Original German mounted medal group: Bavarian Military Merit Cross With Swords III. Class, Bavarian Military Long Service Medal - 9 years & Honour Cross With Swords - WW1, NICE CONDITION, GENUINE RIBBONS, PERFECT PIN DEVICE, the Honour Cross shows some corrosion as it is magnetic, maker: "HKM", the medal bar is marked "DRGM".
Bavarian Military Merit Cross (Militär-Verdienstkreuz) was that kingdom's main decoration for bravery and military merit for enlisted soldiers. It was intended "to reward extraordinary merit by non-commissioned officers, soldiers, and lower-ranking officials." It was originally established on July 19, 1866 as the 5th Class of the Military Merit Order, which was the main decoration for bravery and military merit for officers and higher-ranking officials. Civilians acting in support of the army were also made eligible for the decoration. The Military Merit Cross ranked after the Gold and Silver Military Merit Medals (renamed the Bravery Medals in 1918), which were Bavaria's highest military honors for NCOs and enlisted soldiers. The cross was a Maltese cross with a center medallion. The obverse of the center medallion had an "L" cipher of King Ludwig II in the center and the word "MERENTI" on the ring. The reverse had a Bavarian lion with the date of founding, "1866", on the ring. The center medallion was enameled (the original Military Merit Cross was distinguished from the Knight 2nd Class of the Military Merit Order only by having silver instead of blue enameled arms). The first recipient appears to have been Gendarm Johann Winter, who received the Military Merit Cross in the Armee-Befehl (Army Order) of August 20, 1866 The Bavarian Military Merit Cross underwent three major revisions. In February 1891, awards with swords were authorized to distinguish wartime awards, whether for bravery or military merit, from peacetime awards. This was made retroactive for wartime awards from the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. In 1905, the statutes of the Military Merit Order were revised and the Military Merit Cross was divided into two classes. The former Military Merit Cross became the Military Merit Cross 1st Class, and a new second class was created which had no enamel on the medallion. The distinction in classes was based on the rank of the recipient. In 1913, another revision of the statutes of the Military Merit Order divided the Military Merit Cross into three classes. The old non-enameled 2nd Class became the 3rd Class and was changed from silver to bronze. The old 1st Class became the 2nd Class. The new 1st Class was identical to the 2nd Class except that it was gilt rather than silver. In addition, all classes were authorized to be awarded with a crown. The crown could be used for a second award to an NCO or soldier who already had received a particular class and whose rank precluded award of a higher class, or to recognize greater merit. There were then effectively 12 combinations: 3 classes each with or without crown, and each with or without swords. This doubled when one takes into account that there were two possible ribbons, one for soldiers and one for officials (Beamtenband). World War I broke out the following year, and the Military Merit Cross became Bavaria's main decoration for bravery and merit by enlisted soldiers in that war, roughly equivalent to Prussia's Iron Cross (except unlike the Iron Cross, the classes of the Military Merit Cross were awarded based on rank). According to one source, the total number of awards of all classes was 380,976 . Approximately 290,000 were of the 3rd Class with Swords and approximately 73,000 of the 3rd Class with Crown and Swords, the two lowest grades. The Military Merit Cross became obsolete with the fall of the German Empire and the Bavarian Kingdom in 1918, although the Bavarian government continued to process awards up to 1920.
Bavarian Military Service Medal, III class for 9 years’ service (BAYERN. Militär-Dienstauszeichnung III. Klasse für 9 Dienstjahre), 1913-1918 - Nickel silver (Neusilber) circular medal with loop for ribbon suspension; the face with a representation of the Bavarian Dienstauszeichnungskreuz (Service Cross), being a cross pattée with concave ends to the arms with a central scalloped escutcheon bearing the lozenges of the Bavarian arms within an oak wreath, the inscription ‘TREUE DIENST BEI DER FAHNE’ (Loyal service under the colours) between the arms; the reverse with a central scalloped shield bearing the Roman numerals ‘IX’ (9) within a circular oak wreath, circumscribed ‘DIENSTAUSZEICHNUNG III. KLASSE’ (Service Award, 3rd class); on replaced correct ribbon. The Medal was instituted by Prince Regent Ludwig on 30 August 1913 and could be awarded for 9, 12 and 15 years’ service (being the 3rd, 2nd and 1st classes of the Medal), the time being indicated on the reverse.
Cross of Honor, a.k.a. Hindenburgkreuz, Frontkämpferehrenkreuz (Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges 1914/1918) - Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges 1914/1918 was the very first award of the Third Reich and remained the only commemorative award of the national-socialist state. It was instituted on July 13, 1934 by the President Generalfeldmarshall Paul von Hindenburg aiming to commemorate all those who fought and fell during the Great War and therefore was nicknamed “Hindenburg Cross”. Cross of Honor was awarded to frontline veterans and non-combatants – German citizens and Germans who lost their citizenship due to the Versailles Peace Treaty as well as to relatives of the fallen soldiers – their widows and parents. Thus it aim was to reinforce pride not only in veterans but also military personnel of German Armed forces. Cross of Honor was instituted in three classes: 1. Cross of Honor for frontline soldiers (Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer). It was awarded only for the military personnel of the Imperial Army and Navy who had engaged the enemy in frontline combat. 2. Cross of Honor for war participants, i.e. non-combatants (Ehrenkreuz für Kriegsteilnehmer). It was awarded to military auxiliary personnel such as administrators and medics, as well as to civilians (state officials, etc.). 3. Cross of Honor for next-of-kin (Ehrenkreuz für Hinterbliebene). It was issued to widows and parents of those who were killed or died during WWI or were missing in action. Award was issued after an application accompanied by a prove of wartime service or loss of a relative was approved by the authorities, the Reichsminister of interior being in charge of the distribution of crosses. Cross of Honor was handed personally to the active military personnel and sent by post to veterans and civilians. Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges was created by Eugene Godet who received commission from the Reich Chancellery and its design was based on that of the Prussian Kriegsdenkmünze für die Feldzüge 1870/1871 Kriegsdenkmünze für die Feldzüge 1870/1871 reverse. It had a form of an equilateral 37x37 mm Teutonic cross with a 1 mm raised edge line and a recessed field. Two dates referring to the Great War were placed over each other in the central medallion – “1914” and “1918”. The upper arm of the cross had a 1,5-2 mm ribbon ring through which a ribbon loop ran. Three classes of the Honor Cross differed by the following details. Cross of Honor for frontline soldiers made of bronze or bronzed iron had a wreath of laurels on the center, tied at the base by a ribbon tie with the ends extending to the lower arm of the cross. The wreath was composed of five bunches of three leaves on each side, with a pair of laurel berries at each joint. A pair of 41 mm crossed swords were placed through the arms of the cross. Tricolor 25-30 mm ribbon featured central red stripe and black and white stripes on both sides accompanied by thin black stripes closer to both edges. Sometimes a crossed swords gilt device was worn on the ribbon. Cross of Honor for war participants made of bronze or bronzed iron was of a nearly similar design but had a wreath of oak leaves and lacked swords. Its ribbon was similar to that of the Cross of Honor for frontline soldiers. Cross of Honor for next-of-kin was similar to the Cross of Honor for war participants but was finished in black and its ribbon colors were inverted, i.e. central red stripe and white and black stripes on both sides accompanied by thin white stripes closer to both edges. It’s worth mentioning here that though award documents for the Cross of Honor for next-of-kin were of two different types (“Ehrenkreuz für Witwen” and “Ehrenkreuz für Eltern”) the award itself was only of one type as described above. The rarest type of the Cross of Honor for next-of-kin was made of iron and had a horizontal pin and catch on its reverse instead of ribbon ring that was missing. All three classes of the award had a flat reverse with maker’s mark. Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges was made of bronze or iron. The Cross of Honor was worn mounted as part of a group or on the ribbon bar. The award ranked above service and occupation medals but below combat related awards. Number of awards: Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer – 6,202,883 pieces, Ehrenkreuz für Kriegsteilnehmer – 1,120,449 pieces, Ehrenkreuz für Hinterbliebene – 345,112 pieces issued to widows with “Ehrenkreuz für Witwen” award document and Ehrenkreuz für Hinterbliebene – 372,950 pieces issued to parents who lost their sons with “Ehrenkreuz für Eltern” award document. As the Third Reich expanded on the eve of the WWII into the Saar, Danzig, Austria, Czechoslovakia, the Memel district and during the Second World War itself, orders were passed by the Reichsminister of interior to recognize ethnic Germans (Volksdeutschen) who were eligible in those areas with the timeframe for each territory being different. Thus in November 1938 after the annexation (Anschluss) of Austria the Honor Cross was awarded to Austrian veterans and Sudeten Germans (Sudetendeutsche), in June 1942 to ethnic Germans who lived in Eastern and Western territories annexed by the Third Reich and in March 1943 to the population of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren). The final addition by Adolf Hitler’s personal order was made in September 1944 to include ethnic Germans from the South-Eastern part of Europe. The last known official decoration by the Cross of Honor dates back to September 1944 while 1945 has been mentioned by some sources as the final date. Thus its safe to say that a total of nearly 10,000,000 crosses of all the three classes were issued during the Third Reich era.