Content - Richard Lundström
Layout - Sebastian Bianchi 



Of course, most uniformed Germans, even officers, had far less impressive awards to display.  This young Leutnant from Würzburg could only boast the 1938 Austrian Anschluss Medal ribbon as WW2 began.  Single ribbon bars were always this 25 mm width.  Though occasionally ribbon bars as long as 7 or even 8 wide can be found in that width, the limits of buttons-to-armpit distance generally meant the more usual 15 mm multiple ribbons size was worn.



We know this Hauptmann in Pioneer Battalion 5  was a reservist, because he is wearing a civil service 25 Years Loyal Service Cross in next to last place.  His ribbon bar: Iron Cross 1914, Bavarian Bravery Medal (I find no unit or rank match for this to be a Max Joseph Order winner-same ribbon), Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th/Cross 2nd with Crown and Swords, Hindenburg Cross with Swords, the 1938 LSC, and Hungarian WWI Commemorative Medal with Swords probably dates from before the war.  Note the early style "scalloped" EK2 Spange worn from the second buttonhole, and the KVK ribbon underneath.  That probably dates this photo to after October 1941, since before then, a KVK2 was not supposed to be worn with a "matching" grade of WW2 Iron Cross.  This KVK was certainly "with Swords" since all military recipients received that type, regardless of place or type of service.  This officer has neatly avoided having to place his KVK "Sitzfleischorden" ahead of the far more prestigious Bravery Medal by choosing this correct method of combined ribbon bar and buttonhole ribbons wear.  When the full size EK2 Spange was worn from the buttonhole like this, it was NOT supposed to be worn on the ribbon bar as well.  This Captain is in compliance with regulations, though photos will often show "double Spange" errors in wear.



Here is another Hauptmann der Reserve-still wearing his pre-war double underlay shoulder boards, though it is at least 1942.  His south German style bar: EK2 1939, KVK2X, 1941-42 East Medal, WW1 Hindenburg Cross with Swords, and 25 Years Loyal Service Cross marks him as a reservist, even had he not been wearing the pre-war rank insignia.  Since the Loyal Service Crosses were not awarded after 30 January 1943, this man evidently served at least several years during the First World War, at least part of that time in action, without ever being decorated then. RN



Although there is no way to trace careers or rank dates for reserve officers like the above two men, when dealing with senior officers and generals, a variety of reference sources are available. This is then Generalleutnant Curt Pflugbeil (1890-1955), photo marked as having been taken Christmas week of 1941.  He was then Commander of IV. Fliegerkorps, and had received his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 5 October of that year.  He would advance to General der Flieger in 1942, and receive Oakleaves in 1944.


He was identified, long before the Hildebrand "Die Generale der deutschen Luftwaffe" volumes came out, simply by checking his combination of awards against Reichsheer Rank Lists and the list of Knight's Cross recipients. He wears the miniature 1939 EK2 Spange on his ribbon bar EK2 1914 ribbon, then the Prussian Hohenzollern House Order 3rd Class with Swords, and the usual "Saxon trio" of Saint Henry-Civil Merit-Albert Orders. But there is something VERY "peculiar" about this ribbon bar! Although he transferred to the Luftwaffe in 1933, Pflugbeil is wearing ARMY Long Service Eagles, not correct Luftwaffe types! The fact that a Prague bar has fallen out of his Sudeten Medal ribbon in last place (note the device hole!) suggests the sort of field wear and tear ribbon bars were subject to.  The Commanding General is clearly "out of uniform" here!



This Unteroffizier's odd looking combination of army M1936 field service tunic and NSDAP parade dress full medal bar is NOT "out of uniform."  This is a wedding photo, and for those, the happy groom often got dressed up in his very best.  A reservist like this Party functionary wouldn't have possessed a pre-war army parade dress uniform, nor were any issued new after the war started.  Full dress medals are much more uncommon during the Second World War than they were in the First, but for this sort of occasion, the extra expense was often made.  Parade medals on a service uniform would have been worn only during the wedding celebration, as if this hybrid attire was "walking out dress."  Because NSDAP awards could be worn on any uniform, back on duty he would have worn a matching ribbon bar.  His Nazi Party 10 Years Long Service Cross is not "incorrect" as General Pflugbeil's little eagles are, because they represent actual service in another uniformed organization than the one this NCO was currently wearing, in the same way that civil service etc awards could be worn in military uniform. RN