A Pour-le-Merite with Oakleaves-WOW!!

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  • $ 38,500

A Pour-le-Merite with Oakleaves-In silver gilt, bottom cross arm stamped “FR 938” (for the official maker, Friedländer, Berlin along with silver content), blue enameled Maltese Cross with hand chased eagles in each quadrant, suspended from a silver gilt oak leaf cluster suspension ring, exhibiting minor wear, very small chip to 7 o’clock tip of blue enamelled arm, reverse presents small chip to 10 o’clock arm, scattered gilt wear throughout, measures ca 53.72 mm x 53.30 mm, weighs 26.10g. The oak leaf cluster measures ca. 17.84mm x 20.65mm, weighs 2.99g, exhibiting minor wear. Overall cross and oak leaf are in extremely fine condition. Full length original tailored ribbon with ties as originally worn. Awarded to Oberstleutnant / later Generalleutnant Freiherr von Forstner in 1917 for his bravery at “Verdun” and the oakleaves in 1918 during the “Battle of France.” 

Ernst Freiherr von Forstner (born October 31, 1869, in Graudenz; died December 22, 1950, in Hanover) was the son of the Prussian Colonel Paul Freiherr von Forstner (1830–1889) and his wife Wanda, née Countess von Itzenplitz (1834–1908). From 1876 to 1882 Forstner attended the Georgianum high school in Lingen, then the high school in Potsdam. He then graduated from the cadet corps, was transferred to the 2nd Guards Regiment of Foot of the Prussian Army in Berlin on February 5, 1889, as a portepee lieutenant and was promoted to second lieutenant on January 16, 1890. From October 1, 1893, to September 30, 1896, he acted as a battalion adjutant, in the meantime he became prime lieutenant on May 30, 1896, and as such was subsequently commanded at the War Academy until July 22, 1899. This was followed by a short-term command of the 2nd Sailor Artillery Department until September 30, 1899, before he returned to duty in his regiment. From April 1, 1900, Forstner was assigned to the General Staff for two years. At the same time as he was promoted to captain on September 12, 1902, he became company commander in his regular regiment. From January 27, 1907, he worked as a teacher at the Hanover War School. On March 22, 1912, he was transferred to the staff of the 1st Baden Life Grenadier Regiment No. 109 in Karlsruhe and promoted to major. On April 4, 1913, Forstner was appointed battalion commander there. With the outbreak of the First World War and the mobilization, Forstner was deployed with the regiment on the Western Front. There he was given command of the 4th Baden Infantry Regiment “Prinz Wilhelm” No. 112 on December 22, 1914, and appointed commander of the 1st Baden Life Grenadier Regiment No. 109 on January 25, 1915. Here He stayed beyond the end of the war and from October 1, 1919, served as head of the resolution office of the XIV Army Corps. Forstner was then taken over into the Provisional Reichswehr, initially transferred to the staff of the 10th Infantry Regiment on January 26, 1920, and appointed as its commander from May 15, 1920. In this role he was promoted to colonel on June 16, 1920. On January 1, 1921, he took over the 8th Infantry Regiment. Forstner was transferred to Glatz on June 6, 1922, where he served as commander until June 30, 1922. He then joined the staff of Group Command 1 in Berlin, became major general on July 16, 1923, and as such infantry commander VI of the 6th Division in Hanover on October 1, 1923. There he was promoted to lieutenant general on October 1, 1926. Forstner left active service on March 31, 1927, and retired. On August 27, 1939, the so-called Tannenberg Day, he was awarded the rank of General of the Infantry. On February 17, 1908, Forstner married Elsbeth Freiin von Busse in Berlin. The marriage resulted in the later naval officers and submarine commanders Siegfried von Forstner (1910–1943) and Wolfgang-Friedrich Freiherr von Forstner (1916–1999), as well as Wolf-Friedrich's twin sister (1916–1918). After Elsbeth's death in 1919, he married Margarethe. This marriage produced two sons, both of whom died in the Second World War. Other awards include; Iron Cross (1914) 2nd and 1st class, Knight's Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords, Red Eagle Order IV Class, Crown Order IV Class, Honorary Knight of the Order of St. John, Prussian Service Decoration Cross, Bavarian Military Merit Order IV Class with Swords and Crown, Knight's Cross of the Military Karl Friedrich Order of Merit, Knight's Cross 2nd Class of the Order of the Zähringer Lion.

Footnote: The Pour le Mérite was established by King Frederick II of Prussia in 1740 and it was conferred as both a military and civil honour. The Order was named in French, as during the time, French was the leading international language and the fashionable language at Frederick’s court. A fantastic opportunity to own one of the scarcest and best looking badges ever produced!