French military cross

French military cross

One of the French awards/badges of the Second World War is the Military Cross 1939-1945. The military cross of 1939-1945 (Croix de Guerre) was established by Law, issued in 1939, on September 25, in order to reward the participants in hostilities against fascist Germany and its allies. It can rightfully be considered the successor to the previous award – the French Military Cross 1914-1918, awarded for services during the First World War – both awards are very similar both in appearance and in statute.

*After the establishment in 1939, the Military Cross of France was awarded for a year, after which the award was suspended due to the discovery of illegal fraud by some military leaders.

French military cross

French military cross.

The military cross is a reward that was given to both commanders and ordinary soldiers for a distinction in a battle. In addition to the regular army, the Military Cross in France could be awarded to French and foreign civilians, as well as to militarized personnel and those who did not receive the Legion of Honor or the Military Medal, but whose heroic deed was officially confirmed. In addition, cities and other settlements, military units and formations, including ships and squadrons of the Navy, were awarded with the military prize of France.

*Over the years, the Second World Cross was awarded about 250,000 times, among the allies of the USSR on the anti-Hitler coalition that were awarded with this award and Soviet officers, including Marshal A.M. Vasilevsky, awarded the highest award in 1944.

Marshal A.M. Vasilevsky

Marshal A.M. Vasilevsky.

Award Description

The main composition of the military award of France is made in the form of an equilateral cross (one of the variants of the Patti cross), in the center of which there is a round medallion. The medallion contains the image of the symbol of the French Republic – Marianne, in a circle – the inscription REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE. The base is superimposed on crossed swords. The reverse is engraved with the numbers “1939” (the year France entered World War II). Moire ribbon consists of 9 vertical stripes in red and green.

French military cross

French military cross.

 Read: Hitler Youth Knife — German Scout Weapon

Additional signs were attached to the ribbon of the Cross:

  • Bronze star (Order of rewarding announced by the commander of a regiment or brigade);
  • Silver Star (Order announced by the division commander);
  • Gilded star (Awarding on behalf of the corps commander);
  • Bronze laurel branch (Awarding on behalf of the commander of the Army);
  • A gilded branch of laurel leaves (equivalent to five bronze branches).
General de Gaulle

General de Gaulle awarded with the Military Cross.

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