Eastern Front Medal

Eastern Front Medal
Die Medaille Winterschlacht Im Osten 1941/42 (Ostmedaille)
Ostmedaille.jpg
The medal's obverse (left) and reverse (right).
Awarded by Nazi Germany
Type Military decoration
Eligibility Military & civilian personnel
Awarded for service during the winter of 1941/42 in the Soviet Union
Campaign(s) World War II
Status Obsolete
Description "Frozen Meat Medal" aka "Order of the Frozen Flesh"
Statistics
Established 26 May 1942
Last awarded 4 September 1944
Total awarded Over 3 million
Ostmedaille ribbon bar
Ostmedaille ribbon bar

The Eastern Front Medal (German: Medaille „Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42“) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to both German and Axis personnel. It was awarded to those who served on the German Eastern Front during the winter campaign period of 15 November 1941 to 15 April 1942.[1] It was instituted on 26 May 1942 and was commonly known as the Ostmedaille (East Medal)[1] or Russian Front Medal.

The medal was wryly called the Frozen Meat Medal or the "Order of the Frozen Flesh" (German: Gefrierfleischorden) by Heer, Luftwaffe and Waffen-SS personnel to whom it was awarded.[2]

Qualification

Armed service personnel qualified for the badge after a minimum of 14 days served in active combat; 30 combat sorties for Luftwaffe members; 60 days of continuous service in a combat zone; being wounded or suffering a "frozen limb", severe enough to warrant the issue of a Wound Badge.[1] The medal could be awarded posthumously.

On 20 January 1943, the qualifications for the award changed to include both combatant and non-combatant personnel (including females) in the Wehrmacht. Also, foreign members of Wehrmacht units; personnel killed or missing in action and civilians working in area factories.[3]

Geographic limits were placed on its award of east of Ukraine and Ostland or in the Finland area, east of the original 1940 Russo/Finnish border. It was officially decommissioned by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht on 4 September 1944.[1]

Description

Eastern Front Medal with issue packet and ribbon for medal and bar

The design of the medal approved for the award was from a contemporary serving soldier, SS-Unterscharführer Ernst Krauit.[1] Measuring 3.6 cm (1.4 in) in diameter, of (generally) zinc construction, the medal was given a gun-metal coloured coating. The concave obverse side features a national socialist eagle grasping a swastika with laurel behind. The reverse features the text in capital letters: "WINTERSCHLACHT IM OSTEN 1941/42" ("Winter Battle in the East 1941/42") featuring a crossed sword and branch below the text. A helmet and stick grenade below the medal loop as well as outer ring were finished in a polished silver effect.[1] The medal measures approximately 44mm by 36mm.

A ribbon that accompanied the medal featured a central white-black-white (white for snow, black for the fallen soldiers) stripe with red (for blood) either side. The medal and ribbon were presented in a paper packet with the name of the medal on the front and the maker name on the reverse.[4] The medal was officially decommissioned by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht on 4 September 1944.[3]

Like the Iron Cross Second Class (EK2), the medal's ribbon was to be worn on the second buttonhole of the uniform tunic. As the war progressed, millions of soldiers received the EK2 and those who had received both awards wore the EK2 ribbon in preference to that of the Eastern Front Medal.

Over three million were issued and many more manufactured.

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