Other Foreign Awards to German Overseas Forces

It sometimes happened that German colonial and overseas troops were awarded medals by other countries. This usually occurred when they were temporarily in the service of another country or were allied to and serving alongside foreign soldiers. On other occasions medals were awarded to German troops by visiting (or visited) foreign royalty, often when that royalty served as honorary colonels-in-chief of regular German army regiments. Foreign medals were always worn after all German awards in the order of seniority on a medal bar.

The Medals Bar Page and Ribbon Bars Page of this website show that medals from many foreign countries (including Ottoman Turkey, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Great Britain, Greece, Chile, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and Russia) were awarded to German overseas servicemen.

During the First World War, medals that had previously been awarded by Entente countries were usually removed from uniforms. Also during the First World War awards were received from other allied or neutral countries such as Bulgaria (by German soldiers in Macedonia) and Finland and Sweden (by German soldiers in the Baltic Sea Division).

Austro-Hungarian Awards    

Order of the Iron Crown
Third Class
 with war decoration
Photo from WikiCommons

Gold Bravery Medal
Photo from HGM, Vienna /  WikiCommons  
  Austro-Hungarian medals were often awarded to German troops who served alongside them. For example Gefreiter Franz Pauly and Musketier Heinrich Halves, both of 2nd Battalion, 2nd East Asian Infantry Regiment were awarded the Golden Bravery Medal in 1901 for action in the Boxer Rebellion.

During the First World War, German troops serving alongside their Austro-Hungarian allies were again awarded Austro-Hungarian medals. A particular case with Germany's overseas troops was the Seebataillon detachment based at Skutari ("Marine Detachment Skutari") in Albania who were awarded a total of sixteen Austro-Hungarian medals (one Third Class Order of the Iron Crown with war decoration, one Golden Bravery Medal, four First Class Silver Bravery Medals and ten Second Class Silver Bravery Medals) while serving under Austro-Hungarian command against the Serbian army at the outbreak of the First World War.

Austro-Hungarian medals were traditionally worn with the ribbon folded into a point-down triangle. When worn by German servicemen they were sometimes kept in this style and at other times re-folded in the German manner. Similarly Austro-Hungarian soldiers with German awards usually wore them with a triangular folded ribbon. After Austria was annexed into the German Reich in 1938, their medals were no longer counted as foreign and were worn with a similar seniority to those of other German states (such as Bavaria and Saxony) but behind those of Prussia.

Recommended External Links - Foreign Awards at the Austro-Hungarian Army Website and Austro-Hungarian medals at the GWPDA

Georgian Order of St Tamara    

Photo © Matjaz Voglar

  This was a medal awarded to members of the German Caucasian Expedition by the fledgling Georgian Government on 4th November 1918. It was named after the 12th-13th Century Sainted Queen of Georgia.

The award consisted of an image of Queen Tamara within a circle containing Georgian lettering and the date 1915 on an eight pointed Brunswick star badge worn on the left breast. Originally in white metal, several variations were later made for private purchase by veterans in Germany after the war. The example pictured on the left is one such medal. Others were more ornate with enamelled centres.

It could also be worn as a ribbon without the medal (such as on miniature bars). The ribbon was dark red with black horizontal bars in the centre. Less than 5,000 of these medals (some say as few as 1,400) were awarded in total, most of the existing medals were privately made in Germany after the First World War for veterans of the Georgian Campaign.

Recommended External Links- Sections on the Order of St Tamara at The Orders and Medals Society of America, The Gentlemen's Military Interest Club and Wehrmacht Awards and Wikipedia


Egyptian Khedival Star    

Photo by C Dale from the Royal Fusiliers Museum Collection


The Khedival Star was awarded by Khedive Tewfik, the ruler of Egypt to those soldiers, sailors and civilians who fought in his service between 1882 and 1891. As such it was awarded to many Sudanese askaris who later served in the Wissmanntruppe and the Schutztruppe of German East Africa. This Egyptian medal continued to be worn by many of them while in German service.

It consisted of a brass five pointed star with "Egypt 1882" in English and Arabic around a sphinx and three pyramids in the centre. The star itself hung from a brass crescent and star motif on a dark blue ribbon.

This particular Khediveal Star shown in the photograph was awarded to the British Officer, Major General Sir Geoffrey Barton KCVO CB CMG

Recommended External Link - British Medals


British Egypt Campaign Medal    

Photo by C Dale from the Royal Fusiliers Museum Collection


The Egypt Medal was awarded by the British government to soldiers serving in Egypt in 1882 and in the Sudan, 1884-89. As such it was awarded to many Sudanese askaris who later served in the Wissmanntruppe and the Schutztruppe of German East Africa. This British medal continued to be worn by many of them while in German service.

It consisted of a white metal round medal with "Victoria Regina et Imperiatrix" ("Queen and Empress Victoria" in Latin) around Queen Victoria's profile and had a  dark blue ribbon with two vertical white stripes. It could be awarded with one or more white metal clasps for different battles or campaigns.

This particular Egypt Medal shown in the photograph was awarded to the British Officer, Major General Sir Geoffrey Barton KCVO CB CMG and has clasps for "Suarin 1885" and (the 1882 Battle of) "Tel-El-Kebir".

Recommend External Link - North East Medals


Chinese Order of the Double Dragon

Photo from the Armémuseum, Stockholm / WikiCommons  

  The Imperial Order of the Double Dragon was instituted by the Chinese Emperor Guangxu on 7th February 1882 as a reward specifically for foreigners who had performed services to the Chinese throne. As such it was awarded to German diplomats and officers based in China as well as back at home. The German Admiral Hans von Koestler who had ordered the German occupation of the Kiaochow province was a notable recipient of the Order. From 1908 it was also awarded to Chinese subjects.

Recommended External Link - Diplomat with the Chinese Double Dragon at the Gentlemen's Military Interest Club

During the Boxer Rebellion the armies of the Eight Nation Alliance frequently awarded medals to each others soldiers. German soldiers were therefore the recipients of foreign medals from their allies, for example Graf von Soden (who commanded the small detachment of German Marine Infantry inside the Peking Legations) was awarded the French Legion of Honour, the Italian Order of the Crown, the Russian Order of St Anne, the Belgian Order of Leopold, the Greek Order of the Redeemer and the Austro-Hungarian Order of the Iron Crown as well as the Prussian Pour-le-Mérite and many other German awards for his actions.

Recommended External Link - Russian Medals to German Forces in China 1901 at the Gentlemen's Military Interest Club

Chilean Commemorative Medal for German Officers

Photos © Traditionsverband

Some German officers earned medals while attached to foreign armies in a training role. For example thirty-one German officers were awarded the unique "Chilean Commemorative Medal for Training Officers" for their service in the Chilean army in the late 1890s.

Among their number were at least three future Schutztruppe officers: Friedrich von Erckert (later known as the founder of the South West African Schutztruppe Camel Company), Friedrich von Lettow-Vorbeck (brother of the East African Schutztruppe commander) and Karl Zimmermann (later known as the commander of the Cameroon Schutztruppe during the First World War).

Recommended External Link - Der chilenische Orden des Hauptmann Friedrich von Erckert at Traditionsverband

Officer of the East Asian
Occupation Brigade c1902-09
He wears the Interim tunic with collar Litzen and the officers' grey greatcoat. At his throat is the Chinese Order of the Double Dragon.
Photo © Joe Robinson 
Hauptmann dR Friedrich Graf von der Schulenburg
of the German Caucasus Mission c1918
He wears a privately purchased army officer's field grey uniform with peaked cap. On his left breast just below an Iron Cross he wears the first issue of the Georgian St Tamara medal awarded to him in 1917. Note also the ribbon bar which cannot be seen clearly enough to be identified in this photograph.
Photo © Joe Robinson
Premierlieutenant Friedrich von Erckert
of the South West African Schutztruppe 1899
He wears a Schutztruppe 1897 grey home uniform with the Südwester hat. His medal is the Chilean Memorial Cross for German Instructors in gold.
Photo from WikiCommons 

Examples of Medal Bars with Foreign Awards
See more on the Medal Bars Page


Boxer Veteran's Bar
with a Russian Medal
 alongside Prussian Awards

Photo © Private Collection

Colonial Veterans Bar with Bulgarian and
Hungarian Medals
alongside the German Colonial Medal

Photo © Captain George Albert
East African Askari's Bar
with Egyptian and British Medals
alongside German and Prussian Awards

Photo © Private Collection
Togo Doctors Bar
with a Belgian Medal
 alongside Mecklenburg-Schwerin Awards

Photo © Seeheld
Colonial Veterans Bar
with a Finnish Medal
alongside Prussian and later German Awards

Photo © Captain George Albert
Colonial Officials Bar
with a Portuguese Medal
alongside the German Colonial Medal and Togo Clasp

Photo © Captain George Albert

Bar with Dutch Colonial Medals
alongside Prussian and later German Awards

Photo © Neerlandia

South West African Schutztruppe Officers Bar
with a Chilean Medal
alongside Prussian, Württemberg and Brunswick Awards

Photo © Traditionsverband
Officials Bar with Greek and Ottoman Awards
alongside the Non-Combatants China Medal

Photo © Heiko Grusdat


Please contact me here if you have more information or photos on this topic. 

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