Attachments, an interesting story of embellishment, Part II

Introduction

In this blog, which is the second part of the series on attachments I will review the history of the war decoration attachment to the Orders and decorations of the Austrian and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. You may wish to view the blog on the first part of this series before proceeding so that you place the war decoration attachment in its proper context. For the purpose of this discussion I am going to define attachment as an addition or embellishment to an order, decoration or medal that alters its meaning or status in a meaningful way.

The War Decoration

On January 23, 1860 the War Decoration (Kriegs Dekoration) was created to differentiate awards that were granted for war merit from similar awards presented for civil merit. The war decoration came in two forms: one form was the red and white laddered war ribbon. In the case of the Order of Franz Joseph and the gold, silver and iron merit crosses their award on the war ribbon indicated that they had been awarded for war merit. The second form of the war decoration was usually in the form of a wreath or boughs of laurel or laurel and oak. The attachment took many different forms depending on the award that it was embellishing. I will provide below examples of several in an attempt to illustrate the various forms of the war decoration.

The war decoration as found on the Austrian Imperial Leopold Order

The war decoration for the Leopold Order grand cross and first class star came in two types: the war decoration of the same class as the star on which it is found is in the form of a gilt laurel wreath which passes below the tips of the order star (Figure 1). The second type is the war decoration of a lower class. It comes in the form of a gilt laurel wreath which is wrapped tightly around the order badge found on the obverse of the star (Figure 2).

 

Figure 1: Austrian Imperial Leopold order, grand cross with war decoration. Image from the author's archive

Figure 1: Austrian Imperial Leopold order, grand cross with war decoration. Image from the author’s archive

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Figure 2: Austrian Imperial Leopold order, grand cross with war decoration of a lower class. Image from the author's archive

Figure 2: Austrian Imperial Leopold order, grand cross with war decoration of a lower class. Image from the author’s archive

 

The war decoration for the Austrian Imperial Leopold Order badge came in two types: the war decoration of the same class as the class of the badge is in the form of a wreath of laurel attached to the banderoles of the crown found above the Order of Leopold cross. This wreath may be enameled green or in gilt metal. This form of the war decoration can be found on all classes of the order (Figure 3). The second type is the Order of Leopold badge with war decoration of a lower class in the form of a gilt laurel wreath passing through the arms of the cross Figure 4. This type war decoration can be found on all classes of the Order of Leopold except the knights cross.

Figure 3: Austrian Imperial Leopold order badge with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 3: Austrian Imperial Leopold order badge with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

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Figure 4: Austrian Imperial Order of Leopold Badge with war decoration of a lower class: Image from the author's archive

Figure 4: Austrian Imperial Order of Leopold Badge with war decoration of a lower class: Image from the author’s archive

 

The War Decoration as found on the Austrian Imperial Order of the Iron Crown

The war decoration for the Order of the Iron Crown knight first class star came in two types: the war decoration of the same class as the star on which it is found is in the form of a gilt laurel wreath which passes below the tips of the order star (Figure 5). The second type is the war decoration of a lower class. It comes in the form of a gilt or green enameled laurel wreath which is raped tightly around the order badge found on the obverse of the star (Figure 6).

 

Figure 5: Order of the Iron Crown, knight first class with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 5: Order of the Iron Crown, knight first class with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 6: Order of the Iron Crown, knight first class star with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 6: Order of the Iron Crown, knight first class star with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

The war decoration for the Order of the Iron Crown badge came in two types: The first is the war decoration of the same class as the class of the badge which is in the form of two green enameled laurel boughs emanating from the top of the iron crown held in the claws of the imperial eagle and which follow the contour of the eagles wings. This form of the war decoration can be found on all classes of the order (Figure 7). The second type is the Order of Iron Crown badge with war decoration of a lower class in the form of a green enameled laurel wreath which is tightly raped around the shield with an F on the obverse of the badge (Figure 8). This type war decoration can be found on all classes of the Order of the Iron Crown except the knight third class badge.

Figure 7: Order of the iron Crown badge with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 7: Order of the iron Crown badge with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

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Figure 8: Order of the iron Crown badge with war decoration. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 8: Order of the iron Crown badge with war decoration. Image from the author’s archive.

 

 

The war decoration as found on the Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order

The war decoration for the Order of Franz Joseph came in four types. The first type war decoration was the order on the war ribbon, which indicated that it had been awarded for war service. This was the case for all classes of the order except the Officer cross until January 10, 1915. From that date until June 2, 1915 all classes of the Franz Joseph Order were awarded with the war ribbon. After June 2nd all classes except the officer cross were once again awarded on the war ribbon.  The officer cross was unique in the way the war decoration was indicated after June 2nd 1915. In the case of an officer cross issued with a war decoration of the same class as the cross the war decoration was indicated by enameling the banderols of the crown above the cross in green enamel (Figure 9).

Figure 9: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order, officer cross with war decoration.Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 9: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order, officer cross with war decoration.Image courtesy of Dorotheum

 

The war decoration for the Order of Franz Joseph grand cross star and the star of the order of Franz Joseph Commander with star came in the form of a gilt laurel wreath which passes below the tips of the order star (Figure 10).

Figure 10: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order grand cross star and star to the commander with star with war decoration. . . Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 10: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order grand cross star and star to the commander with star with war decoration. . . Image courtesy of Dorotheum

 

The war decoration of a lower class were indicated on the Order of Franz Joseph stars in two ways depending on the medalist who produced the star. The first type which was produced by Rothe and Neffe and features a gilt laurel wreath encircling the badge on the front of the star (Figure 11). The second and more common type indicates the war decoration of a lower class by means of a green enameled wreath encircling the center medallion the badge on the obverse of the star (Figure 12).

Figure 11: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order grand cross star and star to the commander with star with war decoration of a lower class. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 11: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order grand cross star and star to the commander with star with war decoration of a lower class. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 12: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order grand cross star and star to the commander with star with war decoration of a lower class. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 12: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order grand cross star and star to the commander with star with war decoration of a lower class. Image from the author’s archive.

The war decoration of a lower class for the Order Franz Joseph badges is in the form of a green enameled wreath wrapped around the center medallion of the badge. This form of the war decoration can be found on all classes of the order except the knight cross (Figure 13 and 14).

Figure 13: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order badge with war decoration of a lower class. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 13: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order badge with war decoration of a lower class. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 14: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order officer cross with war decoration of a lower class. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 14: Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order officer cross with war decoration of a lower class. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

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The war decoration as found on the Military Merit Cross

The war decoration for the Military Merit Cross came in four types of wreath. The first type was a green or gilt laurel wreath passing between the arms of the cross. This form of war decoration continued from 1860 to 1918 for what became known after 1914 as the third class decoration (Figure 15 and 16).

Figure 10: Military Merit Cross with war decoration, Type II. From author's archive.

Figure 15: Military Merit Cross with war decoration, Type II. From author’s archive.

Figure 3: Military Merit Cross with war decoration. From Author's archive

Figure 16: Military Merit Cross with war decoration. From Author’s archive

The second form of the war decoration wreath found on the Military Merit Cross is a green enameled laurel wreath passing through the arms of the first and second class Military Merit Crosses (Figure 17 and 18).

 

Figure 3: Military Merit Cross first class with war decoration first class. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 17: Military Merit Cross First class with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 16: Military Merit Cross second class with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 18: Military Merit Cross second class with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

The third form of the war decoration wreath found on the Military Merit Cross is a round green enameled laurel wreath attached to the suspension rings above the Merit Cross, second class. This signifies a second award of the war decoration second class (Figure 19).

 

Figure 16, Military Merit Cross, second class with a second award of the war decoration. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 19, Military Merit Cross, second class with a second award of the war decoration. Image from the author’s archive.

The fourth and last type of laurel wreath war decoration found on the Military Merit cross is one that signifies the award of a war decoration third class on the badge of the Military Merit Cross second class. This is in the form of a gilt laurel wreath tightly raped around the center medallion of the second class merit cross (Figure 20).

Figure 17: Military Merit Cross, second class with third class war decoration. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 20: Military Merit Cross, second class with third class war decoration. Image from the author’s archive.

The war decoration as found on the Red Cross Decorations and Medals

The war decoration for the Red Cross decorations and medals came in three types of wreath. The first type was a green enameled silver wreath composed of laurel leaves on the viewer’s right and oak on the left. The wreath passes over the arms of the Red Cross Merit Star and under the rays of the star body (Figure 21).

Figure 21: Red Cross Merit Star with war decoration. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 21: Red Cross Merit Star with war decoration. Image from the author’s archive.

The second type was a green and red enameled silver wreath composed of laurel leaves on the viewer’s right and oak on the left tied at the bottom with a bow. The wreath passes over the arms of the Red Cross decoration (Figure 22 & 23).

 

Figure 22: Red Cross Decoration first and second class with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 22: Red Cross Decoration first and second class with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 23: Red Cross Decoration officer cross with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 23: Red Cross Decoration officer cross with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

 

The third type was a green enameled wreath composed of laurel leaves on the viewer’s right and oak on the left. The wreath which is found on the Red Cross medals follows the contour of the edge of the medal (Figure 24).

Figure 24: Red Cross Silver Merit Medal with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 24: Red Cross Silver Merit Medal with war decoration. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

 

This concludes part II of the discussion on attachments. I hope you enjoyed this exploration of the war decoration. Next time I will describe the attachments associated with the 1898 Jubilee Medals and Kleine badges.
Rick

 

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