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.

Figure 2: Iron Merit cross regular issue case by Jauner. Image from the author’s archive.

Case: The award came in several type cases. The regular issue case was two-piece and of white cardboard. It measured 100 mm by 60 mm. Privately manufactured boxes in red, brown and yellow are known to exist. These cases came with a smooth finish and with a simulated crocodile skin finish. On the cover of these cases appeared the letters E.V.K. or E.V.K./m.d.k in two lines in black. On the exterior of the bottom of these cases is often found the name of the manufacturer. Crosses were also issued in boxes of better construction. These boxes resembled the boxes for the Gold and Silver Merit Crosses but were made of red cardboard or simulated leather. Some boxes had no inscription on the outer lid while others had the following inscriptions E.V.K. or in two lines: E.V.K./m.d.k. embossed in gold. The inside of the lid is white. The inside of the case is also white. The bottom of the case is off-white. The inner liner of the lid of the cases was in white silk and often marked with the makers logo in gold. The inner portion of the bottom of the case was fawn colored simulated velvet and was fitted.

Figure 3: Iron Merit Cross case as used by G.A. Scheid. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 4: Iron Merit Cross case as used by Zimbler. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 5: Iron Merit Cross simulated leather case as used by Zimbler. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 6: Iron Merit Cross with crown case interior. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 7: Iron Merit Cross case interior. Image from the author’s archive.

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Figure 8: Ribbon issued for civil merit by military personnel. issued in a small rectangular form on October 27, 1917. Image from the author’s archive.

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Figure 9: War ribbon issued for combatant service, issued in a small rectangular form on October 27, 1917. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Ribbon: The ribbon came in two variations. They are:

  • For military merit, a 40 mm wide red and white-laddered ribbon the same as is used for the bravery medals.
  • For civil merit a 40 mm wide Ponceau-red ribbon.
  • Civilians could only receive the award for war related services and thus on the bravery ribbon. Military personnel could receive the award on both the bravery ribbon and the red ribbon. Awards on the red ribbon are uncommon and were discontinued after February 7, 1917

Figure 10: A small rectangular ribbon for this decoration sometimes issued with small attachments to indicate specific awards was introduced in October 27, 1917. Image form the author’s archive.

Hope you enjoyed this blog. Until next time when I will complete my description of the Iron Merit Cross I hope you find joy in our shared interest

Rick

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