List of highest military decorations by country

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This list of highest military decorations is an index to articles that describe the highest military decoration awarded by each country in the world.

Note that some countries do not have separate civilian and military awards systems, and as such some countries' highest military awards may also be civilian awards.

Country Image Name Date first awarded Number awarded Notes
Argentina Cross to the Heroic Valour in Combat 18 Last awarded in 1982
Armenia Fatherland Armenia National Hero of Armenia 28 July 1994 27 The highest title in Armenia is National Hero of Armenia, which is awarded alongside an Order of Fatherland and may also be conferred on members of the military.
1st degree combat cross Arm. Order of the Combat Cross Established 22 April 1994 Awarded for absolute courage, selflessness and skill in defending the Fatherland. It is divided into First and Second degrees.
Australia The Victoria Cross for Australia 16 January 2009[1] 5 Replaced The Victoria Cross
Austria The Military Merit Decoration
Azerbaijan Gold Star medal of Azerbaijan National Hero of Azerbaijan 7 June 1992 Highest national title of Azerbaijan, conferred alongside the Qizil Ulduz ("Gold Star") Medal. Awarded for outstanding services of national importance to Azerbaijan in defence and strengthening of the state system and creation of important national values.
Şah İsmayıl ordeni Shah Ismail Order Established 6 December 1993 Highest military award of Azerbaijan
Bangladesh Bir Sreshtho 15 December 1973 7
Belarus Medal Hero of Belarus Hero of Belarus 21 November 1996 13 Highest title that can be awarded to a citizen of Belarus. Can be conferred for military or civilian service.
Orden Voinskoy Slavy Order of Military Glory Established 13 April 1995 The highest order of Belarus is the Order of the Fatherland which may also be awarded for military service. There is also a separate Medal for Bravery.
Belgium Military Decoration for gallantry or exceptional devotion 22 December 1873
Botswana Conduct Valour Cross (CVC) Established 1979
Order of Military Merit 1934 820
Order of Bravery Established 1 January 1880
Canada The Victoria Cross of Canada Established 2 February 1993 0 Replaced the Victoria Cross
China Order of August First 12 June 2017 10
Colombia Order of San Mateo
Croatia Order of Duke Domagoj Order of Duke Domagoj 1995 566[nb 1]
551[nb 2]
Established in 1995, this is Croatia's highest award for bravery and the 8th highest national medal.
Cuba Hero of the Republic of Cuba Hero of the Republic of Cuba 1980 This honorary title is the highest decoration awarded by the Republic of Cuba, conferred for civilian and military merit in productive labour, defence of the interests of the working class, and contributions to proletarian internationalism.
Orden cubana de Cienfuegos (cropped) Order Camilo Cienfuegos Established 1979 Awarded to members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, and to the military of "friendly countries".
Czech Republic CzechMedalOfHonor Medal of Heroism Established 1990 Created by the Parliament of the Czechoslovak Federative Republic in 1990, and awarded once before its re-authorization by the Czech Republic in 1992. May also be awarded to civilians.
Denmark The Valour Cross 18 November 2011[2] 1
Egypt Order of the Sinai Star medal Order of the Sinai Star Established 1972 200
Estonia The Cross of Liberty 24 February 1919 3,156 None has been awarded since 1925
Finland Mannerheimkruis der Eerste en Tweede Klasse Mannerheim Cross[dubious ] 22 July 1941 197[nb 1]
191[nb 2]
Still active de jure, although none awarded since 1945. Last living recipient died November 2020.
France The Legion of Honour 15 July 1804 Conferred in five classes for military or civilian merit.
Germany The Cross of Honour for Valour 6 July 2009 28
Georgia National Hero of Georgia PS work 1 Order of National Hero Established 24 June 2004 Highest national order of Georgia, awarded alongside the title of National Hero. It is conferred on both civilians and military personnel. The St. George's Victory Order was established in the same year and is awarded for contributions to victorious battles and general significant victories for Georgia. Before 2004 the Order of David IV the Builder was the highest military and civilian order.
GEO Vakhtang Gorgasal Order 1rank BAR Vakhtang Gorgasali Order (1st Class) Established 1992 The highest purely military decoration of Georgia. It is divided into three degrees. The Military Courage Medal is awarded for heroic and daring actions while carrying out military duties.
Greece Medal for Gallantry The Medal for Gallantry formally replaced the Cross of Valour as the top military award in 1974, but it has never been conferred.
Cross of Valour 1913
Hungary Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary 1764-1918, 1938–1946, 2011-
Param Vir Chakra 3 November 1947 21 Highest wartime military decoration.

Ashoka Chakra 1952 86 Highest peacetime military decoration.
Iran Zulfaqar Medal Zolfaghar Established 1856, renamed 1925 Revived in 2019 when Major General Qasem Soleimani received the decoration, the first time it had been awarded since 1979.[3]
Ireland IRE Military Medal for Gallantry with Honour ribbon bar Military Medal for Gallantry Established 1944
Israel Medal of Valor 19 January 1948 40[4] Replacement for the Hero of Israel.
None has been awarded since 1975.[4]
Italy Gold Medal of Military Valour 21 May 1793
Latvia Viestura ordenis Order of Viesturs Established 11 August 1938,
discontinued 1940,
re-established 2004
Established in 1938 but discontinued after the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940. It was re-established in 2004. It is also awarded to civilians, in which case the ribbon is without swords.
Lithuania Cross of Vytis Order of the Cross of Vytis Established 30 July 1919,
discontinued 1940,
re-established 15 January 1991
Presidential award conferred for heroic defence of Lithuania's freedom and independence. It was established in 1919 but discontinued after the Soviet occupation of Lithuania in 1940, until it was re-established upon independence in 1991. It is also awarded to civilians.
Luxembourg Military Medal 3 August 1945[5]
Malaysia Grand Knight of Valour Established 29 July 1960 30 The Grand Knight of Valour (Malay: Darjah Kebesaran Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa)[6][7][8] is the highest federal award which can be presented in Malaysia. It was created on 29 July 1960 and was gazetted on 11 August 1960. The award is the highest ranking in the list of the Malaysian Federal Ranking of Awards, and is ranked higher than the Order of the Royal Family of Malaysia (D.K.M.) awarded to Malaysian Royalty.|
Mexico Decoration for Heroic Valor
Mongolia MN Order Sukhe Bator Order of Sukhbaatar Established 16 May 1941
Morocco Ouissam Alaouite Grand Cordon Extraordinary grade AEA Collections Order of Ouissam Alaouite Established 11 January 1913
Myanmar Aung San Thiriya, 1st Class 1948 6
Namibia Namibian Cross for Bravery: Gold The Order of the Mukorob is also presented by the President of Namibia for meritorious military service.
Netherlands Military William Order 30 April 1815 5,875
New Zealand The Victoria Cross for New Zealand 26 July 2007[9] 1 Replaced The Victoria Cross.
North Korea Hero of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Hero of the Republic Established 30 June 1950 6116 Honorific title, originally created as Hero of the Korean People's Republic. Awarded for extreme heroic exploits during war. The recipient is also awarded with the Order of the National Flag 1st Class, which was the highest order until the Order of Kim Il-sung was created in 1972.
Soldier's Medal of Honour (first class) Established 1 July 1950 Awarded for acts of individual gallantry in combat.[10][11]
Norway The War Cross with Sword 28 November 1941 285 A new sword is awarded each time a person, who already has the War Cross, distinguishes him- or herself in battle.[12]
Pakistan Nishan-e-Haider (Left) Hilal-e-Kashmir (Right) 16 March 1957 11 On 30 November 1995, the Government of Pakistan initiated the gazette notification to declare its Hilal-e-Kashmir equivalent to Nishan-e-Haider.

All awards have been made posthumously.

Peru Order of the Sun Ribbon Order of the Sun of Peru Established 8 October 1821,
discontinued 1825,
re-established 1921
Also the highest civilian award of Peru.
Philippines Philippine Medal of Valor ribbon Medal of Valor 15 November 1935 41
Poland Order of Virtuti Militari 22 June 1792 Conferred in five classes. A wartime-only award.
Order of the Tower and Sword 1459 The Order of the Tower and Sword, as awarded by the Portuguese government today, comes in six classes
Romania Order of Michael the Brave Instated 26 September 1916
Disbanded 1948
Reinstated 23 July 2000
2,184 None has been awarded since 1944.
Russia Hero of the Russian Federation Honorific title for service to the Russian state and nation, usually connected with a heroic feat of valor; precedes all other Russian military and civil orders and medals.
Order of St. George 26 November 1769 (O. S.), revived on 20 March 1992 Highest military decoration of the Russian Federation.
Senegal Cross of Military Valor (Senegal) - ribbon bar Cross of Military Valor Established 1 February 1968
Serbia Orden Karađorđeve zvezde prvog stepena Order of Karađorđe's Star Established 1 January 1904 Originated in the Kingdom of Serbia and later awarded by the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. It continued to be awarded by the Yugoslav government-in-exile but was suppressed by the communist government of Yugoslavia, during which time the Order of Freedom was the highest military decoration. It was reinstated by the Republic of Serbia in 2010 as a military and civilian decoration, and also continues to be awarded as a dynastic order by the former royal family.
Singapore Bintang Temasek ribbon (from 1996) Bintang Temasek Established 24 July 1970 Singapore's highest national honour, awarded only to members of the Armed Forces, Police Force, and Civil Defence Force. Recipients are entitled to the post-nominal letters BT.
Somalia Order of the Somali Star 12 February 1961 Highest distinction award for military gallantry of Somalia.
South Africa Ribbon - Nkwe ya Gauta Nkwe ya Gauta - Golden Leopard Established 2003 Introduced to replace the Honoris Crux Gold. The bilingual title is in Sesotho and English.
South Korea Taeguk Cordon Medal Order of Military Merit (Taegeuk class)
Spain Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand 1 January 1812 336
Sri Lanka Parama veera vibhushanaya Parama Weera Vibhushanaya 1991 31 Established in 1981. Recipients can use the post-nominal letters PWV.
Sweden Svardsorden Order of the Sword 1748 Dormant between 1975 and February 2023, when it was re-introduced. During this time the Medal of Merit was the highest decoration awarded for action during combat.
Switzerland CHE CdA decoration Award Ribbon for Exceptional Service Swiss law has prohibited citizens from accepting honours and titles since 1848; however, the Swiss military maintains a system of awards. Length of service decorations precede the exceptional service ribbon in the order of wear.
Taiwan (Republic of China) The Order of National Glory Awarded to Chiang Kai-Shek Order of National Glory Established 8 November 1937
Tanzania Medal for Bravery (Tanzania) - ribbon bar Medal for Bravery
Thailand Order of Rama Established 22 July 1918 Conferred in six classes for military merit.
Uganda Order of Katonga (Uganda) - ribbon bar Order of Katonga 2004 2 Awarded only twice; first to Muammar Gaddafi in 2004, and posthumously to Julius Nyerere in 2007.
Ukraine Gold star116 Hero of Ukraine 26 November 1998 692 Highest national title that can be conferred by the President of Ukraine, granted to recipients of the civilian Order of the State and the military Order of the Gold Star
Medal of Golden Star Ukraine Order of the Gold Star Highest military order of Ukraine, awarded alongside the honorary title Hero of Ukraine.
United Kingdom The Victoria Cross 26 June 1857[13] 1357[nb 1]
1354[nb 2]
Order of the Bath 18 May 1725 Second highest national order of the United Kingdom. It is conferred on both civilians and military personnel, with different insignia (Military illustrated).
United States Medal of Honor 26 March 1863 3468[nb 1][14]
3449[nb 2]
Different types from each of the branches of the US military.

In the image, from left to right: The Army, the Coast Guard/Navy/Marine Corps, and the Air Force.

Uruguay Medalla al Merito Militar Oficial Medal of Military Merit Established 1991 Introduced to replace the Order of Military Merit of the Companions of Artigas, which was discontinued in 1985.
Vietnam AHLLVTND2 Hero of the People's Armed Forces Established 1955 State Honourable Title awarded for outstanding achievements in combat, combat service, preservation of security, social order and safety, loyalty to the socialist Fatherland of Vietnam and possession of revolutionary virtues and qualities.
HCQC1 The Military Exploit Order 15 May 1947 Highest military Order, awarded to individuals who have recorded outstanding and brave exploits in combat, combat service, training, force building, consolidation of the all-people defense and people's security, or have sacrificed their lives heroically, setting bright examples in the whole country.
Zimbabwe The Gold Cross of Zimbabwe Established October 1980 3 Replaced the Grand Cross of Valour

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Total medals awarded.
  2. ^ a b c d Total recipients of the medal.


  1. ^ "Australian SAS soldier Mark Donaldson awarded Victoria Cross". The Australian. News Limited. 16 January 2009. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  2. ^ "Dronningen overrækker nyt Tapperhedskors til hjemvendt soldat". Archived from the original on 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
  3. ^ "General Soleimani receives Iran's highest Medal of Honor". Tehran Times. March 11, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Shoval, Lilach. "'Heroes' from Independence War mostly gone, but not forgotten". Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Actualités - Lëtzebuerger Arméi" (in French). Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
  6. ^ Shanmugam, Narendran Indi (31 July 2010). "Grand Knight of Valour". Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Grand Knight of Valour". 31 July 2010. Archived from the original on 15 August 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Stamp Gallery 2010". Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  9. ^ "Willie Apiata receives his VC". The New Zealand Herald. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-03.
  10. ^ Vreeland, Nena (1976). Area Handbook for North Korea. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 327.
  11. ^ Weiser, Martin (8 January 2016). "Chests Full of Brass: A DPRK Political History in Orders, Medals, Prizes, and Titles". Sino-NK. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Direktiv for bruk og bæring av dekorasjoner, ordener og medaljer i Forsvaret Archived 2013-09-25 at the Wayback Machine". Retrieved 2013-08-16
  13. ^ Herold, Stephen. "The First Presentation of the Victoria Cross". Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  14. ^ "Medal of Honor Statistics". Retrieved 15 July 2013.