Reich: Chivalry and Gallantry
Orders of Chivalry and Gallantry Awards
Orders of Chivalry
In order of precedence, the chivalric orders within the Reich are as follows:
The Order of the Black Eagle
This is the most senior order in the Reich, and consists of the Imperial family and twenty-five knights. Membership of the Knights of the Black Eagle is in the gift of the Kaiser alone, and is usually granted to honour those who have held high public or military office, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Kaiser personally. If there are vacancies in the order, appointments are announced on 29 September.
The Order of the Red Eagle
The Order of the Red Eagle is awarded for meritorious service to the Reich. It is both a military and a civilian award, with the addition of crossed swords to indicate a military award. Like the Order of the Black Eagle, it is in the sole gift of the Kaiser, and it is restricted to 150 members.
The Order of the Oak Leaves
This Order technically ranks equal with the Order of the Red Eagle, although it is primarily an external decoration, with the exception of certain members of the Imperial Council: the Crown Prince, the RFSS, the Reichsmarschalls (past and present), the Reichskanzler, the Lord Chief Justice and the Archmage of the RBTA. It is given to heads of state and other dignitaries of nations outside than the Fatherland, often as a sign of friendship or alliance. Recipients include Emperor Sirius of the Empire of Eboracum. The Order is in the sole gift of the Kaiser: he will accept suggestions for nominees from those other members of the Imperial Council who are members of the Order, and often agrees to them, although he won’t guarantee to accept such suggestions.
The Order of the Kaiserin
Previously the Order of the Fatherland, in which form it has existed as long as the Kaiser has ruled, this order was renamed in celebration of his marriage. In recognition of the fact that the Kaiserin chose military State Service, it is an order awarded to members of the Wehrmacht, the SS and the Waffen-SS, for great military or paramilitary service to the Reich. Officers are admitted to the Order of the Kaiserin First Class; NCOs and other ranks to the Order Second Class. At any given time, there can be up to 300 Knights/Dames First Class, and 700 Second Class.
The Princess Wilhelmina Order (aka The Order of the Princess)
This order was founded by the Kaiser in honour of his beloved sister, and is a civilian award. There are three degrees of membership of the order, and in total it has rather more Knights and Dames than the Order of the Kaiserin, although the two orders are of equal rank within the Reich. There can be up to 500 Knights/Dames First Class, 1,000 Second Class, and 1,500 Third Class, although it should be remembered that the order is open to all Citizens of the Reich and the Aussenhandel Shadows, and therefore the total membership is tiny compared to the population to which it can be awarded.
The Imperial House Order
This is the lowest of the Reich orders of chivalry, and is the most commonly awarded, with no upper limits as to membership. Both Citizens and non-Citizens are eligible, should they perform some suitable service to Kaiser, Fatherland, military or community: for example, exemplary war service, or to acknowledge a distinguished contribution to the arts or sciences, or public service. Non-Citizens are limited to the three lower (non-noble) ranks of the order. However, Citizenship is conferred with the award and thereafter, if they perform another great service, they may well be promoted within the order.
The Imperial House Order is split into Military and Civil Divisions, and has five classes, in decreasing order of seniority:
- Ritter or Freifrau Grand Cross (GIH)
- Ritter or Freifrau Commander (KIH or DIH)
- Commander (CIH)
- Officer (OIH)
- Member (MIH)
As in Sable, there are different sets of awards for gallantry for military and civilian service. In order of precedence and equivalence these are:
|Military Award||Civilian Award|
|Knight (Ritter) of the Iron Cross (confers nobility)||Imperial Cross (confers nobility)|
|Cross of Valour (Military), aka the Blue Max||Cross of Valour (Civilian)|
|Gold Cross||Fatherland Medal|
|Iron Cross First Class||Kaiser’s Medal|
|Iron Cross Second Class||Kaiserin’s Medal|
|Mention-in-Dispatches||The Kaiser’s Commendation for Bravery|
The Mention-in-Despatches (MID) is a gallantry award for acts which are judged of sufficient merit to be officially mentioned in the reports sent by the officer commanding a theatre of operation, back to the Wehrmacht Staff Council.
If a service person has won an award, and then goes on to perform another act of bravery, they can be awarded the same medal again, although in the case of the Iron Cross Second Class, they are more likely to be awarded the Iron Cross First Class. For the second and any subsequent instance of the same award, they receive oak leaves to attach to the ribbon of the first medal.
The civilian gallantry awards can be earned by military personnel when the acts of gallantry fall outside the warrant for a military gallantry award. Likewise, on rare occasion, military awards can be earned by civilians in a combat situation with the Reich forces.