© Hendrik Meersschaert 2017
WORLD WAR II ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS OF VARIOUS COUNTRIES
CROATIA

The Military Order of the Iron Trefoil
After the German occupation of Yugoslavia, the Kingdom of Croatia was founded under German "supervision" on 10 April 1941. The Italian Duke of Spoleto was nominated King and Dr. Ante Pavelic became "Poglavnik" ("Leader", Prime Minister). On the departure of the Germans from the country in 1944, Croatia eventually became a republic with limited powers of self-government within the state of Yugoslavia.
Instituted on 27 April 1941 by Poglavnik Dr. Ante Pavelic as the highest military award. The Order was awarded for war acts that were performed on the recipient's own initiative and with personal commitment and through thoughtful execution resulted in a signal success against the enemy.
The following classes were created :
Grand Iron Trefoil with Oak Wreath, none awarded or seen
First Class Cross with Oak Wreath (neck badge), only one awarded
First Class Cross (neck badge) - only three seem to have been awarded
Second Class Cross with Oak Wreath (pin-backed cross, see above pictures)
Second Class Cross (pin-backed cross)
Third Class Cross with Oak Wreath (worn through buttonhole)
Third Class Cross (on ribbon, worn through buttonhole, see above pictures)
Fourth Class Cross with Oak Wreath (breast badge on triangular ribbon)
Fourth Class Cross (breast badge on triangular ribbon)

The Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir
Instituted on 17 May 1941 by Dr. Pavelic and awarded to Croats or foreigners in peace or in war for achievements benefiting the Croatian people and the Independent State of Croatia.
The Order is named after an 11th century King of Croatia. The medals were instituted on 27 December 1941 and in case of meritorious service at the front an oak wreath in the same metal as the medal was attached on its war ribbon. The Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir is awarded with swords for war merit and with an oak wreath to indicate merit in action under enemy fire.
The following classes were created :
Grand Cross with Oak Wreath and Star (sash badge and breast star)
Grand Cross with Swords and Star (sash badge and breast star)
Grand Cross with Star (sash badge and breast star)
1st Class Cross with Oak Wreath and Star (neck cross and breast star)
1st Class Cross with Star (neck cross and breast star)
1st Class Cross with Oak Wreath (neck cross)
1st Class Cross with Swords (neck cross)
1st Class Cross (neck cross)
2nd Class Cross with Oak Wreath (pin-backed cross)
2nd Class Cross with Swords (pin-backed cross)
2nd Class Cross (pin-backed cross)
3rd Class Cross with Oak Wreath (breast cross on triangular ribbon)
3rd Class Cross with Swords (breast cross on triangular ribbon)
3rd Class Cross (breast cross on triangular ribbon)
1st Class Medal of the Order (silver, either on a white ribbon or a war ribbon)
2nd Class Medal of the Order (bronze, either on a white ribbon or a war ribbon or a war ribbon with the state's coat of arms)
3rd Class Medal of the Order (iron or war metal, either on a white ribbon or a war ribbon)

The Order of Merit
This Order was instituted on 10 April 1942 in two designs, one for Christians and one for non-Christians (Croatia has a considerable Muslim population).

The following classes were created :
Grand Cross with Star (sash badge and breast star)
1st Class Cross with Star (neck cross and breast star)
1st Class Cross (neck cross)
2nd Class Cross (pin-backed cross)
3rd Class Cross (breast cross on triangular ribbon)

The Pavelic Medal for Bravery
Instituted on 27 December 1941 by Poglavnik Dr. Ante Pavelic, for personal bravery in action and awarded in four grades : gold (gilt), large silver, small silver (silvered) and bronze. The last two grades were issued to next-of -kin of officers (small silver issue) or other ranks (bronze medal) that were killed in action.

The Medal for the Wounded
Instituted on 8 April 1943 in two grades : gilt for those killed in action, those that died of wounds or those that were seriously wounded and in iron (war metal) for the less seriously wounded. The ribbon can have one to three blue centre stripes according to the number of wounds and a gilt oak wreath is worn on the centre stripe in case of more than three wounds.

The 5th December 1918 Commemorative Badge
This badge was instituted for award to the members of the Croatian Homeland Defence and civilians who demonstrated against the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and clashed with the Armed Serbian Police in Zagreb on that date, resulting in many casualties. The actual award took place on 5th December 1943 when 402 received the badge and 25 posthumous awards were made.

The War Commemorative Badge
Instituted on 29 December 1943 and awarded to all personnel of the armed forces or other uniformed services for either 6 months combatant (with the state coat of arms displayed on the ribbon) or for 12 months non-combatant service related to the armed forces. The badge is worn from a ribbon through the second buttonhole of the tunic.

Commemorative Badge for the Establishment of the Independent State of Croatia
Instituted on 9 March 1943 by the Poglavnik and awarded in commemoration of the proclamation of Croatia's independence. Awarded in silver or bronze.

The Jubilee of Independence Medal 1918-1943
Instituted in December 1943 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Croatian independence from Austrian-Hungarian rule.

Ustashe badge of Honour with AP monogram
Awarded to those who on the 10th of April 1941 renewed their oath to defend the country and, with Ante Pavelic, returned from exile to serve in the Leader's Guard Battalion. 273 silver badges (of which 41 were posthumous awards) and 668 silver plated badges (including 105 posthumous awards) were issued.