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1939 - 1945

Romania

 

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

Michael the Brave Order, obverse Michael the Brave Order, reverse

A "fantasy" version is also in existance bearing the 1941 date :

Michael the Brave Order, Commander without swords Michael the Brave Order, Commander with swords

 

Order of Merit, Cross of Honour for Merit, Order for Loyal Service, Order of the Royal House, Cross and Medal of the Royal House

Royal House Order with Swords, knight class

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

Romanian Star Order, 1st class military wartime award

Order of the Crown of Romania, knight class

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 of the Star of Romania

 

 

Order and Medal of Aeronautical Merit

Order of Aeronautical Merit 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

Medal for Bravery and Loyalty, 1st class Medal for Bravery and Loyalty, 2nd class Medal for Bravery and Loyalty, 3rd class Medal for Bravery and Loyalty, reverse

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

Medal for the Crusade against Communism, obverse Medal for the Crusade against Communism, reverse Medal for the Crusade against Communism with "BUG" bar

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

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

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 :

Liberation Medal

Liberation Medal, obverse Liberation Medal, reverse

Instituted in 1949

 

10th Anniversary Medal for the Establishment of the First Units of the Romanian Popular Army.

10th Anniversary Medal, obverse 10th Anniversary Medal, reverse

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

20th Anniversary Medal, obverse 20th Anniversary Medal, reverse

Created in 1964 and awarded to veterans.

 

25th Anniversary Medal of the Liberation of the Homeland

25th Anniversary Medal, obverse 25th Anniversary Medal, reverse

Created in 1969 and awarded to veterans.

 

30th Anniversary Medal of Romania's Liberation from Fascist Domination

30th Anniversary Medal, obverse 30th Anniversary Medal, reverse

Created in 1974 and awarded to veterans.

 

40th Anniversary Medal of the Anti-Fascist and Anti-Imperialist Armed Insurrection of 23 August 1944

40th Anniversary Medal, obverse 40th Anniversary Medal, reverse

Created in 1984.

 

WW2 Commemorative Cross

WW2 Commemorative Cross, obverse WW2 Commemorative Cross, reverse

Established in 1994

 

The Badge of the National Red Cross Society 1941

National Red Cross Society Badge 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 mail1.gif (1903 bytes)

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.

 

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Copyright Hendrik Meersschaert 2003-2008