Military Merit Order (Bavaria)

Military Merit Order (Militär-Verdienstorden)

Military Merit Order 4th Class with Swords
Awarded by the Kingdom of Bavaria
Type military order
Eligibility Military officers and officials, and in certain cases civilians
Awarded for Bravery or military merit
Status Obsolete
Description Blue-enameled Maltese cross with an enameled center medallion; can be awarded with and without swords and came in several classes
Established July 19, 1866
Next (higher) Military Order of Max Joseph (Militär-Max-Joseph-Orden)
Next (lower) Merit Order of the Bavarian Crown
Related Prussian Iron Cross, Saxon Albert Order, Württemberg Friedrich Order with Swords, Baden Order of the Zähringen Lion with Swords

The Bavarian Military Merit Order (Militär-Verdienstorden) was established on July 19, 1866 by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It was the kingdom's main decoration for bravery and military merit for officers and higher-ranking officials. Civilians acting in support of the army were also made eligible for the decoration. The Military Merit Order ranked below the Military Order of Max Joseph (Militär-Max-Joseph-Orden), which was Bavaria's highest military honor for officers (and conferred a patent of non-hereditary nobility on officers who were not already nobles).

Description and Wear

The design of the order was a Maltese cross of blue enamel with a center medallion. Between the arms of most classes (and all classes after 1905) were golden flames (silver flames for the 4th Class after the 1905 revisions of the order). The obverse of the center medallion had a gold crowned "L" cipher (for the founder King Ludwig II) on the black-enameled center and the word "MERENTI" on a ring of white enamel edged in gold (later silver-gilt). The reverse had a gold Bavarian lion on black enamel with the date of founding, "1866", on the white-enameled ring (the Officer's Cross, a class created in 1900, had a plain flat reverse). Most of the various classes of the order were of different sizes and worn differently, as sash badges over the shoulder, as neck badges, or as breast badges suspended from a ribbon. The Officer's Cross was a pinback cross worn on the lower left chest, as were the breast stars associated with various classes.


By World War I (after a wholesale revision of the order statutes in 1905 [1]), the order had evolved into the following classes:

The order could be awarded with or without swords (which generally indicated wartime or combat awards). The Grand Cross and 1st Class always came with a breast star, but the 2nd Class could be awarded with or without the breast star. The 3rd and 4th Classes could be awarded with or without a crown. Generally, these distinctions were based on rank, but in certain cases were used to permit a second award for further acts of bravery or military merit. During World War I, the order was typically awarded as follows:

In addition, there was an associated Military Merit Cross, which was open to non-commissioned officers and enlisted soldiers.

Notable recipients


  1. published in the Verordnungs-blatt des Königlich bayerischen Kriegsministeriums 1905, Nr. 27, 6. Dez. 1905

See also

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