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Can anyone identify these uniforms and the military decoration that looks like an x or a cross on the shorter gentleman?

enter image description here The shorter gentleman is my great-grandfather. The only information I have is his name. I don't even have his DOB or DOD (although I'm speculating circa 1880's - 1940). My ancestry is all Polish so thus the assumption for Polish uniforms. I've also researched that medal and seem to keep coming back to the cross of valor that was introduced in 1920. Lastly, my family comes from South of Tarnow, Poland. Please see original image at imgur.com/a/ePZRfVO. Thank you!

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    Well they are certainly not Polish WWI uniforms as Poland did not have a military for the duration. But there was a decent bit of fighting with the USSR immediately afterwards.
    – SPavel
    Sep 5, 2023 at 17:02
  • Thank you @SPavel that helps narrow it down a bit more.
    – Kasia Lee
    Sep 5, 2023 at 17:21
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    Can we get a rundown of everything you know about this image? (Why you might have suspected the unis to be Polish, for example). That can save our users lots of time, which could well get repurposed into making the answers better.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 5, 2023 at 17:33
  • @T.E.D. Absolutely, although I don't have very much info. The shorter gentleman is my great-grandfather. The only information I have is his name. I don't even have his DOB or DOD (although I'm speculating circa 1980's - 1940). My ancestry is all Polish so thus the assumption for Polish uniforms. I've also researched that medal and seem to keep coming back to the cross of valour that was introduced in 1920. Lastly, my family comes from South of Tarnow, Poland.
    – Kasia Lee
    Sep 5, 2023 at 17:41
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    This answer history.stackexchange.com/questions/53980/… has useful links to an archive of Polish interwar uniforms. They all have distinctive squiggly collars that this photo lacks, making me think that these are not Polish after all.
    – SPavel
    Sep 5, 2023 at 18:02

1 Answer 1

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This is almost certainly an Austro-Hungarian infantry private's uniform

During WWI, Tarnow was a part of Austria-Hungary, and mobilized Poles from that area into the army (including Polish Legion/Polish Auxiliaries).

The hat on the table in the corner resembles an infantry field cap. It has what looks like a feather sticking out of the top, which is a common feature of Austro-Hungarian mountaineers (although the individuals are not mountaineers, as they lack the flower collar insignia).

The belt buckle looks like the Dual Monarchy one.

Additionally, the shape of the cross and ribbon looks like a mobilization cross or long military service cross (or a similarly shaped medal such as the Austrian Iron Cross of Merit) worn in the Austro-Hungarian fashion high up on the chest.

The color of the ribbon is a little bit confusing because the Iron Cross of Merit was introduced in 1916, but is being worn with a solid red ribbon which is the rule for being awarded in peacetime (as far as I can tell, no other Austro-Hungarian cross-shaped award was properly worn on a solid color ribbon).

I have not been able to find an exact match for them (it seems that the collar and cuffs should be another color), but if someone unfamiliar with the uniforms had colorized them, they might not have known this (edit: from comments by OP this appears to be the case, as AI colorization is essentially guesswork).

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    After the OP mentioned some family being in AH territory, I checked and the shirt does indeed appear to be a shape and configuration that matches an AH uniform. See pictures here and here. The pockets with flaps with curved-down corners seem quite distinctive
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 5, 2023 at 18:57
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    @KasiaLee - Calvary would make sense, as it also explains the boots outside the pants, which isn't typical from the images I've seen. I was thinking about mentioning that.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 5, 2023 at 19:04
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    @KasiaLee It would help to have an unaltered version of the photo (the original black and white), in the highest resolution you have available. Unfortunately, AI tools such as colorization and upscaling are not reliable and can alter the original in a misleading way.
    – SPavel
    Sep 5, 2023 at 19:18
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    @KasiaLee You can try using an external host like Imgur or Google Drive and then sharing a publicly accessible link
    – SPavel
    Sep 5, 2023 at 20:27
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    @SPavel imgur.com/a/ePZRfVO Hope this works.
    – Kasia Lee
    Sep 5, 2023 at 21:02

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