Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (France)

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Croix de guerre 1939–1945
Croix de Guerre 1939 France AVERS.jpg
1939–1945 War Cross with 2 gilt stars
Awarded by Flag of France.svg France
Type Bravery award
Awarded for Military duty during World War II mentioned in dispatches
Status No longer awarded
Clasps silver gilt palm
silver palm
bronze palm
gilt star
silver star
bronze star
Statistics
Established September 26, 1939
Precedence
Next (higher) Croix de guerre 1914–1918
Next (lower) Croix de guerre des TOE
Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 ribbon.svg

Streamer FCDG WWII.png
Ribbon bar & streamer of the French Croix de guerre 1939–1945
Reverse of the 1939-1945 War Cross

The Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (War Cross 1939–1945) is a French military decoration, a version of the Croix de guerre created on September 26, 1939, to honour people who fought with the Allies against the Axis force at any time during World War II.

Award statute[edit]

Due to the large extent of the war zone, recipients included various groups:[1]

On every Croix de guerre, there is at least one ribbon device, either in the shape of a palm or of a star, and fashioned from either bronze, silver or gilded silver. The relative importance of the six possible combinations is detailed below. The total number of devices on a "Croix de guerre" is not limited.

Award description[edit]

  • Medal
The medal was designed by the sculptor Paul-Albert Bartholomé. It is 37 mm in size and is in the shape of a Maltese cross with two swords criss-crossed through the center. In the center of the front side, is the profile of the French Republic crested by a Phrygian cap. Around this portrait, are the words République française ("French Republic"). On the reverse of the medal are the dates of the conflict : 1939–1940, 1939–1945, or simply 1940.[1]
  • Ribbon
red on the back crossed with four green lines in its center.[2]

Award grades[edit]

  • Mentioned in Despatches : the lowest degree is represented by a bronze star while the highest degree is represented by a bronze palm:[2]
    • a bronze star for those who had been mentioned at the regiment or brigade level.
    • a silver star, for those who had been mentioned at the division level.
    • a silver-gilt star for those who had been mentioned at the corps level.
    • a bronze palm for those who had been mentioned at the army level.
    • a silver palm represents five bronze ones.
    • a silver-gilt palm for those who had been mentioned at the Free French Forces level (World War II only).[1]

The clasps are awarded for gallantry to any member of the French military or its allies and are, depending on the degree, roughly the equivalent for U.S. Bronze Star and Silver Star or UK Military Cross and Military Medal.

  • Examples of translation from French
    • étoile en argent = silver star
    • palme en vermeil = silver-gilt palm

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Marc Champenois. "Croix de guerre 1939-1945" (in French). France-phaleristique.com. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Croix De Guerre, France". The Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 2 November 2013.