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Remembered Today:

German Armys Highest Award For Valour.


Sgt_Hazell_Great_Grandson
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Pals , what was Germanys highest award for valour in WW1. Compared to our V.C. how many were awarded and are they still used as an award in todays German army.

Kind regards,

Roland. :)

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The German system was slightly different,each state having its own awards,the highest award for Combat gallantry is I suspect the Prussian "Pour le Merite";The "Blue Max"; a large Gold & Blue Maltese enamelled Cross worn @ the throat,however there were higher grades of the Iron Cross,which were awarded to those deserved of recognition,the ultimate being the Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross a large Gold star with Iron Cross in the centre;awarded just once to Paul Von Hindenburg{an earlier version being awarded to Bulcher in 1813}In all honesty there is no real direct comparable award with the VC,as the German awards had "Classes" & adornments{eg:Oak Leaves/Swords/etc;}which precludes a direct across the board comparison.

The Iron Cross was a purely wartime award{being instituted in 1813 & re~introduced for 1870,1914 & 1939} & is not currently awarded; the Pour le Merite {of different design} is still in existence as a purely "Arts & Science" award,but regulations @ the end of WW2 forbade the award of these old awards related to Nazism,& a whole range of new awards were introduced,in both West & East Germany,which were then rethought on the fall of Communism in the West.The old "state" orders have long since fallen into disuse with the unification of Germany as a nation.

representative Grand Cross Star{Nazi version as awarded to RM H.Goering}

post-2388-1144934866.jpg

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Thanks for this information. Very interesting. Looking at Wikipedia and following the links it seems that , as you say , the Pour Le Merite is the nearest decoration to the V.C. going mostly to officers.

In WW1 medals were awarded as follows :

Army : 533 awards

Navy : 49 awards

Air : 80 awards.

Regards , Roland.

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I am not an expert on this subject, but the situation was complicated by the fact that the different contingents of the Imperial German Army had different ways of rewarding bravery. It is true that the Pour le Merite was awarded to members of, say, the Wuerttemberg or Bavarian contingents, but there were very few such awards - a mere handful - most going to very senior commanders or fighter pilots. In any case they had their own orders and awards as well - frequently with differing medals or orders for officers and ORs. So, for example, very brave Bavarian officers could be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order, but for ORs, the highest decoration for courage on the battlefield was the Bravery Medal in Gold, of which there were 1,003 awards. The Wuerttembergers received various forms of the Royal Wuerttemberg Military Service Order. There were two awards of the Grand Cross, 12 of the Commander's Cross and 872 Knights Crosses for active officers. 4,234 ORs received the Military Service Medal in Gold. Both contingents also had silver medals. The numbers of medals in gold awarded suggests that the standard of bravery required at the bottom end of the award was not up to VC standard, but it certainly included VC-equivalent acts, because there was nothing higher available.

Jack

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The youngest (23) and one of the last (22.09.1918) recipients of the military Pour le Mérite (abolished 09.11.1918) was Leutnant Ernst Jünger of Füsilier-Regiment Nr 73, author of the classic "Storm of Steel". Jünger, who died in 1998 at the age of 102, was also the last surviving holder of the medal.

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I think he was 103.

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Hedley,

Born 29 March 1895, died 17 February 1998. My maths is atrocious, but I think that means he died a few weeks short of his 103rd birthday.

regards

Mick

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The Pour le Merite'~"The Blue Max"{with Oak leaves}

post-2388-1144935229.jpg

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Mick,

Quite right. One site devoted to him gives his date of death as 12 July 1998, but 17 February 1998 is correct.

Hedley

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