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Military Medal


One of the most prestigious decorations to the world, but also of the more original since she rewards the soldiers at a time, officers and non-commissioned officers and the generals having ordered in chief before the enemy.

  HISTORIC :  Beginning

By a coup, in the night of the 1st to December 2, 1851, Louis - Napoléon, President of the II e Republic, open the way to a restoration of empire , the National assembly and the Council of State are dissolved, the suffrage universal re-established and an announced plebiscite. December 21 and 22, the country brings its support to the Prince - President. January 14, 1852, he promulgates a new constitution, giving him, the set of the powers for a length of ten years. Eight days after by decree of January 22, he/it institutes the Medal Military. It say the important of this decoration! Of as much more that, if him replace the effigy of Napoléon 1st on the badge of the honor Legion (decree of March 16), it is her own effigy that he/it doesn't hesitate to put, with his first name " Louis - Napoléon " on the obverse of the Medal that him to creates and describes in a decree of February 29. She is surmounted besides of the eagle imperial, holding two lightnings of thunderbolt in its greenhouses. The message is clear: the announcement of the return of empire of the Bonaparte is obvious

The model of the badge is probably the work of the general engraver of the Currencies " Rod ". Author also of the medals of Crimea, Italy and the Mexico. This decree of January 22 besides the creation of the Military Medal, adjusted also the use by the État of goods confiscated to the family of Louis - Philippe. The Prince - President slipped there two articles (the 11 and the 12) creating the Medal. The text of February 29 was dedicated him entirely. Decoration of sovereign and no of President, the Military Medal receives of more a yellow ribbon edged of green that recalls the one of the order of the Crown of Iron that Napoléon 1st had established in 1805 for its kingdom of Italy. doesn't have any report between these two decorations so different. But it is noticed, that the emperor carried the badge of his Order Italian next to her Legion of honor; her nephew will make in the same way for his Military medal. For history: a note recovered in the Archives of the War (accompanied of the original of the decree of February 19, 1852) explains the choice of the ribbon. The ribbon of the Iron Crown was orange. The Prince kept the yellow for the Military Medal, because with time, the orange turns to the yellow as one can note it at the Museum of the Honor Legion. However, this decoration answers a real need. In France, it had there ever had of reserved decoration to the troop and to the non-commissioned officers. Under the former Regime, the acts of courage and bravery were rewarded by the advancement and of the financial advantages under shapes of various pensions. The medallions of veterans rewarding the seniority. Under the Consulate, there were the Weapons of honors then the Legion of Honor, but that were awarded also to the officers and for the order also to the civilians. Numerous were the heroic actions without reward under empire. Phenomenon that increased with the conquest of Algeria under the reign of Louis - Philippe. Before creating the Medal, the Prince - President distributed some testimonies official of satisfaction signed of his/her/its hand and including a diploma decorated intended richly to be framed. In January 1852, he/it stopped the four characteristic features of " this individual " mark that he was going to create:

He was sustained in his project by his stepbrother, the duke of Morny, and the general of Saint - Arnaud, minister of the War. March 21, 1852 had place in the court of the Tile works, the put back first of Military medals to non-commissioned officers and quoted soldiers to the order or wounded. May 10, 1852, the second discount took place on the Field of March, before the, Parisian crowd. To the 1700 soldiers and non-commissioned officers decorated were added two generals, old of the Big Army, counts Reilles and Valiant, who had just been raised to the dignity of Marshal of France. Under the Second Empire, 43 Military Medals were handed to generals and admirals. Unusually elevated number. The III Republic preserved this system that valorized the whole body of the Military medallists. The prestige of this decoration was reinforced again by its discount to the Marshals of World War I. The general Foch received it December 21, 1916. The general Joffres and Gallienis, it was also. The symbol of this decoration was very strong: The general Lyautey was decorated in Morocco by a non-commissioned officer, adjutant Caviglioli him even awarded a medal. One estimates at million the number of Medals Soldiers assigned since its creation in 1852 to soldiers, marine, officers and non-commissioned officers or officers of maistrance. The administration of the Military Medal was confided since the origin (article 7 of the decree of February 29, 1852) to the Big Chancellery of the honor Legion. This decoration is managed by the Big Chancellor. She is governed currently by the Code of the honor Legion and of the Military Medal, promulgated by the general de Gaulle in 1962.


The Military Medal rewards the soldiers and assimilated non officers, in accordance with the R.136 article of the Code of the Legion of honor and the Military medal instituted by the decree of November 28, 1962. She/it can also be conceded (decree took in Council of the ministers) to the Marshals of France and to the general officers, Grand' Cross of the Legion, of honor, that in time of war exercised a command in chief the enemy or returned exceptional services to the National Defense (that last case dates a presidential decree of May 5, 1950). She/it can be assigned:

Otherwise, the defense secretary is allowed to award the Medal Military, either directly, either by way of delegation, within one, month, to the soldiers and assimilated, non officers, either killed injureds in the achievement to owe them. The propositions of the soldiers of active are transmitted by the way hierarchical. As a rule, the staffs non officers can to compete for the Legion of honor that after having received the Medal Military. The staffs who don't belong to the active army must make act of candidacy by the authority that detains their pieces numbers to the exception of mutilated them of war holders of an invalidity pension to the less equal to 65% that must address a demand directly in the Cabinet of the defense secretary, Office of the Decorations. The Council of the order of the honor Legion examines, to the Big Chancellery, the candidacies to the Military Medal. The Military Medal is accompanied by a treatment (become symbolic as the one of the honor Legion) in the case of people decorated for made of war and in the one of the soldiers of the active service. The strangers who serve or served in the French army compete for the Military Medal with or without treatment: the first on proposition of the defense secretary, the second on proposition of the Big Chancellor of the honor Legion.

  DISTINCTION :  Beginning

The medal is a crown of money laurel that surrounds a medallion of gold where face the effigy of Republic, surrounded with a blue enamel circle, where are registered the words: " Republic French ". To the reverse, the medal, door in the center of the medallion of gold, surrounded with a blue circle, the motto,: " Value and Discipline ". The leaves and buttons of laurel are bound of two latticed ribbons in top and below. The medal is suspended to a aries of money in the shape of trophy of weapons (motives: a breastplate put on an anchor of marine, two tubes of cannons, latticed, an ax, a saber...). The badge is suspended to a yellow ribbon edged of green of the two sides. The Military Medal carries itself after the Legion of honor (or possibly the order of the Liberation) and before the National order of the Merit. To the fall of the Second Empire, the eagle who surmounted the decoration made place to a trophy of weapons and Napoléon's effigy replaced by the one of the Republic (decree of November 8, 1870). The date of 1870 was registered on the inscription (and replaced by a motto by decree of November 8, 1951).


It is about a cord plaited to the color (yellow and green) of the Medal Military. The harbor of this régimental lanyard is not the privilege of the regiments and units decorated of the Military Medal. He/it is reserved to the regiments and units forming body that has been mentioned 4 or 5 times to the order of the army. The harbor of two régimental lanyards of the Legion of honor and the Military Medal is reserved to the regiments and units that have been mentioned 12 at 14 times to the order of the army.


The ceremony usually takes place at the time of a hold of weapons. When that is not the case, the discount of the Military Medal, that she/it is done in a public or private setting, must have the requisite solemnity. At the time of a hold of weapons, the commander of the troops makes come out of the rank if him there place the flag without his/her/its care and makes it place before the troops. The military medallists or the authorities designated to put back the distinguished group themselves to five steps behind the flag. The members elect himself arrange to ten steps before the flag and coping him. If there are the members and of the members elect of the order of the honor Legion, the, military medallists and the members elect of the Military Medal himself place to their left. The discount of the Military Medal makes itself after the one of the honor Legion, if she makes herself during a ceremony township. The commander of the troops makes to put the weapon on the shoulder and to open the proclamation. The person proceeding to the discount of the decoration stands in front of the members elect and having called it by its rank and its name, he addresses him the following words: " In the name of the President of Republic, us you let's confer the Military Medal ".

She/it fixes him the badge on the left on the chest.

The commander of the troops has the proclamation closed. The flag joins his guard. Then the new military medallists attend the parade of the troops.

  ORGANIZATION :  Beginning

The Big Chancellor of the honor Legion manages the Military Medal. Of even, the administration of the honor Legion spreads to the Medal Military. The common administrative services are installed at the Palace of the Big Chancellery, 1, Rue de Solferino, 75007 BETS.

The service of the propositions and the one of management is common to the Legion of honor and to the Military medal, the attaches under the Chief of Staff direction Big Chancellery. The military medallists are submitted to the same rules of discipline that the members of the order of the honor Legion. The Society of Military Medallist helps, cheek a big social role, his/her/its seat, is situated 36, Rue de la Bienfaisance, 75008 BETS.

Mutual society, she has been created in 1904. Governed by the law of April 1st 1892, approved May 10, 1904, she was recognized of public utility the 3 November 1931. She publishes a magazine titled " The Military " Medallist, who, defends the prestige of the decoration, the interests and the rights of his/her/its members.

Already original by the fact that she/it rewards the basis of the at a time hierarchy (the staff non officer) and his summit (the officers general), the Military Medal is also characterized by the fact that all while being the medal of the bravery, she/it replaces the former medallion of the Vétérance of the former Regime.

But the seniority is not a right and the minimum number of eight years of services are only an indication for the propositions to leave of which the soldiers can compete.

She was nicknamed understandably, under the Second Empire: " the Jewel of the Army ".


The cities, emblems and collectivities can also receive the Medal Military, but it is necessary to signal that this distinction is very rare. Let's note the pennant of the 3rd company of the 1st RCP, decorated in Lebanon the 8, November 1983. This unit having lost 58 soldiers at the time of an attempt to Beirut.

Rare foreign personalities received the Military Medal. The example of Churchill decorated by Paul Ramadier, President of the advice and medallist military.

The Palace of Salm having burnt under the Township and a lot of archives destroyed, the research concerning the beginnings of this decoration are very difficult. However, he/it seems that the first woman medallist military was Perrine Cros, canteen-keeper to the hunters to feet of the Care and wounded in Solferino, decorated in 1859.