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    2's Enough: A Ribbon Bar Mystery SOLVED

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    Guest Rick Research

    of course it took me 21 years, 6 months and 1 week to the day. :speechless1::speechless1::speechless1:

    TWO awards identify this person. And yes indeed, it is strange, freakish, bizarre, and makes no sense on many levels. They say people and their pets resemble each other. Hmm. :rolleyes: Anyway, as of today, and thanks to Daniel and an 80 year old list, this is the most dangling threads and unknowns "identified" bar that I have. Enjoy. Discuss.

    Just to prevent confusion because of the dingy, faded, well worn ribbons being in South German folds, I will list what the awards are:

    1) Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class 1914

    2) Bavarian Military Merit Order on WW1 combatant ribbon-- never had any device

    3) W?rttemberg Military Merit Order-knight

    4) Austro-Hungarian Military Merit Cross 3rd Class wth War Decoration

    5) Bremen Hanseatic Cross

    6) Austro-Hungarian 1914 Red Cross decoration without a war wreath = non war related services

    7) Austrian Republic WW1 Commemorative Medal of 1933 with Xs authorzed 1934

    8) Bavarian army Luitpold Jubilee Medal

    9) W?rttemberg Long Service award

    10) Turkish War Medal star

    11) Turkish Silver Liakat Medal with sabers bar

    12) Turkish Silver Imtiaz Medal with sabers bar


    He was not a W?rttemberger. :Cat-Scratch:

    There is only ONE single, solitary mention of any WW1 service for him-- none at all in the Honor Rank List:

    I have his wife. I have his father. I even have his son (a big wheel in moving pictures). Himself? Virtually nothing! :banger:

    Hey, it drove ME crazy for 21 years 6 months and 1 week... now it's YOUR turns. :rolleyes::ninja:

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    Guest Rick Research

    Nobody wanted to play?


    What's with the perfectly correct post-1938 mounting precedence... in a bar with no Hindenburg Cross?

    We may never know.

    What's with a BAVARIAN award (the routine one) ahead of W?rttemberg's highest...

    and a Bavarian army jubilee medal in front of a W?rttemberg long service?

    I've been tossing and turning nights on this one since Ronald Reagan was running for re-election.

    Well, General von Moser's roll of the WM3 reveals that exactly FOUR Bavarians recieved the WM3 in World War One. One was a General and is excluded by awards, as was a recalled retired reserve medical doctor. The third was a gas projector regiment junior Landwehr Lieutenant who would not have received ANY long service award.

    BOTH the poison gas officer and the 4th recipient are NOT shown in Bavaria's wartime MVOX rolls (the Oberleutnant because only Hauptleute up have been published). NEITHER are shown for ANY non-Bavarian awards gazetted in the wartime Personal Nachrichten.

    We are left with a "slipped through the cracks" officer...

    identifiable ONLY from that "J" and the WM3-- as having ONE MATCH.

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    Guest Rick Research

    Theodor Freiherr von K?ppelle was apparently the son of Bavarian Major aD (28.6.1888) Karl Freiherr von K?ppelle, born in Augsburg 17 July 1843, holder of the Bavarian 1905 Luitpold Jubilee Medal, Bavarian XXIV Years Service Cross, 1870 War Medal, Bavarian 1866 War Cross, and 1897 Centenary Medal. Papa was still alive in 1914.

    Theodor, born in 1871, was a Bavarian regular officer from 1891 to 1913 in Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment 4:

    Sekondelieutenant 14.6.93

    Oberleutnant 13.9.01

    Hauptmann 9.3.08

    he retired "zD" in 1913 (p 550 in the 1914 Bavarian Milit?r Handbuch, which I do not have) with 22 years of active duty-- 2 shy of the required number for Bavaria's XXIV Years Long Service Cross.

    If Baron Theo had not retired, by his seniority he would have made Major on 3 November 1914. He probably lost 2 years seniority, but AS a

    Major zD, he received the WM3 on 16 June 1917 in W?rttemberg Field Artillery Regiment 49.

    What he was doing before this date, or after this date, is unknown. That IS quite a rack of very odd awards!

    W?rttemberg Field Artillery Regiment 49 was a divisional artillery regiment in W?rttemberg's 27th Infantry Division until 1917-- whereupon it vanishes into the Twilight Zone of non-divisional, no Order of Battle duty.

    Bremen... Austria-Hungary... TURKEY.... :speechless1::speechless1::speechless1:

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    Guest Rick Research

    Baron Theo is not listed-- at all-- for ANY World War One service in the Honor Rank List.

    We tend to rely on the perfection and all inclusiveness of the ancient period references we use...

    only to be disappointed when they fail us, as they do again in his case.

    So what the heck's with the Bavarian jubilee medal and the W?rttemberg long service? :speechless1::speechless1::speechless1:

    The ONLY similar cases that I have ever come across have been pre-1914 Bavarian officers in the colonial Schutztruppen who, as "Reichs" officers at the time their length of service came up, received the Prussian/Reichs XXV rather than the Bavarian XXIV-- and did NOT replace it when they came home. They continued wearing the PRUSSIAN long service awards....

    Bavaria and W?rttemberg continued bestowing long service awards on regulars during the World War (Prussia and the navy suspended theirs for the duration)...

    and apparently at SOME point in his recalled service, it was decided that "invisible" Baron Theo's not quite 2 year gap in service didn't matter-- and he was placed back on the "active" rolls again:

    Bavaria didn't "count" him since he was in non-Bavarian service

    W?rttemberg--although they gave him their XXV most likely ca 1917-18-- didn't "count" him for Honor Rank List "services of recalled retirees" since he wasn't one of THEIRS, really

    and so he slipped through the Honor Rank List cracks

    to end up as a charakterisiert Oberstleutnant aD in ONE OR THE OTHER army.

    And how do I know THAT?

    From his son's 1935 "Wer Ist's?" entry:

    Theo went INTO the war as a retired Captain... and came OUT as a retired Lieutenant Colonel. Sometime "during" he had been

    re-regularized. :unsure::ninja:

    And all while mysteriously having himself a weird career that remains an Unexplained Mystery!

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    The only word is: RESEARCH

    But you've heard that before! Happy for you! Why have these things if we can't don't research them?? And, if not now the knowledge will come eventually; if not us, then the next custodian (though 'tis nice to see the history restored to these "things" on "our watch"!).


    Edited by Ed_Haynes
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    Guest Rick Research

    You can immediately recognize people who have von Moser's "Die W?rttemberger im Weltkrieg" because they have forearms like Popeye's from

    LIFTING the @&(*ing thing. (It weighs 472 kilos)

    "charakterisiert" is a BREVET retirement bump-- wearing the rank of the next higher rank for pension purposes. Since that rank was never exercised in command, the brevet designation is used to contrast with "real" holders of a rank.

    For rather more successful research results on obscure noblemen, see


    I continue to be thwarted by two Marianerkreuz recipients-- one Bavarian, and one Austrian. But those are non-stories for another thread.

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    "charakterisiert" is a BREVET retirement bump-- wearing the rank of the next higher rank for pension purposes. Since that rank was never exercised in command, the brevet designation is used to contrast with "real" holders of a rank.

    Generally speaking, the award of the Charakter of the next highest rank was indeed a retirement issue but not exclusively so. Normally when a vacancy in a regiment for a captain became available but the next senior guy in the regiment eligible (promotion was predicated on regimental seniority up to the rank of captain) was not quite senior enough in comparison with his peers in other regiments, he would be promoted "provisionally without a Patent" until he did have the requisite seniority.

    Similarly it seems the case that Captains in the same situation instead of being promoted "vorl?ufig ohne Patent", they could be characterised to the next rank until they had the necessary seniority for substantive promotion.

    An example:

    Hauptmann Viktor von Aigner on the staff of Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 60 was appointed char. Major on the 6th of May 1913. On the 16th of June 1913, just some five weeks later he was promoted to "supernumery" Major with a Patent of 16.6.13 Dd. Interestlingly enough Viktor von Aigner did receive a retirement Charakterisierung on retirement - to Generalleutnant on 30 June 1927.



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    congrats on the zillionth post :beer:

    I should also mention that most graduates of Gro?-Lichterfelde Cadet School who were not immediately commissioned (Selekta class, Vorl?ufig ohne Patent) joined their units as a char. F?hnrich and were usually promoted to the substantive rank about six or seven months later.



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    Nobody wanted to play?


    Come on! You announce to everyone that this has had you puzzled for 21 years. Then you wonder why no one tackles it. :unsure: If it took you that long, what chance have mere mortals? Great job on finding it. If we had a cold case squad, you would head it up.

    Dan Murphy

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    • 4 months later...
    • 2 years later...
    Guest Rick Research

    Just a couple of new illustrations for this very old thread.

    The Prussian Milit?r Wochenblatt entry gazetting his EK 1:

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    Guest Rick Research

    And from W?rttemberg, his WM3--

    Still absolutely NO "reason" why a healthy regular Bavarian officer-- and if he wasn't healthy, he wouldn't have kept on in combat action--just quit and showed up in another kingdom's army! :banger: :speechless:

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