Figure 1: Military Service Decoration for Non-Commissioned Officers and Troops
Third Class, 1913-1918. Image from the author’s archive.

Introduction:

With this blog I am going to complete the discussion of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian service crosses for troops and non-commissioned officers. In this series of blogs I have discussed the full range of service crosses awarded to enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers issued from 1849 – 1918. In this blog I will complete the discussion by describing the Non-Commissioned Officers and Troops Service Cross Third Class, 1913-1918 (Militärdienstzeichen III Klasse für Unteroffiziere und Mannschaften).

Date Issued: 1911 – 1918

Reason Issued: To reward Non-commissioned officers and troops of the Austrian army and navy who had served six years of active service faithfully and honorably.

Classes or Types: This cross was issued in one type.

Interesting Facts:

  • Only the highest grade of the service cross which had been earned could be worn.
  • Crosses at the end of World War I were made of zinc with bronze centers
  • Time in service was counted toward receipt of this award in two ways: piece time service was counted one year for one year, during a military campaign each year of service was counted as two years.

Hallmarks: None known

Design: A clawed cross in the Leopold style with arms that widen toward the ends.  The cross has a ball shaped eye at the top to which is attached a ring for attaching the cross to the ribbon.

Figure 2: Military Service Decoration for Non-Commissioned Officers and Troops
Third Class, 1913-1918, obverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Obverse: A cross with a granulated surface.  The edges of the arms of the cross are tapered.  The arms of the cross have a 2 mm smooth edge.  Inside the smooth edge is a pearled design, which also follows the contour of the cross.  In the center of the cross is a 16 mm disk of the same material as the cross. Around the edge of the disk two lines, while in its center is the Roman Numeral VI.

Figure 3: Military Service Decoration for Non-Commissioned Officers and Troops
Third Class, 1913-1918, reverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 4: Type II Reverse: As described above except the reverse has a rivet for attaching the obverse disk. Image from the author’s archive.

 

 

 

Reverse:  The reverse of the cross is usually plain.  It may, however, have a rivet hole for attaching the obverse disk.

Weight: 9.6 grams

Size: 34 mm in diameter

Type of Material: Gilded bronze (Tombac), brass, zinc war metal

Variations: There are several variations of this decoration:

  • Type I cross: As described above
  • Type II cross: A zinc cross with bronze center disk
  • Type I reverse: As described above
  • Type II reverse: As described above except the reverse has a rivet for attaching the obverse disk
  • Type I Suspension: As described above
  • Type II Suspension: As described above except with a thin flat wedge shaped eye
  • Type III Suspension: As described above except with a round loop shaped eye

Designer: Unknown

Manufacturer: Hauptmunzamt Wien (Imperial Mint, Vienna)

Number Issued: Unknown

Case: Unknown

Figure 5: Military Service Decoration for Non-Commissioned Officers and Troops Third Class, 1913-1918 ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

 Ribbon: Imperial gold with an 8 mm black stripe 3 mm from each edge.

  • A small rectangular ribbon for this decoration sometimes issued with small attachments to indicate specific awards was introduced in October 27, 1917.

Attachments: None

Miniature: Known to exist

Figure 6: Military Service Decoration for Non-Commissioned Officers and Troops
Third Class, 1913-1918 miniature. 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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