Erinnerungskreuz 1866 - Complete Set

SkipperJohn

Well-known member
Prussia’s memorial crosses were awarded in a similar fashion to campaign medals in the U.S. military. Everybody who served in a campaign, a particular battle, or in any theater of the conflict was awarded one. A civilian version of the medal was also awarded to those who showed honorable or meritorious service in support of the army during the conflict.

This is a complete set of the Prussian Memorial Crosses for the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.

Erinnerungskreuz 1866 Königgrätz (Memorial Cross 1866 Königgrätz)

This award was given in recognition of the glorious campaign against Austria. The memorial cross for Königgrätz was awarded to officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers and officials who took part in the battle of Königgrätz. The reverse side of this award is the same for all four versions of the award.

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In the middle shield was an ornate WR
The inscription inside the circle was PREUSSENS SIEGREICHEMEM HEERE (PRUSSIA’S VICTORIOUS ARMY)
On the upper arm of the cross was the Royal Crown
On the other cross arms was written GOTT WAR MIT UNS IHM SEI DIE EHRE (GOD WAS WITH US (TO) HIM BE THE HONOR)

The number of awards for all crosses, not including the non-combatant version, is approximately 144,000.

The front of the medal (sometimes referred to as the reverse side) was different in all four versions. The Königgrätz version showed a seated Prussian eagle on a lying cannon barrel in the round center shield. Written across the cross arms was KÖNIGGRÄTZ DEN 3. JULY 1866.

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This medal was awarded on September 20, 1866 by King Wilhelm I. 1866 was the only year it was distributed. This version has become the representative of all versions which are commonly referred to as the “Königgrätz Cross”.

OEK number: 1938


Erinnerungskreuz der Main-Armee 1866 (Main Army Memorial Cross 1866)

The memorial cross for der Main-Armee was awarded to officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers and officials who took part in the fighting in Thuringia and southern Germany.

The Main-Armee version showed a seated Prussian eagle on a lying cannon barrel in the round center shield. Written across the cross arms was DER MAIN ARMY 1866.

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This medal was awarded on September 20, 1866 by King Wilhelm I. 1866 was the only year it was distributed.

OEK number: 1939


Erinnerungskreuz Treuen Kriegern 1866 (Memorial Cross to Faithful Warriors 1866)

The memorial cross for loyal warriors was awarded to officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers and officials who did not participate in the battle of Königgrätz and were not part of the Main Army.

The Treuen Kriegern version showed a seated Prussian eagle on a lying cannon barrel in the round center shield. Written across the cross arms was TREUEN KRIEGERN 1866.

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This medal was awarded on September 20, 1866 by King Wilhelm I. This medal was distributed in both 1866 and 1867.

OEK number: 1940

The ribbon for all combatant versions was the same:

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Erinnerungskreuz 1866 für Nichtkämpfer (Memorial Cross 1866 for non-fighters)

The commemorative cross for non-fighters was awarded to people who were not part of the fighting associations but were nevertheless in the theater of war and proved their worth.

The Nichtkämpfer version showed a seated Prussian eagle on a lying cannon barrel in the round center shield. Unlike the combatant versions, the date 1866 was under the cannon barrel instead of on the lower cross arm. Written across the cross arms was TREUE PFLICHT IM KRIEGE (Faithful Duty (Service) in the War)

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This medal was awarded on September 20, 1866 by King Wilhelm I, and was extended by him on November 17, 1866 and January 31, 1867.
This medal was distributed in both 1866 and 1867.

OEK number: 1941

The ribbon for the non-combatant version of this medal was the inverse of the combatant ribbon:

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The number of awards for the crosses of the non-fighters is approximately 1200 pieces. This cross is by far the rarest of the set. Though not terribly expensive, this medal is extremely hard to find. I finally found one to complete my set.

All these medals were sold in miniature versions and buttonhole designs. These miniatures were not considered "issued" awards and are not addressed in the OEK registry.

Complete information on German Medals, from any period, can be researched here:

https://www.ehrenzeichen-orden.de/

John :)
 

Sandmann

Well-known member
A very interesting and really good Post! Thank you for your efforts and for sharing it :bravo:
 

aicusv

Active member
Never realized there were so many variations of this award. Thanks for posting. Now I have to go look at the ones I have.
 

coert65

Active member
Very nice set John, also, nice to hear you finally located a non combattant one at last.
I know you have been looking for one for some years.
:bravo: :bravo:

Greetings, Coert. :)
 

SkipperJohn

Well-known member
coert65 said:
Very nice set John, also, nice to hear you finally located a non combattant one at last.
I know you have been looking for one for some years.
:bravo: :bravo:

Greetings, Coert. :)

Thanks Coert!
You are very correct. I have been looking for the non-combatant version for a long, long time.
I found a couple, but the dealers wanted an outrageous price for them --- I mean really stiff!
I, of course, passed on those. I happened onto this one, advertised as a “Königgrätz Cross”, and bought it immediately.

Sometimes we get lucky.

Thanks everybody for your comments!

John :)
 
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