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Militär-Verdienstkreuz

Military Merits Cross

Instituted on December 11, 1879 by the decree No.74 (Gesetz- und Verordnungssammlung von 1879 Nr.74) of the Duke of Brunswick Wilhelm (Wilhelm August Ludwig Maximilian Friedrich, 25.04.1806 – 18.10.1884). It was awarded to non-commissioned officers (Feldwebel and downwards) and other ranks for outstanding bravery and repeated acts of heroism during the times of war.

Military Merits Cross was made of gilt silver and had a shape of a 36x36 mm equilateral Teutonic cross with widening edges. Circular medallion with pebbled surface superimposed on its center was 15 mm in diameter.

An obverse of a said medallion had a horizontal inscription executed in capital letters “War Merits” (“Kriegs Verdienst”) running in to lines and two crossed laurel leaves beneath.

A crowned gothic capital letter “W” standing for Wilhelm was situated on the reverse of a medallion.

Silk ribbon was red with two wide vertical yellow stripes at both edges.

Military Merits Cross was awarded until April 25, 1908.

After the Great War broke out Military Merits Cross was reinstituted by the Duke of Brunswick Ernest Augustus (Ernst August von Hannover (III), Herzog von Braunschweig, 17.11.1887 – 30.01.1953). It’s worth mentioning here that a decree was signed by the Duchess Viktoria Luise as Ernst August had appointed her a Regent of Brunswick before leaving for the front as a X Army Corps registration officer (Meldeoffizier). This issue led to the prolonged exchange of letters between the Prussian War ministry (Königlich Preußischen Kriegsministerium) and the State ministry of Brunswick (Herzoglich Braunschweig Lüneburgischen Staatsministerium) that continued until November 1915.

According to the statute of the Military Merits Cross it was issued to NCOs (Feldwebel and downwards) and other ranks for outstanding bravery and repeated acts of heroism in the battlefield. So the award criteria remained the same.

The shape of the cross differed from that of the Military Merits Cross 1879 type. Instead of Teutonic cross it was manufactured as a Maltese one thus turning to an eight-pointed cross.

Central circular medallion carried monogram of Ernst August on its reverse, i.e. two intertwined capital letters “EA”

Military Merits Cross was still made of gilt silver and was manufactured by a court jeweler Hermann Jürgens.

The ribbon remained the same – it was red with two wide vertical yellow stripes at both edges.

Though first 25 pieces of a Military Merits Cross were made in October 1914 no documentary evidence of decorations is not known yet.

Moreover on October 23, 1914 the Duke of Brunswick Ernest Augustus instituted another award with a nearly similar name, War Merits Cross (Kriegsverdienstkreuz) that was issued to military personnel throughout the war.

Militar Verdienstkreuz 1