Cross of Valour (Greece)

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Cross of Valour
Αριστείον Ανδρείας
Aristeion Andreias
Cross of Valor Gold Cross.png
Gold Cross of the Cross of Valour (1974 version)
Awarded by Greece
Type Three-class military decoration
Eligibility Greek military personnel and allies assigned to or with Greek units.
Awarded for Bravery or distinguished leadership in wartime
Status Instituted but inactive (wartime award only)
Statistics
Established 13 May 1913
Total awarded 59 Commander's Crosses
13,068 Gold Crosses
65,256 Silver Crosses
Precedence
Next (higher) Medal for Gallantry
Next (lower) War Cross
Greek Cross of Valour ribbon.png
Ribbon of the Cross of Valour

The Cross of Valour (Greek: Αριστείον Ανδρείας, Aristeion Andreias, lit. "Gallantry/Bravery Award") is the second highest (and until 1974 the highest) military decoration of the Greek state, awarded for acts of bravery or distinguished leadership on the field of battle. It has been instituted three times, first on 13 May 1913 during the Balkan Wars but not issued until 1921 during the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, then on 11 November 1940 shortly after the outbreak of the Greco-Italian War and finally in 1974.

History[edit]

The award was established through Law ΓΡΣΗ/30-4-1913, as an order rather than a simple medal, but was not formally issued until the Royal Decree of 21 March 1921 (ΦΕΚ 47Α’/23-3-1921).[1] The only exceptions to this were King Constantine I, who as head of the Order wore the Commander's Cross, and Vice Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis, who received the Commander's Cross from the king on 15 October 1914.

As the Cross of Valour was practically defunct, for the operations in World War I, the Greek participation in the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War and the early stages of the Asia Minor Campaign, the 1917 War Cross (originally instituted by the Government of National Defence during the National Schism) was awarded as the senior award for gallantry and distinguished leadership.[1] For this purpose, when the Cross of Valour was re-instituted in 1921, the Royal Decree allowed the awardees of the War Cross – tainted in the eyes of the royalist government by its Venizelist associations – to petition for its replacement with the new Cross of Valour, but in the event, very few chose to do so.[2]

The award was liberally distributed during the campaigns of 1921–1922: from the first awards in July 1921 to the end of the war in August 1922, 40 Commander's Crosses (39 to regimental flags, of which six as repeat awards, and one to Lt General Anastasios Papoulas, commander-in-chief of the Army of Asia Minor), 4,528 Gold Crosses and 47,772 Silver Crosses were awarded.[3] In some cases, after critical battles, the entire personnel of some units was decorated with the Cross of Valour.[4] Awards continued to be made for feats performed during the Asia Minor Campaign even after its end, in 1923 and 1924, with 509 Gold Crosses (230 as repeat awards) and 3 Silver Crosses accounted for. Given the great scarcity of actual medals, however, as well as the political upheavals of the 1920s, many common soldiers – in contrast to most officers – probably never received their awards.[5]

With the outbreak of the Greco-Italian War on 28 October 1940, the award was re-instituted by Compulsory Law 2646/11-11-1940 (ΦΕΚ Α’/13-11-1940).[6] Until the fall of Greece to the Germans in April 1941, 240 Gold Crosses (11 of them repeat awards) and 300 Silver Crosses were awarded.[7] The awards were continued by the collaborationist government during the Occupation, with two Commander's Crosses (to the war flags of the 6th and 34th Infantry Regiments), 1,922 Gold Crosses (179 as repeat awards) and 4,635 Silver Crosses (3 as repeat awards) issued in the 1941–1944 period, most of them posthumously.[7] The Greek government in exile awarded 96 Gold Crosses (9 as repeat awards) and 92 Silver Crosses to Greek and various Allied officers. Following Liberation in October 1944, awards continued for the operations in the Balkans and the Middle East during World War II, with six Commander's Crosses (to the battalion war flags of the 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade, the war flags of the Hellenic Army Academy and the Sacred Band and to King George II), 1,225 Gold Crosses and 1,382 Silver Crosses awarded in 1945–1946.[7]

The Cross of Valour continued to be awarded for actions during the Greek Civil War and for the Greek participation in the Korean War, as well as for a few cases from World War II, from 1947 to 1955. During this period, eight Commander's Crosses (including, in 1947 to King Paul and General and future Prime Minister Alexandros Papagos), 4,548 Gold Crosses (including to war flags) and 11,072 Silver Crosses were awarded to Greek and Allied (mostly US) personnel.[8]

With the abolition of the monarchy by the Greek military junta in 1973, the country's honours system was revised. In April 1974, Law Decree 376/1974 was promulgated, which regulated military awards for wartime and peacetime. It established the Medal for Gallantry, a new award exclusively for battlefield bravery, ranking above the Cross of Valour, but otherwise repeated the provisions of previous decrees relative to the latter, except that the medal was to be awarded solely for bravery on the battlefield, and no longer for leadership or military merit. The regulations as to award procedure were left to be determined by Presidential Decree. As of 2003, this had not been enacted.[9][10]

Design[edit]

The Royal Decree of 31 March 1921 instituted the Cross of Valour in three grades: Commander's Cross (Σταυρός Ταξιάρχη), worn as a badge on a necklet, and the Gold Cross (Χρυσούς Σταυρός) and Silver Cross (Αργυρός Σταυρός), worn as badges on chest ribbons. No limit was set on the number of awards in each grade.[1][11] The decree specified that the Commander's Cross was to be awarded only to flag officers and war flags; the Gold Cross to senior and junior officers; and the Silver Cross to Warrant Officers, NCOs and common soldiers.[12]

The design of the badge was specified as a "crowned cross, bearing in the middle of the obverse side, in a circle of narrow laurel leaves, the image of St. Demetrios, while on the middle of the reverse side in a similar circle it bears the words ΑΞΙᾼ ("for valour" in Greek)". The Silver Cross was to be made entirely of silver, while the Gold and Commander's crosses where enamelled in white with blue edges. The ribbon consists of five pale blue and white stripes.[11][13][12] For each repeat award, a silver 4-millimeter star was added to the ribbon.[14]

For World War II awards, a bar with "1940" was placed on the ribbon to distinguish it from the earlier 1913 version.[13][15] Repeat awards were designated with 5-millimeter miniature silver crowns, although a maximum of three was allowed to be worn on the ribbon.[15]

The 1974 version was not finalized until the early 2000s, when a change in design was decided: the crown was replaced by the national emblem of Greece, and the image of St. Demetrios by that of the Virgin Mary.[10]

Recipients of the Commander's Cross[edit]

Recipient Date of award Comments
King Constantine I October 1914 ex officio as head of the order
Vice Adm. Pavlos Kountouriotis 15 October 1914
2/39 Evzone Regiment 19 June 1921[16]
5/42 Evzone Regiment 19 June 1921[16]
1st Infantry Regiment 19 June 1921[16]
2nd Infantry Regiment 19 June 1921[16]
6th Infantry Regiment 19 June 1921[16]
7th Infantry Regiment 19 June 1921[16]
12th Infantry Regiment 19 June 1921[16]
34th Infantry Regiment 19 June 1921[16]
1/38 Evzone Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
3/40 Evzone Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
3rd Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
4th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
5th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
8th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
11th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
14th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
16th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
17th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
22nd Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
23rd Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
25th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
26th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
27th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
28th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
30th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
33rd Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
35th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
37th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
43rd Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
44th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
45th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
46th Infantry Regiment 10 November 1921[17]
Lt. Gen. Anastasios Papoulas 12 November 1921[18]
9th Infantry Regiment 3 December 1921[19] In exchange for the 1916–1917 War Cross 1st Class
19th Infantry Regiment 3 December 1921[19] In exchange for the 1916–1917 War Cross 1st Class
20th Infantry Regiment 3 December 1921[19] In exchange for the 1916–1917 War Cross 1st Class
21st Infantry Regiment 3 December 1921[19] In exchange for the 1916–1917 War Cross 1st Class
35th Infantry Regiment 10 June 1922[20]
41st Infantry Regiment 10 June 1922[20]
2nd Infantry Regiment 10 June 1922[20] Second award
3rd Infantry Regiment 10 June 1922[20] Second award
14th Infantry Regiment 10 June 1922[20] Second award
5/42 Evzone Regiment 10 June 1922[20] Second award
6th Infantry Regiment 28 May 1941[21] Second award, awarded by the collaborationist government
34th Infantry Regiment 28 May 1941[21] Second award, awarded by the collaborationist government
1st Battalion, 3rd Mountain Brigade 28 March 1945[22]
2nd Battalion, 3rd Mountain Brigade 28 March 1945[22]
3rd Battalion, 3rd Mountain Brigade 28 March 1945[22]
Sacred Band 25 July 1945[23]
Hellenic Army Academy 18 December 1945[24]
King George II 28 October 1946[25]
Gen. Alexandros Papagos 31 December 1946[26]
Vice Adm. Alexandros Sakellariou (retired) 1 July 1947[27]
Vice Adm. Epameinondas Kavvadias (retired) 1 July 1947[27]
Vice Adm. Petros Voulgaris (retired) 1 July 1947[27]
King Paul 4 August 1947[28]
Hellenic Naval Academy 22 February 1948[29]
Hellenic Air Force Academy 3 September 1948[30]
Lt. Gen. Konstantinos Ventiris 17 August 1951[31]
Greek Reinforced Battalion in Korea 21 December 1953[32]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Zotiadis (2003), p. 150
  2. ^ Zotiadis (2003), pp. 154, 156
  3. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 154
  4. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 156
  5. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 157
  6. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 158
  7. ^ a b c Zotiadis (2003), p. 161
  8. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 162
  9. ^ "Law 376/74 "On Military Medals"". National Printing Office. 
  10. ^ a b Zotiadis (2003), p. 163
  11. ^ a b "Greece: Cross of Valour". 31 December 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Zotiadis (2003), p. 151
  13. ^ a b "CROSS OF VALOUR (Arisition Andrias)". Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  14. ^ Zotiadis (2003), p. 153
  15. ^ a b Zotiadis (2003), p. 159
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h Royal Decree of 19 June 1921, published in ΦΕΚ Γ’ 163/17-7-1921
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Royal Decree of 10 November 1921, published in ΦΕΚ Α’ 220/17-11-1921
  18. ^ Royal Decree of 12 November 1921, published in ΦΕΚ Γ’ 275/23-11-1921
  19. ^ a b c d Royal Decree of 3 December 1921, published in ΦΕΚ Α’/13-12-1921
  20. ^ a b c d e f Royal Decree of 10 June 1922, published in Army Ministry circular 841/13-8-1922
  21. ^ a b Decree of 28 May 1941, published in ΦΕΚ Γ’/4-6-1941
  22. ^ a b c Royal Decree of 28 March 1945, published in ΦΕΚ Γ’ 78/6-4-1945
  23. ^ Royal Decree of 25 July 1945, published in ΦΕΚ Α’ 97/28-7-1945
  24. ^ Royal Decree of 18 December 1945, published in ΦΕΚ Α’ 25/31-1-1946
  25. ^ Ministerial Council Act 627/28-10-1946
  26. ^ Royal Decree of 31 December 1946, published in ΦΕΚ Γ’ 343/31-12-1946
  27. ^ a b c Royal Decree of 1 July 1947, published in ΦΕΚ Γ’ 155/9-7-1947
  28. ^ Ministerial Council Act 615/4-8-1947
  29. ^ Royal Decree of 22 February 1948, published in ΦΕΚ Α’ 58/2-3-1948
  30. ^ Royal Decree of 3 September 1948, published in ΦΕΚ Α’ 226/11-9-1948
  31. ^ Royal Decree of 17 August 1951, published in ΦΕΚ Γ' 244/6-9-1951
  32. ^ Royal Decree of 21 December 1953, published in ΦΕΚ Α’ 8/14-1-1954

Sources[edit]