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Belgian Croix de Guerre


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The Belgian Croix de Guerre (War Cross) was instituted on 25 October 1915 as a means of recognising acts of heroism performed by individuals, by both Belgian nationals and members of any of the Allied powers during the First World War. It was also awarded to Belgian service personnel who had completed three years of front-line service. Frontline veterans over the age of 40 qualified for the award after 18 months service. The medal could only be earned by foreign nationals for acts of heroism conducted on Belgian soil. 


The medal was reinstituted for use during the Second World War in 1941. The decoration was again reestablished by royal decree on 3 April 1954 for award during future conflicts (The 1954 Croix de guerre has not yet been awarded.)



Belgian Croix de Guerre, 1914-1918. A Maltese cross with shallow angle ends and small ball finials on the eight points. Crossed swords appear between the arms. Obverse: The Belgian rampant lion, facing left on the central medallion. Reverse: The royal initial 'A' [King Albert I]. At the top a hinged double sided crown and a loose suspender ring. The medal is fitted with a piece of 38 mm red ribbon that has three 2 mm green centre stripes, 3 mm apart and 2 mm green edge stripes inset 3 mm.


The WWII Croix de Guerre differed from the World War I version in its statute and slight changes to the reverse of the central medallion and the ribbon. It was still mainly awarded to individuals, but was now also authorized as a unit award. A war cross being presented to a unit was denoted by a ribbon of the war cross being affixed to the unit colours. It was constructed in the same dimensions as its World War I predecessor, the only real difference being the royal cypher of King Leopold III on its reverse. The new ribbon was still red with light green stripes but there were now six, 1mm wide, and positioned three on each side 2mm apart beginning 2mm from the edge of the ribbon. 


The post-1954 (or current) Croix de guerre is similar to the previous variants but with a different reverse center medallion now bearing the Coat of arms of Belgium in lieu of a royal monogram. The ribbon is a colour reversal of the World War II Croix de guerre ribbon, green with three narrow 1mm wide red stripes 2mm apart on each side beginning 2mm from the edge.



The Belgian fourragère was awarded by the Belgian Government to a unit that was cited twice. Award of the fourragère was not automatic and required a specific decree of the Belgian Government. The fourragère is in the same colours as the ribbon of the World War II Croix de guerre. The Belgian fourragère was only worn by those who were members of the unit at the time of the award.



When the person being awarded the Croix de guerre was mentioned in despatches, this distinction was denoted by a device worn on the ribbon, either a small lion or a palm adorned with the monogram "A" (for Albert I):


  • Bronze lion: regimental level
  • Silver lion: brigade level
  • Gold lion: divisional level
  • Bronze palm: Army level
  • Silver palm: five bronze palms
  • Gold palm: five silver palms


For WWII, the same ribbon devices were used as in World War I except the palms were now adorned with the monogram "L" (for Leopold III).



When awarded posthumously, the ribbon of the Croix de guerre was adorned with a narrow black enamel bar



WWI Croix de Guerre [Courtesy Wikimedia]

CDG_14_18.jpg  image.png


WWII Croix de Guerre with Palm:


CDG_40_45.jpg  CDG_40_45_rev.jpg


1954-style Croix de Guerre:


320px-Croix_de_Guerre_post_1954_obv.jpg  Croix_de_Guerre_post_1954_rev.jpg



If anyone has more info or pictures that they'd like to share, feel free to post them here!

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