Eastern Front Medal

Eastern Front Medal
Die Medaille Winterschlacht Im Osten 1941/42 (Ostmedaille)

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 World War II
Status Obsolete
Description "Frozen Meat Medal" aka "Order of the Frozen Flesh"
Established 26 May 1942
Last awarded 4 September 1944
Total awarded Over 3 million

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 for those who served on the German Eastern Front during the "first 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] Geographic limits were placed on its award of east of Ukraine and Ostland or in the Finnland area, east of the 1940 Russo/Finnish border. It was officially decommissioned by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht on 4 September 1944.[1]

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]

They qualified for the badge after a minimum of 14 days served in active combat; 30 days of flying personnel over enemy held land; 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]

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]


Winterschlacht Im Osten With Issue Packet & Ribbon Bar

The design of the medal approved for the award was from a contemporary serving soldier, SS-Unterscharführer Ernst Krause.[1] Measuring 3.6 cm (1.4 in) in diameter, of (generally) zinc construction, the medal was given a gun-metal coloured coating. On one side a national eagle grasps a swastika and the reverse features the text "Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42" ("Winter Battle in the East 1941/42") featuring a crossed sword and branch below the text. The helmet and outer ring were finished in a polished silver effect.[1]

A ribbon that accompanied the medal was coloured red, white and black. The medal and ribbon were usually presented in a paper packet.[4] The medal was officially decommissioned by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht on 4 September 1944.[3]



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