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I will start a list of common abreviations that we take for granted when talking about many of these pieces. I'm sure "The Evil One" will add to it!

Common Terms

RK = Ritterkreuz (Knight's Cross)

mK = mit Krone (with crown) anglicized as wC, wK

mS = mit Schwerter (with Swords) Often anglicized to wX

X = Schwerter (Swords)

XaR = Swords on Ring (some Orders had this appendage)

1.Kl. = First Class

2.Kl. = Second Class Both of these will often be stated as RK1, RK2, etc.

mKD = mit Kriegsdekoration (Austro-Hungarian on many awards)


HOH = Prussian version Hohenzollern House Order (3 class usually, with X or not)

EK = Eisernes Kreuz (Iron Cross) sub-abbreviations: EK1, EK2

EK2w = Iron Cross on the "white-black" noncombatant ribbon

(P)KO = Preussen Kronen Orden (Prussian Crown Order)

(P)RAO = Preussen Roter Adler Orden (Prussian Red Eagle Order)

KDM = Kriegs Denkmünze (War Medal-- must specific which one)

DA = Dienstauszeichnungen (Long Service award, class specified by number which varied for years over time as in 1= 21/15, 2 = 15/12, 3 = always 9 years. Could be medals or brooches and so specified)

LD = Landwehrdienstauszeichnung (1 for XX years 2 for the broocch/medal. Prussian/Reichs is normally assumed, preceded by B for Bavarian, S for Saxon, or W for Württemberg versions: SLD2, WLD1 etc)

® = Lifesaving Medal on Ribbon (identical glyph used in Rank Lists)

VK/PrKHDK = Prussian War Effort Cross (take your pick!!)

GMVK = Gold Military Merit Cross

MEZ = Military Decoration: 1 (silver cross) 2 (silver medal) on both version EK ribbon

PrAEz = General Decoration (usually the silver medal on RAO ribbon)


BV = Militär Karl Friedrich Verdienst Order (with class number-- 3 = Knight)

BZ = Zähringen Lion Order (number and letter for class-- 3a = Knight 1st, 3b = Knight 2nd Class, 4 = Merit Cross etc)

BsV = Merit Medal in silver often with designation for on the MKFVO ribbon

BKV = War Merit Cross

BK = Cross for Voluntary War Aid


BMMJO = Military Max Josef Order (3 = Knight Class)

BMV = Militär Verdienst Order (Classes 4, 3, O, 2 up etc)

BMVK = Militär Verdienst Kreuz (Classes 1, 2, 3 with or without Crowns and Xs)

BL = Ludwig Cross

BDA = as Prussia, above

BLD = as Prussia, above

with relevant number for class, viz. BMV4X, BMVK3XmKr


SH = Militär Saint Heinrich Order (3 = Knight Class)

SA = Albert Order (Classes as SA3aXmKr, SA3bX etc)

SV = Verdienst Order (SV3aX etc)

SFAM = Friedrich August Medaille (S = Silber, B = Bronze so SFAM-S etc)

SKz = Sachsen Ehren Kreuz (Saxon Honor Cross)

SK = War Merit Cross


WM = their Militär Verdienst Orden (3 = Knight)

WF = Friedrichs Orden

as in WF3aX = Knight 1st Class with swords

as in WF3b = Knight 2nd Class (peacetime)

WK = Wüttemberg Krone Orden

WKrz = Wilhelmskreuz (with X or without)

WgM/WsM = Bravery/formerly "military Merit" Medals in gold /silver

WR/®= LifesavingMedal: NON-Wtbg Lists/Wtbg Lists (wherein the Prussian was PRM not ® )

Hanseatic Cities

BH = Bremen Hanseatic Cross

HH = Hamburg Hanseatic Cross

LüH = Lübeck Hanseatic Cross


HP = House Order with class numbers

HT = Hessian Bravery Medal aka General Decoration "for...." (multiple purpose reverses specify: bravery, long service, lifesaving)

HS = Hessian Military Medical Cross

HK = the untranslatable pinback 1917+ "Warrior Decoration in Iron"


HE = Princely Honor Cross (house order) all grades with class designations with ot without Xs


MG = Griffin Order with class numbers

MMV = Friedrich Franz Cross (1 = 1st Class, 2 = 2nd Class)


MStK = Cross for Distinction in War (1= rare 1st class, 2= usual 2nd class)


OV = House Order with class numbers

OK = Friedrich August Cross (1 or 2 Class, 2a = with "vor dem Feinde Spange) sometimes, God forgive us, we use "OFAK" which was the NAVY abbreviation for this, while the ARMY used "OK."


BrH = House Order with class numbers

BrK = Ernst August crosses (1 class, 2a 2nd with "horse" device, 2 class)


AB = House Order of Albert the Bear with class number

AK = WW1 Friedrich Cross


LH = -Detmold version of the House Order with class numbers

LKr = WW1 War Merit Cross


SLH = Schaumburg- version of the House Order with class numbers

SLK = Cross for Loyal Service (their "EK" despite the "long service" sounding name)


GSF = White Falcon Order with class numbers, Xs etc though "SWF" also used and I prefer that

GSWA = General Decoration: 1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze with and without Xs (NOT "SWAfrica Medal"!!!!!)

Thüringian "Ernestine" Duchies

EH = Saxe-Ernestine House Order, common to the hyphenated Saxe-Duchies of -Altenburg, -Coburg, and -Meiningen. The actual GERMAN abbreviation was "HSEH" but even we must Draw The Too Obscure Line someplace!!!

SMK = WW1 Saxe-Meiningen War Merit Cross (for officers, the "crowned B" medal )

SMM = WW1 Saxe-Meiningen War Merit Medal (for enlisted men)

AT = WW1 Altenburg Bravery Medal


RE/RäE = House Order with distinction in older (RäE) and younger (RjE) lines, class numbers with or w/o Xs

RgM/RsM = medals of above (no "line" distinction) with or w/o Xs


SEK = House Order (the "Honor Cross") with class numbers and w or w/o Xs

SKM = Silver War Merit Medal


WV = House Order (the "Honor Cross") with class numbers and with or without Xs

WgVM/WsVM = gold and silver medals to above, dittos


ÖM3K = Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with War Decoration

ÖT = Bravery Medals, with g old, s ilver (1 and 2 classes), b ronze class designated like "ÖbT"

Ö VK = Merit Crosses with class designations, with and without crowns as in ÖgVK, ÖsVKmKr etc


BT = Bravery Order/Cross with class designations

BA = St. Alexander Order with class designations

BO = Military Merit Order (peace or war had Xs)


TH = Turkish War Medal star aka Gallipoli Star aka Iron Half Moon

TL = Liakat Medals (1 = Gold, 2 = silver)

TI = Imtiaz Medals (1 & 2 as above)

TM = Medjidie Order (number for class)

TO = Osmanie Order (number for class)

TR = Lifesaving Medal

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That would be Baden's Felddienstauszeichnung with a metal bow ("Metallschleife") for the 1870 campaign against France. For how the medal and the metal bows looked like, please see here.

Posted Images

For those wondering WHAT arcane gibberish we are talking about when we rattle off this shorthand, it is derived from "Rank List Speak." Those of us who spend waaaaay too much time immersed in period references can actually read and interpret the bizarre little glyphs and abbreviations (varying from kingdom to kingdom and from army to navy, as well as in civilian sources! ohmy.gif )

This is a sample "List" page, just so you can tell from whence this all comes.

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I will start a list of common abreviations that we take for granted when talking about many of these pieces. I'm sure "The Evil One" will add to it!

Common Terms


MG = Griffin Order with class numbers

MMV = Friedrich Franz Cross (1 = 1st Class, 2 = 2nd Class)

MMV = Militärverdienstkreuz (Military merit cross)

MFFK = Friedrich Franz Kreuz für Heimatverdienst 1917 (Friedrich Franz cross for home merit 1917)

MMV and MFFK are totally different!!!! :whistle: :whistle: :whistle:

Regards Seeheld

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