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

Introduction: In this the fourth and final blog regarding the Iron Merit Cross I will describe and discuss the attachments, miniatures and certificates associated with this decoration.

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.

Attachments: There are two attachment found on this decoration.

  • 38 mm crossed bronze gilt swords. The award of this decoration with swords was authorized in December 13, 1916 to reward those who earned the cross in combat; however the award of the decoration with swords was infrequent

Figure 2: Iron Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon. with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 3: Iron Merit Cross on war ribbon. with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

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  • A metal second award clasp was authorized on November 2, 1917. This clasp was composed of a trapezoid shaped silver metal bar.  when swords were also awarded they were placed on the bar. Johann Zimbler of Vienna made these bars. Occasionally these bars are engraved.

Figure 4: Iron Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon. with second award bar and swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 5: Iron Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon. with second award bar. Image from the author’s archive.

Miniature: Several types and sizes known to exist

Figure 6: Iron Merit Cross on war ribbon , Miniature with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 7: Iron Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon , Miniature. Image from the author’s arlchive.

 

The iron Merit Cross can often be found in court mounted groups as seen below

 

 

Figure 8: Medal bar in the Austrian style with the Iron Merit Cross on war ribbon. Image form the author’s archive.

 

The Iron Merit Cross was accompanied by a verification document that assured the holder was a qualified recipient

Figure 9: Iron Merit Cross with crown verification document. Image from the Author’s archive.

The first awards of this decoration took place as a result of the Supreme Commander’s Resolution of July 10, 1917. Altogether 130 were issued to the army at this time. Of these 24 were the Iron Merit Cross with crown on the ribbon of the bravery medal, 78 were the Iron Merit Cross with crown on the red ribbon, 7 the Iron Merit Cross on the ribbon of the bravery medal and 21 the Iron Merit Cross on the red ribbon.

The first awards to the navy took place as a result of the Supreme Commander’s resolution of July 16, 1916. Altogether 113 were issued at this time. Of these 82 were the Iron Merit Cross with crown on the ribbon of the bravery medal and 31 of the Iron Merit Cross on the ribbon of the bravery medal. No Iron Merit Crosses on the red ribbon were issued.

Figure 10: An Air Fleet trooper wearing the Iron Merit Cross on war ribbon. Image form the author’s archive.

Figure 11: A zugsfuhrer wearing the Iron Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon. 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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