Military Max Joseph Order

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Knight's Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order
Grand Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order

The Military Max Joseph Order was donated by the Bavarian King Maximilian I Joseph with an army order from March 1, 1806 retroactively to January 1, 1806 at the suggestion of Felix Joseph von Lipowsky and was the highest military order of merit in the Kingdom of Bavaria . His motto was VIRTUTI PRO PATRIA(The bravery for the fatherland). The order goes back to the Electoral Palatinate-Bavarian military decoration .

Order classes

The order consisted of three classes:

Previous holders of the Kurpfalz-Bavarian military decoration were accepted as knights of honor in the order.

Signs of the order and way of wearing

The medal is a gold bordered white Maltese cross with golden ball points and golden rays between the cross arms. The latter are missing from the Knight's Cross. The blue enamelled medallion shows the order's motto written in gold VIRTUTI PRO PATRIA(bravery for the fatherland). A gold crown is attached over the cross. The crosses of each tier differed only in size.

Ordinary knights wore the insignia on a narrow ribbon at the buttonhole, commanders around their necks. Holders of the Grand Cross wore the insignia on a broad shoulder band and a breast star . The eight-pointed breast star to the Grand Cross is silver and the order cross is attached to it.

Personal nobility

For Bavarian subjects, the award of the order was connected with the elevation to the personal, non-inheritable nobility . After the entry in the register of the nobility, the bearers received the addition “Ritter von” to their real names (e.g. Wilhelm Leeb became Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb ). Similar rules also applied to the civilian equivalent of the Military Max Joseph Order, the Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown . From 1812 to 1818, members of the order ennobled in this way were supposed to use the Bavarian transmission nobility. Order members whose father or grandfather already owned the order were also entitled to the hereditary nobility.

Pension / prebende

In addition, the large crosses were six an annual income of 1,500  fl  ( Gulden ) for eight of the commander's annual 500  fl and fifty of the Knights annually 300  fl provided. In order to receive a corresponding pension / prebende, the owner had to be a Bavarian citizen .

Statutes and requirements

  • The previous military decoration will be replaced by an Order of Military Merit, namely the Military Order of Max Joseph, and a secure fund will be provided.
  • The king and founder is the grand master of the order.
  • Only officers could acquire the order , regardless of rank, type of service, religion, birth, rank and other circumstances. Only generals could receive the Grand Cross.
  • A pension is provided for a limited number of grand crosses, commander's crosses and knights.
  • For admission to the order, “brave deeds are required, namely those which an officer could either have neglected without responsibility and would have served the army , or those with extraordinary prudence, or courage and determination for the special honor and advantage of Army or troops have been executed ”(quoted from source 1, p. 38ff).
  • Submission of the brave deed, presentation of evidence and naming of witnesses to the respective commanding general, checking whether the deed did not involve the sacrifice of the teams;
  • Meeting of the chapter to review the act, submission of the decision to the Grand Master;
  • Approval of the grand master, handing over of the medal;
  • Effectiveness of pension entitlements from the date of the brave act;
  • After the death of a medalist, the medal is to be returned to the Grand Master.
  • Medal holders who quit the service lose the medal pension.
  • After committing a military or civil offense, the medal must be returned to the Grand Master immediately.
  • For the administration of the files, an archivist, a chancellor and a servant are employed, each with an appropriate salary.

In Annex 1 to the foundation order of March 1, 1806, thirty articles set out the requirements for admission to the order and other requirements; Annex 2 lists the first six grand crosses, eight commanders and 49 knights who are entitled to the corresponding Had pensions (First Lieutenant Franz von Fortis is the 50th entitled, but was overlooked when drawing up the register).

Grand Chancellor of the Order

By army order of March 22, 1806, the king appointed Lieutenant General Johann Nepomuk von Triva as Grand Chancellor of the order. His successor was Field Marshal Prince von Wrede . After his death, the duties of the Grand Chancellor were carried out by the incumbent war minister or by a representative. On August 22, 1878, General of the Infantry Ludwig von der Tann-Rathsamhausen was appointed Grand Chancellor. After his death on April 26, 1881, the respective minister of war was appointed again. In 1954 Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb was appointed Grand Chancellor of the Max Joseph Order. He was followed by Colonel a. D. Rudolf von Kramer.

Award numbers

Based on the documents of the Bavarian War Archives, the following award numbers can be proven:


Order class 1806-1815 1816-1876 1914-1918
Grand Cross 7th 1 5
commander 13 02 14th
Knight 093 055 281
Knight of Honor 13 - -


Order class 1806-1815 1816-1876 1914-1918
Grand Cross 28 10 20th
commander 49 07th 08th
Knight 278 038 007th

Well-known knights of the order

Grand Cross (selection)

Commander's Cross (selection)

Knight's Cross (selection)


Grand Master Rupprecht of Bavaria decreed in 1951 that the Knight's Cross should be worn on the collar in future . The Federal Republic of Germany paid the still living members of the order a monthly honorary salary of DM 25.00 . With the death of the last owner, Hubertus-Maria von Heigl , in 1985 the order expired.


  • Arnhard Graf Klenau: Order in Germany and Austria. Volume II: German States (1806–1918). Part I: Anhalt – Hanover. Offenbach 2008. ISBN 3-937064-13-3 . Pp. 102-109.
  • Baptist Schrettinger: The Royal Bavarian Military Max Joseph Order and its members. Oldenbourg Publishing House. Munich 1882. DNB 362342075 . urn : nbn: de: bvb: 355-ubr14543-2
  • Konrad Krafft von Dellmensingen , Friedrichfranz Feeser : The Bavaria book of the world wars 1914-1918. Chr. Belser publishing bookstore. Stuttgart 1930. DNB 560343108 .
  • Rudolf von Kramer, Otto Freiherr von Waldenfels: The royal Bavarian military Max-Joseph-Order. Self-published by the kb Military Max Joseph Order. Munich 1966. DNB 457284803 .
  • Jakob Knab: Unassailable tradition. The Bavarian Military Max Joseph Order and the Royal Bavarian Infantry Body Regiment. In: history across. Issue 12. 2004.
  • Norbert Hierl-Deronco: With very strange fame and Eyfer. CVs of Bavarian soldiers 1700-1918. Krailling 1984. ISBN 3-929884-00-3 . Chapter XV: Maximilian Knight of Ney. Chapter XVII: Hugo Ritter von Huller.

Web links

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