Bavarian Gold Bravery Medal Recipient Ludwig Schefthaller

The type of Bavarian Bravery Medal citation shown below detailed the actions of a soldier who was awarded the Gold Bavarian Bravery Medal.  This type of document was issued as a companion document to the official award document (Verleihungs-Urkunde).  The document was a pre-printed single page and the particulars of the soldier on this document were hand-written and the citation details were type-written.

 

The header of this particular document states:

“Seine Majestät der König haben Sich am 3. November 1917 Allergnädigst bewogen gefunden, dem Gefreiter der Reserve der 1. M.G.K. 19. Infanterie=Regiment ——- Ludwig Schefthaller —— die goldene Tapferkeits-Medaille zu verleihen.  —Zur Bestätigung wird diese Verleihungs=Urkunde ausgestellt.”

 

A rough translation into English:

“His Majesty the King has Himself on November 3rd, 1917 graciously found cause, to award Lance-Corporal of the Reserve of the 1st Machine Gun Company 19th Infantry Regiment Ludwig Schefthaller the Golden Bravery Medal.  In confirmation this Award Document is issued.”

 

The body of the citation states:

“Gefreiter Schefthaller war mit seinem Maschinengewehr in Raume der 1./19. Infanterie-Regiments bei Ostermorgengat eingesetzt. Bei dem Angriff der Engländer am 16.8.1917 fiel gleich zu Beginn die ganze Gewehrbedienung durch Tod und Verwundung aus.

Gefreiter Schefthaller, obwohl selbst an einem Oberarm zweimal verwundet, hielt, den Ernst der Lage erkennend, standhaft an seinem Gewehr aus und bediente es allein weiter. Auch durch eine dritte Verwundung am Halse ließ er sich am Schießen nicht hindern und trug dadurch wesentlich zur Abwehr des Angriffes bei. Er verließ sein Gewehr, mit dem er allein an 3000 Schuß abgegeben hatte, erst nach einer vierten Verwundung durch Granatsplitter am rechten Auge, die den Verlust des Auges zur Folge hatte.

Auch jetzt begab er sich nicht sogleich zum Verbandplatz, sondern erstattete zuerst dem Kampftruppen-Kommandeur Bericht über die Lage vorne und sorgte für Munitions-Nachschub.”

 

A rough translation into English:

“Lance-Corporal Schefthaller was emplaced with his machine-gun in the position of the 1st Company, 19th Infantry-Regiment at Ostermorgengat. Right at the outset of the attack by the Englishmen on August 16, 1917 all of the guns went out of service through death or wounding.

Lance-Corporal Schefthaller, although himself wounded twice in the upper arm, held, recognizing the seriousness of the situation, steadfastly at his gun and further served it alone. Even by a third wound on his neck, he could not be prevented from shooting, and thereby contributed essentially to the defense of the attack. He left his gun, with which he had alone fired 3000 shots, only after the fourth wound by shrapnel in the right eye, which entailed the loss of the eye.

Even now he proceeded not straight away to the field-hospital, but returned first to the Combat-Troops-Commander to report on the position in front and provided for ammunition-supplies.”

 

The document is dated “München, 2. November 1918”.  At the bottom of the document is the pre-printed seal of the Royal Bavarian War Ministry (Königlich Bayerisches Kriegsministerium).  At the bottom of the document is the signature “von Hellingrath”.  Lieutenant-General (Generalleutnant) Philipp von Hellingrath1 was the Royal Bavarian War Minister (Kriegsminister) after December 11, 1916.  He was also the representative of Bavaria at the Federal Council of the German Empire (Bevollmächtigter zum Bundesrat des Deutschen Reichs).  He retired on November 25, 1918.

In peacetime Ludwig Schefthaller was a farm day laborer in Neuenhinzenhausen.  He was born on June 26, 1891 at Neuenhinzenhausen in the Oberpfalz.

On August 16, 1917, the Royal Bavarian 19th Infantry Regiment, which was part of the 5th Bavarian Division, was heavily involved in the defensive fighting in the area south of St. Julien, east of Ypres, during the Battle of Langemarck.  I can find no modern reference to “Ostermorgengat”.  It was most likely a German name for a defensive position.

 

 

Image 1

Image 1: Citation regarding the award of the Bavarian Gold Bravery Medal to Gefreiter Ludwig Schefthaller.  Image from author’s archive.

 

 

Thus we have an old, soiled and worn piece of paper which tells an interesting story of extraordinary bravery.

Thank you for your interest regarding this article.  Comments are welcome.

– Lorin

 

Literature:

Bearbeitet vom Bayerischen Kriegsarchiv. Bayerns Goldenes Ehrenbuch. Verlag Joseph Hyronimus, München, 1928.

United States.  War Department.  General Staff.  Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army Which Participated in the War (1914-1918).  Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1920.

Annotations:

  1. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philipp_von_Hellingrath
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Langemarck_(1917)

 

5 Comments
  1. Hello Lorin,

    Here you show the award document in the form after 2 March 1918.

    The Bavarian Military Merit Medal was awarded with a certificate of award. From 2 March 1918, the long overdue official renaming of the “Military Merit Medal” in “Medal of Valor” was completed. Here, therefore, a new large document with current text had to be created. In accordance with the Bavarian Military Max Joseph Order, the documents were issued with a description of the act. In addition, provisional property certificates were issued in the field and sent the “deed of assignment with the deed” to the home community for a delivery to the family. All those who had been loaned before March 2, 1918, were also sent home with the deed, and were allowed to keep the former deed without action and with the title Military Merit Medal.
    Thus, before March 2, 1918 Beliehener received two certificates. A borrower who was loaned after March 2, 1918, received in the field a “Vorläufiges Besitzzeugnis” certificate of ownership and the document with the deed home.

    Best regards
    Walter

    • Servus Walter,

      Thank you for your very detailed information regarding MVM/TKM award documents. You mention the “Vorläufiges Besitzzeugnis” given to soldiers after March 2, 1918. I have not seen these very often. There is the example of Silver TKM recipient Georg Schwartz shown in “Aviation Awards of Imperial Germany in World War I, Volume I-The Aviation Awards of the Kingdom of Bavaria” by the late Neal O’Connor on Page 149. The “Vorläufiges Besitzzeugnis” of Georg Schwartz is dated December 4, 1919, for his award of the Silver TKM on October 24, 1919, for actions on April 21, 1918, and June 9, 1918. His “Verleihungs-Urkunde” is also shown, and is dated November 20, 1925! Thus, it seems that not all awards were processed during 1918 in a timely fashion, and some soldiers received documentation (and possibly medals) after the Armistice of November 11, 1918.

      MfG,

      Lorin

  2. Servus Walter,

    I have enlarged the “Auszug” (Abstract) which I find very interesting. Thank you for this source of information.

    MfG,

    Lorin

  3. Servus Lorin,
    The documents and data must be considered carefully. I try to explain with few sentences.

    The “award date” is always backdated to the day of the act. The reason for this is that the lender does not suffer any financial disadvantage from a later award. For there was a half of the silver military merit medal and a whole salary for the golden medal (see article IX of the statutes).

    The MVM bearers were first proposed for the award ceremony. These proposals had to be dealt with and approved or rejected in a war committee convened at regular intervals (in the field!). The results of this commission including the fact descriptions were sent to the homeland for approval by the king. Prepared by the War Department, they were presented to the King with a request to issue his approval. After approval, a certificate was issued.

    This results in three different data.
    1. The day of action
    2. The day of approval by the king
    3. The date of issue of the certificate.

    The day of approval by the King (2.) and the date of completion of the document below (3.) 2. and 3. can be found on the documents. The award is always fixed retroactively to the day of the day. This is also quite good on the publications in the ordinance sheets of the Bavarian Ministry of War. As examples you can see the excerpts from the VOBl. KM in Appendix 4 of the following book.

    The above-mentioned procedure is evident from the Army Commands of March 23, 1807 and December 18, 1808 (Sh. my book, “Der Tapferkeit” Appendix 5, pages 803-805).

    Now to the Provisional Property Certificates and deeds with the deed, which were issued until well after the war. These are only settlements of the awards of the World War. In the documents issued after the end of the WW, it can be seen in the seal that the crown on the coat of arms and the Koenig. has fallen off. Of course, the head of the document has been changed after the kingdom was abolished.

    By way of example I show a deed with the act for a golden valor medal.

    I hope that the fog on the topic of Bavarian medal for bravery will be less.

    greetings from Bavaria
    Walter

    • Servus Walter,

      Thank you for your very thorough explanation of the award process and documentation. Thank you also for showing us the “Verleihungs-Urkunde” of Nikolaus Moosmang. I hope to provide more examples regarding MVM/TKM documents in the future.

      MfG,

      Lorin

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