France. Medaille Militaire (French Military Medal). Circa.1951 Fourth Republic.
Good condition medal, all enamelling present complete with correct ribbon.
Instituted 22nd January 1852 for award to non-commissioned officers and other ranks for acts of bravery in action. Post WW1 it could also be awarded to those wounded in action. The medal has (unusually) a second award criteria in that it could be given as the supreme award for leadership to Generals and Admirals who had served as Commanders in Chief.
Common features of the medal: made of silver, a 28mm diameter laurel wreath design. Obverse; a central gilt medallion within a blue enamel circlet. Reverse: A central gilt medallion bearing the inscription VALEUR ET DICIPLINE, again within a blue enamel circlet. Ribbon; 38mm wide, yellow with 5mm green edges.
Second Empire types: obverse; the head of Napoleon III with the circlet inscription; “LOUIS – NAPOLEON”. Suspension in the form of an eagle. (1852 – 1870)
Third Republic types: obverse the head of la Republique with the circlet inscription; “REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE 1870” suspension in the form of a trophy of arms. (1870 – 1951)
Fourth Republic types: similar to the third Republic but with the obverse “1870” date replaced by a star. (1951- )
**Third Republic, single sided trophy of arms suspension joined by a hinged pin. Other types have double sided suspensions and/or are joined by rings or fixed.
Fourth / Fifth Republic, single sided trophy of arms suspension joined by a ring.
The French Medaille Militaire is a complex award in the sense of the number of variants issued over its long period of existence. 30+ variants are noted across the Second Empire, Third Republic and Fourth/Fifth Republic issues.
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