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Zaire (Congo) War Cross & Cross of Bravery


stratasfan
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stratasfan

AKA Bravery Cross, War Cross of Valor, War Cross of Merit, Croix de la Bravoure

 

*Author's Note: This medal (or these medals) has an extremely low profile as far as being able to research the history or even the basic facts about when this medal was actually enacted, etc. If you can provide any more information, please feel free to let me know and I will add it to the main article here!

 

 

DESCRIPTION

The most common version of this medal has a bronze-coloured planchet that is a Maltese Cross with crossed swords and in the center is a lion's head. Above the cross is a 5-pointed star, to which the ring for the drape is connected. The drape is red, with a black stripe running vertically at each side. 

 

There is also a version that has a gold-coloured planchet suspended from a green drape that has a vertical yellow stripe along each side. I saw a mention that it is the Officer's version and another that the Green Ribbon version is the "War Cross" and that the Red Ribbon version is the "Cross of Bravery", but could not find anything else. 

 

Back: Normally carries the inscription "R.Z." on the reverse, but an example has been located with "R.D.C." reverse.

 

DEVICES

  • Foreign Legion Palm
  • Operation Shaba Clasp (Original edition had a cut-out bar, later issues had a solid bar. Some say the cut-out version was on "awarded" medals, and the solid bars were on private purchase/replacement medals)

 

Zaire 1c.jpg

(Cut-Out Bar)

 

(Concerning the Shaba bar)The Shaba Operation was a conflict in Zaire's Shaba (Katanga) Province that lasted from March 8, 1977 to May 26, 1977. The conflict began when the Front for the National Liberation of Congo (a group of about 2,000 Katangan Congolese insurgents) crossed the border into Shaba from Angola. The combined counter attack of the Armed Forces of Zaire, France, Morocco, Egypt, and Belgium finally drove the FNLC out of Zaire.

 

On 11 May 1977, 4,000 FLNC attacked the city of Kolwezi and began a massacre of the Europeans who were in the city. France was prepared to act and sent the French Foreign Legion Paratroopers of the 2eme REP into the vicinity on 17th May, with orders to recover the city, a mission which lasted nine long days. Members of the operation (Operation Leopard) were awarded the Military Cross with Palm and Shaba bar (about 650 total).

 

Red Ribbon Medal with Palm and solid SHABA bar:

 

Zaire 1.jpg

 

Zaire 1b.jpg

 

 

Green Ribbon Medal:

(Courtesy an old Worthpoint listing)

image.png

 

If you have any to share or more information, please feel free to post here!

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