Bar with the Combatants South West Africa Medal and Clasps

Photo © Traditionsverband

The medals on this bar in order of seniority from left to right are-
Prussian Order of the Red Eagle, fourth class with swords
Württemberg Knights Cross of the Order of Friedrich, first class with swords
Brunswick Knights Cross of the Order of Heinrich the Lion, second class with swords
1904-08 South West Africa Campaign Medal for combatants with clasps for "ORANJE", "NURUDAS", "KARAS-BERGE" and "GROSS-NAMALAND"
Chilean Memorial Cross for German Instructors in gold
The original owner of this medal bar was Hauptmann Friedrich von Erckert, a South West African Schutztruppe officer and leader of the famous 7th Camel Mounted Company.

The swords on the Prussian, Württemberg and Brunswick orders denote they were awarded for combat. All three were awarded during the Herero Rebellion (Order of the Red Eagle 2nd November 1905, Order of Friedrich 7th August 1907 and Order of Heinrich 5th February 1906). The Brunswick award would have been in recollection of his having served in the 92nd Brunswick Infantry prior to the Herero Rebellion.

The South West Africa Campaign Medal has clasps for the campaigns in "ORANJE", "NURUDAS", "KARAS-BERGE", "GROSS-NAMALAND" and presumably would have also had the "KALAHARI 1908" clasp if he had not been killed in action on that campaign.

The Chilean Memorial Cross for German Instructors was a unique medal made in 1897 for the 31 German officers who modernised and trained the Chilean army along Prussian lines between 1895-97. Also in the mission to Chile were Friedrich von Lettow-Vorbeck (brother of the East African Schutztruppe commander) and Karl Zimmermann (later known as the commander of the Cameroon Schutztruppe during the First World War).

Friedrich von Erckert (1869-1908)  was first commissioned as Sekondeleutnant in the 2nd Pomeranian Grenadiers ("Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1. Pommersches) Nr. 2") in 1889. From 1895-97 he was posted to Chile along with thirty other German officers to modernise and train the Chilean army along Prussian lines. On his return he was promoted to Premierleutnant in the Guard Fusiliers ("Garde-Füsilier-Regiment") before transferring to the South West African Schutztruppe 1899-1902, there being given the job of District Officer ("Distriktchef" later "Bezirkshauptmann") of Omaru. He returned to Germany to the 92nd Brunswick Infantry ("Braunschweigisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.92") where he was promoted Hauptmann in 1904. When the Herero Rebellion broke out later that year Erckert returned to South West Africa as a company commander ("2. Feldregiment, IV.Bataillon, 12. Kompanie"). He later lead the camel mounted 7. Feldkompanie that pursuing the Nama rebel Simon Koper into the Kalahari Desert. Erckert was killed in action by a shot in the neck from one of Koper's men on 4th March 1908.


Chilean Memorial Cross for German Instructors
Photo © Traditionsverband

Thanks to Arne Schöfert from Traditionsverband for his help and research on this page.

Highly Recommended Reading - The Full Story of Hauptmann Friedrich von Erckert's Medal Bar at Traditionsverband


Please contact me here if you have more information on this topic or if you have a medal bar you would like to share. 

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