Content - Richard Lundström
Layout - Sebastian Bianchi 

Rules & Regulations

Prussian Regulations of 24 February 1915
(with amendment 1916)

1) Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class 1870 or 1914 (1914 “Spange” for re-decorated 1870 holders)
2) Prussian Hohenzollern House Order 3rd Class with Swords
3) Prussian Red Eagle Orders 3rd or 4th Classes with Swords
4) Prussian Crown Orders 3rd or 4th Classes with Swords
5) Prussian Gold Military Merit Cross
6) Prussian Military Decoration 1st Class
7) Prussian Military Decoration 2nd Class
8) Russian Order of Saint George 4th Class (!!!)
9) Austro-Hungarian Maria Theresa Order (!!!)
10) Prussian Lifesaving Medal “on the Ribbon”
11) Prussian War Effort Cross (created 5 December 1916)
12) Prussian Hohenzollern, Red Eagle, Crown Orders on peacetime statute ribbons
13) Prussian Red Cross Medal 2nd Class
13a) Orders of non-Prussian States subordinate to Prussia if officers wore that state’s cockade
14) Prussian Merit Cross in Gold with or without Crown (created 1912)
15) Prussian Merit Cross in Silver with or without Crown (created 1912)
16) Prussian Cross of the General Decoration
17) Prussian General Decoration (note: often worn after #18 by technical officers)
18) Prussian XXV Years Service Cross
19) Principality of Hohenzollern Honor Cross (House Order) 2nd and 3rd Classes (war or peace)
20) Prussian Red Cross Medal 3rd Class
21) 1864 Düppel Cross
22) 1864 Alsen Cross
23) Prussian Long Service Awards: XX, XV, or XII Years Service
24) Prussian Red Eagle Order Medal
25) Prussian Crown Order Medal
26) Reichs Kriegerverdienst Medal (granted only to native troops in the colonies)
27) Prussian Long Service Awards: IX years Medal or Reserve-Landwehr Medal
28) 1870-71 War Medal
29) 1866 War Cross
30) 1864 War Medal
30a) Colonial Medal omitted here on the officially published list!
31) 1904-06 Southwest Africa Medal
32) 1900-01 China Medal
33) 1848-49 Principality of Hohenzollern Campaign Medal (any survivors in late 80s then)
34) 1898 Jerusalem Cross
35) Ölberg Cross (for merit to/in the German Hospital on the Mount of Olives)
36) 1861 Coronation Medal
37) 1897 Centenary Medal
38) Electoral Hesse Jubilee Medals
39) Hannoverian Jubilee Medals
40) Non-Prussian Orders “except #s 8 and 9” as the recipient desired
41) Non-Prussian medals as the recipient desired

Category 13a meant that for officers in states like Baden, the Mecklenburgs, etc where they wore state colors and special state rank insignia, those states’ awards could be worn by their subjects in this place.  Subjects of the Principality of Hohenzollern were also in that category—category 19 was for Prussians, not Hohenzollern natives. 

The omission of the 1913 Colonial Medal and the placement of most of the other campaign medals and crosses shows the unique Prussian practice of generally placing the most recent war medal first, rather than last.  Düppel and Alsen were inexplicable exceptions—perhaps because “the King in person” had been present at those battles? And the “national” wars of 1848-1871 were seen as having precedence over the colonial campaigns.

For comments on Bavarian, Saxon, etc regulations, see after the Reich regulations.

As previously mentioned, there were NO official regulations during the Weimar Republic. Civilians did as they pleased. Army personnel held fairly closely to Prussian regulations, but continued the unofficial wartime common practice of wearing all war awards before all peacetime awards—the bravery decorations of other German states being held of greater meaning than one’s own peace-time Orders.  The navy allowed—or at least tolerated—wearing many of the unofficial veterans’ association, commemorative, and purely vanity self purchase awards.  The Marinekorps Flandernkreuz, Skaggerakmedaille, and many others were worn in naval uniform.  Moreover, due to the difference in perception about Freikorps service 1919-23 (the “red” infected navy regarded its Freikorps personnel as the Loyal Cadre, whereas the regular “barracks” army looked down its nose at the border volunteers, etc), the navy was also more permissive about wear of these awards as well.

In 1935, as part of his “unification” campaign, Hitler made the unofficial reality official, and ordered the formerly “Prussian” Iron Cross to always be worn first, ahead of all other WW1 decorations as the universal “Reichs” decoration. Lifesaving awards, the highest rewards for civil courage, were demoted to position behind the Hindenburg Cross, and eventually even lower.  Only three Freikorps awards received official recognition, and two of those were pinbacks—the Baltic Cross and 1919 Bremen Iron Roland.  With the deluge of new Third Reich awards, most for varieties of uniformed long service, it took a while to shake out a “final” precedence for pre-1914 campaign medals, which may be seen in their old 1914 “after long service” place, rather than ahead of long service awards.