Military Order of Carl, Commander Cross
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A George’s cross, constructed of gold and enamel. On top of the 12 o’clock arm sits a ducal crown. The cross arms are enamelled in white with narrow golden edges, and the tips of the cross arms feature golden ball finials. In between the arms are golden rays. The arms feature the golden inscription ‘BENE’ (12 o’clock) ‘ME’ (9 o’clock) ‘REN’ (3 o’clock) ‘TIBUS’ (6 o’clock) (‘to those whose merit made them deserving’). The obverse centre medallion is oval and enamelled in dark blue, with narrow golden borders. It features the crowned, mirrored, and intertwined golden monogram ‘C’. The reverse is identical to the obverse. On a loop for suspension, on a yellow ribbon.
The Military Order of Carl was founded in 1759 by Duke Carl of Württemberg. The order was established to reward loyalty, promote bravery, and increase the fame of Württemberg’s military. It was established in two grades, Commander and Knight, and was only awarded to members of the military.
The reigning duke of Württemberg was the master of the order, and he alone determined who became a member. The order was not awarded in periods when a regency government was in power.
The number of members was not limited, as it was believed that every deserving individual should have the opportunity to receive the decoration. The order was to include a minimum of 10 Commander Cross holders and 24 Knight’s Cross holders. In order to qualify for the award, an individual had to render at least 15 years of active military service, participate in at least two field campaigns, and have an unblemished service record. The decoration could be awarded before the completion of 15 years of service if an individual was particularly accomplished. Non-commissioned officers and enlisted men were only eligible to receive the award if they demonstrated exceptional bravery in the face of the enemy and were immediately promoted to the rank of officer.
The order was discontinued in 1798. It was adopted and renamed the Military Merit Order (Militärverdienstorden) on November 11, 1806 by King Friedrich I.
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