Cross of Valour (Poland)

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Cross of Valour
Krzyż Walecznych
Krzyż Walecznych 1944.jpg

Krzyz Walecznych Ribbon.png
The People's Republic of Poland version of the medal and ribbon.
Awarded by the President of Poland
Country  Poland
Type Single-grade medal.
Awarded for Deeds of valor and courage on the field of battle.
Status In the award system but a wartime decoration only
Description Obverse bears the words, "NA POLU CHWAŁY" ("ON THE FIELD OF GLORY"), while the reverse bears the word, "WALECZNYM" ("TO THE VALIANT"), and the date "1920" or "1944," depending on date of institution.
Clasps denotes subsequent awards
Statistics
Established 11 August 1920.
Precedence
Next (higher) Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
Next (lower) Military Cross.
Krzyz Walecznych 1920.jpg
Polish-Soviet War period medal

The Cross of Valor (Polish: Krzyż Walecznych) is a Polish military decoration. It was first introduced by the Council of National Defense on 11 August 1920. It is awarded to an individual who "has demonstrated deeds of valor and courage on the field of battle." It may be awarded to the same person up to four times.[1] The medal is given only in wartime or shortly after.[2]

History[edit]

Polish-Soviet War[edit]

The medal was introduced in 1920 at the height of the Polish-Soviet War, shortly before the climactic Battle of Warsaw. Initially it had no Order Council and was awarded personally by the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army. Later the option was added of delegating the medal's granting to front and division commanders.

Through 29 May 1923, when the last medal for the Polish-Soviet War was awarded, the Cross of Valor had been granted to some 60,000 soldiers.

Apart from individuals who had participated in the Polish-Soviet War, the medal had also been awarded retroactively to some soldiers of the Polish Legions, of World War I military units, of the Silesian Uprisings, of the Great Poland Uprising, and to members of the Polish Military Organization. It had been awarded, as well, to veterans of the January 1863 Uprising and to the city of Płock.

World War II[edit]

In January 1940 the Polish Commander-in-Chief, Władysław Sikorski, issued an order reintroducing the Cross of Valor. On 20 September, the President of Poland agreed to award the medal to eligible individuals who had already been awarded it four times during the Polish-Soviet War.

People's Republic of Poland[edit]

In 1943, after the Battle of Lenino, General Zygmunt Berling, commander of the Soviet-backed Polish 1st Corps, awarded the Cross of Valor to several soldiers. The medal itself was approved as a military decoration by order of the Home National Council on 22 December 1944. Until 1947, some 40,000 of the medals had been awarded to Polish soldiers fighting alongside the Red Army.

Ribbon bars of the Cross of Valor
original design used in
the Polish Armed Forces in the West
since 20 September 1941
1st award
POL Krzyż Walecznych BAR.svg
POL Krzyż Walecznych (1940) BAR.PNG
2nd award
POL Krzyż Walecznych 2r BAR.svg
POL Krzyż Walecznych (1940) 2r BAR.PNG
3rd award
POL Krzyż Walecznych 3r BAR.svg
POL Krzyż Walecznych (1940) 3r BAR.PNG
4th award
POL Krzyż Walecznych 4r BAR.svg
POL Krzyż Walecznych (1940) 4r BAR.PNG

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The only soldier ever to receive more than 4 Crosses of Valor was Stefan Grot-Rowecki, commander of the Polish Home Army during World War II, who had reached his quota of 4 crosses during World War I and the Polish-Soviet War, yet was awarded 4 more crosses on 1 May 1943. See: Łukasz Leszczyński (2005). "gen. dyw. Stefan Grot-Rowecki". Łukasz Leszczyński (in Polish). Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  2. ^ Zdzislaw P. Wesolowski, Polish Orders, Medals, Badges and Insignia: Military and Civilian Decorations, 1705–1985, pp. 22–24, 41–42, 58.

References[edit]

  • Zdzislaw P. Wesolowski, Polish Orders, Medals, Badges and Insignia: Military and Civilian Decorations, 1705–1985, Miami, 1986.