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Medals awarded to soldiers before wound badge 1918 institution

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hello all,

I wonder what medal or badge was given to the wounded and killed in combat, in the Imperial German States before the establishment of the wound badge in 1918? either during the first years of the Great War or earlier (Franco- Prussian war, Austro- Prussian war, Prussian-Denmark war, and even further back if possible, the Napoleonic wars, etc)

Thanks in advance


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For the killed in action a certificate was awarded.....


These were introduced Mid war, there are different ones for Prussia, bavaria etc.....

Also around the Mid war period they started awarding the iron Cross 2nd class to men who were badly wounded and invalided out of the army.

But a real wound award only appeared in 1918.



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Several states awarded their individual bravery awards to wounded soldiers, although not for being wounded per se and certainly not automatically. Many states did not award their own decoration unless the soldier had already earned or been proposed for the Iron Cross. But they often made exceptions, and one was if you had conducted yourself well in the field, but had been wounded before you could be nominated for the Iron Cross.

Here is an example, a recommendation for the Anhalt Friedrich Cross to Lt.d.R. Erich Metzger:

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Hello readers.

Thanks to Dave for posting this interesting part of a document. For those of the readers not acquainted with the German language: the entry underlined in red states that the severe wound to the knee rendered the Lt.d.Res.E. Metzger unfit for further service.

Bernhard H. Holst

Also, in case you are interested, since the column for his unit has just "desgl.", he was in Husaren-Regiment Nr, 12.

The columns are:

- Name

- Rank / Civilian occupation

- Unit

- Whether in possession of the Iron Cross

- Date and place of birth / Residence / Citizenship

- Reason for the award

Below is another set of recommendations for soldiers in Jäger-Bataillon Nr. 4. In the case of the one who already had the Iron Cross, no extra reason is given, which was often the case. For the other three, the citation is for their brave conduct which led to their being severely wounded. One was shot in the leg, hitting the bone, one was shot in the belly, and one was shot in the chest

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Yes, even in WWII when the wound badge did exist there appears to have been a strong connection between combat wounds and the Iron Cross (apart from the automatic Silver and Gold awards for Schwererwundete processed on Wehrkreis level)). I'm convinced that a substantial amount of EKs, especially EK2s, awarded during the Second World War were related to combat wounds. Not surprisingly, acts of bravery often made a soldier a casualty. However, there are many examples where an EK2 was given to a wounded soldier, even if no specific act of bravery occurred. I'd be quite surprised if this wasn't the case in WWI, given how long the war lasted and the related amount of wounds/casualties.

Dave -That list you show is fascinating. I'd love to see a whole page (or front page) with heading, even if informally written.

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The Vorschlagslisten are fairly standard forms, used by different states with slight modifications. The templates were published in the Armee-Verordnungsblatt along with the decrees establishing the awards.

Sometimes a list will have only one name, while others can run for dozens of pages.

Below is a set of recommendations for the Friedrichkreuz from Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 66. In this case, all had the Iron Cross, although the severe wounding of two was also noted. The ones who were turned down were Anhaltiners by birth, but had apparently moved away from the Duchy to towns in Prussian Saxony.

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A great thread this is!

Dave - I have never seen an EK Vorschlagsliste from WWI so this is very cool (I have seen a couple of listes for other Imperial awards though). I have four of them or so from WWII and I have always wanted to see what they looked like and how they were (typically) formatted during the 1914-1918 period. Great stuff!!


Edited by Brian R
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Thank you all for your contributions!

2 things come to my mind:

First: could then be said that just the EK II German States equivalent medals were awarded in the same way to a wounded soldier in combat? not higher awards?

Seccond: when see the set of recommendations for Friedrichkreuz that Dave show us, surprised me the thoroughness and elitism of some German states to grant their awards, even the lower grade, compared with Prussia to grant their Iron Crosses. it looks like their considered better their awards because they wait until the soldier had already earned or been proposed for the Iron Cross as Dave said, is that correct?

I hope I have expressed myself correctly

Thanks again!

Edited by Humberto Corado
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A few states, notably the Duchy of Braunschweig and the two Schwarzburg principalities, normally required a soldier to have the Iron Cross in order to get their state award. And when Braunschweig added a pinback War Merit Cross 1st Class, that also required award of the Iron Cross 1st Class.*

But many other states awarded their own decoration even if the soldier did not have the Iron Cross. Although having earned the Iron Cross was often a good reason - sometimes the only reason given - for awarding the state decoration. Bavaria and Saxony, having separate armies from Prussia, naturally awarded theirs based on their own criteria. Other large states like Württemberg, Baden and Hessen-Darmstadt also did not require the EK. From rolls and award files I have seen, Anhalt and Lippe-Detmold also did likewise.

I do not know for certain about the others. I have a medal bar with the Reuss Silver Merit Medal with Swords and no EK2, so one or both Reuss principalities may be added.

I do know that Oldenburg and Mecklenburg-Schwerin awarded their 1st Class crosses to people who did not have the EK1, but I don't know if the same also applied to the 2nd Class crosses. Probably, but I cannot say for certain. Has anyone seen medal groups with the Friedrich August Cross or Mecklenburg Military Merit Cross but no EK2?

One thing I have noted, especially in the Anhalt files and especially early in the war: often, the proposal will say he was put in for the Iron Cross, but it was not (yet) approved. And often the proposal will say he was considered for the EK2, but the unit only was allowed a limited number of EKs to award. For example, a Vorschlag might read "zum Eisernen Kreuz vorgeschlagen, infolge der beschränkten Verleihung bisher nicht berücksichtigt". So if a unit had a quota of Iron Crosses, maybe a commander would put in some guys for the EK and others for a state award, rather than having some guys with two awards and others with none. As the war went on, and the EK became far more common, that was probably less of an issue.


* The only exception I have seen was for a chaplain, who was proposed for the BrK1 even though he had no EK1. The proposal specifically noted that as a chaplain he was not likely to get the EK1, but because he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to care for his troops, his commander thought he deserved another award. The award was approved.

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I do know that Oldenburg and Mecklenburg-Schwerin awarded their 1st Class crosses to people who did not have the EK1, but I don't know if the same also applied to the 2nd Class crosses. Probably, but I cannot say for certain. Has anyone seen medal groups with the Friedrich August Cross or Mecklenburg Military Merit Cross but no EK2?

They do exist, I have a medal bar in my collection with only a Prussian red cross 3rd class medal, Oldenburg Friedrich August Cross and Legion of Honour Veteran's Medal. Others can be seen for both states, generally the 2nd class cross allied with a Cross of Honour.

As an aside, Lippe-Detmold had it's own military merit medal whose rules were a little convoluted, but if I remember correctly was awarded to wounded soldiers who had not received the EK.

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