Iron Cross, Model III, II Class Cross (1914-1924)
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The Iron Cross was a military decoration founded by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and it was awarded for acts of heroism, bravery and exemplary leadership.
The Cross was primarily a military decoration, yet on numerous occasions it was awarded to civilians for services rendered to the military.
The design of the Cross was inspired by the Cross pattée, which was used as a symbol of the Teutonic Order, as well as the Prussian Army from 1871 to 1918.
The Order consisted of three grades, I Class Cross, II Class Cross and Grand Cross. The I and II Class are largely the same in size and composition. The Grand Cross was double the size of the former.
The I and II Class Crosses were worn on the left breast, and the Grand Cross was worn suspended from the neck.
The Cross was first awarded in recognition of exemplary military and civil service during the Napoleonic Wars.
Model II of the Decoration was awarded during the Franco-Prussian War (1870).
Model III of the Decoration was awarded during the First World War (1914), and subsequent versions were awarded during World War II and featured a swastika in the center of the obverse.
The II Class Cross may be flat or curved in shape.
The II Class Cross may be composed of silver or silver gilt.
The Cross could be awarded to both combatants and non-combatants. The crosses are the same, but the cross for combatants was awarded on a black ribbon, with thin white stripes, and the cross for non-combatants was awarded on a white ribbon, with thin black stripes.
Non-combatants included military doctors, engineers, logistics personnel, etc.
Once a highly esteemed award, that status of the Iron Cross II Class was downgraded significantly during the First World War, due to how often it was awarded.
As there were a very large number of II Class Crosses awarded, there are many manufacturers. Due to the difference in manufacturer the appearance and most commonly, the size, may vary.
These manufacturers include, but are not limited to:
F.A. Assman & Sohn, Lüdenscheid (marked “A”)
Emil Weigand, Vienna (marked “E.W.”)
Falckenberg & Richter, Koblenz (marked “FR”)
H (unknown manufacturer)
K.A.G. (unknown manufacturer)
KD (unknown manufacturer)
KM (unknown manufacturer)
Alfred Roesner, Dresden (marked “R”)
Sy & Wagner, Berlin (marked “SW”)
Paul Meybauer, Berlin (unmarked)
Steinhauer & Lück, Lüdenscheid (unmarked)
Wilhelm Deumer KG, Lüdenscheid (unmarked)
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