The Croix de Guerre WW I
During World War I, the Croix de Guerre was awarded for bravery to military personnel and recipients of the Legion d'Honneur and Medaille Militaire. This decoration was established by the French Republic in 1915 and is awarded to soldiers, airmen or sailors or all ranks, officers included, and also to officers and men of Allied forces, mentioned in French Despatches, for an individual feat of arms mentioned in a Despatch from the general officer commanding an Army, Army Corps, Division, Brigade or the C.O. of a regiment or the corresponding unit of Naval forces. The different classes of despatches for which a recipient was awarded the cross may be recognized by the following emblems on the ribbon: Army Despatch - small bronze laurel branch (Palme en bronze); Army Corps Despatch - silver gilt star; Divisional Despatch - silver star; Brigade, Regimental or similar Unit Despatch - bronze star. Every mention is represented by its emblem, thus a man can wear the cross with a silver star and a bronze palm. For every five bronze palms he gets instead a silver palm. The award of the Légion d'Honneur carries with it a Croix de Guerre avec Palme. The ribbon is green ribbed with black and has seven red stripes.
For bravery in the face of the enemy. It can be awarded more than once. Subsequent awards are denoted by bronze, silver, and gold insignia worn on the ribbon. In WW1, US Army personnel who were awarded the MOH also received the Croix de Guerre, avec palme, for the same action.
The Fourragere, in the colors of the Croix de Guerre, representing two unit citations in the Orders of the Army, is authorized to be worn by all active members of the 9th Regiment.
Remembrances of "The War to End All Wars"
Gallery-The Western Front, 1918
Below is information supplied by the son of a World War I Manchu and recipient of the original award.
To All Manchus:
The first picture I sent to you is of the Nov,1990 cover of VFW Magazine. It shows the WW1 memorabilia of my father, the late Vincent Pantozzi, of Jersey City, NJ, formerly Sgt., Co. B, 9th Infantry Regiment, AEF. WW1. Veterans of the 9th Infantry Regiment regarded Sgt. Pantozzi as one of the great soldiers of World War 1, even urged a monument be built in his honor, in DC.
The second picture (1992 retake) also shows the World War 1 memorabilia. Note the 1919 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Indian Head, red pentagon emblem; the two wound chevrons; the platoon leader's whistle; also the Victory Medal with six battle clasps and the service-time chevrons, indicating the highly unusual length of time Sgt. Pantozzi served at the Front.
The third picture shows two individual awards of the French Croix de Guerre, (France's highest WW1 Valor decoration), and the French Fourragere, in the colors of the Croix de Guerre, to the 9th Infantry Regiment, for extraordinary heroism in the key Soissons, and Mt. Blanc battles. Also pictured is the prized AEF Distinguished Marksman Medal, won by Sgt. Pantozzi in high-spirited competition at the AEF Rifle Shoot, Le mans, France, in 1919. Sgt. Pantozzi was one of the outstanding marksmen of the 2nd Division, and the AEF.
The copies of the two citations I sent are extracts from a large file, indicating a heroism of monumental proportions. Few soldiers in history have records like his. On the DSC recommendation, note the words that the action took place "on the (left) flank of the Battalion." The official histories describe the action as taking place on the left flank of the Division, suggesting the immense scale, and danger, of the operation. There was more to come, as Sgt. Pantozzi was to lead the scouts at the point of the famous Ninth Infantry Night Marches, on the ensuing nights. These historic actions took place during the Third and Final phase of the Meuse-Argonne Campaign.
A translation of the Croix de Guerre (Star) citation is as follows: [In the Meuse-Argonne Campaign,] Sgt. Vincent Pantozzi, 9th Infantry Regiment, showed exeptional courage and coolness in fulfillilling the functions of stretcher-bearer, in several reprises, and while under fire of enemy barrage. In the course of one of these voyages, his companion was killed, but he never hesitated to continue his service, regardless of the danger.
The 1976 obit that I sent offers a thumbnail introduction. Thanks for the opportunity to participate in the history project, and to honor my dad. He had a fierce, impassioned love for his 9th Infantry comrades , and for his country. Not to remember such steadfast heroism diminishes a people.
Would like to hear from those who view the web site, particularly family of 9th Infantry, WWI vets who served in France with my dad.
Photographs © and owned by Vince Pantozzi 1990
If anyone has any information to add to this web page please contact the Webmaster
Items wanted include: list of personnel, units, CdeG citations, ect.