Military Merit Medal
The original Military Merit Medal, commonly known as the “Signum Laudis”, was introduced by Kaiser Franz Joseph on the 12th of March 1890 as a sign of His Majesty’s praise and recognition for outstanding achievements in war and as a sign of his satisfaction for excellent service in peace. The award was for commissioned officers and officials of similar rank and was in bronze. The obverse bore the picture of the Kaiser and the reverse the motto SIGNUM LAUDIS within a laurel wreath. The award for wartime achievement was worn on the ribbon of the Bravery Medal and that for service in peace on a red ribbon 3.75cm in width. Both were worn on the left breast.
On the March 26, 1911 a further award was sanctioned - a medal in silver for repeated actions worthy of royal praise.A Royal decree of April 1, 1916 introduced bars for second and third awards of the Silver Merit Medal and further introduced a new grade altogether. This was the Große Militärverdientsmedaille which as its name suggests was somewhat larger and additionally had a laurel wreath around the Crown. The whole medal was in a gold finish. The Große was said to be an expression of His Majesty’s especial praise and recognition (besondere allerhöchste belobende Anerkennung) and was awarded to only thirty individuals including Kaiser Karl. None were U-boat commanders.
On the 13th of December 1916 the addition of Crossed Swords in gold were permitted for the Bronze, Silver and Große Military Merit Medals. In the case of medals without bars these were worn directly on the ribbon. If a recipient had a bar to his award, the Swords were affixed to the bar.
Unless otherwise indicated, the U-boat commanders listed below were awarded the Military Merit Medal in Bronze on the ribbon of the Bravery Medal.
Awarded just the medal in bronze on the red ribbon (peace-time awards): Lerch, Marchetti
Awarded the medal in bronze on the red ribbon and then subsequently on the ribbon of the Bravery Medal: L. Leschanowsky, Passerar, Zeidler
Awards in silver on the ribbon of the Bravery Medal in addition to an award in bronze: Attems, Csicsery von Csicser, Fähndrich, Gstettner, Hornyák, Hübner, Krsnjavi, L. Leschanowsky, Montecuccoli, Müller, Pfeifer, Prásil, Printz, Rigele, Rzemenowsky von Trautenegg, Singule, Skopinic, Sterz, Vio, Zeidler
Awards in silver with bar: Dürrigl, Hudecek, Pistel, Wolf
Award in silver with two bars: Sernetz
42 officers decorated with Military Merit Medal (Militär-Verdienstmedaille) located.
Note: This listing is still being compiled and some recipients might be missing.