|Croatian Military Decorations|
The Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska or NDH) was
founded on April 10, 1941. Over the course of its existence (until May 8, 1945),
the state established 43 different military decorations. The first decorations
were established and granted on May 15, 1941 (these were the 4 classes of the
Crown of King Zvonimir). The last decoration was established October 14, 1943.
The following are the most important of the Croatian decorations:
1. THE MILITARY ORDER OF THE IRON TREFOIL:
|The highest attainable Croatian military decoration, the Order of the Iron Trefoil was founded on December 27, 1941. It was awarded to soldiers or officers of the Croatian Armed Forces and the Ustase for “exceptional gallantry, leadership and acts of bravery against the enemy”. “Members of allied or friendly armed forces could receive this Order for assisting in the achievement of Croatian independence, or for acts of heroism when fighting in concert with Croatian forces”. The Order was in 4 classes, and each class could “for outstanding acts of bravery” have a green (enamel) wreath added in its center. The Order itself was shaped as a Croatian trefoil, made of black iron with narrow silver edges. The “leaves” of the trefoil were decorated with the Croatian braid in silver. In the middle of the trefoil was a Croatian crest (red-white checkerboard), superimposed with the letter “U” (Ustase) in blue. The obverse had the words “Za Dom Spremni” (ready to defend the Fatherland) and the date 10. IV. 1941. engraved.|
2. THE GRAND ORDER & THE ORDER OF THE CROWN OF KING ZVONIMIR:
|The second highest Croatian military decoration, the Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir was established on May 15, 1941. I was awarded to members of the Croatian Armed Forces, the Ustase, or to members of allied and friendly forces, the Order came in 4 classes, and could have a star, oak leaves and swords added for “exceptional or outstanding achievements”. The Grand Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir was founded at a later date as the highest decoration within this Order (the star, swords or oak leaves could also be added). The decoration itself was shaped as a Croatian trefoil in white enamel, with golden edges, golden Croatian braids in the leaves, and a golden crown in the center. The obverse had the years 1076 (date of King Zvonimir’s ascension to the Croatian throne) and 1941 (date the NDH was founded), and the words “Bog i Hrvati” (God and the Croats) written in gold lettering.|
3. THE MEDALS OF THE CROWN OF KING ZVONIMIR:
These medals came in silver and in bronze, and could have oak leaves added for “exceptional acts”. Awarded to members of the Croatian Armed Forces, Ustase or members of allied and friendly nations armed forces. A round medal with the likeness of King Zvonimir engraved. The crown of the king above the round portion.
4. THE GRAND ORDER AND THE ORDER FOR MERIT:
|This Grand Order and Order came in 2 different shapes, a cross for the Catholic Croatians, and a 6 pointed star for Muslim Croatians. Also, different sizes existed for male and female recipients. The Order itself came in 4 classes, with a Grand Order added as the highest form. These decorations could be received by any citizen of the Independent State of Croatia, for “acts of heroism, or for advancing the cause of Croatian independence”. As stated, the Catholic Croatian Order was shaped as an even sided cross, in red enamel, with silver edges, a Croatian braid, and an Ustase crest in the center (also in silver). The Muslim Croatians received a six-sided star in red enamel, intertwined with a braid in silver, with the Ustase crest in the center (in silver). order of Merit for Christians 2nd Class|
5. THE ANTE PAVELIC MEDALS FOR BRAVERY:
These medals came in gold, silver or bronze, and were given for “acts of bravery in the face of the enemy” to members of the Croatian Armed Forces or the Ustase. The medals themselves were round, with the likeness of Poglavnik Ante Pavelic engraved.
6. DECORATIONS FOR THE WOUNDED:
These decorations came in iron, bronze, silver and gold, and were awarded for the first, second, third and fourth wound.
NOTE: The following Croatian decorations gave the awarded the right to carry
the title of “Vitez” (Knight):
1. The Iron Trefoil 1st Class with Oak Leaves;
2. The Iron Trefoil 1st Class;
3. The Grand Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir with Star and Oak Leaves;
4. The Grand Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir with Star and Swords;
5. The Grand Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir;
6. The Ante Pavelic Medal for Bravery in gold;
7. The Iron Trefoil 2nd Class with Oak Leaves;
8. The Iron Trefoil 2nd Class;
9. The Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir 1st Class with Star and Oak Leaves;
10. The Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir with Star and Swords;
11. The Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir with Star.
By Allen Milcic.
|Croatia Main||Axis Allies and Foreign Legions Menu|
|Main Page||Iron Cross||German Cross||War Merit Cross||Wound Badges||War Badges|
|Campaign Awards||Service Awards||Honor Awards||Axis Allies||Collectors Corner||Online Forum|