Circular silver, silver-gilt and blue enamel medal with hinged military trophy of arms suspension; the face with a circular central gilt medallion bearing a laurel-crowned female head facing left representing the French Republic, within a blue enamel ring inscribed ‘REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE * 1870’ encircled by a laurel wreath, Paris Mint cornucopia mark, ‘1’ silver purity mark and ‘tête de sanglier’ silver hallmark on the ribbon at the base; the reverse with a circular central gilt medallion inscribed ‘VALEUR ET DISCIPLINE’ within a blue enamel ring encircled by a laurel wreath; on original ribbon mounted for wear in the French style.
The Military Medal ranks second amongst all French decorations, giving precedence only to the Legion of Honour (and an exception made for the Order of Liberation). It was created by Louis Napoleon on 22 January 1852 and was novel in being specifically intended for non-commissioned officers and soldiers. It may be awarded for completion of eight years of military service, on receipt of a citation, for being wounded in combat and for acts of courage and devotion to duty.
There have been successively nine main types and some specialists point to more than 30 variants as a result of differences in manufacture.
This example is from the period of the Third Republic, 1870 to 1951.