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BRUNSWICK. Peninsula Commemorative Medal, Death’s Head (17th) Hussars (BRAUNSCHWEIG. Peninsula Erinnerungsmedaille, Totenkopf (17. Regt.) Husaren), 1809-1909
[DE874]
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Circular bronze medal with loop for ribbon suspension; the face with the head and shoulders portrait of Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Brunswick in military uniform facing left, circumscribed ‘FRIEDRICH WILHELM HERZOG ZU BRAUNSCHWEIG’; the reverse with a death’s head, a ribbon below inscribed ‘PENINSULA’ imposed on oak and laurel branches, dated ‘1809 1909’ below; on replaced ribbon. The medal was awarded by the Dukedom of Brunswick in 1909 to the descendants of the 17th Regiment (Death’s Head) Hussars who fought in the Napoleonic Peninsular wars of 1809. The Duchy of Brunswick was absorbed into the newly-created Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807 as a result of the Prussian defeat at Jena-Auerstedt on 14 October 1806. The Duke of Brunswick, leading the largest Prussian army, was wounded at the battle and died two days later, his son Friedrich Wilhelm, present at the battle as a major-general, inheriting the title. Initially, Friedrich Wilhelm fled to Baden but in 1809 he created the ‘Black Brunswickers’ and fought with the Austrian Empire against Napoleonic France. Following Austrian defeat, he took his force of 2,300 men to England and subsequently to Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular War where they gained a reputation for brave, disciplined fighting. The image of Duke Friedrich Wilhelm is that used on the Brunswick Waterloo Medal, 1815. A rare, historic medal.

 
 
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