Original German WWI & WWII Era Medal Bar with EKII, KVK II, Ludwig Cross & Hindenburg Cross - 4 Awards
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a very nice genuine medal bar, owned by a German soldier who fought during WWI, and was apparently from the Kingdom of Bavaria. He then served again during WWII, earning an additional medal. The condition overall is good, though there is fading of the ribbons and oxidation to the awards, so this was probably on display for a long period of time.
The set of 4 medals offered in good condition is mounted on a metal backing board with a long attachment pin, and consists of the following:
- Imperial German WWI Iron Cross 1914 2nd Class Medal (Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse, or EKII)
- German WWII War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords
- Imperial German WWI Bavarian King Ludwig Cross (1916)
- German WWI Honor Cross of the World War 1914/1918 (Hindenburg Cross) Medal
Below is an explanation of each medal in detail:
German WWI Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class with Ribbon:
Established by Frederick William in 1813 for gallantry in action, the Eisernes Kreuz (EK) decoration was revived several times for later conflicts. The bulk of the issues are divided into 1st and 2nd class versions, but a rare and superior 'Grand Cross' was also awarded for successful field commanders. During WW1 the lower decoration was freely awarded with 5½ million second class types issued. Originally, the Iron Cross was an award of the Kingdom of Prussia, however given Prussia's pre-eminent place in the German Empire formed in 1871, it became an award for all of Germany.
The basic design of the WW1 crosses is a central cross patee struck from iron and mounted in a silver frame which has a raised crenulated decorative border. The obverse of the cross bears the date 1914 under a crowned 'W' monogram. Reverse bears an oak leaf cluster with the date of the decoration’s institution, 1813 underneath - the crowned initials of Frederick William are in the top arm above the oak leaf cluster. Suspension for second-class types is by means of a ring, and frequently this ring bears a maker's stamp.
Please examine the edge seam for authentication, which is not present on reproductions. Iron crosses were commonly constructed from an iron core sandwiched in a surrounding two part silver frame, normally the seam of these two silver parts is visible around the edge of the cross as is seen on this fine example.
War Merit Cross 2nd Class (Kriegsverdienstkreuz) with Swords (for Combat)
This was a decoration of NSDAP Germany during the Second World War, which could be awarded to military personnel and civilians alike. By the end of the war it was issued in four degrees, and had a related civil decoration. It was created by Adolf AH in October 1939 as a successor to the non-combatant Iron Cross which was used in earlier wars. The award was graded the same as the Iron Cross: War Merit Cross Second Class, War Merit Cross First Class, and Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross. The award had two variants: with swords given to soldiers for exceptional service "not in direct connection with combat", and without swords for meritorious service to civilians in "furtherance of the war effort". As with the Iron Cross, Recipients had to have the lower grade of the award before getting the next level.
Bavarian King Ludwig Cross (Ludwigskreuz) (1916):
Awarded for voluntary work at home for the troops, or for welfare work. Black iron straight armed cross pattee with slightly convex ends to arms. The central medallion is oval. The obverse shows the head of Ludwig III. The reverse bears the date of the institution of the Cross '7.1.16' on a background of Bavarian lozenges. The ribbon is 35 mm wide (as issued to male recipient's), pale blue, and has a 19mm central band of narrow blue and white horizontal stripes. Later in the war the cross was also issued in bronze and blackened zinc.
Hindenburg Cross with Crossed Swords (for combat):
The Honor Cross of the World War 1914/1918 (German: Das Ehrenkreuz des Weltkriegs 1914/1918), commonly, but incorrectly, known as the Hindenburg Cross was established by Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, President of the German Republic, by an order dated 13 July 1934, to commemorate the distinguished deeds of the German people during the First World War. This was Germany's first official service medal for soldiers of Imperial Germany who had taken part in the war, and where they had since died it was also awarded to their surviving next-of-kin. Shortly after its issuance, the government of NSDAP Germany declared the award as the only official service decoration of the First World War and further forbid the continued wearing of German Free Corps awards on any military or paramilitary uniform of a state or NSDAP Party organization.
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