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Champagne-Kreuz

Champagne Cross

Champagne Cross was instituted by one of the numerous veterans associations that mushroomed in the Weimar Republic. Exactly that one in question was based in Saxony and carried quite intricate name: Honorary Union of the Saxon World War Participants, Registered Association Comradeship of the German East and West Front Fighters (Ehrenbund Sächsischer Weltkriegteilnehmer e.V. [eingetragener Verein] Kameradschaftsbund Deutscher Ost- und Westfrontkämpfer). As it can easily be seen from the full name founders of that union stressed that an association had a status of a legally registered noncommercial organization.

Champagne Cross was issued to commemorate participation of German soldiers in the Second Battle of the Marne, the last major German spring offensive on the western Front during the WWI (July 15 – August 6, 1918) against British and French forces.

Depending on a manufacturer two types of the badge that differed in the shape of a cross existed: earlier one that was produced in Dusseldorf and later one made in Hamburg.

Champagne Cross manufactured in Dusseldorf had a shape of an equilateral Maltese cross with quite narrow arms. Hamburg-made badge had rounded edges of the same cross.

Round medallion was superimposed on centers of both crosses, design of their obverses and ribbons were similar as well.

An obverse had arms of the cross enameled black at the edge and blue at its centre separated by thin silver lines. A half round inscription “Champagne” executed in silver capital letters was running at the top of the central medallion accompanied by the dates of the Great War, “1914 1918” placed in two rows beneath.

Reverses of both types of Champagne-Kreuz had slightly pebbled surface and carried maker’s mark running in three rows: either “Eugen Billig, Düsseldorf, Ges. Gesch.” orFleck & Sohn, Hamburg 3, Ges. Gesch.”.

The badge was worn on a 24 mm wide white ribbon with a central wide blue stripe that had short horizontal white thin stripes. Gilt or silvered crossed swords were often attached to the ribbon to stress the “combat character” of that unofficial badge.

Like all the other badges manufactured during the Weimar era Champagne Cross had to be privately purchased by veterans upon presentation of award documents issued either by Dusseldorf (1932) or later by Chemnitz-based (1933-1934) divisions of the above mentioned Saxon association.

Champagne-Kreuz had a size of 39,6x39,6 mm and was made of silver colored non-ferrous metal and had enamel finish of two colors, blue and black.

“Dusseldorf type” badge was issued in 1932 while “Hamburg type” – in 1933-1934. After an institution of an official WWI veterans’ award, i.e. the Cross of Honor on July 13, 1934 Chapagne Cross like vast majority of other unofficial Weimar-era commemorative and honor badges was prohibited to be worn.

Approximately 3,000 badges were issued.

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