Military awards are decorations which are bestowed upon Armed Forces (including Army, Air Force and Navy) of a country. These awards are provided for showing exemplary courage, bravery and supreme sacrifice. Military awards are provided for distinguished services for both war time and peace time. For example Param Vir Chakra is the highest war time military award of India. This award is equivalent to Medal of Honour of United States and Victoria Cross of United Kingdom. The list below explains about the highest military awards of different countries –
Highest Military Awards of Different Countries : Australia
Victoria Cross for Australia is the highest military award given to Australian military personnels for showing most conspicuous bravery or pre-eminent act of valor or self sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in presence of enemy. The insignia is made of bronze with engraved figures of Crown and Lion. Words “For Valor” are inscribed below the crown.
Highest Military Awards of different Countries : Canada
Victoria Cross (Canada) is the highest military decoration and honor awarded to Canadian Forces or allies for most conspicuous bravery, daring or pre-eminent acts of valour, self sacrifice or extreme devotion towards duty in presence of enemy. The Canadian Victoria Cross is similar to the Victoria Cross award of other Commonwealth countries in design, shape and appearance. The only difference is that Canadian Victoria Cross is awarded for action not necessarily in war time situations but also for action against hostile forces, mutineers, pirates etc. Till date (March 2017) since the inception in 1993, no one has received this award.
Highest Military Awards of different Countries : China
Order of the Heroic Exemplar is the highest military decoration awarded by Government of People’s Republic of China. This award was established in 1951 to set examples for military men and to give inspiration and encouragement. At that time there were three classes of this medal – Special Class, First Class and Second Class. In 1988 Special class was eliminated by the People’s Republic Army.
Highest Military Awards of different Countries : France
Legion of Honor is the common highest Military award of France. This is to note that Legion of Honor is also the highest civilian award of France too. Unlike other countries who follow different awards for civilian and military, France uses the same award. This award has five categories with different ranks. These categories in descending rank (from top to bottom) are – i) Grand Cross, ii) Grand Officer, iii) Commander, iv) Officer, v) Knight.
Param Vir Chakra is the highest military decoration bestowed to Indian Armed Forces for extreme bravery and acts of supreme sacrifice in war time against enemy. The medal is made up of bronze disc 3.49 cm in dia. National emblem is engraved in center surrounded by four sets of Vajra (the mytical weapon). The medal was designed by Savitri Khanolkar, wife of Indian Army Officer Vikram Khanolkar. 21 Indian Armed Forces personnel have been awarded so far out of which 14 were honored posthumously.
Highest Military Award of Pakistan
Nishan-e-Haider is the highest military decoration of Pakistan. Nishan-e-Haider means mark of lion. This honor is conferred to military personnel for showing exemplary courage and outstanding bravery in presence of enemy. This award was established in year 1957 and since its inception only ten people have been awarded all posthumously.
Highest Military Awards of different Countries : Russia
Order of Saint George is highest military decoration of Russia. This is one of the oldest Military Awards among countries of world and was established in 1769 during Russian Empire. The Order of Saint George is categorized in four classes: First class, Second class, Third class and Fourth class while first class being the highest order.
Highest Military Awards of different Countries : United Kingdom
Victoria Cross is the highest among all awards in the United Kingdom and supersedes the civilian awards too. It is a gallantry award bestowed to British Armed Forces. The second award in merit and degree after Victoria Cross is George Cross which is awarded to civilians as well as Army personnel. Earlier Victoria Cross awards were given to Armies of Commonwealth countries but it no longer in practice now as most of commonwealth countries have established their own award system. This award was established in year 1856 by Queen Victoria herself to honor the heroes of Crimean War. Since then this award has been conferred to 1355 individuals.
The medal consists of bronze cross with superimposed images of crowned lion and a crown. The medal is inscribed with motto “For Valor”. The medal is hanged with a V pendant in 1.5″ (38 mm) wide crimson ribbon.
Highest Military Awards of different Countries : United States
Medal of Honor is the United State of America’s highest military award. It is awarded for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life beyond call of duty”. There are three different versions of this award, each one for Army, Air Force and Navy of Unites States. The award was first established as Medal of Valor for Navy in year 1861 and Medal of Honor for Army in 1862. There is slight difference in the appearance of medals of Army version, Navy version and Air Force version.
List of Highest Military Awards of different Countries
Country Highest Military Award
Argentina Cross to the Heroic Valour in Combat
Austria Military Merit Decoration
Bangladesh Bir Shrestho
Burma Aung San Thiriya
Brazil Order of Military Merit
Denmark The Valour Cross
Germany Cross of Honor for Valour
Greece Medal for Galantry
Israel Medal of Valour
Italy Golden Medal of Military Valour
Netherlands Military William Order
Norway The War Cross with Sword
Poland Order of Virtuti Militari
Spain Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand