War Merit Crosses & Medals

Instituted in 1939, the War Merit Cross with swords was intended for military personnel who through their actions did not directly qualify for an Iron Cross.
It was available with swords for front line personnel and without swords for bravery other then the front line. Without swords was given out for a variety of non combat achievements that contributed to the war effort. The war merit medal, came out later in 1940 and was intended for civilians who contributed to the war effort. Usually in factories producing equipment for the war.

The award structure is 1. War Merit Medal 2. War Merit Cross 2nd class, 3. War Merit Cross 1st Class, and then The Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross.

This is a common award and a favorite amoung collectors. It has a bold appearance and due to high production numbers, it is not hard to find mint condition examples. They can be found made of an earlier brass like alloy called "Tombak" and later ones are made of zinc. The earlier style is often found with a maker mark on the ribbon loop. Maker marks on zinc versions are less common. There were many makers, so putting together a full collection can be very tedious.