Bronze hexagonal medal with integral bar for ribbon suspension; the face with the French cockerel imposed on a Cross of Lorraine, in its claws a broken chain, signed ‘F. JOSSE’ and ‘G. SIMON’; the reverse inscribed ‘GUERRE 1939 1945’, stylised laurel leaves above, circumscribed ‘REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE’, with bronze assay marks; on original ribbon with white metal ‘NORVEGE’, ‘AFRIQUE’ and ‘ITALIE’ bars.
The Medal was created on 21 May 1946 and awarded to military who participated between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 in the war against the Axis powers. The medal may receive any of 22 bars.
The ‘Norvège’ bar was awarded for participation in operations in the Norway theatre between 12 April and 17 June 1940. In addition to a division of Alpine Chasseurs and two battalions of Foreign Legionnaires, some thirty-three French naval vessels were involved in the Norwegian campaign. Force ‘Z’, commanded by Rear Admiral Derrien was composed of the cruisers Émile Bertin and Montcalm, the anti-torpedo boats Bison, Tartu, Chevalier Paul, Maillé-Brézé, Milan and Épervier and the torpedo boats Brestois, Boulonnais and Foudroyant. The 1st Division of auxiliary cruisers was made up of El Djezaïr, El Mansour, El Kantara and Ville d'Oran. Also present were the transports Ville d'Alger, Djenné, Flandre, Président Doumer, Chenonceaux, Mexique, Colombie, Amiénois, Saumur, Cap Blanc, Château Pavie, Saint Firmin, Brestois, Albert Leborgne, Paul Émile Javary, Saint Clair, Vulcain, and Enseigne Maurice Préchac.
The ‘Afrique’ bar was awarded for operations in Africa between 25 June 1940 and 13 May 1943 and the ‘Italie’ bar for operations in Italy, including the Isle of Elba, between 1 December 1943 and 25 July 1944.