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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Winter Battle in the East 1941–42 Medal
Medaille Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42 (German)
TypeCampaign medal
Awarded forService in the Soviet Union from 15 November 1941 to 15 April 1942
Country Germany
Presented bythe Führer and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht
EligibilityWehrmacht and Waffen-SS personnel
Campaign(s)World War II - Russian Winter
Established26 May 1942
Last awarded4 September 1944
TotalOver 3 million
DEU Ostmedaille BAR.svg
Next (higher)War Merit Cross
Post war version without swastika
Post war version without swastika

The Eastern Medal (German: Ostmedaille), officially the Winter Battle in the East 1941–42 Medal (German: Medaille Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42), was a military award of the Wehrmacht which was created by ordinance of Adolf Hitler on 26 May 1942.[1]

The Eastern Medal was awarded to any member of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS "in recognition of experience in the struggle against the Bolshevik enemy and the Russian winter within the period from 15 November 1941 to 15 April 1942." It was also awarded posthumously to any service member who died in the line of duty within the Soviet Union.[2] It was wryly called the Frozen Meat Medal or the "Order of the Frozen Flesh" (German: Gefrierfleischorden).[3]


Wehrmacht personnel qualified for the Eastern Medal after a minimum of 14 days in active combat; 30 air combat sorties; 60 days continuous of service in a combat zone; being wounded or suffering a "frozen limb", severe enough to warrant the issue of a Wound Badge, and it could be awarded posthumously.[2]

On 20 January 1943, official qualification for the Eastern Medal was extended to include both male and female combatant and non-combatant personnel in the Wehrmacht. Also, foreign members of Wehrmacht units; personnel killed or missing in action[4] and civilians working under Wehrmacht control, including those involved in construction and road building.[5] Geographic limits were placed on the award of east of Ukraine and Ostland or in the Finland area, east of the original 1940 Russo/Finnish border. The Eastern Medal was officially decommissioned by the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (German: High Command of the Armed Forces) (OKW) on 4 September 1944.[2]


Issue packet
Issue packet

The Eastern Medal was designed by SS-Unterscharführer Ernst Krauit.[2] Measuring 3.6 cm (1.4 in) in diameter, of (generally) zinc construction, the medal was given a gun-metal coloured coating. The concave obverse side features a national socialist eagle grasping a swastika with laurel behind. The reverse features the text in capital letters: "WINTERSCHLACHT IM OSTEN 1941/42" ("Winter Battle in the East 1941-42") featuring a crossed sword and branch below the text. A helmet and stick grenade below the medal loop as well as outer ring were finished in a polished silver effect.[2] The medal measures approximately 44mm by 36mm.

The Service ribbon featured a central white-black-white (white for snow, black for the fallen soldiers) stripe with red (for blood) either side. The medal and ribbon were presented in a paper packet with the name of the medal on the front and the maker name on the reverse.[6] Like the Iron Cross 2nd Class (EK II) 1939–45, the Eastern Medal's ribbon was worn either from the second buttonhole of the uniform tunic or on a ribbon bar. Where the two ribbons were worn together in the buttonhole, the EK II appeared in front of the Eastern Medal.[7] Over three million medals were issued and many more manufactured.

While wear of Nazi era awards was initially banned in 1945, the Eastern Medal was among those re-authorised for wear by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957. With Nazi symbols now forbidden, the award was re-designed by removing the swastika, the eagle on the obverse now standing on a laurel branch.[8]


  1. ^ Littlejohn & Dodkins 1968, p. 129.
  2. ^ a b c d e Angolia 1987, p. 69.
  3. ^ Beevor 2012, p. 327.
  4. ^ Angolia 1987, p. 70.
  5. ^ Williamson 2002, p. 33.
  6. ^ Angolia 1987, pp. 70, 71.
  7. ^ Williamson 2002, p. 34 and plate F2.
  8. ^ Littlejohn & Dodkins 1968, p. 225.


  • Angolia, John (1987). For Führer and Fatherland: Military Awards of the Third Reich. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0912138149.
  • Beevor, Antony (2012). The Second World War. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-02374-0.
  • Littlejohn, David; Dodkins, Colonel C. M. (1968). Orders, Decorations, Medals and Badges of the Third Reich. R. James Bender Publishing, California. ISBN 978-0854200801.
  • Williamson, Gordon (2002). World War II German Battle Insignia. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1841763527.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 April 2021, at 14:47
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