Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

trajan

Medals of the Central Powers

Recommended Posts

bob lembke
16 hours ago, Khaki said:

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

 

The situation in Germany right after the Armistice was rather chaotic, with the Reds and Freikorps fighting, the units fragmenting and melting away

the second they got to their hometown, various governments suddenly in the hands of moderate Socialist trade unionists, or sometimes radicals.

But a major effort was made to complete the millions of "Military Passports" (a good translation?) that condensed an individual's military career,

possibly many years, into a small booklet of perhaps 32 pages maybe 4" x 3". (I collect them, or did; I might have about 35) and in the Pass of a

sergeant there was the peacetime (1905?) notification that the sergeant had just completed a course in "military penmanship", which may explain

the mostly tiny and precise entries by many actors, but mostly the company's sergeants, which, if necessary, were presented to the company

commander or another  officer for a signature. I found it interesting that, after years of careful entries, the entries in the last chaotic months were

often large, clumsy script.)

 

The Militaerpass was extremely important for the rest of the life of a discharged soldier. There were repeated attestations of "good conduct" or

"very good conduct", or possibly some disciplinary action. My father was very impulsive when young, and after being wounded several times

he seemed to lose much of his restraint, and as I remember (I have not looked at it for years), there was mention in his Pass of him shouting out

some retort or wisecrack during a military formation. He told me, for example, that upon proof of 14 years of military service with a good conduct

record a demobbed soldier was entitled to a job as, for example, a postal employee. Prewar, in Berlin, there were five mail deliveries a day, and

the post office must have employed a great many men. So having a completed Militaerpass was vital, and the officers and noncoms struggled to

complete them for presentation to the men being discharged. (They did not possess them during service; I think that they were kept in a safe

place, and periodically brought to the company for updates, My suspicion is that my father's Pass was not even brought to Turkey when he served

at Gallipoli, but left behind at Berlin where his parent unit was located. The men did carry their Soldbuch, {"Salt book", from the Roman practice of 

partially paying legionnaires with salt} or "Pay Book", and perhaps their "Shooting Book", a record of their tested proficiency with the rifle.)

 

So "khaki" is right, the Militaerpass carried proof of his being awarded his medals, and also mention of his recognized wounds, attesting to the

level of Wound Badge he deserved Note that Walter Model pictured above seems to be wearing a Silver Wound Badge, for 4, 5, or 6 officially

recognized wounds (usually about half of the man's actual wounds, from a sample of two men, Ernst Juenger and my father}. The Pass, and

any certificate of award, was the "real deal", the actual physical medal to be purchased as needed. I also have my father's miniature bar of his

medals for wear on civilian clothes; he must have also obtained that in New York City, not Germany, as it includes his Hindenburg Cross.) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CROONAERT
52 minutes ago, bob lembke said:

 

men did carry their Soldbuch,... ... or "Pay Book", and perhaps their "Shooting Book", a record of their tested proficiency with the rifle.

 

 

..and, perhaps the rarest to find in a group... his 'Quittungsbuch'. After amassing several hundred examples of Soldbucher and Militaerpasse, including many 'pairings' with a few also including the Schiessbuch, I've only ever come across five or six 'groups' that include this book too (probably the least interesting and least useful in post-service life)

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bob lembke

Never even heard of the "Quitungsbuch". 

The Soldbuch also contained useful information like a record of the man's vaccinations. But nothing of interest to the enemy's military intelligence. I have read that the Allies considered one of their greatest coupes in espionage the obtaining of a post office document linking the German field post offices by number to their actual location in the field, allowing them to locate many or most units in the field. 

 

Captured Militarpasse could prove useful to the enemy, in some ways. At least in finding out how an enemy's army functioned in detail. I have studied the British Army's intelligence manual on the Turkish Army in 1915, and some of it was awful nonsense, I believe sold to them by Greek pseudo-agents. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CROONAERT
49 minutes ago, bob lembke said:

Never even heard of the "Quitungsbuch". 

 

 

 

Not really surprising, Bob. They're not too common.

 

Here's one along with the Militaerpass to the same soldier... (those I've had have only accompanied Militaerpasse. I've never had one that has accompanied a Soldbuch for some reason)

 

Dave.

Imgp9477.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CROONAERT
2 hours ago, bob lembke said:

 

...Silver Wound Badge, for 4, 5, or 6 officially recognized wounds ...

 

Though it's possible to skip levels dependant upon severity of wound, isn't it actually silver for 3 or 4 wounds and gold for 5 plus?

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trajan
3 hours ago, CROONAERT said:

 

..and, perhaps the rarest to find in a group... his 'Quittungsbuch'. After amassing several hundred examples of Soldbucher and Militaerpasse ...

 

Gosh, never realised that there were so many different bucher around! OK, so now that I know that a Militarpass is the official record (oh and Bob, yes, incredibly fine writing - true miniscule - used in the one I have for the pre- and early WW period), what is a Soldbuch - simply a pay book? And a Quittingsbuch is, I assume, for when a chap has done the lot, i.e., all his conscripted and his obligatory Landwehr (and Landsturm?) service? Or what?

 

Julian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Khaki

I do not have one but from the translation it appears that a Quittingsbuch is a receipt book, for what? I don't know.

 

khaki

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Khaki

Here is a nice medal and front fighter device, I believe it is called in English Legion of Honour or something similar, awarded during the Weimar period by a committee of former high ranking officers to men & women for service? to Germany.

khaki

 

 

0425170933.jpg

Edited by Khaki

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CROONAERT
55 minutes ago, trajan said:

 

what is a Soldbuch - simply a pay book?

 

It's a pay record (usually massively incomplete) book, an identity document, a leave record book, a hospital record book and , sometimes, even a travel warrant and aide-memoir! (Oh... it also records awards and medals too)

 

The Quittungsbuch is a more detailed pay record book but also details expenditures, fines, pension details, etc.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trajan

 

 

24 minutes ago, Khaki said:

Here is a nice medal and front fighter device, I believe it is called in English Legion of Honour or something similar, awarded during the Weimar period by a committee of former high ranking officers to men & women for service? 

 

I think the 'medal' is a Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges medallion, and so yes, an unofficial issue, with what looks to be some form of 'Combat' device - or a Freikorps symbol?  But I am happy to be corrected and to learn more!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JMB1943
On 4/19/2017 at 12:14, trajan said:

Except that while I have not yet identified the EK maker ('SA'?), the 'Hindenburg' is an 'O.6' for - I gather - Orden-Herstellergemeinschaft , Pforzheim.

Trajan,

1) Given the number of medals from the number of German states, is it possible identify "SA" from a maker's list of some other medal ?

2) I had not previously known that the EK was maker-named, so inspected that which my g'father had brought back and it has the letter "O" on the ribbon ring. Cannot ID that maker from an-online search; any thoughts ?

Regards,

JMB

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tony N
6 hours ago, JMB1943 said:

2) I had not previously known that the EK was maker-named, so inspected that which my g'father had brought back and it has the letter "O" on the ribbon ring. Cannot ID that maker from an-online search; any thoughts ?

Regards,

JMB

 

 

O is apparently one of the many unknown makers of the 2nd class iron cross. Perhaps they only made the frames or assembled the parts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak

This topic is advancing at a rapid rate so I just thought I would drop this "old chestnut" in as it appears to illustrate the point.

 

The Pour le merit at top tunic

The Iron Cross 2 and Hindenberg with the swords are present as ribons 

                                         (The second ribbon could be Knights Cross of the House of Hohenzollern)

 

He has his Iron Cross 1 on the pocket with his Gold Wound badge below.

 

 

Medals.jpg

Edited by Martin Feledziak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bob lembke
18 hours ago, CROONAERT said:

 

Though it's possible to skip levels dependant upon severity of wound, isn't it actually silver for 3 or 4 wounds and gold for 5 plus?

 

Dave

 

Dave;

 

What I stated was from memory, whether from 60+ years ago from my father, or from 10-15 years ago from some research, I can't recall, and thus my statement might easily be flawed. Not being a student of medals and awards, I do not know of or possess a WW I reference, so I did the shortcut, and looked at Wikipedia -Eng. and it stated what you proposed, but the author's reference was a book on the Nazi era. The discussion implied but did not explicitly state that the award levels were the same for the two wars. 

 

I would guess, all in all, that your statement and the Wikipedia position is probably correct, rather than what I recall. My father's award cannot add insight, he said with great detail that he was wounded four times, but only two were entered into his Militaerpass, and he was awarded the black badge, or at least that is the grade of badge that he gave me. (I should look at his Pass and see if the award of the badge was noted.)

 

As I recall from Storm of Steel, Juenger was sitting in a hospital bed, and mused: "My records state that I have been wounded seven times, but sitting here I can count 14 holes in me." - My paraphrase from memory. So the same 50% actual/official ratio as reported by my father. In my father's case it seemed to depend on how far into the medical establishment you had to go for treatment. I could expand in case anyone expresses interest. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bob lembke

Martin;

 

Interesting, but the Hindenburg Cross was established about 1933-35, wasn't it? The pictured Frontkampfer seems to be about 28.   ????  Kindersoldat?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bob lembke

Martin;

 

Is that Juenger? He seems familiar. You probably know that he was the last surviving Pour le merite awardee. Died at about 95. As an officer in occupied France in WW II, he hung about with leading French intellectuals and seemingly was "non-Nazi", if not "anti". Supposedly the French liked him. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak
21 minutes ago, bob lembke said:

Martin;

 

Is that Juenger? He seems familiar. You probably know that he was the last surviving Pour le merite awardee. Died at about 95. As an officer in occupied France in WW II, he hung about with leading French intellectuals and seemingly was "non-Nazi", if not "anti". Supposedly the French liked him. 

 

Bob you could be right - It is a photograph of  Ernst JUNGER - date not shown.

 

 In his book , Storm of steel, he refers to his award of the Knights Cross of the House of Hohenzollern - so that could be the 2nd ribbon.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Martin,

Jünger was wearing the ribbon bar of the EKII and the Hausorden of Hohenzollern (a high award compared to the common but coveted EKII).

Thanks for posting!

Kindest regards,

Kim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trajan
10 hours ago, JMB1943 said:

1) ... is it possible identify "SA" from a maker's list of some other medal ?

2) ... it has the letter "O" on the ribbon ring. Cannot ID that maker from an-online search; any thoughts

 

3 hours ago, Tony N said:

O is apparently one of the many unknown makers of the 2nd class iron cross. Perhaps they only made the frames or assembled the parts?

 

Well, still no luck with identifying my maker, and still not certain it is 'SA'. These marks  are so small... But I haven't as yet found a medal-maker or supplier who might fit those letters. Seems that there are quite a few unidentified EK makers / suppliers - and for what it is worth, it is interesting to see that nobody has of yet identified BB&C, the most common maker/suppliued of the German-made Turkish 'Harp madalya'. 

 

TonyN, that's what the http://www.kaisersbunker.com/stuff/1914_EK2_makers.htm says as well, but I gather from GMIC that the list there might date back to 2006 so could be out of date...

 

Whatever, yes, who made the basic blanks and what was their connection to the frame-makers? On a general note, as I understand it, none of these EK's, whether I or II, were made at and distributed from a single State Mint, as were - I believe - all the GB medals such as the BWM, etc.. Thus - I assume - the wide variety of makers, retailers, etc.. Thinking on those big ceremonies featuring Kaiser Bill or some big-wig handing out EK's, makes me wonder if there was a single official supplier or a group of suppliers for those given out en masse in the field and the rest are private and spare copies of the original field award? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tony N
2 hours ago, trajan said:

 

 

TonyN, that's what the http://www.kaisersbunker.com/stuff/1914_EK2_makers.htm says as well, but I gather from GMIC that the list there might date back to 2006 so could be out of date...

 

Whatever, yes, who made the basic blanks and what was their connection to the frame-makers? On a general note, as I understand it, none of these EK's, whether I or II, were made at and distributed from a single State Mint, as were - I believe - all the GB medals such as the BWM, etc.. Thus - I assume - the wide variety of makers, retailers, etc.. Thinking on those big ceremonies featuring Kaiser Bill or some big-wig handing out EK's, makes me wonder if there was a single official supplier or a group of suppliers for those given out en masse in the field and the rest are private and spare copies of the original field award? 

I see. Here’s a site showing some http://feldgrau.pytalhost.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?12011-Hersteller-des-Eisernen-Kreuzes-1914-Silberstempel

 

And another here http://www.ehrenzeichen-orden.de/deutsche-staaten/eisernes-kreuz-2-klasse-1914-fur-kampfer.html

 

I wouldn’t know if they’re up to date and they don’t give the answer you’re looking for but they might help someone searching for a maker’s mark in the future.

 

Julian, have you had a look here? http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/imperial-germany-austro-hungary/imperial-eks-8822/ It’ll take you ages to go through the thread but who knows, maybe you’ll spot something confirming what you have.

 

Just a thought, could KO (Koenigliches Muenzamt) be the maker favoured for en masse hand outs? There are a lot of them around and it does translate as Royal Mint. I wonder if many of the other makers sold their crosses as spares (weddings/dinners etc.)? I have those awarded to my wife's grandfather, the war time issue 1st and 2nd class crosses are both stamped KO (1st class received after POW release in 1921) and well worn whereas his later, private purchase crosses aren't KO and are in unused, back of the draw condition.

 

Tony

 

Edited by Tony N

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trajan
12 minutes ago, Tony N said:

...  http://feldgrau.pytalhost.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?12011-Hersteller-des-Eisernen-Kreuzes-1914-Silberstempel ...  http://www.ehrenzeichen-orden.de/deutsche-staaten/eisernes-kreuz-2-klasse-1914-fur-kampfer.html ... http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/imperial-germany-austro-hungary/imperial-eks-8822/ ...

 

Just a thought, could KO (Koenigliches Muenzamt) be the maker favoured for en masse hand outs? ... There are a lot of them around and it does translate as Royal Mint. I wonder if many of the other makers sold their crosses as spares (weddings/dinners etc.)? I have those awarded to my wife's grandfather, the war time issue 1st and 2nd class crosses are both stamped KO (1st class received after POW release in 1921) and well worn whereas his later, private purchase crosses aren't KO and are in unused, back of the draw condition.

 

Great links - many thanks! But, I'll save the "Warrelics site for the summer holiday! Interesting to see, though, from the "ehrenzeichen" link that WW1 EK were still being awarded for deserving recipients up to 31.05.1924! And perhaps 'KO' were indeed the 'real' makers of field awards and the like, and the other versions simply for 'dress' use or as replacements for lost originals?

 

That aside, fascinating information re: your wife's Grandfather's examples. So he had 'spares' as well as the originals? That shines an interesting light in its way on Khaki's comment above that the actual award itself had less 'sentimental' value for a holder than was the case with a GB WW1 medal holder. So in your wife's Gradndfather's case it seems that he wore the originals with pride and honour when he wished to (hence the 'wear and tear'), but had a second set for - as you say - weddings dinners and the like.

 

Whatever, thanks for the above!

 

Julian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Julian and All,

Bob, Khaki and others are right about the Besitz-Zeugnis, Sold-Buch, Wehr-Pass, etc., having been all-important, and the medals themselves somewhat secondary.

Here are a number of these, for the general interest of GWFs. relating to my German wife Evelyn5900c44d29f4f_EKIILtnSchneider1914.jpg.6b42a373040e3db6dc61289e79f326a8.jpg5900c498137f4_FrontkaempferandwoundR.Schneider.jpg.6eaf293f48226073580a6377a5c01207.jpg5900c4bbb23ed_HptmSchneider.thumb.jpg.73ef718e6c9233ce4928ab2f231e07bf.jpg5900c4f76049d_HungarianWWILtnSchneider.jpg.2b9f47d9234fa55b84ff6f7fe6c838b4.jpg5900c5192f8a3_RudolfSchneiderWehrpass.thumb.jpg.77c3a76334a8824dad511dd645bf4de1.jpg5900c538be578_ZaehringerLoewe2cl.1917LtnSchneider.jpg.344dd4c2db99126a4b975dad8a20fa7d.jpg5900c56bf0ee4_LtndRRudolphSchneider.jpg.397267343dd3209a2804624147d6bd6b.jpg's maternal grandfather (a Fabrik-Direktor from Baden), shown earlier in this thread...

Kindest regards,

Kim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trajan

Heck, Kim, that is a lovely grouping of documents and artefacts there! On the ribbon bar group, is that a version of the WW2 'West Wall' medal? I assume the same one that is recorded for 1.11.40 in his Miltaerpass? I can't quite read what it says there but I have seen something similar over here some time ago which was identified as such. 

 

Best wishes,

 

Julian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Julian,

Yes, that is right: West Wall Medal. It simply reads: '1-11-40 Deutsches-Schutzwall-Ehrenzeichen (Nr. 42151) F. d. R. Hofmann, Major.' (Für die Richtigkeit: proved to be correct.)

Rudolf Schneider was a Hauptmann der Reserve, but later in the Second War was allowed to resign his commission (to use a British terminology), in order to concentrate on his war material-producing Factory. For this latter, he was awarded a low grade of War Merit Cross in 1944, for which I also have the certificate.

I might add that at the same time, my father was an Australian Imperial Force officer, following in his father's footsteps (MC, etc.). However, from a medallic point of view, these Schneider medals and documents, are of high interest for a present-day collector.

Actually, I knew his widow, Elisabeth, quite well. She wrote the note attached to his EKI. The Zähringer Löwe, however, was the rather special award, in his case...

I am glad that you, for one, enjoyed seeing these relics!

Kindest regards,

Kim.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tony N
5 hours ago, trajan said:

 

Great links - many thanks! But, I'll save the "Warrelics site for the summer holiday! Interesting to see, though, from the "ehrenzeichen" link that WW1 EK were still being awarded for deserving recipients up to 31.05.1924! And perhaps 'KO' were indeed the 'real' makers of field awards and the like, and the other versions simply for 'dress' use or as replacements for lost originals?

 

That aside, fascinating information re: your wife's Grandfather's examples. So he had 'spares' as well as the originals? That shines an interesting light in its way on Khaki's comment above that the actual award itself had less 'sentimental' value for a holder than was the case with a GB WW1 medal holder. So in your wife's Gradndfather's case it seems that he wore the originals with pride and honour when he wished to (hence the 'wear and tear'), but had a second set for - as you say - weddings dinners and the like.

 

Whatever, thanks for the above!

 

Julian

I think most Germans had spares of all their awards including ribbon bars whether WWI or WWII issue because of walking out dress and normal working dress. Having the paperwork as proof was no doubt a necessity for replacing lost or buying private purchase awards.

As for the wife’s grandfather, he also served in a WWII so would’ve had ample opportunity to give his WWI crosses some good, honest wear and tear. Unfortunately the paperwork that's survived isn't as impressive as that shown by Kim.

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...