KVK GERMAN 2nd CLASS WAR MERIT CROSS WITHOUT SWORDS Instituted 1939
On offer today, we have a German War Merit Cross 2nd Class medal in good condition, on original ribbon which carries rust stains.
The War Merit Cross 2nd Class was bronze plated Maltese cross which measured 49mm. It was constructed from a wide range of materials, from zinc with a bronzed wash to a few very rare bronze pieces. As the war progressed, the quality of the materials decreased, and as a result late war crosses lose their bronze wash with the passing of time, yielding a gray appearance.
The arms of the cross on both sides had a flat edge with a pebbled center. The obverse center disk featured a mobile swastika surrounded by an oak leaf wreath while on the reverse center the oak leaves surrounded the year 1939. An eyelet was soldered to the upper arm of the cross through which a ribbon loop, which had the manufacturers mark, went through. The cross was presented with a 6" ribbon piece of ribbon with bands of red-white-black-white-red (the colors of the Iron Cross reversed). In the case of the combatant grade a pair of military swords, finished on both sides, were placed between the arms of the cross.
On formal occasions or military parades the Cross was worn suspended from the ribbon as part of a group. For active duty, only the ribbon was worn either through the second buttonhole on the uniform tunic or in a ribbon bar. If worn on the buttonhole, it would go behind the ribbon for the Iron Cross 2nd Class but technically before the Eastern Winter Campaign Medal, though the latter is often seen outranking the War Merit Cross due to its high prestige among combat troops.
The War Merit Cross 2nd Class without swords was presented to those whose actions were deemed to be in the furtherance of the war effort but not directly involved in military operations. This could mean civilians such as teachers and industrialists, or Military personnel on occupation duty or POW camp guards. The War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords was presented to Military Personnel for bravery not necessarily in the face of the enemy. In reality there was a gray area in which individuals received the Cross with Swords when perhaps the non-combatant grade would have been appropriate, and other receiving the Iron Cross when the War Merit Cross with Swords would have fit better.
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