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Ratni Spomen-znak

Commemorative Military Badge

 

Commemorative Military Badge, one of the decorations of the Independent State of Croatia, was instituted on December 29, 1943. It had two versions: a Badge itself and a Badge with the Croatian coat of arms. All the bestowals were made in the name of Ante Pavelić (14.07.1889 – 28.12.1959), Poglavnik or leader of the state.

Commemorative Military Badge (Ratni Spomen-znak) was issued to those who performed at least one year of military service in the Croatian Armed forces within Croatia itself or abroad.

The badge represented a silk 26 mm wide white ribbon with two thin vertical red stripes at both edges and multiple short horizontal blue stripes in its centre.

Unlike first version Commemorative Military Badge with the state coat of arms (Ratni Spomen-znak s državnim grbom) was considered as a real combat award. It was conferred on those who engaged in close combat with enemy forces or spent at least six months in frontline combat units or participated in direction of auxiliary units attached to combat detachments.

Statute of a Commemorative Military Badge with the state coat of arms was changed on April 24, 1944 when a special Order restricted criteria for its bestowal. Since then it was issued to military personnel of the Croatian Armed forces who participated directly in combat actions as a part of an acting army or to those who participated in direction of auxiliary units attached to combat detachments.

Gendarmerie, police and  State Labour Service (Državna Radna Služba) personnel who were involved in military actions against enemy forces or took part in joined operations with Armed forces units for at least six months were made eligible for that award as well as civilians who volunteered to fight alongside their uniformed compatriots.

Commemorative Military Badge with the state coat of arms represented an above-described ribbon with an addition of a miniature 11x22 mm shield pinned on its centre – šahovnica, a traditional Croatian heraldry symbol.

As an imitation of a German manner of wearing awards the ribbon of the badge was worn either from the second buttonhole of the fastened tunic or from the upper of the opened one.

Statute of the badge allowed decoration of allied military personnel, but in fact it was quite rarely implemented in practice. Probably only few Germans were awarded with the Commemorative Military Badge.

The badge was awarded since its institution in the late December 1943 until the very end of existence of the Independent State of Croatia, i.e. the beginning of May 1945. 

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Commemorative military badge