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- )
(first three photographs) 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. Our
illustrated medal is the type awarded to British troops
during the First World War.
(last three photographs) 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.
Illustrated here are examples of two of the later types, Third
Republic and Fourth Republic.
French Republics Second
Empire (new window)