Officer Bravery Medal 1917-1922 Part II

Figure 1: Gold Officer Bravery Medal, obverse. Image from the author’s archive

Introduction:

In this blog I am going to conclude a discussion of the Bravery Medal (Tapferkeitsmedaille) as issued to officers in 1917 with the image of Emperor Karl 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 officer bravery medal as issued from 1917-1922 during Karl’s reign which was the last type of this historic award which had been issued from 1789-1922.

Medal Numismatics:

Number Issued:  

  • About 1200 to 1500 Silver Officer Bravery Medals were issued between 1917 and 1922
  • Approximately 360 Gold Officer Bravery Medals were issued between 1917 and 1922

Case: A red simulated leather case the top of lids of which were sometimes inscribed with the name of the decoration. Special presentation cases also existed with a presentation inscription on the lid.

Figure 2: Case for the Officer Silver Bravery Medal. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 3: Presentation case for the SIlver Officer Bravery Medal. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 4: Plain case for the Officer Bravery Medal. Image from the author’s archive.

 

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

Ribbon: A 38 to 42 mm crimson and white laddered tri-fold ribbon worn on  the left side of he chest.

A small rectangular ribbon for this decoration sometimes issued with small attachments was introduced in October 27, 1917.

Attachments: 

  • An 18 mm high gold or silver K monogram composed of bullion thread or metal. The bullion K was the first issue and the metal K came later in the war

 

Figure 6: Gold Officer Bravery Medal, obverse. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 7: Silver Officer Bravery Medal, obverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

  • Silver trapezoid shaped bars introduced on November 29, 1915 to designate repeat award of the bravery medals. There was no provision for a second award of the officer’s bravery medal. However after the war Oberstleutnant Johann Charvat claimed to have received a second award of the gold medal (see below) Johann Zimbler of Vienna manufactured these bars which are engraved on the back with his logo.

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

Miniature:  Miniatures are known to exist

Figure 8: Chain with miniature of the silver officer Bravery Medal. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 9: Gold Officer Bravery Medal miniature. Image from author’s archive

Example of a court mounted bar with gold and silver officers bravery medals

Figure 10: Court mounted bar of 8 awards including the gold and silver officer bravery medal. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

 

Figure 11: Oberst Anton Lehar wearing the Gold Officers Bravery Medal. Image form 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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