Content - Richard Lundström
Layout - Sebastian Bianchi 



This newly mobilized 1914 Guards Landwehr Gefreiter is wearing the original style German ribbon bar, which became the officers' Old Style in 1915, and was the only style authorized for enlisted ranks until 1916.  A veteran of the East Asian Expeditionary Corps, his ribbons are for the Military Decoration 2nd Class, Prussian Reserve-Landwehr Medal, and 1900-1901 China Medal with a battle bar.


This career medical Offizier-Stellvertreter is wearing a M1916 (for enlisted ranks, M1915 for officers) ribbon bar: Iron Cross, Hamburg Hanseatic Cross, unknown, Prussian Long Service, and 1897 Centenary Medal. Note that period photos always turn the light yellow of the last ribbon darker than colors that were really darker. This is part of the problem in accurately identifying Imperial ribbons in old photographs.


Hollywood to the contrary, even senior officers did not always have huge ribbon bars. Major (Dragoon Regiment 18) Gebhardt Graf von der Schulenburg-Wolfsburg had this photo taken on his 44th birthday in November 1916.  Note that while he has Mecklenburg-Schwerin's Friedrich Franz Cross 1st Class, he had yet to win a 1st Class Iron Cross, half way through the war.  Although also entitled to a Prussian Crown Order 4th Class and 1897 Centenary Medal, he is wearing wartime "short" awards for only his EK2, Mecklenburg FFC 2nd, and Mecklenburg Griffin Order-Knight.


Ribbon bars were often not worn at all. This sample of tropical “slob chic” is a group of German naval officers in Constantinople taken between March and July 1916.  Paymaster Ensign August Böning is standing at far left: four other later Admirals can be found in this shot.


This photo of Duke Ulrich of Württemberg (1877-1944) in the uniform of a Generalmajor of Uhlan Regiment 20 shows a sewn-on ribbon bar on the right side, rather than the usual left.  This practice was peculiar to lancer uniforms. RN


This Saxon Feldpost Beamter in WW1 field gray is wearing an Old Style ribbon bar of awards won in Southwest Africa 1904-1906: note the three campaign Spangen on that war medal's ribbon.