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Progression CdG to MM to LdH


Chris Boonzaier
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Hi,

would it be correct to say in WW1 a soldier would get a Medaille Militaire with about 5 CdG citations, then a Legion D Honneur with about 10?

Is there a "Fixed" rule of thumb?

Thanks

Chris

Hi Chris

I would rather think there was no "rule of thumb". Air force pilots would possibly receive a MM after so many palms if an NCO or be made a Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur.

But normal Army or Navy personnel could receive MM or LdH with less than 5 citations. Outstanding bravery could gain an immediate MM or LdH with a palm on the croix de guerre.

This happened to my own father. As a second lieutenant 2e Tirailleurs, during the very first days of the initial attack on Verdun February 1916, when the Germans were crushing the French defenses under an avalanche of artillery and delivering the heaviest attack ever, he rallied men who were falling back after all their officers had been killed, brought them forward and stopped the developping attack. He was very badly wounded during the fighting. Within a few days, he received an immediate Legion of honor + croix de guerre with palm published in the Journal Officiel.

One tradition was that NCOs and enlisted men who had already won a Medaille militaire would receive the Legion d'honneur for a new outstanding act of gallantry. When on parade, the flag of the famous Regiment de Marche de la Legion etrangere was surounded by five NCOs and men who ALL had that combination, the bearer being a lieutenant with the Legion d'honneur.

Naturally traditions have varied with the years. But they remainded pretty much the same durint WW2, Indochina and Algerian wars.

Best regards

Veteran

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Hi,

how comman was this? I sometimes find fantastic acts of bravery, up to and including saving a Regt Commander that were rewarded with just a CdG.

My MM groups seem to have been given the MM after a number of citations and on top of that, having earned it through Hard work/Time in the unit.

The reason for my enquiry is, how likely is it that an "other Rank" man can be awarded MM or LdH for an act of bravery within a week of arriving at the front for the first time?

There seems to have been at a least a system of proving yourself over a period of time for MM ot LdH ?

Best

Chris

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Hi,

how comman was this? I sometimes find fantastic acts of bravery, up to and including saving a Regt Commander that were rewarded with just a CdG.

My MM groups seem to have been given the MM after a number of citations and on top of that, having earned it through Hard work/Time in the unit.

The reason for my enquiry is, how likely is it that an "other Rank" man can be awarded MM or LdH for an act of bravery within a week of arriving at the front for the first time?

There seems to have been at a least a system of proving yourself over a period of time for MM ot LdH ?

Best

Chris

Hi

Any man could have been confronted with a special combat situation at any time. Moreover, the MM was the only award available for at least 18 montns after the War started, until the Croix de guerre was created.

As I tried to explain earlier, there was no set rules about progress in bravery awards, except possibly with the Air Force, where things could be codified to a point.

In fact, I would say that most French collectors don't reason along those lines. Generally speaking, a MM to a man under 35 would always be considered an award for gallantry. An older man could also have one for long and distinguished service in the ranks. But he also could have received it for bravery. That is because the MM serves both as a gallantry and aa a long and distinguished service medal like the MSM (not an automatic award).

The French approach to awards is different. Don't try too hard to compare it with the British or the German systems.

Hope this helps.

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Not to scale. There is still much to learn about French awards and rules from the viewpoint of non-French collectors. For many years, I believed the Médaille Militaire was reserved for Generals and Senior NCOs. To digress from Chris' WW1 focus for a moment, there is a man living near me who was deported for resistance activities. He is a holder of the MM and an Officer of the Legion of Honour. I believe he also holds the Croix de Guerre. So there is an example of an MM awarded for valour to a man who was not actually a member of the regular armed forces when he was active in the FFI in Paris in 1942 and 1943. I believe the FFI was "regularised" by General de Gaulle's HQ in 1944, wasn't it?

Edited by PKeating
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  • 2 years later...

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