Figure 1: Wound Medal, Image from the author’s archive

Introduction:

In this blog I am going to discuss the Wound Medal (Verwundtenmedaillen). This medal was created by emperor and King Karl to recognize those who became ill or were wounded as a consequence of their military service in World War I.

Date Issued: August 12, 1918 – 1922

Reason Issued: To reward members of the armed forces of all ranks who were wounded or became seriously ill while serving in the combat theater of operations.

Classes or Types: This medal was issued in six types.

  • Wound Medal for invalids
  • Wound Medal for one wound
  • Wound Medal for two wounds
  • Wound Medal for three wounds
  • Wound Medal for four wounds
  • Wound Medal for five or more wounds

Interesting Facts:

  • Prior to the founding of this award, wounded soldiers wore a strip of red cloth on their caps to represent having been wounded
  • This is the last award authorized by Emperor Karl.
  • The number of wounds is signified by the number of red stripes on the center of the ribbon
  • All wounds received in a single day were counted as one wound
  • Five stripes was the maximum number possible on the ribbon
  • Members of foreign legions and civil auxiliary units such as the Red Cross could receive this award
  • The medal was not issued posthumously
  • Recipients received a small document verifying the award when it was issued.
  • Recipients of subsequent awards of the decoration received a ribbon with the new number of stripes
  • The highest ranking general to receive this award was Genealoberst Schonburg-Hartenstein (Wound Medal with 2 strips)
  • The highest ranking naval officer to receive this award was Admiral Horthy
  • A very small number of medals were awarded before the war’s end, but most of the medals and ribbons were produced, and the majority of the recipients received their medals, after the war directly from the manufacturers.

Hallmarks:

  • The word Bronze within a rectangle
  • W& A (The mark of Winter and Adler)
  • The date 1918 (found on the same medals as those with the Winter and Adler mark
  • GW 18
  • HMA 1918 HauptMunzAmpt (State Mint)

Design: A round medal with a raised rim and an attached square eye.

Figure 2: Wound Medal, obverse. Image from the author’s archive

Obverse: The bust of Emperor Karl in profile facing the viewer’s right. Above the bust is inscribed CAROLVS.  Below the bust are two laurel branches crossed and tied at the stem.  At the base of the bust is inscribed the designers name, R. Placht (Richard Placht).

Figure 3: Wound Medal, reverse. Image from the author’s archive

Reverse:  The reverse of the medal is inscribed in three lines LAESO/ MILITI/.MCMXVIII. (For Wounded Warriors 1918). This is a shortened version of the Latin inscription LAESO ET INVICTO MILITI (for wounded and undefeated soldiers) taken from a speech on the occasion of the 1748 establishment of the Berlin Military Hospital.

Weight: 21.4 – 23.1 grams

Size: 3738 mm in diameter and 3 mm thick.

Type of Material:

  • Zinc-alloy
  • Bronze with a gray wash.

Variations:

  • Type I: as described above in Zinc. These medals were made by Winter and Adler
  • Type II: as described above in bronze with a gray wash. These medals are as described but are finer made and are thinner being 2.5 mm thick and weighing 21.4 grams. His type medal is usually hallmarked on the rim near the suspension with the word BRONZE in a rectangle

Designer: Richard Placht

Manufacturer: There was more than one manufacturer. One of them was Winter and Adler

Number Issued: 3,600,000 persons were eligible to receive the award.

Case: Unknown

Hope you enjoyed this blog. Until next time when I will continue my discussion of the Wound Medal, I hope you find joy in our shared interest

Rick

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4 Comments
  1. Rick, Thanks for this informative blog. I have also seen the hallmark B.18 on these medals. Do you know who the manufacturer would be of these hallmarks?

    • Mr. Bernard
      I have not Seen the hallmark you are describing previously. However I will offer the following as an educated guess. The Letter B is the hallmark of Anthal Bachruch of Budapest. Thus it is a possible that B18 is indicating that the medal was made by Bachruch in 1918. I do not know this as a fact but it is a possibility. I appreciate your bringing this mark which I have not seen to my attention. If you are able to take a picture of it I would very much like to see it.
      Rick

  2. Rick,
    Picture supplied. Hope this helps.
    Regards,
    Graham

    • Mr. Bernard
      Thank you for providing the picture of the hallmark we have been discussing. As I said I had not seen it before and am very pleased to not only see it but have an image of it.

      Rick

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