Thursday 15 March 2012

War Commemorative Medal 1939 – 1940

War Commemorative Medal for the Campaign in Western Europe 1939 – 1940.

Two versions: Bronze (for Combatants), Black (Non-combatants).
Instituted: Not formally Instituted and never Awarded
Rarity: Extremely Rare, Extremely Rare.
Known Makers: Sole known manufacturer E. F. Weidmann, Frankfurt am Main

The medal is simple round planchet with a raised rim, and embossed design. The suspension of the medal is by means of a simple vertical round wire ose through which is placed a round ribbon ring. All metal portions of the medal are made of iron with a coloured surface, either black or brown depending on the intended issue,
Diameter - 32.55 mm
Max thickness - 2.90 mm
Thickness at rim – 2.75 mm

Obverse: The width of the rim is 1.20 mm, and the depth to the surface base is approx 0.20 mm stepped in two stages.

The recessed field bears an embossed Iron Cross design with the date numerals spaced in the open quarters of the Cross arms 19 39 in the upper quarters, and 19 40 in the lower. The main central area of the field bears a depiction of the Wehrmacht pattern Eagle and Swastika.

Reverse: The reverse has a similar edge line construction with a raised five line inscription in capital letters, DEN, KÄMPFERN, FÜR DIE, DEUTSCHE, FREIHEIT. This translates to: The Fight for German Freedom.

Bronze (for Combatants).

The design and master pieces were struck by the firm E. F. Wiedmann of Frankfurt am Main. It was panned to produce a million of the oxidized iron medal but as the war was going on there was no demand for it. Therefore only the small number of design pieces exists.

With the campaign in Western Europe having been concluded in June 1940, it was proposed that the medal would recognise the cessation of hostilities. The occupied countries having sued for peace, leaving Great Britain and Northern Ireland as the sole remaining combatants. The Irish Free State, and Sweden, declared neutrality.

The Bronze type was supposedly to have been awarded to Combatants, while the Black type was for Non-Combatants. However it should not be awarded to the holders of the War Merit Cross or women.

According to the statement of Mr Loy who took part in a conference with Dr Doehle at the Order Chancellery in the summer of 1940, it was planned to issue a combatant and non combatant ribbon to the medal. The ribbon design is uncertain but believed to be in the case of the Bronze award, 1mm black edge line with 6mm red band 1 mm black line with adjacent 1 mm white line with a central 10 mm red band. The design was repeated in mirror fashions on the other side.

The Black award had a ribbon as that used on the WW 1 commemorative

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