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Saxon
11-25-2008, 07:36 AM
I did a little research and discovered that the British Army had six main awards for leadership, merit or bravery on the battlefield.

Decorations: VC, MC
Orders: DSO
Medals: DCM, MM
Commendations: MiD

Enlisted

'Class' (used loosely)

1st - VC - Victoria Cross
2nd - DCM - Distinguished Conduct Medal
3rd - MM - Military Medal
4th - MiD - Mentioned in Despatches


Officers

1st - VC - Victoria Cross
2nd - DSO - Distinguished Service Order
3rd - MC - Military Cross
4th - MiD - Mentioned in Despatches

I also found statistics for how many were awarded in WWI and WWII.

WWI
Died - 900,000

VC - 633
DSO - 9000
DCM - 25,000
MC - 37,000
MM - 115,000
MiD

WWII
Died - 350,000

VC - 182
DSO - na
DCM - 1,900
MC - 10,000
MM - 15,000
MiD

Which brings me to my question: I've looked, but can't find out how many DSOs were awarded in WWII; or how many MiDs in both wars.

Anyone know the answer to this?

Rising Sun*
11-25-2008, 07:54 AM
Are your figures confined to the British Army?

The VC was not limited to the Army but was awarded in all services. The total number of VCs awarded in a given war would be greater than just those awarded to the Army.

Similarly, the VC was awarded to Commonwealth forces, so the total number of VCs awarded in a war will be greater than just those awarded to British forces.

All the decorations you mentioned were awarded in the Australian military forces, and possibly in other Commonwealth forces, so a figure for all British forces, in the sense often used in WWI and II of British and Commonwealth forces, would be higher than those awarded to purely British forces.

As for DSOs, the criteria for awards were higher in WWII than in WWI when they were granted to staff officers rather than combatants, so it's impossible to compare them. Moreover, DSOs weren't limited to the Army either.

And just to confuse matters further, Commonwealth citizens served in British army, navy and air units in both wars so awards to them will figure as British awards rather than Commonwealth awards.

Saxon
11-25-2008, 08:26 AM
Are your figures confined to the British Army?

The VC was not limited to the Army but was awarded in all services. The total number of VCs awarded in a given war would be greater than just those awarded to the Army.

Similarly, the VC was awarded to Commonwealth forces, so the total number of VCs awarded in a war will be greater than just those awarded to British forces.

All the decorations you mentioned were awarded in the Australian military forces, and possibly in other Commonwealth forces, so a figure for all British forces, in the sense often used in WWI and II of British and Commonwealth forces, would be higher than those awarded to purely British forces.

As for DSOs, the criteria for awards were higher in WWII than in WWI when they were granted to staff officers rather than combatants, so it's impossible to compare them. Moreover, DSOs weren't limited to the Army either.

And just to confuse matters further, Commonwealth citizens served in British army, navy and air units in both wars so awards to them will figure as British awards rather than Commonwealth awards.

Hi RS,

Yes, I'm aware that my VC stats include awards to commonwealth and other services.

I think the other awards stats may also include commonwealth, but I can't be certain.

I'm not trying to compare these figures mathamatically, per se, but want to try to get some sort of handle on them by getting some data.

I thought the DSO criteria actually got lower from Sept 42; because prior to that the officer had to have been under fire.

My research discovered this:

Any of these awards could be the result of a single act of valour.
Only VC and MiD could be awarded posthumously.
VC was "For Valour" of the very highest order.
Itís been estimated that a man only has a 1 in 10 chance of surviving an act worthy of the VC.
DSO was for Officers Major and above (usually).
DSO could be awarded for leadership or valour in battle (prior to Sep 1942 had to have been under fire).
DSO was occasionally awarded to junior officers for conspicuous valour. (Near miss for the VC)
MC was for Officers Captain and below (usually); and for Warrant Officers.*
MC could be awarded for leadership or valour in battle.
DCM was considered a near miss for the VC
MM and DCM were for enlisted men or NCO's.
MID is for Officers, NCO's or enlisted men.
MID can be for anything noteworthy in the field, that doesn't merit a higher award.
MID recipients received a bronze oak leaf to wear

*NCO's with warrant - at the time, this was only a Regimental Sergeant-Major.

Mk VII
12-08-2008, 07:29 PM
DSOs & MCs tended to be handed out rather like sweets in the First War - and frequently for staff officers who weren't anywhere near the enemy at the time. This was, in part, for lack of other types of meritorious service awards until the OBE/MBEs were created in 1917