G3072t3(CS) War Merit Cross Second Class with Swords

G3072t3(CS) War Merit Cross Second Class with Swords

During WWI, the Iron Cross could be awarded for non combat purposes. These awards had the ribbon colors reversed. When the Iron Cross was re-instituted in 1939, this provision was eliminated. In its place, the War Merit Cross was instituted. Originally it was available in 2 classes each with and without swords.

The War Merit Cross 2nd class without swords was a bronze Maltese cross about 1 7/8″ square. The front of the cross had a swastika standing on a point within a wreath at its center. The reverse had “1939″ also in an oakleaf wreath in the center. The cross was suspended from a ribbon with a black center stripe flanked by white stripes. Outside of the white stripes were red edge stripes. Most War Merit Crosses were maker marked on the jump ring.

The War Merit Cross 2nd Class with swords was identical to the War Merit Cross 2nd Class without swords, except that a pair of crossed swords went from 10:30 to 4:30 and from 7:30 to 1:30. The earlier medals were made of tombac. Later examples were zinc with a bronze wash. Most of these have faded to gray.

The first class medals were silvered pinback medals of the same size as the second class. These were usually marked on the back side or on the pin. The earlier medals were either made of tombac or other metals and plated with a silver metal. Later examples were zinc with a silver wash.

This example is made of zinc. It has faded to zinc. The ring on the top of the medal is an integral part of the casting. The jump ring is marked "53" for Glaser and Son, Blumenstrasse 49, Dresden.

The ribbon is in near mint condition with no wear or soiling.

I obtained this medal in a large militaria collection I purchased in 2002 / 2003.

Reference: "The War Merit Cross" by Gordon Williamson and Josef Charita.

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