SMGR-0087 Ottoman War Medal “Galipoli Star” German Made


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A fine example that’s true name is the 1915 War Medal. This is the officer grade version made by the German firm BB&co and is marked as such on the reverse. There is some minor wear to the silver plating and a minor inclusion to the enamel on the 9:00 star arm.



From Turkish

1915 War Medal (Harp Madalyasi)

Created in 1915 as an award of merit specific to the current war (World War I), this medal was not a campaign medal, but a medal for military merit.  The War Medal was the “entry level” gallantry award of the Turkish military in World War I, ranking below the silver Liyakat Medal. This medal is often referred to by nicknames, such as the “Gallipoli Star” in English, or the “Eiserner Halbmond” (Iron Crescent) in German.  The medal is star shaped, approximately 56 mm. across, with ball finials, a raised silver edge and red field in lacquer or enamel. A raised crescent, open at the top, encircles the center of the badge, and inside the crescent is the tughra of Sultan Mehmed Reshad V, over the date “1333” (1915). The back of the medal is blank, with either a horizontal pin brooch or two vertical open hooks to attach it to the left breast of the uniform.

The original issue pieces of this award came in two varieties: silvered brass with red enamel or white metal with thin red lacquer.  Those issued to officers were enameled, and were manufactured by a company that used the mark “BB&Co.”, an unknown maker reputedly located in Berlin.  These “BB&Co.” examples are commonly seen on the market today, and have generally been thought to be German made copies, but it appears that “BB&Co.” pieces were issued to officers, while the plain lacquered variety (sometimes even seen without any red lacquer at all) were issued to other ranks.  “BB&Co.” examples in solid silver have also been seen.

This decoration is the only Ottoman decoration which not awarded by authority of the Sultan, but rather was authorized by Enver Pasha, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ottoman military.  Thus, the award documents do not bear the tughra of the Sultan.  After the war, Sultan Mehmed VI  officially recognized the medals as having been awarded by his will.  Enver Pasha was by that time a despised outlaw living in exile.

There are a huge variety of German made private purchase examples, which were manufactured by virtually every German court jeweler from the World War I era through the 3rd Reich period.  Private purchase badges can be found in silver, white metal, silvered bronze, bronze, and even aluminum, with a variety of pin attachments, screw back attachments, or rings at the top for wear on a medal bar.  A few examples of a much larger size are known, almost certainly private purchase pieces.

The statute ribbon was red, 29 mm., with 5 mm. white stripes, 2.5 mm. from each edge for those who earned the medal in combat.  For noncombatants, a reverse color scheme was used: white with red stripes.  The ribbon was not to be worn with the medal itself, but was to be looped through the second buttonhole of the tunic when the medal was not being worn.  However, these often turn up with the ribbon sewn onto the pin on the back, and it appears that this variation on the mode of wear was done during the war.  There are also trapezoidal clasps that have been seen, designed to be worn on the ribbon, and bearing the names of various campaigns or theaters of operations during the war.  The most commonly seen clasps are “Chanakkale” or “Chanak” (Gallipoli), “Kafkas”, “Kanal”, “Sana”, and “Kut-ul-Ammara”.  “Irak” has also been seen, but this may be a post-war invention, as the nation of Iraq didn’t exist until the Middle East was divided by the allies after the war.  These campaign clasps had no official status, but their wear seems to have been accepted at the time of the war.

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