Croatian awards shown below were awarded to members of the Croatian Armed Forces,
the Ustase and to German Nationals.
Order of the Iron Trefoil
The Order of
the Iron Trefoil is the highest Croatian award that was rendered to members of the Croatian armed forces and their axis partners.
Instituted in November 1941 in four classes, shown above is a worn 4th class cross: a black Trefoil cross with silver outlined, attached in the center is the Croatian national coat-of-arms.
On the reverse is the inscription "ZA DOM SPREMNI" (READY TO DEFEND THE FATHERLAND) and the date the state was founded, "10.IV.1941."
The triangular ribbon in red color with white edges was the same for all classes. For outstanding acts of bravery a special war decoration of green oak leaves was added to the cross.
Pavelic hoped that the Iron Trefoil would become the Iron Cross of Croatia.
Order of the Crown King Zvonimir
The Order of the Crown King Zvonimir (named after an 11th century King of Croatia)
is the second highest award. The order was instituted in the shape of a Trefoil on 15 May
1941 and came in various classes. In addition, for military action crossed swords were
added and for bravery in the field a wreath of green enamel oak leaves.
On 27 December 1941, The Order of Merit was issued in medal form and instituted in
three classes: Silver, Bronze and Iron.
For meritorious service at the front a small gilt metal oak wreath was attached on the
3rd Class Order of the Crown King Zvonimir
The Award shown is a 3rd class white enamel Trefoil with crossed swords. The edges,
braids in the leaves, crown, and swords are outlined in gilt. The reverse in the center
shows the motto "BOG I HRVATI" (GOD AND THE CROATS). On top is the date 1076,
which was the coronation date of King Zvonimir and below the date "1941."
Croatian Bravery medal was instituted in December 1941. This award
comes in four types: bronze medal, small and large silver medal
and gold medal. The small medal was given to next-of-kin of fallen
NCOs and enlisted men. The large medals were awarded for bravery
in the field. The large silver medal in the center shows the portrait
of Ante Pavelic. The reverse has the Ustase emblem with the inscription
"ZA DOM SPREMNI" (READY TO DEFEND THE FATHERLAND) and "ZA HRABROST"
(FOR BRAVERY). The ribbon is red with white stripes on each side.
More than one class could be worn at a time.
Medal of Merit of the Order of King Zvonimir
Above is a nice scarce Croatian silver Merit Order of King Zvonimir award document and medal issued to soldier in the SS "Prinz Eugen" Division.
The medal was instituted in December 1941, in three classes: silver, bronze and Iron, (this latter made of white metal or zinc).
The obverse design illustrates the king with his name "DMITAR ZVONIMIR" and the date of coronation, "1076."
The reverse features the "Ustaša" emblem and "BOG I HRVATI" (GOD AND THE CROATS) and the date of the foundation of independent State of Croatia, "10.IV.1941" and the inscription "ZA ZASLUGE" (FOR MERIT).
Croatian Air Force Legion
With the support of the Germans in July 1941 the "Croatian: Hrvatska zrakoplovna legija" (Croatian Air Force Legion) was formed. This air legion consisted of one fighter squadron equipped with German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters and one bomber squadron equipped with Dornier Do 17 bombers. The fighter Squadron received the official designation "15.(Kroatische)/JG 52", while the bomber squadron was designated "15.(Kroatische)/KG 53. "
The Legion itself was organized into a Fighter Squadron (commanded by Lt. Colonel Franjo Dzal) and a Bomber Squadron (commanded by Lt. Colonel Vjekoslav Vicevic). The Fighter Squadron was itself further divided into 2 Wings, as was the Bomber Squadron. The Air Legion departed from Croatia for training in Germany on July 15th 1941.
This air legion fought on the eastern front and had tallied 283 kills, had 14 pilots with Ace status. In addition, to German aircraft the Croatia air legion also had a large fleet of relatively modern aircraft during the Second World War usually of ex-Royal Yugoslav, Italian, French, British and Czech aircraft. The fleet numbered several hundred aircraft, from training biplanes to the latest Messerschmitt 109 fighters.
During the course of their training, the men had been issued Luftwaffe uniforms adorned with the Croatian arm shield and the Croatian Air Force Legion badge on the right breast pocket.
Above is a scarce World War II Croatian Air Force pilot badge Type II with a seldom-seen pin tensioner. The badge shows a wreathed eagle clutching the checkered Croatian coat of arms with a "U" for Ustaša emblem, together forming the coat of arms for the Independent State of Croatia (1941-1945). The badge has the manufacturer mark "BRAĆA KNAUS - ZAGREB," which is the he only manufacturer of this particular badge. This badge was awarded for air force members who acquired a certain qualification and was issue with a certificate.
Croatian Paratrooper Badge
Above is an extremely rare "NDH PADOBRANSKI ZNAK" (NDH Parachute Qualification Badge) It was instituted in early June 1943 and was manufactured in Zagreb by the Croatian firm "BRAĆA KNAUS." It was awarded to qualified paratroopers (officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted) who had performed at minimum six jumps. In order to retain the badge, it was necessary to re-qualify each year.
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It shows a diving eagle clutching a small oak leave wreath with the Croatian checker board emblem in the center and the "U" Ustaša emblem on top. The eagle is surrounded by an oval shape intertwined braid that meets near the top of an enameled red-white-blue background emblem with the "NDH" inscription in silver.
The reverse is hollow die stamped and consist of a flat pin, catch and "C" clasp. On the bottom it shows the inscription of the manufacturer "BRAĆA KNAUS - ZAGREB." The badge is stamped nickel and made of white silver metal. A diploma was issued and the badge was worn on the lower left breast.
This badge has been highly reproduced with similar features but incorrect material or attachments.