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Ehren- und Erinnerungskreuz des Marinekorps Flandern, a.k.a. Flandernkreuz

Commemorative Honour Cross of the Navy Corps Flanders

Flandernkreuz was instituted on September 13, 1921 by the post-war veterans’ association “Kamerdschaftsverband des Marinekorps Flandern”, and all German former military personnel who took part in battles in Flanders were eligible for a badge. Institutional document particularly stipulated: “In the days of September 1914, the newly raised Naval Division (Marinedivision) later known as the Naval Corps (Marinekorps) was baptized by fire during victorious five-day battles against the Belgian army at Löwen and Kampenhout north of Brussels. Encouraged by heroic deeds, it performed further feats of valour during the World War that lasted more than four years. Commemorative Honour Cross of the Navy Corps Flanders for former military personnel of the Corps is instituted this very day, on September 13, 1921 as a token of commemoration of those events that had covered Naval Corps with glory and fame on land and sea, in the air and under water, with an intention to perpetuate the memory of the fallen brothers in arms, to reward front fighters for their faithful duty and bravery in the field during the War 1914-1918 and to serve as a reminder for their descendants as well as for the whole German people”.  

Falndernkreuz had a shape of an equilateral Teutonic cross with beaded borders, with crossed swords between its arms and with a loop for ribbon suspension.

An obverse had a rampant lion being a Flemish heraldic symbol situated on the upper arm of the cross and inscriptions “Naval” (“Marine”) and “Corps” (“Korps”) on the left and right arms as well as dates “1914/18” on the lower arm. A central circular medallion consisted of the 1903 pattern Imperial German Naval Ensign (Reichskriegsflagge) surrounded by a laurel wreath made of two branches tied at their bottom.

A reverse bore an inscription “Invincible on land and sea” (“Unbe” – on the left arm, “siegt” – on the right, “Zur See” – on the upper and “Im Felde” – on the lower arm of a cross). A crowned naval anchor with a monogram of Wilhelm II (“W”) was situated in the middle of a central medallion surrounded by the laurel wreath, similar to the one described above.

Flandernkreuz that measured 40,2x40,2 mm and weighed 22 g was made of bronze.

Commemorative Honour Cross of the Navy Corps Flanders was worn either obverse or reverse outside depending on preference of its holder.

It was worn on the left side of a breast suspended from a black silk ribbon with two thin white and yellow vertical stripes at both edges. Non-regulated device in a shape of crossed swords was sometimes attached to a ribbon to indicate former front fighter’s status.

As all the other Weimar-era badges, Flandernkreuz had to be purchased at veteran’s own expenses upon presentation of an award document issued by Kamerdschaftsverband des Marinekorps Flandern. The cost of cross was 3,50 Marks, of miniature – 2 Marks, of a battle clasp – 50 Pfennigs.

Approximately 30,000 crosses were issued.

Battle clasps (Gefechtsspangen) 

Ten battle clasps (Gefechtsspangen) commemorating combat experience of frontline soldiers were instituted as well. Those clasps were made of Buntmetal and were attached to a ribbon by two prongs soldered to reverse. Those wishing to buy a clasp worth 50 Pfennigs had to provide proof of participation in particular battle, in most cases a specific entry in a Soldbuch. It’s worth mentioning that no restriction was imposed on the number of battle clasps that could be worn simultaneously.

The following battle clasps were issued:

- Antwerpen
- Durchbruchsschlacht (for breakthrough battle)
- Durchbruchsschlacht 1918 (for the breakthrough battle fought at Momby-Cambrai on March 21-23, 1918)
- Flandernschlacht (for battles fought in Flanders between October 20 and November 18, 1914)
- Flandernschlacht 1917 (for battles fought in Flanders between July 31 and November 06, 1917)
- Luftkrieg
- Seekrieg
- Somme
- Ypern
- Yser

According to a Decree published on November 14, 1935 (Verordnung zur Ausführung des Gesetzes über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen vom 14.November 1935) that put into effect a Supplement to the Law regarding state awards of April 07, 1933, wearing of a Flandernkreuz was prohibited. Nevertheless deliberate violation of this provision by military personnel was tolerated by Reich authorities.

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Flandernkreuz Plate 1

 

Flandernkreuz Plate 2