1939 - 1945
During World War II, a number of existing decorations were altered or amended in order to make them available for awarding for wartime services :
Order of Michael the Brave
A "fantasy" version is also in existance bearing the 1941 date :
Order of Merit, Cross of Honour for Merit, Order for Loyal Service, Order of the Royal House, Cross and Medal of the Royal House
The above decorations could, from November 1937, be awarded "with swords" for war services. This was discontinued from 30 June 1941 onwards.
Order of the Star of Romania, Order of the Crown of Romania
|On 30 June
1941 it was decided to award any class of these two orders on the ribbon of the Medal for
Military Bravery (red with narrow blue edges) if earned by the recipient in an action
against the enemy.
Also : note the crown on the 2nd type First Class Military Romanian Star Order breast star left : it indicates the decoration was awarded in wartime.
Order and Medal of Aeronautical Merit
Although established in the early 1930's, there is little doubt that these decorations were also awarded, unaltered, for WW2 service and they are, therefore, displayed here.
Medal for Bravery and Loyalty
Again on 30 June 1941, this medal was reinstalled for awarding for war services as the lowest ranking war decoration. It then carried crossed swords which had previously (in 1937) been discontinued.
Apart from these amended decorations, a few new medals were also created :
Medal for the Crusade against Communism
King Michael I instituted this bronze medal on 1 April 1942 for all those participating in the war against the Soviet Union, including foreigners (i.e. mostly German troops). It was awarded without bar for meritorious service on the home front and bars were created to denote front service. If only one bar was awarded, it was in bronze. When, however, multiple bars were worn, they were silvered. Known bars are for Azov, Basarabia, Bucovina, Bug, Crimea (or Crimeia), Dobrogea, Donet, Nipru, Nistru, Odessa, Marea Neagra (or Mare Negru), Stalingrad, Dnjestr, Caucaz, Calmucia and Prut. These bars can be deemed pretty rare as their owners were liable to prosecution after the war by the Stalinist government then in power.
Medal for Soldiers from Bessarabia and Bucovina
This medal was created on 27 October 1943 for award to all military personnel who had remained loyal to Romania in June 1940 when both these provinces had become occupied by the Soviet Union. It is a "tombak" (zinc and copper alloy) medal depicting on its obverse the female figure of Romania and two soldiers with bayonets. The reverse shows two women, representing the two provinces, with a map of the area and the year "1940" above. The ribbon is blue with a red centre stripe edged yellow.
Badge for War Wounded or Invalids
Instituted on 19 February 1942, this badge was worn on the right breast.
Finally, a number of WW2-related medals were also created during the postwar communist era. Their titles are self-explanatory :
Instituted in 1949
10th Anniversary Medal for the Establishment of the First Units of the Romanian Popular Army.
Established in 1953 for award to those who formed the "Tudor Vladimirescu" and "Horea, Closca si Crisan" Divisions.
20th Anniversary Medal of the Liberation of the Homeland
Created in 1964 and awarded to veterans.
25th Anniversary Medal of the Liberation of the Homeland
Created in 1969 and awarded to veterans.
30th Anniversary Medal of Romania's Liberation from Fascist Domination
Created in 1974 and awarded to veterans.
40th Anniversary Medal of the Anti-Fascist and Anti-Imperialist Armed Insurrection of 23 August 1944
Created in 1984.
WW2 Commemorative Cross
Established in 1994
The Badge of the National Red Cross Society 1941
Not a decoration as such, its creation in 1941 warrants its inclusion here.
Short Historical Note
At the start of WW2, Romania lost a substantial part of its territory to the Soviet Union, Hungary and Bulgaria and decided to enter the war on the Axis side on 23 November 1940 under the leadership of Field-Marshal Antonescu. Romanian units thus fought alongside their German allies on the Eastern Front. On 23 August 1944, King Michael I took over government and shortly afterwards, on 12 September, Romania was out of the war through an armistice signed in Moscow.
As can be seen, some pictures are still missing from this page - if you have one or more to share, please
Many thanks to Chuck Pankey, Emmanuel Halleux, Florin Voicila, Ernest "b737" and Kevin A. Ryan for providing some excellent pictures and information for this webpage.
to Medals' Corner Main Page
Copyright Hendrik Meersschaert 2003-2008 ©