Franz Joseph Bravery Medal 1915-1917, Part II

Figure 1: Franz Joseph 1915-1917 Gold Bravery Medal, obverse. Image from author’s archive.

Introduction:

In this blog I am going to conclude the discussion of the Bravery Medal (Tapferkeitsmedaille) that was issued in 1915 with the image of Franz Joseph on the obverse. The Bravery Medal as a decoration had existed since it was first established by Joseph II in 1789. The first decorations issued specifically for bravery were called Honor Decorations (Ehrenzeichen) until 1809 when the next decoration in the series was re-named as the Bravery Medal (Tapferkeitsmedaille). In addition to the medal issued in 1789 versions of this medal designated as Honor Medals were issued in 1792 by Franz II and 1804 by Franz I. Versions designated as Bravery Medals were issued prior to 1866 in 1809 by Franz I and in 1839 by Ferdinand I. In 1849 when Franz Joseph came to the throne he modified the bravery medal to assure that it was consistent with the other awards that bore his image during this phase of his reign. He further modified the bravery medal in 1859 and would again in 1866 and for a final time in 1915. In this blog I am going to discuss the Bravery medal as issued from 1915-1917 during Franz Joseph’s reign. In subsequent blogs I will continue to discuss all of the versions of the bravery medal that were issued from 1789-1922. Please refer to part I of this discussion of the 1915 version of the Franz Joseph Bravery Medal for information on the Classes and types of this decoration, the hallmarks associated with the decoration, the design, weight and size, Type of material from which it was constructed, variations, designer and manufacturer and number issued. In this blog I will compete the discussion of this decoration by describing the case in which it was issued, the ribbon on which it was worn, attachments associated with this decoration, a brief description of some notable recipients, miniatures and how it was worn in mounted groups. I hope you enjoy this information.

Case: A red simulated leather case which sometimes has the name of the decoration in silver or gold embossed on the lid. The inside of the lid is in white silk and often has a maker’s logo in gold. The inner portion of the bottom of the case is in black fitted velvet.

Figure 2: Case with silver Bravery Medal, first class, interior. Image from author’s archive.

Figure 3: Silver Bravery Medal I class case, exterior with description. Image from Dorotheum.

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Figure 4: Personalized Case for Bravery Medal, exterior. Image from author’s archive.

Ribbon:

  • A 38 to 42 mm wide crimson and white-laddered war ribbon worn as a tri-fold ribbon. The tri-fold ribbon was worn on the left side of the chest
  • A small rectangular ribbon for this decoration sometimes issued with small attachments to indicate specific awards. This ribbon was introduced in October 27, 1917

Figure 5: War Ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Attachments:

Stainless steel trapezoid shaped bars were introduced on November 29, 1915 to designate repeat award of the bravery medals. The bars came as a single bar, or as two or three bars one above the other. Johann Zimbler of Vienna was the manufacturer of these bars.

  • Second award = a bar 50 mm in length (top edge) and 8 mm wide
  • Third award  = two bars: the first bar is 50 mm in length at the top edge and the second bar is 40 mm in length  (top edge) with both bars being 8 mm wide (Bars are spaced 20 mm apart)
  • Forth  award  = three bars: the first bar is 50 mm in length at the top edge, the second bar is 40 mm in length  (top edge) and the third bar is 30 mm in length with all bars being 8 mm wide (Bars are spaced 20 mm apart)
  • There were two, four time winners of the gold bravery medal
  • Occasionally the bars are inscribed although this was unofficial

Figure 6: Franz Joseph 1915-1917 Silver Bravery Medal, first class, with 4th award bar. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 7: Franz Joseph 1915-1917 Silver Bravery Medal,first class, with 3rd award bar. Image from author’s archive.

Figure 8: Franz Joseph 1915-1917 Silver Bravery Medal, first class, with 2nd award bar. Image from author’s archive.

 

Figure 9: Franz Joseph 1915-1917 Silver Bravery Medal, second class, with personalized 2nd award bar. Image from author’s archive.

 

Figure 10: Julius Arigi, Austro-Hungarian Ace, winner of the Gold Bravery Medal with 3 bars, the Silver Bravery first class Medal with three bars and the silver medal second class and bronze bravery medals with two bars, image from author’s archive

The recipients of the Gold Medal with forth award bare were:

  •  Julius Arigi, Offiziersstellvertreter, FliK 6
  • Kurt Gruber, Offiziersstellvertreter, FliK 60

The recipients of the Gold Medal with third award bare: There were six, three time winners of the gold bravery medal two of whom won their first medal prior to the death of the emperor and thus wore their bars on the 1915 version of the medal. They were:

  • Josef Kiss, Stabsfeldwebel, 72nd Infantry Regiment attached to FliK 55
  • Franz Rybicki, Reserve-Offiziersstellvertreter, 20th Landwehr Schutzen Regiment

There were 32, two-time winners of the gold bravery medal 13 of whom won their first medal prior to the death of the emperor and thus wore their bars on the 1915 version of the medal. These recipients of the Gold Medal with second award bare were: 

  • Ernst Binder, Feldwebel, 20th Honved Infantry Regiment
  • Andreas Durrbacher, Offiziersstellvertreter, 6th infantry Regiment
  • Johann Franek, Offiziersstellvertreter, 20th Landwehr Schutzen Regiment
  • Johann Fritsch Rittter von Cronenwald, See-Fahnrich, Seeflugstation Pola
  • Hasan Karadic, Stabsfeldwebel, Bohemian Field Jaeger Battalion 6
  • Adolf Kind, Feldwebel, FliK 7
  • Julius Kowalczik, Feldwebel, FliK 24
  • Franz Michl, Reserve-Offiziersstellvertreter, 35th infantry Regiment
  • Walter Mikosch, Fahnrich der Reserve, 3rd Tyrolean Kaiser Jaegers
  • Dragutin Petaj , Offiziersstellvertreter, 25th Honved Infantry Regiment
  • Gottfried Russ, Offiziersstellvertreter, FliK 7
  • Josef Siegel, Reserve-Offiziersstellvertreter, FliK 6
  • Karl Tomaides, Feldwebel, 21st Landwehr Infantry Regiment

 

Miniature: Miniatures of this decoration exist.

  • The gold miniatures are 17 mm in diameter and weighs 3.2 grams
  • The silver miniatures are 18 mm in diameter and weighs 3 grams
  • The bronze miniatures are 17.6 mm in diameter and weigh 1.7 grams

Figure 11: Gold Franz Joseph Bravery Medal miniature. Image from author’s archive.

Figure 12: Silver Franz Joseph Bravery Medal miniature. Image from author’s archive.

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Figure 13: Bronze Franz Joseph Bravery Medal miniature. Image from author’s archive.

 

Figure 14: A typical mounted group of medals with Gold Bravery Medal and the Silver Bravery Medal first class. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 15: An Austrian Gefreiter wearing all four Bravery Medals. Image from the author’s archive.

Hope you enjoyed this discussion. Until next time.

Rick

2 Comments
  1. Rick,
    Is there a list of all recipients that were awarded a medal?
    Thank you.

    • Chris
      Given that the number of recipients is known I think it is likely that there is a list of recipients in the Austrian military archives. However I have not seen a published list in my years of research. As you know Austrian awards were no officially named and rarely named in any form thus attributing awards to a recipient is usually not possible. If you are trying to determine if a family member was decorated you might try contacting Hermann Dickowitz who is a member of AOMSA and is affiliated with the Austrian government. He may be able to direct you to such a list or to check on a recipient by name on your behalf. I think you can probably contact Hermann via the OMSA secretary. Rick

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