✚10194✚ German post WW1 grouping Iron Cross Field Honour Badge Feld Ehrenzeichen


Original German post WW1 grouping of Eugen Müller (from Solingen) / 2nd Company of the 9th Train Support Battalion (Eiesenbahn Hilfs Batallion): Iron Cross II. Class, Field Honour Badge (Deutsches Feld Ehrenzeichen) & matching award certificates:

- Iron Cross II. Class: three piece construction with magnetic core on genuine but worn ribbon

Field Honour Badge: in good condition with some minor enamel chips, the hook is missing at the back

- Iron Cross II. Class award certificate: A4 size, dated on 4th May 1917 (2nd Company of the 9th Train Support Battalion / Eiesenbahn Hilfs Batallion Nr. 9 - needless to say how rare this certificate is, in the WW1 there were a very limited number of soldiers served in these units), the certificate is in very good condition

Field Honour Badge award certificate: cca A6 (opened cca A5 size), dated on 14th November 1933 (very late awarding as the medal was prohibited from 1934)

Field Honour Badge award "rules form": this is a A4 size letter / form the association about how to ear the award, etc.. in good condition



Iron Cross (German: Eisernes Kreuz) was a military decoration of the Kingdom of Prussia, and later of Germany, which was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and first awarded on 10 March 1813 in Breslau. In addition to during the Napoleonic Wars, the Iron Cross was awarded during the Franco-German War and the First World War. The Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for performing military functions. The Iron Cross was also used as the symbol of the German Army from 1871 to 1915, when it was replaced by a simpler Greek cross. In 1956, the Iron Cross became the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces. The traditional design is black and this design is used on armored vehicles and aircraft. A newer design in blue and silver is used as the emblem in other contexts. The Iron Cross is a black four-pointed cross with white trim, with the arms widening towards the ends, similar to a cross pattée. It was designed by the neoclassical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and reflects the cross borne by the Teutonic Knights in the 14th century. The ribbon for the 1813, 1870 and 1914 Iron Cross (2nd Class) was black with two thin white bands, the colours of Prussia. The noncombatant version of this award had the same medal, but the black and white colours on the ribbon were reversed. Initially the Iron Cross was worn with the blank side out. This did not change until 1838 when the sprig facing could be presented. Since the Iron Cross was issued over several different periods of German history, it was annotated with the year indicating the era in which it was issued. For example, an Iron Cross from the First World War bears the year "1914". The reverse of the 1870, 1914 series of Iron Crosses have the year "1813" appearing on the lower arm, symbolizing the year the award was created. The 1813 decoration also has the initials "FW" for King Frederick William III, while the next two have a "W" for the respective kaisers, Wilhelm I and Wilhelm II. A cross was the symbol of the Teutonic Knights (a heraldic cross pattée), and the cross design (but not the specific decoration) has been the symbol of Germany's armed forces (now the Bundeswehr) since 1871. The Iron Cross was founded on 10 March 1813 in Breslau and awarded to soldiers during the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon. It was first awarded to Karl August Ferdinand von Borcke on 21 April 1813. King Wilhelm I of Prussia authorized further awards on 19 July 1870, during the Franco-German War. Recipients of the 1870 Iron Cross who were still in service in 1895 were authorized to purchase a 25-year clasp consisting of the numerals "25" on three oak leaves. The Iron Cross was reauthorized by Emperor Wilhelm II on 5 August 1914, at the start of the First World War. During these three periods, the Iron Cross was an award of the Kingdom of Prussia, although given Prussia's pre-eminent place in the German Empire formed in 1871, it tended to be treated as a generic German decoration. The 1813, 1870, and 1914 Iron Crosses had three grades: Iron Cross 2nd Class (German: Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse), Iron Cross 1st Class (German: Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse), Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, often simply Großkreuz). Although the medals of each class were identical, the manner in which each was worn differed. Employing a pin or screw posts on the back of the medal, the Iron Cross First Class was worn on the left side of the recipient's uniform. The Grand Cross and the Iron Cross Second Class were suspended from different ribbons. The Grand Cross was intended for senior generals of the German Army. An even higher decoration, the Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross, was awarded only twice, to Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher in 1813 and to Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg in 1918. The Iron Cross 1st Class and the Iron Cross 2nd Class were awarded without regard to rank. One had to already possess the 2nd Class in order to receive the 1st Class (though in some cases both could be awarded simultaneously). The egalitarian nature of this award contrasted with those of most other German states (and indeed many other European monarchies), where military decorations were awarded based on the rank of the recipient. For example, Bavarian officers received various grades of that Kingdom's Military Merit Order (Militär-Verdienstorden), while enlisted men received various grades of the Military Merit Cross (Militär-Verdienstkreuz). Prussia did have other orders and medals which were awarded on the basis of rank, and even though the Iron Cross was intended to be awarded without regard to rank, officers and NCOs were more likely to receive it than junior enlisted soldiers. In the First World War, approximately four million Iron Crosses of the lower grade (2nd Class) were issued, as well as around 145,000 of the higher grade (1st Class). Exact numbers of awards are not known, since the Prussian archives were destroyed during the Second World War. The Iron Cross was awarded for bravery in battle as well as other military contributions in a battlefield environment. The Iron Cross 2nd Class came with a ribbon and was worn in one of two different methods: when in formal dress, the entire cross was worn mounted alone or as part of a medal bar, for everyday wear, only the ribbon was worn from the second hole in the tunic button. The Iron Cross First Class was a pin-on medal with no ribbon and was worn centered on a uniform breast pocket, either on dress uniforms or everyday outfit. It was a progressive award, with the second class having to be earned before the first class and so on for the higher degrees. 

German Field Honour Badge (Deutsches-Feld-Ehrenzeichen) was instituted in 1923 by administration board of one of numerous post-war veterans’ associations, Hamburg-based “Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen e.V. [eingetragener Verein]”. Like all the other numerous unofficial Weimar-era badges, Deutsches-Feld-Ehrenzeichen was not awarded in the true sense of the word and had to be privately purchased at former soldiers’ own expenses. Those who wanted to add that elegant badge to their decorations had to file an application in written form acknowledging their combat experience during the Great War. Upon verification they were subsequently issued with a numbered award document (Besitzzeugnis) that actually authorized purchase of a badge from a jeweller’s store. Deutsches-Feld-Ehrenzeichen was also available for purchase via collect on delivery, provided an application letter was properly filled and payment done in full. Conceived as a totally commercial product, Deutsches-Feld-Ehrenzeichen was offered for sale together with various tying products, e.g. presentation cases and decorative large-format Commemorative diplomas (Gedenkblatt des Weltkrieges 1914-1918). Design of the Deutsches-Feld-Ehrenzeichen was elaborated by its first manufacturer, Hamburg-based company “Fahnen und Ordenfabrik M.Fleck & Sohn”. The badge had a shape of a vertically elongated eight-pointed silver star with superimposed white enameled cross measuring 42-45x36 mm and a central oval medallion (22x18,5 mm) bordered with small gilt beads. A medallion showed a helmet-clad unarmed German soldier returning home from a battlefield in full marching order. Gilt crossed swords measuring 40x1,6 mm and pointing upwards were situated between arms of the cross. German Field Honour Badge was worn on the lower left part of a tunic or civil attire and was attached by a vertical pin and catching hook soldered to its reverse. Backside of a badge bore several inscriptions in three or four horizontal lines, viz. a name of the badge or a name of its founder (Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen, or Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen e.V.) in Gothic letters, business location of the founding association (Hamburg 3, or Hamburg 11), as well as an oval patent mark (Ges.Gesch.). Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen measuring 63-64х52-54 mm and weighing 32 g approximately was made of white metal with gilt and silver finish of certain elements and white enamel. Badges differed in size and pin type depending on a manufacturer and a period of production. 20 mm frock coat miniatures, needle-back miniatures and buttonhole miniatures were manufactured as well. It’s worth mentioning here that unlike full-size badge, miniatures had simplified medallions bearing head and shoulders portrait of a soldier in helmet only. The badge was sold either in a cheap cardboard case that bore logotype of a manufacturer (or without such), or in a fine expensive dark blue or black presentation box. Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen was available for private purchase until mid 1934, and 160,000 badges approximately were sold, 160,285 being the latest known number of award document that was issued on May 15, 1934. However, despite nearly a decade of commercial production, German Field Honour Badge was distributed among veterans gradually. Thus, only 40,000 badges were sold within the first eight years, most probably because Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen initially went rather unnoticed facing tough competition from myriads of other commemorative unofficial badges that flooded post-war Germany. Large-scale advertising campaign led by founders of the badge in the beginning of 30s made it possible to increase sale of German Field Honour Badge three-fold. Hence sales peak fell on 1933 and first six months of 1934, when 120,000 badges were successfully distributed among veterans. However, according to a Decree published on November 14, 1935 (Verordnung zur Ausführung des Gesetzes über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen vom 14.November 1935) that put into effect a Supplement to the Law regarding state awards of April 07, 1933, wearing of a Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen was prohibited.