Obverse of the Combatant's Cross
|Awarded by France|
|Awarded for||Combat service to France|
|Established||19 December 1926|
|Next (higher)||Aeronautical Medal|
|Next (lower)||Medal of French Gratitude|
Ribbon of the Combatant's Cross
The Combatant's Cross (French: "Croix du combattant") is a French decoration that recognizes, as its name implies, those who fought in combat for France. The Poilus (French combat soldiers) of World War I worked toward recognition by the government, of a special status to those who had participated in the bitter fighting of 1914-1918 (as opposed to those who served behind the lines). The law of 19 December 1926 created la "carte du combatant", or combatant's card, for veterans of 1914-1918, as well as for the veterans of 1870-1871 and colonial wars before the First World War. The decoration was created only three years later by the law of 28 June 1930.
A decree of January 29, 1948 states that the provisions of the 1930 Act relating to the allocation of the combatant's card and the Combatant's Cross were applicable to participants of the 1939-1945 war. The law of 18 July 1952 extended the benefit of the award of the Croix du combattant for Indochina and Korea.
The law of December 9, 1974 extended the award of the Combatant's Cross to operations in North Africa between 1 January 1952 and July 2, 1962. More recently, a decree of January 12, 1994 opened le carte du combattant holder (hence of the Combatant's Cross) to those who participated in operations in Cambodia, Cameroon, Persian Gulf, Lebanon, Madagascar, the Suez Canal, Somalia, Central African Republic, Chad, Yugoslavia, Zaire and Iraq.
There is a particular set of requirements for each conflict or military operation in regards to the granting of the combatant card.
The Cross is awarded in different cases:
- for service with a unit asserted as combattant unit (front-line service) by the Ministry of Defense : ninety days of service or a wound or illness received or contracted during service, or ninety days of detention by the enemy.
- for service with any unit : mention in dispatches for valor, or direct participation in five fire engagements, or a wound in action, or detention by the enemy without application of the Geneva Convention
On the reverse the relief inscription CROIX DU COMBATTANT (COMBATANT'S CROSS) along the lower circumference framing a vertical sword pointing down, rays protruding horizontally and up from the hilt in a 180° arc.
Noteworthy recipients (partial list)
- Resistance fighter André Girard
- General Jeannou Lacaze
- General Marcel Letestu
- General Pierre Garbay
- General Antoine Béthouart
- Private René Riffaud
- Private Ramire Rosan
- Private Léon Weil
- Resistance fighter René-Georges Laurin
- Commander Philippe Kieffer
- Squadron leader René Mouchotte
- Sergeant Eugene Bullard
- Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris
- "Historical introduction to the Combatant's Cross" (in French). France phaléristique. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
- "Law of the French Republic of 28 June 1930" (in French). France phaléristique. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
- "Decree of the French Republic of 24 August 1930" (in French). France phaléristique. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
- Museum of the Legion of Honour (in French)