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Hello everyone. I want to greet all the members of this great forum in my first message. I'm a big fan of military history and a small collector of the two World Wars, and I'd like to ask the following because in this forum there are participants with great knowledge.

What awards could receive NCOs and enlisted men of the Prussian Army at the beginning of the twentieth century, and during the First World War? As far as I know, they could receive the following medals:

- Iron Cross 2nd class (1914-1918)

- Iron Cross 1st class (1914-1918)

- Military Honor Medal 2nd class (Militär Ehrenzeichen 2 Klasse)

- Military Honor Medal 1st class (Militär Ehrenzeichen 1 Klasse)

- Golden Military merit Cross (Goldenes Militar-Verdienstkreuz)

- Member Cross of Hohenzolern House Order with Swords (Inhaber Kreuz)

- Merit Cross for War Aid (Verdienstkreuz für Kriegshilfe)

- Medals and Cross for 9, 12 and 15 years of service

Could also receive both medals of Orders of the Prussian Crown and the Red Eagle for war merits? Or in times of peace?

Thank you very much for your answers and best regards.

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Hello and welcome to the forum.

I assume you are only asking about Prussian decorations. Prussian soldiers could also sometimes earn medals from other states of the German Empire and foreign countries, although they were less likely to get them than officers.

Yes, the medals of the Red Eagle and Crown Orders could be awarded to active soldiers, although these were not common.

To your list, you could also add the Lifesaving Medal (Rettungsmedaille am Bande) and the Red Cross Medal (Rote Kreuzmedaille). There were also awards in peacetime of the different classes of the General Honor Decoration (Allgemeines Ehrenzeichen) to NCOs and soldiers.

Regards

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These two were not awarded to Prussian soldiers during the world war except in very peculiar circumstances. SOME MEz1, but I know of NO MEz2 awards 1914-18:

- Military Honor Medal 2nd class (Militär Ehrenzeichen 2 Klasse)

- Military Honor Medal 1st class (Militär Ehrenzeichen 1 Klasse)

This was the "Pour le Merite" for enlisted men during the war:

- Golden Military merit Cross (Goldenes Militar-Verdienstkreuz)

EXTREMELY RARE:

- Member Cross of Hohenzolern House Order with Swords (Inhaber Kreuz)

In rear area (Etappen) sorts of home front jobs :

- Merit Cross for War Aid (Verdienstkreuz für Kriegshilfe)

These were suspended and NOT given out during the war:

- Medals and Cross for 9, 12 and 15 years of service

Could also receive both medals of Orders of the Prussian Crown and the Red Eagle for war merits? NO

Or in times of peace? Almost never in the army, sometimes in the navy. Usually for non-Prussians.

And the awards Dave mentioned.

Any Prussian soldier (not an officer) who got more than an EK2 was lucky.

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For a pure Prussian in a purely Prussian regiment whose honorary chief was not also a sovereign, I'd agree with Rick that an EK2, and maybe a peacetime long service medal, were almost all they could expect. For that matter, I think most Prussian officers could expect little more than an EK2, and an EK1 if they were lucky, if they weren't in the right regiments.

Here is a list of awards of the General Honor Decoration, Red Eagle Order Medal and Crown Order Medal to NCOs in Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 60. This was a Mecklenburg regiment, though part of the Prussian Army. I have no idea why they received these medals, or the Danish awards to the Landesgendarmerie for that matter. I have also seen a handful of such medals gazetted to Württemberg NCOs. Perhaps for non-Prussians in the German Army, Prussia sometimes used these medals the way a state like Mecklenburg or Württemberg would use the medals of their own orders.

Other than these and a few odd cases, almost the only awards I've seen of the Red Eagle and Crown Order Medals to Prussian NCOs were to technical NCOs like Zeugfeldwebels.

One of the odd ones: Bruno Doehler, a 19-year old native Silesian and Fähnrich in the Ersatz-Bataillon of Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 148, received the Medal of the Red Eagle Order on 4 August 1917, when he was just two months out of the Hauptkadettenanstalt, and three months before his baptism of fire. I have no idea why.

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Thank you very much everyone for your responses. From what I've read, the medals of the Order of the Crown and the Red Eagle themself could be granted to soldiers and NCOs but never in times of war, while these decorations were out of the system degrees of the Orders of the Crown. It seems that in reality they were a kind of gifts that could make the Emperor personally, not the Prussian State. Is that true?

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The medals of the Red Eagle-Order and Crown-Order did not belong the royal prussian system of decorations. They were paied from the personal account of the emperor and given without and award-document.
Sometimes, the recipient got a copy of the "Übersendungsschreiben", the letter accompaning the medal in its small case from Berlin to the unit of the recipient.

So in the case below, an award in 1907 to a Feldwebel of the Imperial German Navy.

Regards

Markus

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Hello Markus. It's a very interesting document. As I've seen, many recipients of these medals, especially the Order of the Crown, were members of the Imperial Navy. It also seems that it was much more common the medal of the Order of the Crown that the Medal of the Order of the Red Eagle.

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These two were not awarded to Prussian soldiers during the world war except in very peculiar circumstances. SOME MEz1, but I know of NO MEz2 awards 1914-18:

- Military Honor Medal 2nd class (Militär Ehrenzeichen 2 Klasse)

- Military Honor Medal 1st class (Militär Ehrenzeichen 1 Klasse)

Hello Rick.

These few Militär Ehrenzeichen First Class awarded during the Great War, were a lower or a higher decoration that the Iron Cross Second Class?

Greetings.

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These few Militär Ehrenzeichen First Class awarded during the Great War, were a lower or a higher decoration that the Iron Cross Second Class?

I have never heard of any MEZ1 awarded during WW1, but they must have been at least equal to the Iron Cross 1st class, if not higher.

Rick, do you have any more information on these awards? Did they go to Prussians, to other Germans, or to allies?

Edited by saschaw
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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear friends, I have a pair of doubts about the Prussian Military Honor Medals (Preußische Militär-Ehrenzeichen 2nd and 1st classes).

- For winning the Military Honor Medal 1st class (the cross), the soldier had to win before the Military Honor Medal 2nd class? Or could win outright the First Class?

- The 1st class (cross) was awarded only to NCOs and the 2nd class (medal) only to soldiers? Or a soldier or a NCOs could win both classes?

Thanks for your answers and your valuable time.

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Dear friends, I have a pair of doubts about the Prussian Military Honor Medals (Preußische Militär-Ehrenzeichen 2nd and 1st classes).

- For winning the Military Honor Medal 1st class (the cross), the soldier had to win before the Military Honor Medal 2nd class? Or could win outright the First Class?

- The 1st class (cross) was awarded only to NCOs and the 2nd class (medal) only to soldiers? Or a soldier or a NCOs could win both classes?

Thanks for your answers and your valuable time.

Both were awarded to NCO and EM alike and it was possible to be outright awarded the 1st class.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I have digitalized all awards published in the Marineverordnungsblatt 1871-1918, and the relation between the medal of the crown-order to the medal of the RAO is 4:1. Not all awards were published, but the relation is clear.

Regards

Markus

Would it be possible to purchase a copy of your list? I have been going through the MWB and found approx. the same ratio.

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Hello Markus,

Thank you so much for the list, I will have to make a account and download it, hopefully it could have some possible info for the Colonial medal bar I'm searching for :D

I can't seem to register, first they seem not to take Hotmail, is there any email I can send a request too?

It always gives me an invalid email address message, no matter what email I try :(

Edited by Rogi
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Hello Ulsterman,

yes, you find the link for download in category "Deutsche Orden bis 1918", pinned on top of the first page under "Verleihungslisten".

But this morning - i cant enter the forum, may be some problems with the server. If you give me an email-adress, i can send the lists to you.

Best regards

Markus Bodeux

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  • 1 month later...

Rick, do you have any more information on these awards? Did they go to Prussians, to other Germans, or to allies?

Now that Rick hasn't answered and won't answer anymore... does anyone else know?

I thought all Prussian bravery awards a Prussian EM or NCO could get in WW1 were the both EKs, and then the HOH4X or the MVK...

Edited by saschaw
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  • 1 month later...

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