The Military Merit Medal (Militärverdienstmedaille), 1911-1917 is not at first glance a very important looking decoration. However to the Austrian officer corps and to the empire it was a decoration of substantial significance. This can be recognized when one considers that in the order of precedence of Austrian awards it preceded the Gold Bravery Medal and that until the second year of World War I, all awards were personally presented by the Emperor. In fact this decoration was roughly the equivalent to the American Distinguished Service Medal in regard to the esteem with which its recipients were held within the empire. What follows is the second part of the discussion of this significant award in which I will cover the designer, manufacturer, number issues, case, ribbon attachments, miniatures, certificates and the method of wear.
- Anton Scharff, obverse
- Andreas Neudecks, reverse
- Hauptmunzamt Wien (Imperial Mint, Vienna)
- Jozsef Seifert, Pozson
- W, Schaawb & Co (Uniform distributes who made not have made medals but put their logo on cases of medals they sold
Number Issued: Unknown
Case: This medal came in a wide variety of cases including special presentation cases, some of which are illustrated below.
Ribbon: After October 7, 1915 a 40 mm red and white laddered ribbon for military combatants and a 39 mm crimson red ribbon for civil recipients in a rank/class equivalent to an officer and for military recipients for non-combatant service.
- On December 13, 1916 bronze gilt crossed swords were authorized to be worn on both the bronze and silver decoration on war ribbon
- On April 1, 1916 trapezoid silver gilt stainless steel clasps 8 mm in width were authorized to designate repeat awards of the silver medals, when the clasp was granted for the medal with swords the swords were worn on the top clasp. Medals are known to exist with 3 additional award bars. The bars were manufactured by Josef Zimbler of Vienna and are engraved on the back with his logo.
- Second award = a trapezoid bar 50 mm in length (top edge) and 8 mm in width
- Third award = two trapezoid 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.
- Forth award = three trapezoid 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
Note: Occasionally the bars are engraved with the recipients name or with a presentation inscription. The engraving was unofficial.
Miniature: known to exist
Medals are also found mounted on medal bars:
Award certificates: Military Medals of Merit were accompanied by award certificates as illustrated below
Hope you enjoyed this blog. Until next time I hope you find joy in our shared interest.