Attachments Part VI: Swords Found on Austro-Hungarian Decorations and variations.

Introduction

In this blog which is the sixth, and last part, of the series on attachments to Austro-Hungarian orders, medals and decorations, I will review the swords attachment as found on Austro-Hungarian decorations and the last attachment authorized by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which is appropriately, it seems to me, the monogram K found on the Karl Officers Bravery Medal. You may wish to view the first five blogs in this series before proceeding so that you can have the swords as found on decorations and K attachment 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.

The Swords Attachment

A major embellishment to Austro-Hungarian decorations was the addition of swords. Swords were authorized on December 13, 1916 and were subsequently added to several decorations to signify that the award had been granted for bravery. When awarded on the higher classes of decorations, swords were in some cases incorporated into the insignia and when added to decorations that were suspended from a chest ribbon the bronze gilt swords were attached to the insignia ribbon. What follows is a brief description of the swords attachment as found on Austro-Hungarian decorations.

Swords as found on the Military Merit Cross:

The swords found on the Military Merit cross first and second class came in two types: the swords of the same class as the cross on which they are found are in the form of  gilt crossed swords which pass through the center medallion of the decoration (Figure 1 and 2). The second type is the swords of a lower class. They are placed on the cross in the same manner as the swords described above but are in silver.

Figure 1: Military Merit Cross with war decoration and swords, first class. Image from author's archive

Figure 1: Military Merit Cross with war decoration and swords, first class. Image from author’s archive

 

Figure 2: Military Merit Cross Second Class with war decoration and swords. Image from the author'z archive

Figure 2: Military Merit Cross Second Class with war decoration and swords second class. Image from the author’s archive

 

Figure 3: Military Merit Cross, third class with war decoration and swords. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 3: Military Merit Cross, third class with war decoration and swords. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

 

Swords as found on the Military Merit Medal

The swords found on the Great Military Merit Medal and the Silver and Bronze Military Merit Medals were in the form of crossed gilt swords placed on the ribbon from which the third class cross was suspended (Figures 4-7).

Figure 4: Great Military Merit Medal Signum Laudis), with swords,1916-1917. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 4: Great Military Merit Medal Signum Laudis), with swords,1916-1917. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 5: Bronze Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis) wiht swords. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 5: Bronze Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis) with swords, 1911-1917. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 6: Great Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis), with swords, 1917-1920. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 6: Great Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis), with swords, 1917-1920. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 8: Silver Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis), with swords, 1917-1920. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 7: Silver Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis), with swords, 1917-1920. Image from the author’s archive.

Swords as found on the Gold and Silver Merit Cross with and without crown

The swords found on the Gold and Silver Military Merit Cross with and without crown were in the form of crossed gilt swords placed on the ribbon from which the third class cross was suspended (Figures 8-9).

Figure 8: Gold Merit Cross on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 8: Gold Merit Cross on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 9: Silver Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 9: Silver Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Swords as found on the Iron Merit Cross with and without crown

The swords found on the Iron Merit Cross with and without crown were in the form of crossed gilt swords placed on the ribbon from which the decoration was suspended (Figures 9-10).

Figure 10: Iron Merit Cross on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 10: Iron Merit Cross on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 11: Iron Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 11: Iron Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

The K monogram as found on the Gold and Silver Officer Bravery Medals

The last attachment introduced by the Austro-Hungarian Empire was the K monogram added to the ribbon of the Karl Bravery Medal to denote that those medals with the K were awarded to officers. This attachment was authorized on September 15, 1917 (Figures 12-13).

Figure 12: Officer Silver Bravery Medal. Image from author's archive

Figure 12: Officer Silver Bravery Medal. Image from author’s archive

Figure 13: Officer Gold Bravery Medal. Image from author's archive

Figure 13: Officer Gold Bravery Medal. Image from author’s archive

e…

This concludes the description of the attachments to the orders, medals and decorations of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. I hope you have enjoyed this discussion and have found it interesting. I look forward to sharing the next blog with you.
Rick

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