Up to now all of our victory awards within JG I "Richthofen" have been based on decorations that Rittm. Manfred von Richthofen had been awarded during his lifetime. If he didn't achieve the distinction, we couldn't either.
However, with Baron's amazing 35th victory, we have now officially exhausted the Prussian decorations that Manfred von Richthofen had won for combat distinctions.
Britchot and I spoke, and we both quickly realized that we still very much want to have a top victory award within WW1 simming that was "just out of reach". Since that was no longer the Red Eagle, a new decoration was needed.
As a result, I am proud to announce the creation of a new victory decoration for JG I "Richthofen" - the Order Pour le Mérite with Oak Leaves.
In early 1918, Rittm. Manfred von Richthofen was being considered for the Order Pour le Mérite with Oak Leaves, but was considered ineligible under a strict reading of the regulations. Oak Leaves to the Blue Max were normally only given to high-ranking officers, usually distinguished field commanders or members of the general staff. Since Manfred von Richthofen didn't qualify, he was given the slightly less prestigious honor of the Order of the Red Eagle 3rd Class with Crown and Swords. This was awarded to him soon after he shot down his 70th aerial victory. The Red Eagle would be the highest victory decoration he would achieve.
With the addition of the Order Pour le Mérite with Oak Leaves to our virtual squadron, you all now have the chance to win something that Manfred von Richthofen didn't, but might have, had he lived. While we won't be asking you to get over 80 kills to achieve it, the victory total necessary is still very high.
In order to achieve the Order Pour le Mérite with Oak Leaves, you'll need 50 aerial victories, or 50 ground victories, within one streak.
Below is the official award language, as well as an image. Good luck all!
Order Pour le Mérite with Oak Leaves (Blauer Max mit Eichenlaub):
The Order Pour le Mérite with Oak Leaves (Blauer Max mit Eichenlaub) is a second, higher awarding of the Blue Max. Normally reserved for high-ranking officers, it can be awarded to top flying aces who are deemed eligible. It is given for acts of bravery above and beyond the call of duty. Awarded for 50 aerial victories, or 50 ground victories, within one streak.