This is a Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with Swords award document (urkunde) and decoration. The Military Merit Cross was established in 1866 during (“Mad”) König Ludwig II’s (1845-1886) reign. Bavaria had aligned herself with Austria, Saxony, Württemberg, and Hannover. The sharp, brief war lasted seven weeks in which Austria and her allies were soundly defeated. During the conflict, Ludwig II authorized two completely different decoration lines for Bavaria’s soldiers. The first line was the Military Merit Order (MMO), which was limited to officers. The second line was the Military Merit Cross (MMC), intended for enlisted men and NCO’s. Both were introduced during the conflict. The MMC came to be Bavaria’s enlisted men and NCO’s Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class equivalents. In wartime it could be awarded with Swords and/or a Crown. The Crown signified a higher or second award within the three classes in which the decoration was awarded.
Our Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with Swords (Militär-Verdienstkreuz 3. Klasse mit Schwerten), with its urkunde, was awarded on 15 March 1915 to an “L. Wiedemann” from Bavaria’s Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr 3. While the award’s date was 15 March, the Ordenskanzler’s Office did not sign off on it until 24 March. WW I was only about 19-months-old, so it was a relatively early award. The document measures 8” x 12” and has been folded into quarters. The decoration is in excellent condition. The pair will make an appealing display.