War Honor Decoration in Iron, a.k.a. “Bloody Ludwig”
Krieger-Ehrenzeichen in Eisen was instituted on March 03, 1917 by the Grand Duke of Hesse Ernst Ludwig (Großherzog Ernst Ludwig von Hessen, 25.11.1868-09.10.1937) in conjunction with the 25th jubilee of his reign. highest award of the Grand Duchy for exceptional frontline bravery, criteria for decoration with the War Honor Decoration in Iron were quite strict. Thus, contender should have been a Hessian subject as of August 01, 1914; holder of the Prussian Iron Cross 2nd class and Hessian Silver Bravery Medal (Allgemienes Ehrenzeichen für Tapferkeit); frontline soldier or officer for at least two years (including recovery in hospital for less than two months), and lastly, he should have been wounded during frontline operations. The latter led to the unofficial label “Bloody Ludwig” (“Blutiger Ludwig”) given to this award by frontline soldiers. Due to the connection of this decoration to the Bravery Medal sometimes it was qualified as the Hessian Bravery medal 1st class. The award had a shape of a wide round laurel wreath bearing number “25”. Intertwined letters “E” and “L” signifying for the ruler of Hesse Ernst Ludwig. Approximately 2,000 badges were issued.