In this blog I am going to discuss the 1792-1805 Honor Medal (Ehren Medaille). This was the second medal issued by the Austrian Empire specifically as a bravery medal. In this and subsequent blogs I am going to take the reader through the evolution of the bravery medals from the first one issued in 1789-1792 by the authority of Emperor Joseph II (see previous blog) to the last of this type of medal issued in 1917-1922 by Emperor Karl I.
Date Issued: 1792 – August 1805
Reason Issued: As a reward for acts of bravery or gallantry in time of war by non-commissioned officers and soldiers who were not otherwise eligible for the Order of Maria Theresia
Classes or Types: Two
- Gold Honor Medal
- Silver Honor Medal
- The creation of this award was originally suggested by Field Marshal, Count Laudon.
- This is the oldest Austrian valor insignia specifically for non-commissioned officers and enlisted men.
- This decoration was often referred to in the Austrian army as the soldiers Maria Theresia Order.
- Issued for the war with France in 1792-1797
- Issued for the war with France in 1799-1802
- This medal could be awarded to Field Chaplains for supporting troops in battle. It is thus the antecedent to the Ecclesiastic or Chaplains Cross which was introduced on November 23, 1802
- From 1789 to 1918 there were 30 different versions of the bravery medal. These decorations are versions 3 and 4
- The name for this type medal was changed to the Bravery Medal in 1810
- This decoration in all of its variations was up to the issuance of the Karl Troop Cross in 1916 the most issued armed forces decoration.
Hallmarks: None Known
Design: A round medal with an attached round flat suspension eye.
Obverse (Figure 1): The bust of Emperor Franz II with long flowing hair facing to the right, with a laurel wreath on his head. Above the bust is Inscribed FRANZ . II. Below the bust is inscribed I.N.WIRT. F. (The F stands for fabrikat (fabricated). The medal has a raised edge.
Reverse (Figure 2): The reverse of the medal has four crossed flags and two crossed standards at the bottom. The two front flags can be seen through the leaves of the laurel wreath and appear to have the Austrian Coat of Arms (the barred shield), with an archdukes hat above it, the latter is also recognizable on the standard over which is superimposed a laurel wreath which is tied at the bottom with a bow. Within the wreath and above the flags are the words DER TAPFERKEIT (for bravery).
- Gold Medal = 8 Ducats (28 grams)
- Silver Medal = 17 grams
Size: 40 mm for both medals
Type of Material: 986/1000 Gold and Silver
Variations: None known
Designer: Johann Nepomuk Wirt (Wirth, Wurth)
Manufacturer: Vienna Hauptmunzampt (Vienna Imperial Mint)
- Gold Medal = 259
- Silver Medal = 2,362
- A 40 mm wide dark rose-red and white laddered ribbon with a 21 mm horizontal striped center portion and 4.5 mm red side stripes and 5 mm wide white edge stripes. (Figure 3
- A ribbon with four 4 mm wide white stripes and three 8 mm red stripes for Military Chaplains who were awarded the medal for merit.
Attachments: A rectangular gold clasp with oak leaf borders on the top and bottom. Inside of a raised edge at the top and bottom is frame of laurel inside of which is a raised image of Emperor Franz II with long flowing hair and a laurel wreath on his head facing to the right. These clasps were unofficial and worn instead of the medal on the medal ribbon in the button hole by recipients based on personal taste and preference.
Miniature: None known
I hope you enjoyed this blog. I look forward to sharing more information with you regarding the awards of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian Empire.