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Mackensen Ehrenkreuz

Mackensen Honor Cross

Mackensen Ehrenkreuz was instituted in 1928 in two classes by one of the numerous post-WWI veterans’ associations, Military Union of German Cavalry (Waffenring der Deutschen Kavallerie). The Union was founded in 1928 under patronage of virile Generalfeldmarschall Anton Ludwig August von Mackensen (06.12.1849-08.11.1945) who held a key role in activities of various former front fighter organizations that mushroomed in the Weimar Republic. Waffenring der Deutschen Kavallerie had its own publication, “Paper of a German Cavalryman” (“Deutsche Reiter Zeitung”) issued monthly since 1928. Waffenring also led noticeable public life holding official events for veterans, viz. “Day of German Cavalry” (Waffentag der deutschen Kavallerie). Inaugural event took place in 1931 in Dresden, followed by mass gatherings in Düsseldorf (1933) and Hamburg (1935). Their last three-day convention was held in Breslau on September 12-14, 1936.

As of February 01, 1933 Waffenring der Deutschen Kavallerie chaired by Theodor Schröder and consisting of 572 territorial branches boasted 53,500 members approximately including 8,339 former cavalry officers and 1,031 honorary members.  

Having completed that necessary historical digression let’s return to the main subject of an article.

Mackensen Ehrenkreuz had a shape of an equilateral eight-pointed cross with concave beams and round laurel wreath between its arms. A superimposed circular medallion showed a portrait of August von Mackensen bordered with a wide rim bearing inscription “Military Union of German Cavalry” (“Waffenring-Deutscher-Kavallerie”) in capital letters and three dots on its lower part.

Mackensen Ehrenkreuz, 1st class was 45,2х45,2 in size, weighed 25,8 g and was made of gilt Buntmetall, a yellow colour alloy of nonferrous metals. Arms of the cross were white enameled while medallion rim was black enameled. It is said that 1st class was awarded to holders of the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st class.

Design of Mackensen Honor Cross, 2nd class was similar to the badge described above but had silver plated surface without enamel. It weighed 16 g and was 43,8x43,8 mm in size.

Reverse of both badges carried hallmark of a manufacturer: “Ges. Geschützt C.H.Arnold Coburg”. Mackensen Ehrenkreuz was attached to a tunic or civil attire by a vertical pin soldered to reverse.

Miniatures of the badge had reverse similar to their obverse.

Mackensen Ehrenkreuz was awarded from 1928 until 1933, total number of badges remains unknown.

Design of the badge underwent drastic changed in 1934, following NSDAP coming to power the previous year. Thus it was renamed “Mackensen Honor Clasp” (Mackensen Ehrenschnalle) and its design was changed to a horizontal rectangular bar with two swastikas and central medallion with head and shoulders bust of aged Generalfeldmarschall in traditional Hussars headgear bordered with a wide rim bearing the same inscription. Unlike Mackensen Ehrenkreuz, Mackensen Ehrenschnalle of 1st and 2nd classes differed in details quite distinctly.

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