--ORIGINAL WORLD WAR I FRENCH CROIX DE GUERRE "CROSS OF WAR" MEDAL, W/ A BRONZE STAR & MOUNTING PINS.
--RIBBON DRAPE TESTED UV NEGATIVE.
The Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts. The Croix de guerre was also commonly bestowed on foreign military forces allied to France.
The Croix de guerre may either be awarded as an individual or unit award to those soldiers who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism involving combat with the enemy. The medal is awarded to those who have been "mentioned in dispatches", meaning a heroic deed or deeds were performed meriting a citation from an individual's headquarters unit. The unit award of the Croix de guerre with palm was issued to military units whose men performed heroic deeds in combat and were subsequently recognized by headquarters.
The Croix was created by a law of April 2, 1915, proposed by French deputy Émile Briant. The Croix reinstated an older system of mentions in dispatches, which were only administrative honours with no medal. The sculptor Paul-André Bartholomé created the medal, a bronze cross with swords, showing the effigy of the republic.
The French Croix represents a mention in dispatches awarded by a commanding officer, at least a regimental commander. Depending on the officer who issued the mention, the ribbon of the Croix is marked with extra pins.
Mentioned in Despatches :
a bronze star for those who had been mentioned at the regiment or brigade level.
a silver star, for those who had been mentioned at the division level.
a silver gilt star for those who had been mentioned at the corps level.
a bronze palm for those who had been mentioned at the army level.
a silver palm stands for five bronze ones.
a silver gilt palm for those who had been mentioned at the Free French Forces level (World War II only).
The French Croix de guerre des TOE was created in 1921 for wars fought in theatres of operation outside of France. It was awarded during the Indochina War, Korean War, and other wars up to the Kosovo War in 1999.
When World War II broke out in 1939, a new Croix de guerre was created by Édouard Daladier. It was abolished by Vichy Government in 1941, which created a new Croix de guerre. In 1943 General Giraud in Algiers created another Croix de guerre. Both Vichy and Giraud Croix were abolished by General de Gaulle in 1944, who reinstated the 1939 Croix.
The Croix de guerre takes precedence between the Ordre national du Mérite and the Croix de la Valeur Militaire, the World War I Croix being senior to the World War II one, itself senior to TOE Croix.
In the United States military, the Croix de guerre was accepted as a foreign decoration. It remains to be one of the difficult foreign awards to verify entitlement. The Croix de guerre unit and individual award were often presented with original orders only and rarely entered into a permanent service record. The 1973 National Archives Fire destroyed most of the World War II personnel records which are needed to verify a veteran's entitlement to the Croix de guerre award. However, foreign unit award entitlements can be checked and verifyed through official unit history records. Veterans must provide proof of service in the unit cited at the time of action in order to be entitled to the award. Individual foreign awards can be checked through foreign government (France) military records.
Regarding the United States in WWI, on April 10, 12, and 13, 1918, the lines being held by the troops of the 102nd Infantry Regiment, of the 26th "Yankee" Division, in Bois Brule, near Apremont in the Ardennes, were heavily bombarded and attacked by the Germans. At first the Germans secured a foothold in some advanced trenches which were not strongly held but, thereafter, sturdy counterattacks by the 102nd Infantry - at the point of the bayonet - succeeded in driving the enemy out with serious losses, entirely re-establishing the American line. For its gallantry the 102nd Infantry was cited in a general order of the French 32nd Army Corps on April 26, 1918. In an impressive ceremony occurring in a field near Boucq on April 28, 1918, the 102nd Infantry's regimental flag was decorated with the Croix de Guerre by French General Fenelon F.G. Passaga. “I am proud to decorate the flag of a regiment which has shown such fortitude and courage,” he said. “I am proud to decorate the flag of a nation which has come to aid in the fight for liberty.” Thus, the 102nd Infantry became the very first American unit to be honored by a foreign country for exceptional bravery in combat. In addition, 117 members of the 102nd Infantry received the award, including its commander, Colonel George H. Shelton.
In World War II, the 320th Bombardment Groupreceived the Croix de Guerre avec Palme for action in preparation for and in support of Allied offensive operations in central Italy, April–June 1944. It was the first American unit in this war to be awarded the citation. Members of the 440th AAA AW Battalion(Anti-Aircraft Artillery - Automatic Weapons) of the U.S. Army also received the Croix de Guerre avec Palme (unit award) for stopping the German Ardennes counter-offensive in holding the town of Gouvy, Belgium for 41⁄2 days at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge on December 16, 1944. Gouvy is midway between St. Vith and Bastogne. Commanding Officer of the 440th, Lt. Col. Robert O. Stone, and Pfc. Joseph P. Regis, also received an individual award of the Croix de Guerre avec Palme. On June 21, 1945, French General De Gaulle presented the following citation to the 34th United States Infantry Division: "A 'division d’elite', whose loyal and efficient cooperation with French divisions, begun in TUNISIA, was gloriously continued throughout the Italian campaign, in particular during the operations of BELVEDERE when the 34th Division, despite the difficulties of the moment, displayed most courageous efforts in support of the operations of the 3rd Algerian Division. This citation bears with it the award of Croix de Guerre with Palm."
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