The Kaiser’s Prize (Kaiserschiessabzeichen)

Steve Nick

Member
In 1895 the German Army began the practice of awarding a prize for marksmanship in the Infantry, Jägers and the Artillery. The award was extended to include Machine Gun units in 1903. The Kaiser’s Prize was awarded to all units under Prussian control, and utilizes the straight-sided Imperial crown. Therefore, prizes awarded to company’s hailing from Hesse, Mecklenburg or Baden utilized the Imperial crown.

The prizes were fashioned from brass with a gilt finish and were mounted on an oval cloth backing in the colour of the service branch. Infantry awards are found with a dark Prussian blue backing until the introduction of the pattern 1910 Field Grey uniform.

Selected infantry companies in each Army Corps competed annually for the prizes. The competition was conducted over a simulated combat type firing course set up in the country side using silhouette type targets.

Machine gun units only competed in the odd numbered years. Therefore, award years should be as follows: 1903,1905,1907,1909,1911,1913.

The prizes were worn on the right coat sleeve, while the captain of the victorious company was awarded The Order of the Red Eagle fourth class.

The prizes were also awarded to the Navy as well and are indistinguishable from the Kaiser’s prize for the artillery. The prize was issued to the companies of the ship which had the best marksmanship record during the annual Fleet Manoeuvers each spring. Recipients of the naval prizes were allowed to wear them as long as they remained as a member of the crew of the ship on which they won the award. The Kaiser’s prize format was awarded as the Navy was considered to be an Imperial institution.

There are differences noted in the dies for Kaiser Prizes suggesting there were different makers

Due to the fact that the shooting competitions for the Army were held in the late summer, 1913 was the last year in which they were awarded.
 

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Steve Nick

Member
Posting the Kaiser Prize for Jagers and Machine Gun Companies.

The Machine Gun Prize photo is courtesy of Steve McFarland.

Will be posting the Kings Prize examples tomorrow.
 

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Steve Nick

Member
Forgot to add this photo of a member of the Garde Schutzen Battalion wearing his Kaiser's Prize for Jager Battalions.

Apparently quite proud of it as he has his arm turned to make it more visible.
 

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KAGGR#1

Well-known member
Steve ;
Very nice photos with good text information .
I really like your Jager Batl 1907 Kaiser prize
In 1907 this was won by only the Garde Jager Batl. / 2. Kp.
My 1911 Prussian M G Abtlg. Kaiser Prize was won only by
the Garde M G Abtlg. # 2
The Infantry and Artillery are IMO not possible to I D to a unit
unless they are still on the uniform sleeve .
as understand it only a Co. of the Regiment was the winner
the 1895 K P was won by 19 different Co.
The 1913 Infantry ( on Feldgrau cloth if I see correctly ) was won by
24 different Co. First listed was the Garde Fusiliers / 8 Co.
The 1912 Artillery was won by 8 different Field Artillery batteries
and 1 Fuss Artillery Batterie ; Fuss A R 9 / 2 Bat.
I can not understand the Naval part
listed as 1911 / 12 = 5 different ships ?
listed as 1912 / 13 = 6 different ships ?
thanks
Steve McFarland
 

Steve Nick

Member
Steve:

Thanks for your help with this posting and your comments.

I'm no expert on these prizes as there is very little research written in English concerning them and very little in German that I have been able to find. If anyone can add to our collective understanding of these awards I'd be very appreciative.

As far as I know there is no way to distinguish a Naval Prize vs. an Artillery prize.

Unless someone knows of a regulation that describes the award criteria there are a lot of questions to be answered.

For instance I have no answer to your Naval question. In the same vein, did the entire crew receive the Prize right down to the stokers?

In the case of the Jager Battalions in some Corps for example Bavaria, there were only two battalions. Did Bavaria award a Kings Crown Prize for Jagers? If so, winning would not be much of an achievement.

I'd like to do some work on this issue so I can calculate the relative rarity of specific prizes in more detail than the obvious conclusion that Kings Prizes are more scarce than Kaiser prizes.

The 1913 Infantry is on a Feldgrau material.

Thanks for your comments.
 

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
My "08".... blue cloth and tin backing provided by my good friend T Schnurr years ago. This was purchased at a militaria/antiques store north of Orillia Ont..... for my CN brethren.
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IMG_1183.JPG
 

Steve Nick

Member
Brian:

Thanks for adding to the conversation.

That's a very nice Prize, still has a lot of the gilt finish unlike my example.
 

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
Yes Steve, this one is in "Good Nick" as the Brits say. The store that it came from was like a museum with price tags and I am sure that Canadians from my area know of what I speak. The dealer could be difficult to deal with and he had been in business for a long time. He is no longer with us. Price is always relative to the time in which you are buying...I was making X $ amount per month at the time and thought he was hard to deal with and excessive price wise. However, today 20+ years later you, Steve and I are the only ones posting examples of this rare badge so far. :thumb up:
 
Here are a few more Kaiser/King's prize awards.

KPART.jpg
Bavarian Infantry and Artillery



HPART2.jpg
Prussian Artillery dated 1905 and 1906. The only unit to win an artillery Kaiser Prize in consecutive years was the 5th Battery of Artillery Regiment 4.



JKP14.jpg
As previously indicated the last award of the prizes was 1913. Before the war interrupted, there were apparently plans for the competitions in 1914.
This 1914 dated prize was never issued.



shutschnur.jpg

When a company in one of the regiments for which William II was the honorary chief won a Kaiser prize the company was awarded this Kaiserschnur. A silver plaque was also placed in the officer casino and the company commander was given the Red Eagle order fourth class.
 

Steve Nick

Member
When a company in one of the regiments for which William II was the honorary chief won a Kaiser prize the company was awarded this Kaiserschnur. A silver plaque was also placed in the officer casino and the company commander was given the Red Eagle order fourth class.
[/quote]


Thanks for adding to the conversation.

I wasn't aware of the existence of the Kaiserschnur. I take it the example you posted is in your collection?
 

KAGGR#1

Well-known member
Great addition to the post and thanks for doing so .I am glad there is some interest
in the Kaiser / King Prizes .Your double date F A R prize is super nice .Also the 1914
Jager which was never given out .I have not seen that before .Many thanks for posting
a shooting cord award .I collect these and have been talking with Steve about adding
shooting cords to this posting. There are 10 Stufe ( classes ) of the cords .Then there are the
cords for the units under the personal Command of Kaiser Wilhelm II .Thank you for the post
of your cord .There are 2 more different ones for the K W II units .One like yours except
it has a shield with the " W " cypher circa 1901 .I have been chasing one of these with no luck .
There is also one in silver cord for officers of the First Garde Regt. zu Fuss .
Steve McFarland
 
The pictured Kaiserschnur is mine and is an enlisted version for the first award. The Kaiserschnur for the second award has the same shield as found on marksmanship awards 5th through 8th class at it upper end and a gold colored cord is interwoven through the length of the schnur. The award for officers is made from woven gold cord.

The two volume reference The German Infantry by Herr & Nguyen has a discussion of Prussian marksmanship awards in volume 1 pages 170 - 181. The book has good photographs of the various awards.
 

Steve Nick

Member
reservist1 said:
The two volume reference The German Infantry by Herr & Nguyen has a discussion of Prussian marksmanship awards in volume 1 pages 170 - 181. The book has good photographs of the various awards.

I don't have a copy of that work. I'll have to see if I can find a copy.

Your marksman's Kaiserschnur is a really nice example looks to be in pristine shape.

I found a picture of the bust that was presented to the winning companies for display in the mess.
 

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Steve Nick

Member
reservist1 said:
JKP14.jpg
As previously indicated the last award of the prizes was 1913. Before the war interrupted, there were apparently plans for the competitions in 1914.
This 1914 dated prize was never issued.

I neglected to comment of the 1914 Prize that you posted. (Got too distracted by the Kaiseschnur you posted)

Thanks for posting that Jager example. This certainly adds to my knowledge of the topic. I had to this point assumed that the last badges produced were the ones awarded in 1913. It certainly makes sense given the timing, with the war breaking out in early August and the annual Kaiser manoeuvers being set to take place in September that the badges would have been produced in anticipation of the manoeuvers taking place.

I've never seen a 1914 dated example prior to your post.

Have you seen the article by Ulrich Schiers re. these awards? "The Rifle Badges in the German Imperial Army of the Imperial Era - Part 3, Imperial Royal Badge". I'd like to get hold of a copy.

Thanks for your contribution to the topic.
 
Steve: I have parts 1, 2 and 3 of Schiers article and an article by Bernd Wedeking and Markus Bodeaux on Navy Kaiser Prizes. Send me a PM with your email address an I will scan and send what sections you need.
 

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
Excellent information in this thread, I have learned a great deal. Selfishly.....does anyone have a period photo of that Kaiserschnur being worn? I know that if I had been awarded that, one of my first moves would be to get a photograph taken of me in my best uniform wearing that award.
 

Steve Nick

Member
Brian and Steve:

Outstanding display. Thanks for sharing it with us.

I'm glad I posted this topic I've learned a lot from the contributions made so far.

Steve
 

Steve Nick

Member
A perhaps interesting aside that I found while scouring around looking for Shooting Prize information was the story of the 1912 Kaiser Manouevers scandal.

Apparently this incident was the only instance in which a Kaiser Prize was forfeited by a unit that had the winning score. It was particularly embarrassing/humiliating because the unit was the 6th Company of the 1st Prussian Foot Gardes. I can only imagine the reaction of the Kaiser when he was informed that the unit he had served in would be remembered as the only unit to have ever been disqualified for cheating!

It was such a big story at the time that The New York Times ran the story as follows:

From the New York Times: "Entire company charged with fraud. German soldiers accused of fraud in shooting competition:


Berlin. Sept. 23rd -

Unusual martial law suit against all personnel of the sixth company of the First Guard Regiment of Foot, including the company chief, eleven non-commissioned officers and 110 men, was opened in Potsdam today.

The company is accused of dishonesty in connection with the target shooting for the Imperial Prize of the Prussian Army last month. The First Guard regiment of Foot is one of the proudest regiments of the house troops and the Kaiser and all of his sons served in it for a while.

While the shooting competition was going on in the Doberitz camp, an officer from another regiment noticed that a soldier from the sixth company of the First Guard Regiment put his hand in his boots and bread bag and took out cartridges, which the officer reported to headquarters and shooting stopped immediately.

An examination revealed a nice mess. Virtually all corporals and non-commissioned officers, it is said, had more cartridges in their possession than they were allowed under the rules. Ammunition was hidden in boots, bread bags, various parts of the team's clothing, and a total of 1,700 cartridges were found that the men owned without authorization. The company had even hidden cartridges in bushes and ditches.

Captain Hans Bernhard von Schlichting was company commander of the 6th company according to the ranking in 1912 and 1913, the company commander, who is also one of the accused, is only accused of neglecting to not have carried out flawless checks on the actions of his subordinate officers.

The story also ran in the Berliner Zeitung. Wilhelm would not have been amused!
 

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