Figure 1: iron Merit cross with crown on war ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Date Issued: April 1, 1916 – 1922

Reason Issued:  To reward NCOs, Gagisten without rank or class (Military officials who had no place in the hierarchy of military rank), enlisted military personnel and civilians for important services rendered in support of the war effort, life saving and important salvage work. Thus the recipients were usually military personnel and officials in technical specialties. Awards were also issued to those NCOs and military officials including Gagisten after September 26, 1917 who had been born on or before 1865 and 1866 and who had volunteered to serve for the duration of the war and who had served to date with distinction. In 1918 the crosses were authorized for those NCOs and military officials including Gagisten who had been born before 1867 and who had volunteered to serve for the duration of the war and who had served to date with distinction. Foreign military personnel could also be granted the award for meritorious service in support of the war effort.

Weight: There is a wide variation in weights because the crosses were made in war metal and iron, and by several manufacturers

  • Iron Merit Cross with crown = 9.6 – 18.8 grams
  • Iron Merit Cross = 10 – 17.5 grams

Size:

  • Iron Merit Cross with crown = 35 mm in width and 55-57 mm in height, including the crown, the cross is 5 mm thick at the center.
  • Iron Merit Cross = 35 mm in diameter and 5 mm thick at the center

Type of Material: Rust resistant gray iron, gun metal or zinc alloy (war metal)

Variations: The following variations are known to exist:

Iron Merit Cross with crown:

  • Type I:  As described above.
  • Type II:  As described in Type I except in war metal
  • Type III:  The same as Type I except that all aspects of the cross are less thick.  This version appears much more delicate when placed next to Type I. This cross has a diameter of 35 mm, a center section of 17 mm with arms that are 5 mm at the base and 12 mm at the tip. The banderoles on this version are distinctly finer
  • Type IV:  The same as Type III except in war metal.
  • Type V:  The same as Type I except the crown is thicker and there are no banderoles attaching the crown to the cross. This cross has been seen in metal with a gray paint finish.
  • Type VI:  The same as Type V except in war metal.
  • Type VII: The same as type I except the crown is much more convex. The crown, which is 20 mm wide and 8 mm thick closely, resembles the crown of the Military Merit Medal.

Iron Merit cross:

  • Type I: As described above.
  • Type II: As described in Type I except in war metal
  • Type III: The same as Type I except that all aspects of the cross are less thick. This version appears much more delicate when placed next to Type I. This cross has a diameter of 35 mm, a center section of 17 mm with arms that are 5 mm at the base and 12 mm at the tip.
  • Type IV: The same as Type III except in war metal.
  • Type V: the same as type I except in brass or tomback

Figure 2: Type V iron Merit Cross. Image from the author’s archive.

Designer: Unknown

Manufacturer:

  • Heinrich Jauner,
  • Josef Zimbler,
  • G.A. Scheid,
  • Winter and Adler
  • Gyorffy–Wolf Metallwarenfabriks Hungary,
  • Franz Kuhmayer, purveyor of Military Uniforms, Pozsony, Hungary (May be a provider of decorations manufactured by others)

Number Issued:

  • Iron Merit Cross with Crown on the war ribbon with swords = unknown
  • Iron Merit Cross with Crown on the war ribbon = Unknown
  • Iron Merit Cross with Crown on the civil ribbon = Unknown
  • Iron Merit Cross on the war ribbon with swords = Unknown
  • Iron Merit Cross on the war ribbon = unknown
  • Iron Merit Cross on the civil ribbon = unknown

Order of Precedence:

  • Iron Merit Cross with Crown, Number 49 after the Silver Merit Cross and before the Iron Merit Cross
  • Iron Merit Cross, Number 50 after the Iron Merit Cross with Crown and before the 1873 War Medal

Hope you enjoyed this blog. Until next time when I will describe the Case and ribbon of the Iron Merit Cross, I hope you find joy in our shared interest

Rick

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