead of his Second Reich one:

PERFECT photo of the geriatric forester! With his pre-1914 Prussian Reserve-Landwehr Medal, he was TOO OLD FOR WW-ONE military service, but there he is, 20 years AFTER the first war ended... still treading the pine needled pathways of some German forest! :cheers:

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Good-- I don't have a Saxon example to show the double Imperial/Third Reich long service awards. :beer:

Here is another too old for WW1, still not retired in WW2 bar for somebody a bit more "less boring" :P:lol: than Ulsterman's forester!

In this case, the ribbon bar above, which I've had for decades, had it's matching medal bar show up and sell in the 2002 Siebentritt colonial auction, so I know know it is a steel stay-at-home Southwest Africa medal, a IX Years Service, and the Volkspflege enamel cross decoration.

Here are a couple more imperial long services and 40 Years Third Reich civil service:

This was a former Bavarian army officer, with XXIV Years Service Cross and then the 40--

And this ex-Bavarian Feldwebelleutnant, whose "Prussian" XV Years Service Cross (I have the matching medal bar) was actually a SCHUTZTRUPPEN long service, earned while he was in Africa on literally Imperial service--like the Navy, which also used the "Prussian" long service awards--

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But what about :unsure: TRIPLES? :speechless1:

How is that CORRECTLY possible (and are there ever INCORRECT examples out there!)? Because of examples like Ulsterman's forester-- remember the RESERVISTS.

This bar's wearer is wearing what was probably an IX Years Service Medal correctly before his 1938 40 Years Treudienst Cross. So what's after THAT? Assuming this was not a non-regulation goof-- that would be a pre-WW1 Reserve-Landwehr Long Service Medal. This old fellow might possibly have been PAST normal retirement age in WW2, but had been kept in some sort of uniformed service "for the duration"--

And here is a freakishly specific case. The Third Reichs Customs & Border Services were laggards in getting a specific long service award, only authorized in 1939. As civil servants, they simply received the 25 Years Treudienst Cross of 1938, as this fellow did. Because I know where the matching medal bar is, I know the blank Prussian blue ahead of it was an XV Years Service Cross:

This is the ONLY case where TWO civilian long service awards were given for the same service under the Nazi regime. Nonsensically, it is also the only case where a LOWER award was given AFTER a HIGHER one had previously been bestowed-- for 4 (or 8) years service AFTER getting one for 25 years. :speechless:

VERY often (see the Photos In Wear gallery of the Ribbon Bar Article scans posted under the Militaria Database half of this website) career NCOs of the Wehrmacht released after their 12 year enlistments in 1936-38 went on to receive this Customs/Border cross after 4 years in that duty.


That's right! Even though Customs/Border long service was ALSO counted towards the civilian employees' Treudienst Cross, apparently prior service did NOT count cumulatively towards getting one for ex-Wehrmacht members!!! The clock apparently started all over again for their long service cross and theirs alone. :speechless1:

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Yup. Now that is a FREAKY example of incorrect wear. That career Saxon NCO, retired as a Leutnant aD in 1920, SHOULD have simply replaced his old Saxon XXV with the new Wehrmacht 25 and 12 when he was back in Wehrmacht uniform.

He must have been extremely literal-minded, and decided that with 20 or 21 real calendar years, he "had to" downgrade this way. But that was NOT the rule for replacing the two imperial long service awards that had direct counterparts-- the old XXV Years Cross and XII Years Medal. XV years Cross winners would have been stuck downgraded to Wehrmacht 12 & 4, and old IX Years Medal holders would have had to settle with a Wehrmacht 4. Or they just continued wearing their old awards, contrary to regulations. Or, like yours, they improperly wore BOTH sets of "Wehrmacht" (Imperial and National Socialist) together.

This W?rttemberg officer likewise improperly wore BOTH his old XXV (eccentrically 3rd from last) and the Wehrmacht pair that replaced that, for 40 and 12 years:

This scan is not quite the same scale as the others. I've decided (as arbitrarily as ever) to use 150 dpi scans at 125 percent size for when the COMPLETE ribbonbars go up in the Authorized 2nd Edition Ribbon Bar Article here.

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I guess as most of us have been collecting militaria for so many years we all look back at times when we could have had REAL bargains, and I always feel these ribbon bars were a perfect example, I remember when huge long WW1/2 German ribbon bars would just sit in the dealers display for ever... no-one wanted them, and they cost next to nothing too, god only knows what was there, I thought about buying a couple but never did. A crystal ball would have been handy I suppose.


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