June 30, 2011 at 6:15 am #11877
The Médaille Militaire (Military Medal) has been established by President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, future Napoleon III, on 22 January 1852.
The idea is to create a "Légion d’Honneur" for non-commissioned officers. This Medals is also awarded to enlisted men and top-ranking Generals and Admirals. It is awarded for acts of exceptional military merit.
The first public ceremony took place in the Tuileries on 21 March 1852. Louis-Napoleon himself awarded the medals. The first Generals to receive the Medal have been Generals Reille and Vaillant, on 10 May 1852. The same day they became Marshals. A decree dated 13 June 1852, gave the possibility to award the Medal to Generals having been Commanders in Chief facing the enemy.
As a prestigious award, it is frequent to see Generals or Marshals with this Medal only on their chest.
The insigna has slightly evolved since 1852. The main change took place in 1870, when the head of Napoleon III has been replaced by the Republic. A trophy of arms also replaced the Imperial Eagle as a suspension.
Below is a 3rd Republic version, with the date "1870".
Pic : Ed Haynes – OMSA Medal Database.
25FR-MM.jpgJune 30, 2011 at 6:19 am #13346June 30, 2011 at 6:22 am #13347
A 2nd type, with a nice period ribbon…
Ch.June 30, 2011 at 6:24 am #13348June 30, 2011 at 6:26 am #13349
A good question. Since they were not made by any central, standard manufacturer, deviance should be anticipated. They were also made in the various French occupied territories. But this much deviance?
I have had for some time this deviant 3rd Republic variety. It was once described in a JOMSA article as an OAS variant, but this seems a bit far-fetched (?).
168.jpgJune 30, 2011 at 6:28 am #13350
Just a manufacturer variation, you can find the same on some Legion of honour and other awards.
Without the "1870" date, looks more like a 4th/5th Republic Pattern.June 30, 2011 at 6:29 am #13351
True. Thanks.June 30, 2011 at 6:30 am #13352
Single star 4th Republic,
Triple stars 5th Republic..?
Is this correct?
When was the decree of 27 Feb 1951 amended?June 30, 2011 at 6:32 am #13353
There is no 5th Republic pattern, still the same since 1951. The 3 stars version is just a manufacturer variation. You can find some Legion of Honour with 3 stars too but that means nothing.June 30, 2011 at 6:33 am #13354
Merci Felix. I just got the very same answer from Marc Champenois (France Phaléristique) and Jean-Guy Batigne (French collector).
Still, for such a high decoration to have variations in design… Baffles me more than a bit.June 30, 2011 at 6:34 am #13355
Yes François, it is surprising… But French are so creative !! This is due to the fact that in France, when you are awarded a medal, you have (except in a few rare cases) to buy it by yourself. This has made business develop and several makers exist beside the official Mint. Indeed, the Mint and French officials could have imposed the same pattern, but, in this case, why several makers ? Creativity, creativity… and differenciation for makers are the only reasons of these differences.
Ch.June 30, 2011 at 6:36 am #13356
I purchased last weekend some of the French awards and one of them is this Military Medal below. I don’t know much about French awards but this piece is one of my favorite now from that country.
Looks like 3rd Republic (am I correct?)
But what I like most – it is made from Silver (mark on the fron as well) and details looks very nice and sharp!
14983019636b67_o.jpgJune 30, 2011 at 6:38 am #13357
3rd Republic is correct.June 30, 2011 at 6:39 am #13358
Yes, it is a 3rd Republic model.
But, just keep in mind this model has been awarded until 1951, still many years after the end of the 3rd Republic (1870-1940).
Ch.June 30, 2011 at 6:40 am #13359
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