Attachments, an interesting story of embellishment, part IV

Introduction:

In this blog which is the fourth part of the series on attachments I will review the multiple award bar attachments. You may wish to view the first three blogs in this series before proceeding so that you can have the multiple award attachments in their 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.

Multiple Award Attachment

On November 29, 1915 multiple award bars were introduced for the Bravery Medal. Gradually the award bars were introduced for other decorations culminating in the introduction of the multiple award bars for the Military Merit Cross on February 8, 1918. Those awards for which multiple award bars were authorized are: The Bravery Medal (1915-1917), The Bravery Medal (1917-1922), The Officer Bravery Medal (1917-1922), the Military Merit Medal (1911-1917), the Military Merit Medal (1917-1920), the Great Military Merit Medal (1916-1917, the Great Military Merit Medal (1917-1920), The Gold Merit Cross with crown, The Iron Merit Cross with crown, and the Military Merit Cross, third class (Figures 3-16). One will on occasion encounter an Order of Leopold knights badge with a second award bar (with and without swords). This bar is unofficial and was authorized by the so-called Heller Commission after WWI. This commission was authorized to grant awards for WWI service that had not been issued by the imperial government (Figures 1-2).  Generally the multiple award bars are in the same metal as the decoration they are embellishing. The exception is the multiple award bar for the bronze bravery medal which is in white metal and the multiple award bar for the Military Merit Cross, third class which is gilt (Figure 15&16).  The most bars that were awarded were three signifying the forth award of a decoration. In the case of some decorations the number of multiple award bars actually issued was fewer than three. On occasion the multiple award bars were engraved as a special presentation by the colleagues of the recipient (Figure 6). It should also be noted that when swords were awarded with a decoration along with multiple award bars the swords were worn on the top most multiple award bar (Figures 7,8, 11, 13 &15). Also in the case of the Karl bravery medals to officers the K which was normally attached to the ribbon was, when multiple award bars were present, attached to the upper most bar (Figure 5). Lastly one often finds awards with fake bars that have been added to them. Each of us of course has  to decide what standard to assign as the requirement for a bar to be considered genuine. For myself I require that the bar have the manufacturers mark on the revers. All of the genuine bars I have encountered were made by Josef Zimbler and are marked with his name on the reverse (figure 17).

 

Figure 1: Order of Leopold, knight with swords with second award bar. (Unofficial) Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 1: Order of Leopold, knight with swords with second award bar. (Unofficial) Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 2: Order of Leopold, knight with second award bar. (Unofficial) Image from author's archive

Figure 2: Order of Leopold, knight with second award bar.
(Unofficial) Image from author’s archive

 

Figure 3: Franz Joseph Silver Bravery Medal, first class with forth award bar. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 3: Franz Joseph Silver Bravery Medal, first class with forth award bar. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 4: Karl Gold Bravery Medal, with third award bar. Image from the author's archive

Figure 4: Karl Gold Bravery Medal, with third award bar. Image from the author’s archive

 

Figure 5: Karl Officer Gold Bravery Medal, with second award bar. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 5: Karl Officer Gold Bravery Medal, with second award bar. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 6: Franz Joseph Silver Bravery Medal, second class with presentation second award bar. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 6: Franz Joseph Silver Bravery Medal, second class with presentation second award bar. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 7: Franz Joseph Silver Military Merit Medal, with swords and third award bar. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 7: Franz Joseph Silver Military Merit Medal, with swords and third award bar. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 8: Franz Joseph Great Military Merit Medal, with swords and second award bar. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 8: Franz Joseph Great Military Merit Medal, with swords and second award bar. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 9: Karl Silver Military Merit Medal, with third award bar. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 9: Karl Silver Military Merit Medal, with third award bar. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 10: Karl Great Military Merit Medal, with third award bar. Image from the Author's archive.

Figure 10: Karl Great Military Merit Medal, with third award bar. Image from the Author’s archive.

 

Figure 11: Gold Merit Cross with crown and swords with second award bar. Image from the Author's archive.

Figure 11: Gold Merit Cross with crown and swords with second award bar. Image from the Author’s archive.

Figure 12: Gold Merit Cross with crown and swords with second award bar. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 12: Gold Merit Cross with crown and swords with second award bar. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 13: Iron Merit Cross with crown and swords second award bar. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 13: Iron Merit Cross with crown and swords second award bar. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 14: Iron Merit Cross with crown and second award bar. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 14: Iron Merit Cross with crown and second award bar. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 15: Military Merit Cross third class with war decoration and swords with second award bar. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 15: Military Merit Cross third class with war decoration and swords with second award bar. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 16: Military Merit Cross third class with war decoration with third award bar. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 16: Military Merit Cross third class with war decoration with third award bar. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

 

 

Figure 17: Reverse of second award bar with the makers logo. Image form the author's archive.

Figure 17: Reverse of second award bar with the makers logo. Image form the author’s archive.

This concludes part IV of the discussion on attachments. I hope you enjoyed this exploration of the multiple award bars. Next time I will describe the addition of swords to orders and decorations.

I look forward to our future correspondence

Until next time I hope you enjoy our avocation as much as I do.
Rick

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