Attachments Part V: Swords as found on Austro-Hungarian Orders

The Swords Attachment

A major embellishment to Austro-Hungarian Orders was the addition of swords. Swords were authorized on December 13, 1916 and were subsequently added to several of the orders to signify the award had been granted for bravery. When awarded on the higher classes of the orders the swords were usually incorporated into the insignia. When awarded on the knight’s badge of the orders the bronze gilt swords were attached to the order ribbon. What follows is a brief description of the swords attachment as found on Austro-Hungarian Orders.

Swords as found on the Leopold Order

The swords found on the Leopold Order grand cross and first class star came in two types: the swords of the same class as the star on which they are found is in the form of a gilt crossed swords which pass under the order badge on the obverse of the star (Figure 1). The second type is the swords of a lower class. They are placed on the star in the same manner as the swords described above but are in silver (Figure 2).

Figure 1: The Order of Leopold, Grand Cross Star with swords.

Figure 1: The Order of Leopold, Grand Cross Star with war decoration and swords. Image from Pinterest.

Figure 2: The Order of Leopold, Grand Cross Star with swords of a lower class. Image form the author's archive.

Figure 2: The Order of Leopold, Grand Cross Star with war decoration, and swords of a lower class. Image from the author’s archive.

 

The swords found on the Leopold Order badge came in gilt and silver, with the gilt being swords of the same class as the cross (Figure 3) and silver representing swords of a lower class than the cross on which they are found (Figure 4). The swords in both cases passed through the center medallion of the Order of Leopold cross. This form of the swords can be found on all classes of the order except the knights cross which only had the gilt crossed swords on the suspension ribbon (Figure 13).

Figure 3: The Order of Leopold, Grand Cross with war decoration and swords. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 3: The Order of Leopold, Grand Cross with war decoration and swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 4: The Order of Leopold, Grand Cross with war decoration, and swords of a lower class. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 4: The Order of Leopold, Grand Cross with war decoration, and swords of a lower class. Image from the author’s archive.

Swords as found on the Iron Crown Order

The swords found on the Order of the Iron Crown Knight knight first class star came in two types: the swords of the same class as the star on which they are found is in the form of a gilt crossed swords which pass under the order badge on the obverse of the star (Figure 5). The second type is the swords of a lower class. They are placed on the star in the same manner as the swords described above but are in silver (Figure 6).

 

Figure 5: The Order of the Iron Crown, Knight First Class Star with war decoration and swords. Image form the author's archive.

Figure 5: The Order of the Iron Crown, Knight First Class Star with war decoration and swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 6: The Order of the Iron Crown, Knight First Class Star with war decoration, and swords of a lower class. Image form the author's archive.

Figure 6: The Order of the Iron Crown, Knight First Class Star with war decoration, and swords of a lower class. Image from the author’s archive.

 

The swords found on the Iron Crown  Order badge came in gilt and silver, with the gilt being swords of the same class as the badge (Figure 7) and silver representing swords of a lower class than the badge on which they are found (Figure 8). The crossed swords in both cases are attached to the front of the banderols below the order crown which attaches the crown to the rest of the Iron Crown Order badge. This form of the swords can be found on all classes of the order except the knight third class badge which only had the gilt crossed swords on the suspension ribbon (Figure 14).

Figure 7: The Order of the Iron Crown, Knight First Class badge with war decoration and swords. Image courtesy of Dorotheum .

Figure 7: The Order of the Iron Crown, Knight First Class badge with war decoration and swords. Image courtesy of Dorotheum .

Figure 8: The Order of the Iron Crown, Knight Second Class badge with war decoration and swords third class. Image courtesy of Dorotheum .

Figure 8: The Order of the Iron Crown, Knight Second Class badge with war decoration and swords third class. Image courtesy of Dorotheum .

 

 

Swords as found on the Order of Franz Joseph

The swords found on the Order of Franz Joseph Grand Cross star and the star of the commander with star came in two types: the swords of the same class as the star on which they are found is in the form of a gilt crossed swords which are placed between the crown and the cross of the badge on the obverse of the star (Figure 9). The second type is the swords of a lower class. They are placed on the star in the same manner as the swords described above but are in silver.

Figure 9: The Order of Franz Joseph, Grand Cross Star with war decoration and swords. Image form the author's archive.

Figure 9: The Order of Franz Joseph, Grand Cross Star with war decoration and swords. Image form the author’s archive.

 

The swords found on the Order of Franz Joseph badge came in gilt and silver, with the gilt being swords of the same class as the badge (Figure 10) and silver representing swords of a lower class than the badge on which they are found (Figure 11). The crossed swords in both cases are attached to the front of the banderols below the order crown which attaches the crown to the rest of the Order of Franz Joseph badge. This form of the swords can be found on all classes of the order including the officer cross (Figure 12) except the knight third class badge which only had the gilt crossed swords on the suspension ribbon (Figure 15).

Figure 10: The Order of Franz Joseph, Commander badge with war decoration and swords. Image courtesy of Dorotheum .

Figure 10: The Order of Franz Joseph, Commander badge with war decoration and swords. Image courtesy of Dorotheum .

Figure 11: The Order of Franz Joseph, Commander badge with war decoration, and swords of a lower class. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 11: The Order of Franz Joseph, Commander badge with war decoration, and swords of a lower class. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 12: The Order of Franz Joseph, Officer badge with war decoration and swords. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 12: The Order of Franz Joseph, Officer badge with war decoration and swords. Image from the author’s archive.

 

The crossed swords found on the Knights badge of the Leopold Order, the Order of the Iron Crown and the Order of Franz Joseph were in gilt and worn on the ribbon (figures 13, 14 and 15 respectively)

Figure 13: The Order of Leopold Knight with war decoration and swords. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 13: The Order of Leopold Knight with war decoration and swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 14: The Order of the Iron Crown, Knight Third Class badge with war decoration and swords. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 14: The Order of the Iron Crown, Knight Third Class badge with war decoration and swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 15: The Order of Franz Joseph, Knight badge with war decoration and swords. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 15: The Order of Franz Joseph, Knight badge with war decoration and swords. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

 

This concludes the discussion of the swords attachment as found on Austro-Hungarian orders. I hope you have enjoyed this discussion. In the near future I will describe the swords attachment as found on decorations and the last attachment authorized by the Austro-Hungarian Empire: the K as found on the officer’s bravery medal.

Rick

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