WW2 German 1939 War Merit Cross 1st Class without Swords medal made of tombak with a frosted silver finish showing age toning and patina. Believed to have been manufactured by Karl Gschiermeister, Wien, the wide coke-bottle style and is unmarked. Exc.
The 1939 War Merit Cross (German: Kriegsverdienstkreuz) was a decoration awarded by the German Reich 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 reissued in 1957 by the Bundeswehr in a De-Nazified version for veterans.
This award was created by Adolf Hitler in 1939 as a successor to the non-combatant Iron Cross which was used in earlier wars (same medal but with a different ribbon). 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 in battle above and beyond the call of duty (but not worthy of an Iron Cross which was more a bravery award), and without swords for meritorious service behind the lines which could also be awarded to civilians. Recipients had to have the lower grade of the award before getting the next level.
The ribbon of the War Merit Cross was in red-white-black-white-red; that was, the red and black colors being reversed from the ribbon of the World War II version of the Iron Cross. The ribbon for the War Merit Medal was similar, but with a narrow red vertical red strip in the center of the black field. Soldiers who earned the War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords wore a small crossed-swords device on the ribbon. The War Merit Cross 1st Class was a pin-backed medal worn on the pocket of the tunic (like the Iron Cross 1st Class). The ribbon of the War Merit Cross 2nd Class could be worn like the ribbon of the Iron Cross 2nd Class (through the second buttonhole).
The Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross was a neck order and worn the same way as the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross.
The video(s) below are meant to show representative examples of this medal and are not the one being offered here.
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