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Kreuz des 5 . Don-Kossaken-Reiter Regiments

Article about: THE 5TH REGIMENT DON COSSACK CROSS Kreuz des 5 . Don-Kossaken-Reiter Regiments Owning one of these crosses for a number of years I have been wondering just what it was. I always considered i

  1. #1

    Default Kreuz des 5 . Don-Kossaken-Reiter Regiments

    Kreuz des 5 . Don-Kossaken-Reiter Regiments

    Owning one of these crosses for a number of years I have been wondering just what it was.
    I always considered it to be of too poor quality to be an official German award so I began to dig deeper.
    I knew who it belonged to as the original owner came to Britain post war when his unit was not considered to be traitors by the Government and hence the members were not returned to the Russians.

    So the cross is one that is worn by the 5th Regiment of Cossacks…riders from the Don Basin.

    How many were issued? There is no known number but this is my simple deduction:
    My numbers may be a bit out but please bear with me as I am still in the middle of some considerable research

    The figure of 80,000 badges that I have read having been produced seems to be a massive over estimate.
    Bearing in mind that a Regimental Unit of Cossacks was only around 700-1000 men.
    Kononov when he came over was part of an Infantry unit as a Major and was only later promoted to Podpolkovnik when in command of the 5th Regiment.
    Historically these Lieutenant Colonels only commanded 1000 men which would make the figure correct.
    I think a more realistic estimate of badges that would have been produced would be around 4000 at the very most.
    My thinking about manufactured numbers is below.

    I have yet to see photographic evidence of the Cossack badges (from any Regiment) actually being worn. So I have no doubt I will never see any documentary evidence supporting the production of the badge.

    The badge being produced by a manufacturer in Zagreb makes a lot of sense as the whole Cossack division was sent there.

    The Cossack Division:

    The 5th Don Cossacks must have been operating independently as a Regiment prior to them becoming part of the firstly, The Second Cossack Brigade and then in April 1943 part of the 1st Cossack Division
    The total numerical strength of the Division was 13.000 Cossacks and 4.500 Germans
    Comprised of 6 Cossack Regiments, A Couple of Artillery Units and Auxiliary troops

    Now to their final days after they had been sent to Yugoslavia. There are reports that 50,000 Cossacks that included Women, Children and Old Men and an additional column of 60,000 Others crossed from Yugoslavia into Austria to surrender to the British.

    By 1st June 40,000 Cossacks had been returned to the Soviet Union. (I think from the British report a Cossack was someone of Eastern European origin rather than a ‘real Cossack’)
    There were a considerable number of escapees who made it further in to Austria.

    So even if 80,000 badges had been made most of them would have gone for recycling by the soviets.

    So on to the badges:

    Database of Badges

    The Originals:

    The accepted Original type is 47mm high by 47mm wide give or take 0.2mm and weight around 9.5 Grams.
    Pin is steel and main body of the badge is aluminium.

    This is Mine:

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857358Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857359Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857360

    Courtesy of Stan:

    Name:  Stan Obv.jpg
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    Courtesy of Patrick:

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857363Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857364Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857365Click image for larger version. 

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    Courtesy of Pete:

    This is a really nice piece where the original owner has added some additional holes for securing it to the tunic

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857367

    Another one of Pete’s badges

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Denazified but Original Crosses

    Courtesy of MJW

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ID:	857370

    Courtesy of Glen @ Wartime Wonders

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857371Click image for larger version. 

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    Sold at Auction: £5500

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    Detlev Niemann Catalogue 3

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857374

    Ground Dug on Slovenian/Austrian Border: Unknown Contributors but Thank You

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857375Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857376Name:  Ground 2 Obv.jpg
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    The Reproductions:

    The one that started it a TO from the 1960/70s Sold originally in the Exchange and Mart for around 5s (25p)

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    Another Couple of Attempts. Both From the same set of dies and both with the Curly 9 and still from the TO Moulds.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857382Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857381Name:  TO2 Obv.jpg
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    A new variation on the TO Mould but different front and rear die set up.
    These three are trying to emulate the lower profiled pebble effect on the rear:

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857385Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857386Name:  TO 5 Obv.jpg
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    Courtesy of Dirklein

    Name:  Dirklein Obv.jpg
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    Enamel Variants:All are absolute fantasy pieces


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    Pin Back: MUNCHEN 9

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    Screwback without the shield and stamped Ges Gesch

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    New Age Reproduction or an Original Second Type….You decide.

    The following examples are all around the 47mm size I do not know the weights.
    All the examples below are struck from the same two reverse/obverse dies

    Courtesy of Unknown Contributors…Thank you

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857408Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	857409

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Courtesy of RickC

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The differences between the last 3 examples and the accepted originals.

    At ONE the raised area above the 8 and below the 5 actually touch the outer circle.
    On originals the raised area is thicker but fades to flatness before reaching the outer circle.

    At TWO the number 5 is positioned further away from the top of the circle than can be found on any original.

    At THREE the pebble effect is too good. Original examples show a poor workmanship compared to these badges.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    At ONE shows the wider reverse raised areas not found on an original badge.
    At TWO indicating the neat way the pebble effect has been applied to the reverse die of these badges.
    At THREE is the brass pin. Originals are noted as having steel pins only.

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    Okay that’s my guide to the Don Cross.

    To conclude the only accepted original badge which in my opinion has got to have less than a thousand original badges left is the one that I started with.

    The early reproductions were/are easy to spot because of the more profiled pebble effect on the reverse and the Curly 9.

    The last examples I show I believe are actually super quality highly detailed reproductions.. With a little thicker paint to hide the quality stamping on the obverse, a steel pin and a lack of what pebbling should look like on the back I have no doubt in the future years this will become a ‘second type original’


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  3. #2


    there are some pics of these being worn but don't remember where.

  4. #3


    Hello Harry,
    I have seen a couple of pictures of what is supposed to be a Don Cross being worn but the pictures are really too grainy to make the call.

    The only one that I have on file below is the most likely candidate for being a Don Cross.

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    If anybody has any of these crosses either good bad or indifferent why not post them here so we can all see the variants.

    All the best

  5. #4


    Not much has been said about this thread... well worth a read!

    Thank you, Glen.

  6. #5


    Thanks Glen,
    it was a bit of detailed research which I quite enjoyed doing.
    I have acquired an example of the reproduction enamelled cross for my own use ….mainly to see how it was made up and so I can use it as a reference for my fake collection.
    (Some owners still think the enamelled cross is an original produced for the German forces that were attached to the Cossack divisions. )

    If anybody has any of the old Tony Oliver crosses or any other type that are for sale I would be interested in acquiring them or which they are happy to take pictures of and post here that would be great.

    All the best

  7. #6
    CBH is offline


    Great thread , well put together and informative , well done .
    Cheers Chris

  8. #7


    This is frustrating. I have two photos where the Don kreuz is worn. This one photo here ( i dont know where i got it from)
    And i have another one were the pic is taken from a distance, three- four soldiers and one is wearing the cross.

    If i find that last photo i will include it straight away
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #8


    Perfect stuff TrondK.
    That is the first reasonable picture I have seen of the cross in wear.

    Many thanks for posting it.

    All the best

  10. #9


    I was supossed to include the photos for a long time ago- but my decimated brain decided to forget that.

    Look closely at the kreuz in the photo Saladin, Look closely at the construction of that Don Kreuz. It looks like it has a smaller swastika, and a wider "kreuz" So some questions surfaces- is this a locally made kreuz? Is it another still unknown example of it?? How many different were made of these Don Kreuz?

    Or is it simply the bad quality of the photo...

  11. #10


    Hello TrondK.
    I'm not sure it is a Don Cross in the picture.
    I have looked for several months now on most International sites and still have not seen a decent photograph of a Don Cross in wear.
    I have come across lots of 'could be' pictures.
    I have learned that a lot of Cossacks not particularly those from the Don have crosses of sorts on their chests but I believe most of them are from the era of the Tsars.

    Still looking.

    All the best

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