Encyclopedia - French Croix de Guerre

French Croix de Guerre The French Croix de Guerre was instituted on 8 April 1915 by the French Government to recognise acts of bravery in the face of the enemy specifically mentioned in despatches.

Open to soldiers, sailors and airmen of all ranks, and of any Allied army, various types of Croix de Guerre were available: bronze (awarded by the army), silver (awarded by a division), silver-gilt (awarded by a corps), silver star (awarded by a division) and bronze star (awarded by a regiment or brigade).

Further acts of bravery resulted in the award of additional medal insignia worn on the ribbon of the medal; the ribbon being green ribbed with seven red stripes.  Recipients of five bronze insignia were automatically entitled to a silver medal.

Recipients of the Legion d'Honneur and Medaille Militaire were automatically eligible to receive the Croix de Guerre.  Foreign nationals were similarly eligible to receive the Croix de Guerre, as were individual units.

The medal took the form of a cross surmounted by crossed swords, the centrepiece bearing the head of the French Republic.  The reverse of the medal bore one of the following dates: '1914-1915', '1914-1916', '1914-1917' or '1914-1918'.

The Croix de Guerre was reinstituted in 1939 with the onset of the Second World War.

A howitzer is any short cannon that delivers its shells in a high trajectory. The word is derived from an old German word for "catapult".

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