War Crosses / Croix de Guerre

This topic contains 19 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  mtjester 1 year, 5 months ago.

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    Croix de Guerre / War Crosses
    It may be a bad idea to combine this incredibly complex award in a single thread, but we can start out that way?

    I also feel stupid in suggesting an English translation here. For this one, I’d prefer to stick to Croix de Guerre.

    Created 23 Deceember 1914. The ribbon was, of course, derived from that for the Médaille de Sainte-Hélène .

    The ribbon devices used remain (essentially) constant:

    Bronze star – a brigade, regiment, or other small unit citation

    Silver star – a division citation

    Gilt star – a corps citation

    Bronze palm – an army citation

    Silver palm – used to replace five bronze palms (I think of it as an aviator’s award)

    In theory, the decoration ought not appear with a "naked" ribbon?



    Appears with reverse dates of:

    With variants?

    This is a 1914-1918 variety, probably awarded to a US serviceman, as it uses a US-style bronze star for a brigade (etc.) ciattion.

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    The original Croix de Guerre was intended for award for operations in metropolitan France. On 30 April 1921, a variety was established for services outside France, especially in the colonies.

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    On 18 October 1939, the Croix de Guerre was reestablished for the new war. The history of this award during the war is complex, and reflects France’s experiences during that war.

    The official cross has the reverse dates of "1939-1945".

    A less official variety with the reverse dates of only "1939" was created in Algeria, by General Henri Giraud, on 16 March 1943.

    There are also the awards of the Vichy government.

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    – The official WWII war cross is the "1939" one, established on 26 september 1939. The "1939-1945" war cross is an unofficial post war made, there is no text about it but apparently it is now accepted as "official"

    – The "1939-1940" cross was introduced on 28 march 1941 by the Vichy’s government. It was awarded as a replacement to those who already received the "1939" cross but only after re-examination of their citation.
    Some crosses bearing the dates "1939-1941", "1939-1942", "1939-1943", "1939-1944" are known. They are unofficial.

    – A cross known as "légionnaire" cross was instituted for soldiers who fought on the eastern front within the german army (LVF). It was a unofficial private cross.

    – There is a London made of the war cross for the free french without date on the reverse.

    – The Giraud war cross established on 16 march 1943 bear the "1943" date on the reverse and 2 crossed flags on the obverse.

    – The "1939" war cross was re-established on 7 january 1944 by de Gaulle. London, north-african and italian mades are known. After this date it was the only official cross and replaced the London, Giraud and Vichy’s cross.



    Hi Ed,

    This is a good start !! Bravo !!

    Let’s see how this thread will evolve… but I’m afraid we’ll need to give each Croix de Guerre its own thread, to avoid confusion.
    I will do it later with a cut and paste process as soon as I will be allowed (and able) to do it.

    I think we’ll need :
    * Croix de Guerre 1914-1918
    * Croix de Guerre TOE
    * Croix de Guerre 1939-1945
    * Croix de Guerre 1939-1940 (Vichy)
    * Croix de Guerre LVF (Légion des Volontaires Français)
    * Croix de Guerre Giraud
    For each of these, there are enough varieties to allow a specific thread…





    Thanks François-Xavier for all these details about the WW2 Croix de Guerre. Our messages arrived simultaneously…
    All the points you raised show that there are anough varieties or variations to allow us specific threads… Let’s see how the debate progress…




    -(…) The "1939-1945" war cross is an unofficial post war made, there is no text about it but apparently it is now accepted as "official"

    That’s a good point. If we could find any period text implementing the 1939-1945 Cross as official, it would be a plus…



    john f.

    Was the Croix de Guerre always awarded with either a star or palm device attached?




    I don’t know the answer for sure. However I seen photo of US Soldiers wearing the full size World War 1 version medal with no devices on the ribbon drape.


    paul wood

    The various stars palms etc denote various mentions in despatches. I would assume that immediate battlefield awards would not necessarily have emblems.




    There is no immediate battlefield award, the star or palm on the cross is just the materialization of the citation who is the real award.


    Frank Dutil

    The Croix de Guerre is more or less an MID, the ribbon devices denote how broad the despatch actually went, regimental, brigade, division, corps, army…

    To my knowledge, the CdG was always awarded with such a ribbon device.


    john f.

    Hi Gents,

    Thanks for the replies! So it is safe to assume that a CdG without any attachments on the ribbon is an un-awarded medal?



    Greetings gentlemen, I wrote an article on the Croix de Guerre for JOMSA and I expect it to be coming out in the near future but for now let me address the issues. All Croix de Guerres were issued with a device so one without it is unissued. Makers can still make the medals til this day. The devices reflect the unit issuing the medal and the devices are bronze, silver and gold stars then a bronze palm and finally a silver palm that represents the award of five bronze palms.

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