wehrmacht awards

Freikorps Engraved Iron Cross Group
Old 07-13-2019, 07:55 PM   #1
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Default Freikorps Engraved Iron Cross Group

As a novice to this era of history i.hesitate to post but here goes....
21 May 1919 Engraved Iron Cross First Class and more. No i.d. with the group and unsure from.my research of how the date corresponds to the date of action or if the award. Knowledgeable comments appreciated.

My write up,subject to your comments and editing!
The Freikorps went into action along the Polish border in December 1918, fighting as Border Defense East. They shifted to Berlin in January 1919 when the Spartacus League (the Communist Party of Germany, KPD) staged an uprising. Armed workers seized control of much of the city and Liebknecht declared the Ebert government deposed.
But the government's Freikorps was strong enough to put an end to the uprising. Leading the effort was the Minister of Defense in the Ebert cabinet, confirmed Socialist Gustav Noske. A week of street fighting followed and the Freikorps' Reinhard, the Potsdam, and “Iron Brigade” prevailed. As a result, “Spartacus Week” saw the Freikorps clearing Berlin of armed rebels. The Freikorps went to battle with fervor. KPD leaders Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg werd captured by soldiers of the Garde Kavallerie Schützen Division Their captors clubbed them senseless, then shot them for “attempting to escape, "
Leftist uprisings continued in 1919, The Freikorps crushed them all. A second wave of KPD violence in Berlin in March was again crushed by the Freikorps. In April, a left-wing coup toppled the government of Bavaria and installed a “Bavarian Soviet” in Munich. Freikorps brought that campaign to an end in May.
The Freikorps conducted two major “international” campaigns. The first in the Baltic region alongside the new Latvian army in the spring of 1919, the second campaign in Upper Silesia.Their mission in the Baltic, approved by the Allies, was with Latvians against the Red Army, The Freikorps overthrew the duly constituted Latvian government of Karlis Ulmanis and openly discussed plans to colonize the region. The German Iron Brigade and Freikorps, prince Lieven’s White counter-revolutionary units, the Baltic Landwehr and a Latvian brigade, and Estonian and Latvian troops of the Northern Latvia brigade fought in Vidzeme. The Landwehr’s shock troop battalion, led by Hans Manteuffel and the Edelweiß Freikorps lead by von Medem bore the brunt of the task of freeing Riga. They took Torņakalns by storm, and in a took the bridges over the Daugava River, which they held until the main forces arrived.
I read that twelve German and Baltic Germans could be allotted to the task of breaking through the Old Town, taking the Riga Castle and freeing the hostages the Bolsheviks had taken and were in grave danger. Could this group belong to one of them?
Storming the capital, Riga, on May 22, 1919. They end result was the shooting over 725 Latvians suspected of Bolshevism. The death toll in Riga would be nearly 3,000
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File Type: jpg Frei1.jpg (105.2 KB, 151 views)
File Type: jpg Frei3.jpg (111.4 KB, 149 views)
File Type: jpg Frei4.jpg (70.1 KB, 149 views)
File Type: jpg Frei5.jpg (84.0 KB, 148 views)
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:45 PM   #2
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I very much doubt that the EKI was awarded for the Battle of Riga in May 1919. I suspect it's merely some sort of private, personalized commemorative. If it's legit, I wonder why anyone would engrave this specific battle on an EK. There is some evidence that the EKII was awarded by the Reichswehr, post WWII for actions in Germany and Silesia in 1919. But, I've never heard of an EKI being awarded for Freikorps actions of any kind. I doubt EKs of any class were awarded for the Baltic campaign as those campaigns were not Reichswehr actions and had specific dedicated awards that recognized Baltic service. Since it was primarily the Baltische Landwehr that took Riga on May 22, 1919, a veteran of that campaign would have probably been awarded the Baltic Cross and possibly the Baltische Landwehr Honor Cross.

Given that the medal bar is post 1934, I wonder why there's no Baltic Cross mounted on the bar. Given the Germans' love of bling, it seems unlikely that the recipient wouldn't have taken the opportunity to wear both the medal bar version and the pin-back version of the Baltic cross.

So, while I personally believe that the engraving is legit, It doesn't make any real sense to me, based on what I know and I don't understand why it was done.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:08 PM   #3
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I will have to dig up the source but did find examples of EK1's to Freikorps. with the engraving, what else could it be for? Not familiar enough to comment on the Baltic Criss. Would it necessarily have to have been mounted with the pair? I really appreciate the sharing of knowledge!
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wartime Collectables View Post
I will have to dig up the source but did find examples of EK1's to Freikorps. with the engraving, what else could it be for? Not familiar enough to comment on the Baltic Criss. Would it necessarily have to have been mounted with the pair? I really appreciate the sharing of knowledge!
I've been collecting Freikorps since 1969 and have never seen any reference to the EKI for Freikorps service. There were certainly EKIs awarded after 1918 up to 1924. But, these were retroactive awards, not to do with the Freikorps.

Even with EKIIs supposedly awarded for Freikorps service, there is some controversy about this with many Imperial EK experts saying that they don't believe it. I happen to believe it because I've seen award documents for EKII issued by the Reichswehr for specific post 1918 service. But, I have never seen a comparable EKI document.

As I said, perhaps the guy wanted to commemorate his being at Riga. Maybe it was awarded retroactively on May 21, 1919 for WWI service and he put Riga because that's where he was. But, I am almost positive he didn't get an EKI for being in the Baltic campaign and fighting at Riga.

I'd be interested to see what you dig up that shows EKIs awarded for Freikorps service.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bolewts58 View Post
I've been collecting Freikorps since 1969 and have never seen any reference to the EKI for Freikorps service. There were certainly EKIs awarded after 1918 up to 1924. But, these were retroactive awards, not to do with the Freikorps.

Even with EKIIs supposedly awarded for Freikorps service, there is some controversy about this with many Imperial EK experts saying that they don't believe it. I happen to believe it because I've seen award documents for EKII issued by the Reichswehr for specific post 1918 service. But, I have never seen a comparable EKI document.

As I said, perhaps the guy wanted to commemorate his being at Riga. Maybe it was awarded retroactively on May 21, 1919 for WWI service and he put Riga because that's where he was. But, I am almost positive he didn't get an EKI for being in the Baltic campaign and fighting at Riga.

I'd be interested to see what you dig up that shows EKIs awarded for Freikorps service.

You seem to know your material so I will assume I misread and it was probably an EK II award. So.you believe he earned the First Class in WWI but was at Riga when the award reached him and he engraved it with that current assignment?
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:45 AM   #6
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You seem to know your material so I will assume I misread and it was probably an EK II award. So.you believe he earned the First Class in WWI but was at Riga when the award reached him and he engraved it with that current assignment?
Maybe. There's no way of knowing. But, that seems to be the only explanation I can think of.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:58 AM   #7
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I don't know enough about Freikorps history to judge if this date is believable for the awarding of an EK. I can, however, offer the opinion that the date a cross was a awarded and the date a cross was earned can be seen among engraved crosses on an equal basis. I believe a lot of recipients cherished the date the cross was awarded/presented to them and they would have that date/location engraved. This could certainly be the case with this one.

But, it's important to consider the type of cross here - this is not a cross that would have likely been awarded during war time - it is likely a private purchase piece. So, the recipient could have had this date and location put on his cross to commemorate something; what that is, we may never know. But, this was after the war and the rules of awarding during the war (whether the award is attributable to 1914-1918 fighting or not) may or may not have been followed.
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:09 AM   #8
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I don't know enough about Freikorps history to judge if this date is believable for the awarding of an EK. I can, however, offer the opinion that the date a cross was a awarded and the date a cross was earned can be seen among engraved crosses on an equal basis. I believe a lot of recipients cherished the date the cross was awarded/presented to them and they would have that date/location engraved. This could certainly be the case with this one.

But, it's important to consider the type of cross here - this is not a cross that would have likely been awarded during war time - it is likely a private purchase piece. So, the recipient could have had this date and location put on his cross to commemorate something; what that is, we may never know. But, this was after the war and the rules of awarding during the war (whether the award is attributable to 1914-1918 fighting or not) may or may not have been followed.
Thanks! Yes definitely a private purchase cross and one the recipient was proud of. Would it's date of manufacture be as late as the c1930 mounted pair of would it date to 1919?
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Old 07-16-2019, 12:39 AM   #9
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To re-iterate, there is absolutely no way he received the EKI for the Battle of Riga or any Freikorps service in the Baltic. So, if the engraving is legitimate, it's merely some sort of commemorative.

IMO, no EKIs were ever awarded for post WWI service. However, EKIIs were likely issued (by the Reichswehr only) for actions against communists in Germany and for fighting in the 1st Polish Uprising in Silesia in 1919.

I have an EKII document issued in Silesia in May 1920 to a member of the Reichswehr who had earlier received the Silesian Eagle I and II. I believe this EKII was awarded specifically for service in Silesia in 1919/1920.
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Old 07-16-2019, 05:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by bolewts58 View Post
To re-iterate, there is absolutely no way he received the EKI for the Battle of Riga or any Freikorps service in the Baltic. So, if the engraving is legitimate, it's merely some sort of commemorative.

IMO, no EKIs were ever awarded for post WWI service. However, EKIIs were likely issued (by the Reichswehr only) for actions against communists in Germany and for fighting in the 1st Polish Uprising in Silesia in 1919.

I have an EKII document issued in Silesia in May 1920 to a member of the Reichswehr who had earlier received the Silesian Eagle I and II. I believe this EKII was awarded specifically for service in Silesia in 1919/1920.
Thank you again for sharing your knowledge. I'm still trying to understand the relationship between the Freikoros and Reichsheer. Interesting that they would limit to 2nd class awards only. With out a name we are still assuming he earned his award wartime and it was presented while he was at Riga and engraved to date of award and not the action. Probably as far as I will get it researched. Still in all an interesting example of an engraved private purchase EKI.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:42 AM   #11
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Interesting that they would limit to 2nd class awards only.
By the end of WWII, the EKII had been relegated to a service award. The EKI remained until the end essentially a bravery award.
I believe the EKII was awarded specifically for Freikorps service because in 1919, there was no award for actions against the communists in Germany. As for awards in Silesia, I believe the EKII was awarded for additional service in Upper Silesia after the Silesian Eagle I and II had already been awarded. This gap in an award for continued service was dealt with in 1921 with the addition of oakleaves, swords and oakleaves and swords to the Silesian Eagle as well as various individual awards from various Freikorps units.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:04 AM   #12
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By the end of WWII, the EKII had been relegated to a service award. The EKI remained until the end essentially a bravery award.
I believe the EKII was awarded specifically for Freikorps service because in 1919, there was no award for actions against the communists in Germany. As for awards in Silesia, I believe the EKII was awarded for additional service in Upper Silesia after the Silesian Eagle I and II had already been awarded. This gap in an award for continued service was dealt with in 1921 with the addition of oakleaves, swords and oakleaves and swords to the Silesian Eagle as well as various individual awards from various Freikorps units.
For this 'lapsed US Medal collector' that actually makes things clearer as similar award criteria and anomolies are found with the American Bronze Star.
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Old 07-17-2019, 04:10 AM   #13
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Here is the EKII document issued in Neustadt, Oberschlesien to which I referred together with the two docs for the Silesian Eagle I and II and his military pass showing his service and awards.

I believe the EKII was awarded for an additional 6 months service in Silesia past the 6 months represented by the Silesian Eagle I, as there was no other award available at the time to recognize this service. He served in the Reichswehr in Upper Silesia for more than a year from June 6, 1919 to June 30, 1920.
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File Type: jpg EKIIsm.jpg (109.9 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg SAIIsm.jpg (212.6 KB, 51 views)
File Type: jpg SAIsm.jpg (205.0 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg Militarpass_servicesm.jpg (166.5 KB, 50 views)
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:11 AM   #14
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So his service would be concurrent in Reichswehr and Freikorps? And the EK2 for Service not gallantry as only service awards were being given (hence no Freikorps EK1's).
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:27 AM   #15
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So his service would be concurrent in Reichswehr and Freikorps? And the EK2 for Service not gallantry as only service awards were being given (hence no Freikorps EK1's).
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