War Merit Cross (Brunswick)
Brunswick’s War Merit Cross was established by Duke Ernst August on October 23, 1914 as a single-class award that could be awarded regardless of rank. The original award was in the form of a cross worn from a ribbon.
The decoration was restructured on March 20, 1918 with the addition of additional, higher, class of the award, the War Merit Cross First Class with the award to date being renamed as the War Merit Cross Second Class. The First Class award was a pinback. The change brought the War Merit Cross more in line with the Iron Cross.
Also established on March 20, 1918 was a clasp to the now Kriegsverdienstkreuz II. Klasse called the Bewährungsabzeichens. The clasp was awarded to Brunswick citizen or those serving in Brunswick units that had spent two years at the front with no more than two months total spent during that time in hospital or home leave. The photo shows the War Merit Cross Second Class with this “frontline service clasp.”
The eight U-boat commanders known to have been awarded the Kriegsverdienstkreuz all received it before the award was altered, thus their awards were of what would become the War Merit Cross Second Class.
Photo source: Wikipedia Commons.
|Oblt.||Albrecht, Kurt||3 Jan 1917|
|Oblt.||Lefholz, Herbert||3 Jan 1917||UB 33|
|Oblt.||Menzel, Hermann||3 Jan 1917|
|Oblt.||Reuß zu Köstritz, Heinrich XXXVII Prinz||4 Jan 1917|
|Oblt.||Scheffler, Walter||4 Jan 1917|
|Oblt.||Schmettow, Matthias Graf von||3 Jan 1916||UC 6|
|Kptlt.||Wippern, Kurt||3 Jan 1917||U 58|
|Ltn.||Ziegner, Wilhelm||3 Jan 1917|
8 officers decorated with (Kriegsverdienstkreuz) located.
Note: This listing is still being compiled and some recipients might be missing.