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Medaille Militaire
Medaille militaire-France-IMG 1274.JPG
Insignia of the médaille militaire
Awarded by Flag of France.svg France
Type Medal
Awarded for Good military conduct
Status Currently awarded
Statistics
Established January 22, 1852
Precedence
Next (higher) Ordre de la Libération
Next (lower) Ordre national du Mérite
Ruban de la Médaille militaire.PNG
Ribbon bar of the Medal

The Médaille militaire (Military Medal) is a decoration of the French Republic which was first instituted in 1852.

The creator of the médaille was the emperor Napoléon III, who may have taken his inspiration in a medal issued by his father, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland. The Military Medal is issued to any non-commissioned officer or enlisted personnel who distinguishes himself by acts of bravery in action against an enemy force. Commissioned officers are not eligible. An interesting feature of the médaille is that it is also the supreme award for leadership, being awarded to generals and admirals who had been commanders-in-chief. This particular médaille is considered superior even to the grand cross of the Légion d'honneur. After the First World War, the Military Medal was also issued for receiving wounds in combat.

The Médaille militaire is one of the rarest French decorations to be bestowed upon foreigners. During the Second World War, the Médaille reached its highest numbers of foreign bestowals, most often to members of the British Army as well as to the United States military. The general's médaille was awarded to Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Josip Broz Tito, as supreme commanders of the UK, US and Yugoslav military forces, but not to the effective military leaders, though Dwight Eisenhower received one as President of the United States in 1952.

In addition to the individual medal, the Médaille militaire is also authorized as a unit award to those military commands who display the same criteria of bravery as would be required for the individual medal. The médaille is displayed on the flag of these units. It is one of the rarest unit awards in the French military.

This unit award should not be confused with the fourragère de la médaille militaire, which is a cord suspended from the shoulder of a military uniform worn by members of units which had been mentioned in despatches. A fourragère aux couleurs du ruban de la médaille militaire (fourragère in the colours of the ribbon of the médaille militaire) is worn by units which had been mentioned four times, a fourragère aux couleurs de la légion d'honneur et de la médaille militaire (fourragère in the colours of the ribbons of the légion d'honneur and the médaille militaire) for units mentioned twelve times. Ten American units can wear the fourragère de la médaille militaire.

Notable recipients

See also

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