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Medals of the Central Powers

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Khaki
On ‎4‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 11:57, depaor01 said:

No problem!

 

Silesian Eagle Second Class. One of my favourite Weird Weimars.

 

Must invest in a First Class one.

 

sch.jpg

...1919 so technically WWI :o

 

Dave

Quite a striking medal, apart from the eagle do you know what the other symbols represent.?

khaki

Edited by Khaki

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

What can one assume from this EKII group of five (Prussia, Bavaria, Oldenburg, Hessen, Bremen)?

Kindest regards,

Kim.58fc1024189eb_InternetImage1_w280h280.jpg.c1ac70b150aedb25e61a0c1157942f9c.jpg

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Khaki
2 hours ago, Kimberley John Lindsay said:

Dear All,

What can one assume from this EKII group of five (Prussia, Bavaria, Oldenburg, Hessen, Bremen)?

Kindest regards,

Kim.58fc1024189eb_InternetImage1_w280h280.jpg.c1ac70b150aedb25e61a0c1157942f9c.jpg

Well !. the only assumption I can make is that the recipient was not from Bavaria, and I can only base that on the experience from having seen groups of five where the first two medals are the Prussian and Bavarian medals except that in the case of a Bavarian soldier he/they reversed the order to that the EK2 becomes the second medal in order of wearing. Was this official? I have no idea, but I have seen it more than once. The main problem is that although there are books that can readily identify Imperial German medals and their origin, there is little or no information relating to how or why they were awarded, order of precedence, production numbers and all the other minutiae that collectors love to indulge in. If anyone knows of such a publication, please let me know. Sorry I can't be more helpful

regards

khaki

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trajan
3 hours ago, Kimberley John Lindsay said:

... What can one assume from this EKII group of five (Prussia, Bavaria, Oldenburg, Hessen, Bremen)?

 

52 minutes ago, Khaki said:

Well !. the only assumption I can make is that the recipient was not from Bavaria ... The main problem is that although there are books that can readily identify Imperial German medals and their origin, there is little or no information relating to how or why they were awarded, order of precedence, production numbers and all the other minutiae that collectors love to indulge in. If anyone knows of such a publication, please let me know. Sorry I can't be more helpful ...

 

Khaki, I don't know how good your German is, but there is what seems to be a useful guide to medals and their award criteria, etc., up to 1945 at: http://www.ehrenzeichen-orden.de/ But, this is not my field at all and so I have no idea if there is any solid literature that deals with everything... 

 

As for Kim's, well, a major problem in working out the background for a group like that is the large number of 'independent' states around up to 1918, each with their own system of awards for services rendered, and which awards could therefore cross state boundaries. 

 

So, for example, the Hanseatic Cross, of which we see the Bremen version in Kim's group. Each of the three Hanseatic cities had their own version, and, to paraphrase / summarise the entry for the Bremen version as per the above web-page, those eligible were: members of the 1.Hanseatic Bremen Regiment Nr.75, the crew of the Kriegsschiffe Bremen; all those Inhabitants of Bremen that fought in the GW in other units; and - the killer - "Einige wenige andere Personen, die nicht Einwohner der Städte waren konnten für besondere Kriegsverdienste ebenfalls ausgezeichnet werden" - "certain other persons who were not inhabitants of the city [of Bremen] were awarded this for especial service in the war", the site naming a certain Manfred von Richthofen who (they state) received all three versions of the Hanseatic Cross. 

 

So, back to Kim's group. The exact identity of the individual 'state' medals - as established from their ribbons and / or the qualifying text on the reverse - could hold a clue as to what was awarded for what, and so establishing something regarding the overall military history of the recipient: but I wouldn't bank on it! 

 

Julian

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trajan
10 hours ago, bob lembke said:

... This group is very much like my father's, presently about six feet from me, with the exception of the crossed swords. Not much into medals. I also have his black wound badge, although he was wounded four times.  ... However, a couple of points. My father got his EK II in 1921, from the Ministry of War. ... My father had a great memory, collected lots of Great War documents and letters, and talked about the war a great deal, often saying that it was the best time of his life. And after

16 years of study his oral history seems strongly consistent with the truth, to my surprise. I am finally starting to write it down.

 

Hi Bob, 

 

What a thing to look over and at - do you have the certificates as well? I was looking at various Urkunden available on German e-bay as I'd like to make up a display using my pair with the type of certificates that went with them, and in the process came across an EK II dated in 1920 or 1921.

 

Bur, more to the point, I am glad to hear that you are getting down to writing your father and grandfather's stories - that will make a fascinating read!

 

Best wishes,

 

Julian 

10 hours ago, bob lembke said:

... This group is very much like my father's, presently about six feet from me, with the exception of the crossed swords. Not much into medals. I also have his black wound badge, although he was wounded four times.  ... However, a couple of points. My father got his EK II in 1921, from the Ministry of War. ... My father had a great memory, collected lots of Great War documents and letters, and talked about the war a great deal, often saying that it was the best time of his life. And after

16 years of study his oral history seems strongly consistent with the truth, to my surprise. I am finally starting to write it down.

 

 

Edited by trajan
Attempting to delete duplicate post...

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trajan

While on the topic of the 'Hindenburg' crosses, these two appeared at the local 'Antika Pazar' and I bought them thinking they were possibly real but as they were cheap then even if they possibly just good copies then no great loss. Having got them home, weighed, measured, etc., and looked more carefully at their ribbons, then despite their almost pristine condition, I think that they are quite possibly real. I guess that if so, they could have come here the same way as I suggested in an earlier post as the origin of the pair EK II and Eh.K, i.e., with refugees from Germany in the 1930's.

 

Whatever, one, the black one on the left, is the so-called 'Widow's' version, or (according to Google.de) the Ehrenkreuz für die hinterbliebene Witwen und Eltern gefallener Kriegsteilnehmer, which could be applied for by widows or parents of soldiers killed during the GW, whether at the front or not(?), the other regular bronze one being the non-combatant's type, or Ehrenkreuz für Kriegsteilnehmer. The first is marked 'G.L.L.' which is, I gather, for Gebrüder Lange (Lüdenscheid), and note that it has a black safety pin, so possibly the original? The other is marked 'P.S.L', for Paul Schulze & Co (Lübeck). The first has - as will be noted - a different ribbon from the second, which is the same ribbon as the 'Combatant's' or Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer type as in the OP, the one with the swords.

 

Julian

hind 01.jpg

hind 02.jpg

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bob lembke

Trajan;

 

Yes, fortunately I have the document for the EK II, from the Ministry of War. I think I once read that 1.5 million EK IIs were

given out post-war. Don't know if that is correct, it seems like a lot. It is interesting to read the letters written between father

and son, and how my father sometimes was less than candid about matters, especially when he was wounded, where he

minimized the severity of his wounds. Due to his second wound, at Verdun, which weakened his left arm persistently

(It still was spitting bone fragments over ten years later, he was medically rated "Fit for combat, but not Flammenwerfer",

as entered into his Militaer=Pass, he spent most of 1917 in and out of a succession of hospitals, due to a series of infections.

Then he spent half of 1918 in Berlin training new flame-thrower men. Late in the war he tricked his way back to the front,

into a different company, and as a reward for his effort he was wounded twice in a month, fighting near Reims. ("No good

deed goes unpunished.") The officers threatened to try him for desertion for being at the Front, not in Berlin, but he just

laughed at them. 

 

After the last wound, he wrote from hospital to his father: "Ich bin Gaskrank." But only after several days, as he and his

entire Flamm=Trupp had been blinded by a gas shell while attacking thru no-man's land. After three days he regained his

sight, and wrote, but in the letters that I have he never mentioned being blinded. Of the roughly ten men in his Trupp, he

said that two never regained their sight. After his worst wound at Verdun, on Dead Man's Hill ("Mort Homme"), he also

minimized his wound in letters to his father.

 

My grandfather received both the EK II and then the EK I in the first months of the war, in Belgium. I have a picture of 

my grandfather and about 15 other officers of the Generalkommando of the III. Reservekorps standing on the steps

of the City Hall of Ghent, all showing off their new crosses, from the capture of the great fortress complex of Antwerp, 

43 forts. The CO, General von Beseler, was wearing his new Pour le Merite. Soon after, as I have documented, my

grandfather found the secret Belgian national stockpile of nitrates, 1200 carloads worth, enough to keep the German

Army fighting for three months, on both fronts. He literally found it with his trained nose, as an Explosives Captain. A

wire from the Ministry of War to the corps HQ sent him out with staff cars and an escort to look for strategic booty. That

was probably when he got the EK I.

 

Early in 1919 Red sailors went to Berlin, supposedly in part to catch and kill General von Beseler. My father and his 

Freikorps attacked them at the Vorwarts building, and broke into the building with flame-throwers, as the newly formed

unit's mortar shells did not fit their mortars. 26 Red sailors were separated from the 300 communist  prisoners, put on

"trial",  and summarily shot one by one in the forehead by a one-armed, one-eyed lieutenant. My father enjoyed the

Great War, he did not enjoy the following civil war in his adopted hometown.

 

I do have some interesting stuff to write about. I did write another two pages at 3 AM this morning.

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Julian, dear All,

Many thanks for giving some thought to an admittedly mega-difficult conundrum. I think it would be safe to say, that the recipient of the authentic-looking EKII group of five was possibly a staff officer or similar (almost certainly not an NCO or Other Rank); perhaps Prussian, involved with numerous units: but this is pure speculation!

I am an Australian, but my wife is German - her maternal grandfather was a Leutnant d. Reserve from Baden and latterly commanded a Battery of  Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 66. He served with the Regt., from 29 Dec 1916 to 27 Jul 1918.

Apart from the EKI and Verwundeten-Abzeichen, his EKII was awarded in 1914, and he had the Zaehringer Loewe (Baden), awarded in 1917.

Kindest regards,

Kim.

NB: img939.jpg.687d76723a32e8375b13cee62630d624.jpg58fcb11469aed_LtnSchneider.jpg.1677e8f2791c5210fa101fc72aaa0cba.jpgA breakdown of the numbers and types of awards to Res. Feldart. Regt. 66 (NCOs and Other Ranks above; Officers, numerically, below), is not without interest - showing as it does, how these decorations were distributed. 

Edited by Kimberley John Lindsay

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depaor01
12 hours ago, Khaki said:

Quite a striking medal, apart from the eagle do you know what the other symbols represent.?

khaki

Not a scooby I'm afraid, beyond the fact that the crescent and cross appears in the flag of former Southern Silesia:

de_pr-ls.gif

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depaor01

I have an LP from the '60s with the 11th Panzer Grenadier Division singing. One of the tracks is "Schlesierlied (Kehr' ich einst zur Heimat wieder)"

They still hankered after the loss of the territory obviously, even after all those years.

 

"My Schlesierland, my homeland,
part of nature, nature in the old way,
We'll meet again, my Schlesierland
we'll meet again on the banks of the Oder"

 

Dave

Edited by depaor01

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trajan
1 hour ago, Kimberley John Lindsay said:

... I think it would be safe to say, that the recipient of the authentic-looking EKII group of five was possibly a staff officer or similar (almost certainly not an NCO or Other Rank); perhaps Prussian, involved with numerous units: but this is pure speculation! ... A breakdown of the numbers and types of awards to Res. Feldart. Regt. 66 (NCOs and Other Ranks above; Officers, numerically, below), is not without interest - showing as it does, how these decorations were distributed. 

 

Yes, the recipient of that group was a chappie who moved around - unless he put it together later when being an early example of the 'Walter Mitty' group! That said, I doubt it somehow as it is such a strange grouping, and one hard to explain without some convincing talk... 

 

Now to your wife's relative's group, certainly an interesting one - but much more interesting in some ways is the breakdown that you provide. So, 1,826 EK II overall between 1914-1918 for RFAR 66. I suspect that members of a FAR would have a better chance of winning one than a chappie with a FuAR, but a lower chance than a man with an Infantry Regiment. They were, after all, by all accounts, pretty freely distributed in the sense that a man with a unit that was involved in a 'decisive' action stood a high chance of getting one as a 'unit'-type distinction - I am thinking here of all those submariners in a single U-boot who each got an EK II for a particularly important sinking. So, does anyone know the proportion overall in a 'typical' regiment of any kind of EK II winners versus total numbers of men who served in that unit? I am thinking here on the comment earlier, along the lines of the only way not to get an EK II was to be dead! 

 

Best,

 

Julian

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trajan
39 minutes ago, depaor01 said:

Not a scooby I'm afraid, beyond the fact that the crescent and cross appears in the flag of former Southern Silesia:

 

Is it - a guess - the Christian cross laying low the Islamic crescent?

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depaor01
Just now, trajan said:

 

Is it - a guess - the Christian cross laying low the Islamic crescent?

 

I've thought that, but perhaps a vexillologist may be along shortly to help.

 

Seriously though I thought the area was too far north to have symbolism incorporating the Islamic variety.

 

Dave

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Khaki
22 minutes ago, trajan said:

 

Yes, the recipient of that group was a chappie who moved around - unless he put it together later when being an early example of the 'Walter Mitty' group! That said, I doubt it somehow as it is such a strange grouping, and one hard to explain without some convincing talk... 

 

 

 

Best,

 

Julian

My guess is (and purely a guess) that one of several circumstances controlled the individual state award system, at the top, the heads of the Kingdoms, and all other levels of States could award their state decorations as they saw fit, the Kaiser probably could award any decoration without restriction, naturally those of the highest orders of chivalry, Commanding Generals were probably given a limited allocation of medals that they could award without reference at their discretion, namely both Iron crosses and other medals of similar nature including some of those of individual states. Certain medals and the circumstances for which soldiers were recommended may have had to be submitted to an awards control group for consideration and alternatives, not an unknown procedure, and finally the class and rank structure probably limited the level of decoration that could be awarded, such as the EKI to AH.

All of the above is supposition.

 

khaki

 

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trajan
9 minutes ago, Khaki said:

My guess is (and purely a guess) that one of several circumstances controlled the individual state award system..

 

I was wondering along similar lines as I understand that in the WW1 GB army, there was some kind of 're-distributive' system whereby a certain number of - let's say - croix de guerre were around to be awarded to a unit (e.g., regiment or division) for some achievement, and it was up to the draw who got the thing...

 

As for Herr A.H.'s EK I, well, I make no assumption except to note - as others have done - that a messenger runner was not exactly (by all accounts) the safest of duties! 

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Khaki

Totally agree, my uncle was a battalion runner, trenches and bunkers saved lives, I have read many references to the almost instant death of messengers leaving the shelter of the trench. Multiple messengers were often dispatched with the same message hoping that at least one would get through.

 

khaki

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SiegeGunner

German documents I have translated refer to the provision of dugouts for messengers to shelter in, both while waiting for an assignment and while 'running' with their message.

 

As for AH's duties as a runner, being based at battalion HQ, he would normally have run the first leg of a relay of runners taking messages to the front line.  Occasionally, and in particular when no news was coming back from the forward positions, a BHQ orderly/runner would be sent on a solo 'long run', as far forward as he could get, in order to ascertain what was going on and report back.  It may have been one or more such 'runs' that got him his EK1.

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charlie2
3 hours ago, depaor01 said:

 

I've thought that, but perhaps a vexillologist may be along shortly to help.

 

Seriously though I thought the area was too far north to have symbolism incorporating the Islamic variety.

 

Dave

 

There isn't a definitive answer but only a disputed suggestion that the symbols go back to the battle of Liegnitz in 1241, when Heinrich II ( the Pious) fought against the Mongol Army. As the Eagle is not wearing a crown it was issued after the end of the German monarchy.

 

Charlie

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Julian,

The breakdown (as I mentioned) of RFAR 66 is divided into the above (NCOs and ORs), and the below - Officers (Offizierkorps).

Therefore, the figure 1,826 EKII was for NCOs and ORs 1914-18.

For the Officers, the figure was 231 EKII and 54 EKI; 31 other decorations (including Zähringer Löwe not mentioned), and 32 Wound badges (Officers) 1914-18.

In other words, Leutnant d. R. Rudolf Schneider (pictured) was in good company, with his EKII, EKI, Zähringer Löwe (Baden), and Wound badge...

Kindest regards,

Kim.58fd319d15581_RudolfSchneiderBtyCmdt.jpg.94d7185beeb06f43c2e0430a3937035d.jpg

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

Here is another one, for your general interest...

Kindest regards,

Kim.58fdd43f64921_EKIIHanseatenkreuzHindenburgkr.jpg.871e17a6a7cdfd9247d9410307c7168e.jpg58fdd3d9af57d_EKIIHanseatenkreuzHindenburgkrrev.jpg.bc6388f95e499ccc45a091a90246b9e0.jpg

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trajan

Dear Kim,

 

Ah-ha - the Hamburg version of the Hanseatic Cross! Well, the label was a bit of a give away for a starter! Very nice looking group though.

 

I had been under the impression that you were a strictly GB and 'colonies' medal collector, but seemingly not. To my mind, though, it is such a shame that these German ones were never 'named', as with those that have lost their papers, their history will always be unknown.

 

Best wishes,

 

Julian

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Julian,

You are perfectly right: my British medal collection, based on the AIF and 2AIF MC groups of my grandfather and father, has top priority.

I try to acquire mainly IARO Officer groups, which do not "cost the world", but have possible "good story" backgrounds. Once this has been achieved, I then "leave no stone unturned" to find a photo (aka Image), as well as information - and hang the expense!

As far as Imperial German groups are concerned, I once had an on-going EK collection, long gone. My very first "collectable" (bought ca. 1961 in Melbourne: I still have it!), was an EKII (1939). Following retirement, kids successfully through university, etc., I was able to spend more time and money on the collection, and also re-discovered the German groups (based on my wife's maternal grandfather's group, photo albums and documents, noted above). Voila!

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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Khaki
7 hours ago, trajan said:

 

 

 To my mind, though, it is such a shame that these German ones were never 'named', as with those that have lost their papers, their history will always be unknown....

 

 

 

Julian

Hello Julian,

About fifty years ago I had a conversation with an elderly German veteran, and one thing that he commented on that remained with me was that in most cases German medals did not carry the same level of sentimentality to the average soldat as they did/do to the tommy, What to him and other German soldiers was important was that the award was recorded in their personal records (wehrpass?)." After all" he said, "you could get replacement medals very easily".

khaki

Edited by Khaki

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trajan

That's interesting to know Khaki! I was vaguely aware (i.e., I read it somewhere!) that a man might have more than one extra EK in addition to the original award, for wearing on-duty, etc.. Makes me feel a little bit more comfortable with my idea of displaying the 'Hindenburgers' above with examples of certificates for these.

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

Here are two more examples of EKII groups with medals from Prussia various other German states, kingdoms or principalities:

1) Walter Model (from Sachsen), in 1926, and 2) Wilhelm Keitel (from, I think, Braunschweig), circa 1939.

Both had extensive 1914-18 service at the Front and in Staff positions, as fairly junior officers, which obviously attracted such decorations.

It can seen that, following the liberally-awarded but nonetheless coveted EKII, both had the far more important Hohenzollern Hausorden. Both also have the Braunschweig Ernst August Kriegsverdienstkreuz (Keitel also had the 1. Klasse type).

Interestingly, Keitel had two of the Hanseatenkreuze - Hamburg and Bremen.

It appears that these officers had to be in the right place at the right time, as no "system" seems to be apparent!

Kindest regards,

Kim.58ff35934ef7b_WalterModel1926.jpg.247c61709630e3f315226050d397c7c7.jpg58ff35a7ab664_Keitelca1939.jpg.390fa555532c727cae2444b4dee1b2c5.jpg 

 

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