Karl Bravery Medal 1917-1922, Part II

Introduction:

In this blog I am continuing the discussion of the Bravery Medal (Tapferkeitsmedaille) that was issued in 1917 with the image of Emperor Karl on the obverse which I commenced in part I of this discussion. Thus this is part II of a two part discussion on this decoration. Please review part I which is the previously published blog if you have not done so in order to place this discussion in its proper context. 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 an 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 1917 in 1809 by Franz I and in 1839 by Ferdinand I. In 1849 it was reissued by Franz Joseph 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. Subsequent to his death the medal was once again modified to conform to the requirements of the new emperor. In this blog I am going to complete the discussion of the enlisted bravery medal as issued from 1917-1922 during Karl’s reign. In subsequent blogs I will discuss the final version of the bravery medal: the officer bravery medal, that was the last type of this historic award which had been issued from 1789-1922.

Number Issued: The number of bravery medals issued from the commencement of World War I to the end of 1918 were:

  • Gold medals = 3,700
  • Silver Medal first class = 143,000
  • Silver medal second class = 384,000
  • Bronze medals = 950,000
  • It should be noted that these numbers include the medals issued with Franz Josephs image and that of Emperor Karl
  • There were  194 Gold Bravery Medals issued  to Austro-Hungarian flight personnel of which 143, were the 1917-1922 type medals with the image of the Emperor Karl on the obverse

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. There are also versions of this case with engraved presentation inscriptions on the lid.

Figure : Plain bravery medal case

 

 

Figure : Case with inscription. Image from Dorotheum.

 

 

 

Figure : Case with presentation inscription. Image form the author’s archive.

 

 

Figure 4: War Ribbon. Image from the 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 was introduced in October 27, 1917.

Attachments:  Stainless steel trapezoid shaped bars to designate repeat award of the bravery medals. Johann Zimbler of Vienna was the manufacturer of these bars which are engraved on the back with his logo.

  • Second award = a bar 50 mm in length (top edge) and 8 mm wide
  • Third award  = two bars: 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: 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). Occasionally the bars are engraved although this was unofficial.
  • There were two, four time winners of the gold bravery medal (Both received the 1916 version of the award)
  • There were six, three time winners of the gold bravery medal of which 4 received the 1917 version of the medal
  • There were 32, two-time winners of the gold bravery medal, 19 of which received the 1917 version of the medal

Figure 5: Gold Bravery Medal with forth award bar. Image from author’s archive

Figure 6: Gold Bravery Medal with third award bar. Image from author’s archive

Figure 7: Gold Bravery Medal with second award bar. Image from author’s archive

The recipients of this version of the Gold Medal with third award bare were:

  • Eugene Bonsch, Zugsfuhrer, FliK 51
  • Stephan Fejes, Stabsfeldwebel, FliK 51
  • Friedrich Hefty, Stabsfeldwebel, FliK 51
  • Franz Pichl, See-Kadett, Seeflugstation Triest

The recipients of this version Gold Medal with second award bare were: 

  • Emmerich Csengeri, Offiziersstellvertreter, 39th Infantry Regiment
  • Reinhold Heinrich, Stabsfeldwebel, FliK 15
  • Alexander Kasza, Zugsfuhrer, FliK 55
  • Alexander Klefacz, Feldwebel, FliK 59
  • Ferdinand Knotig, Stabsfeldwebel, FliK 11
  • Hugo Konig, Feldwebel, FliK 51
  • Franz Koudela, Landsturm-Stabsfeldwebel, FliK 26
  • Otto Kuntz, ElektroQuartierMeister, Seeflugstation Triest
  • Konstantine Ruzsa, Offiziersstellvertreter, 43rd Infantry Regiment
  • Rudolf Kusterle, Zugsfuhrer, FliK 46
  • Josef Pawlitschek, Landsturm-offiziersstellvertreter, 1st Infantry Regiment
  • Johann Risztics, Stabsfeldwebel, FliK 42
  • Alexader Sas, Reserv-Offiziersstellvertreter, 23rd Infantry Regiment
  • Michael Schwach, Feldwebel, FliK 6
  • Franz Slanina, Feldwebel, FliK 23
  • Lajos Telessy, Feldwebel, FliK 9
  • Ferdinand Udvardy, Zugsfuhrer, FliK 42
  • Karl Urban, Landsturm-Stabsfeldwebel, FliK 14
  • Hans Wanneck, Feurwerker, FliK 11

The recipient of this version Large Silver Bravery Medal with forth award bare was:

  •  Julius Arigi, Offiziersstellvertreter, FliK 6

·         There was one recipient of the enlisted and officers gold medal and that was Karl Ritter von Eiss who received the enlisted medal as a cadet in May 1915 and the officers award as a Oberleutnant der Reserve in 1918.

Miniature:  Miniatures for this decoration exist.

  • The gold miniatures are 17 mm in diameter and weigh 3.2 grams
  • The silver miniatures are 20.7 mm in diameter and weigh 2.6 grams
  • The bronze miniatures are 16 mm in diameter and weigh 2.1grams

Figure 8: Gold Bravery Medal miiature, obverse and reverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 9: Silver Bravery Medal miiature, obverse and reverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 10: Bronze Bravery Medal miiature, obverse and reverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 11: Silver Bravery Medal miniature, with second award bar. Image from the author’s archive.

Examples of groups with bravery medals:

Figure 12: Group of 5 awards including the Karl Silver Bravery Medal, first class and the Franz Joseph Bronze Bravery Medal: Image from the author’s archive

 

Figure 13: Group of 6 awards including the Karl Silver Bravery Medal, second class and the Karl Bronze Bravery Medal: Image from the author’s archive

 

Figure 14: An Austrian Feldwebel wearing the 1917 type gold and silver bravery medal first class. Image from the author’s archive.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog. Next time I will be describing the Medal for the Founding of the Emperor Joseph Medical Academy.

Rick

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