Militär-Verdienst-Medaille

Military Merit Medal

Militär-Verdienst-Medaille was instituted in two classes (Goldene Militär-Verdienst-Medaille and Silberne Militär-Verdienst-Medaille) by Christoph Franz Amand Daniel Veith Christian von Buseck (28.12.1724-28.09.1805), the last Prince-Bishop of the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg. It was awarded to Bamberg military personnel from German contingent who displayed outstanding courage fighting French troops during the War of the Second Coalition.

Obverse of the Goldene Militär-Verdienst-Medaille with raised border showed pyramid with high pedestal, top of the former being covered with vertical oval laurel wreath bearing two intertwined letters, “C” and “F” in its center, standing for Christoph Franz. Coat of arms of the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg, escutcheon with bend dexter and lion rampant with crossed tail, was superimposed on the pedestal. French trophies surrounded pyramid: four colours and two lances were placed on each side, drum and kettledrum flanked pedestal.

Centre of the reverse with raised border showed inscription “Award for Bravery” (“Lohn der Tapferkeit”) in four horizontal lines in capital letters, the word “Tapferkeit” being minted hyphenated (“Tapfer=keit”). Inscription was encircled by a round closed wreath made of two laurel branches tied with a ribbon tie at the bottom. Capital letter “W” was minted at the very bottom of the reverse, below the tie (see below).

Circular medal measuring 31,25 mm in diameter and weighing 10,79 g was manufactured of gold.

Totally four Gold Military Merit Medals were awarded: to Feldwebel Johann Pflaum (1799); to Feldwebel Franz Carl Poeschl, Feldwebel Leonhard Stößel (retired on February 15, 1824 in the rank of Major) and Dragoner Johann Lämlein (all in 1801).

First twelve holders of the Goldene Militär-Verdienst-Medaille were granted with additional monthly allowance.

Obverse of the Silberne Militär-Verdienst-Medaille with raised border showed coat of arms of the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg: Swiss-shaped crowned escutcheon with bend dexter and lion rampant with crossed tail. Coat of arms was flanked with French trophies: six colours, four lances, two drums and two kettledrums (at the bottom). Mantling was shown at the upper portion of obverse, descending symmetrically on both sides of the crown. Capital letter “W” was minted at the bottom of the obverse, between kettledrums (see below).

Centre of the reverse with raised border showed inscription “Award for Bravery.” (“Lohn der Tapferkeit.”) in four horizontal lines in capital letters, the word “Tapferkeit” being minted hyphenated (“Tapfer=keit.”). Inscription was encircled by a round closed wreath made of two laurel branches tied with a ribbon tie at the bottom. Capital letter “W” was minted at the very bottom of the reverse, below the tie (see below). Reverse of the Silberne Militär-Verdienst-Medaille differed from that of the Goldene Militär-Verdienst-Medaille in one slight nuance, notably dot after the word “Tapferkeit”.

Circular medal measuring 35,8 mm in diameter and weighing 17,34 g was manufactured of silver.

Totally seven Silver Military Merit Medals were awarded: to Feldwebel Johann Friedrich Güssregen, Feldwebel Matthias Heinkelmann, Gefreiter Johann Werner and Soldat Reindl (all in 1799); to Feldwebel Wilhelm Christian Dannhauer, Korporal Bernhard Fiedler and Dragoner Friedrich Hofmaier (all in 1801).

First twelve holders of the Silberne Militär-Verdienst-Medaille were granted with additional payment of half a month’s pay.

Eyelet was made as a separate element and was fixed to the upper part of the medal with a stud threaded through the hole.

As for the aforementioned capital letter “W” minted at the bottom of reverse of both Gold and Silver medals as well as at the bottom of obverse of the former, prominent researchers of German phaleristics differ in its identification. Thus, Jörg Nimmergut assumes that “W” stood for the mintmark of the Würzburg Mint (Münzstätte Würzburg), where those medals have been manufactured. Meanwhile, W.Bergmann and H.W.Meyer suppose that “W” was maker’s mark that belonged to Jeremias Paul Werner, engraver and medalist from Nuremberg. According to them, Militär-Verdienst-Medaille was minted in Nuremberg. However, the author supports Nimmergut’s version as it was from 1761 until 1790 that J.P.Werner worked in Nuremberg, while Military Merit Medal had been introduced after 1790.

Miniatures of the Military Merit Medal measuring 16 mm in diameter were manufactured as well. At least, miniature of the Silberne Militär-Verdienst-Medaille made of silver is known for certain to be minted for wearing on a chain.

Bamberg Military Merit Medal 1