Military Merit Medal, 1911-1917, Part II

Introduction:

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.

Designer:

  • Anton Scharff, obverse
  • Andreas Neudecks, reverse

Manufacturer:

  • 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.

Figure 1: Silver medal case, interior with the Silver Medal of Merit with swords and second award bar on war ribbon. Image from the authors Archive.

Figure 2: Silver Military Medal case, exterior. Image form the author’s archive.

Figure 3: Bronze medal case, interior with the Bronze Medal of Merit on war ribbon. Image from the authors Archive.

Figure 4: Bronze Military Medal case, exterior. Image form the author’s archive.

Figure 5: Silver presentation medal case, interior with the Silver Medal of Merit Type II on civil ribbon . Image from the authors Archive.

Figure 6: Silver Military Medal presentation case, exterior. Image form the author’s archive.

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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.

Figure 7: War Ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 8: Civil Ribbon. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 9: Rectangular chest ribbon with Silver Military Merit Medal attachment. Image from the author’s archive .

Figure 10: Rectangular chest ribbon with Bronze Military Merit Medal attachment. Image from the author’s archive .

Figure 11: Rectangular chest ribbon with Bronze Military Merit Medal attachment. Image from the author’s archive.

Attachments:

  • 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.

Figure 12: Bronze Military Merit Medal with swords on war ribbon. Image from the authors Archive.

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Figure 13: Silver Military Merit Medal with second and third award bars and swords on war ribbon. Image from the authors Archive.

Miniature: known to exist

Figure 14: a group of eight miniatures on a chain including Bronze and Silver Military Merit Medals with swords. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Medals are also found mounted on medal bars:

Figure 15: a mounted group of seven medals including the silver and Bronze Military Merit Medals on war ribbon with swords. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Award certificates: Military Medals of Merit were accompanied by award certificates as illustrated below

Figure 16: Bronze Military Merit Medal award document of December 1915, Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 17: Silver5 Military Merit Medal award document of June 1917, Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 18: Hauptman Josef Flicker of Combat Assault Battalion 17 wearing three Military Merit Medals. A Silver Military Merit Medal on war ribbon with second award bar and swords, A Bronze Military Merit Medal on war ribbon with swords and a Bronze Military Merit Medal on Civil Ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Hope you enjoyed this blog. Until next time I hope you find joy in our shared interest.

 

Rick

 

 

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