Kriegsdenkmünze für den Feldzug 1815 

Commemorative Medal for 1815 Military Campaign

Kriegsdenkmünze für den Feldzug 1815 was instituted on April 30, 1816 by the Decree of Peter Friedrich Ludwig von Holstein-Gottorp (17.01.1755-21.05.1829), the Regent of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. Decoration was presented to local subjects, either still on active military service with the Oldenburg infantry unit, or those on the retired list, “officers and lower ranks who fought the enemy on battlefields”. Decoration was introduced on initiative of the Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prince (Fürst) von Wahlstatt (16.12.1742-12.09.1819). According to his advice, on January 18, 1816 Regent Peter contacted state counselor of the Prussian Home Ministry Georg Heinrich Ludwig Nicolovius (13.01.1767-02.11.1839), and the same month the Berlin Mint (die Berliner Münze) manufactured required specimen approved shortly by the ruler of Oldenburg. Consignment of 1,750 medals had been minted in February and was sent to the Grand Duchy on April 27, 1816 accompanied by the in-line documentation.

Centre of the obverse with triple raised border showed cipher of the Regent Peter, capital letter “P.” topped with the crown of the Grand Duchy. A reverse with the same border had italicized date “18 15” encircled with a thin laurel wreath tied with a ribbon bow at the bottom.

According to the regimental order of March 10, 1822, flat edge of the medal would be engraved with the name of the holder to identify decoration in case of its loss.

Altogether 1,750 medals were minted, 1,561 of which being presented to veterans of the Liberation War. The very first decorations took place in May 1816, and the majority of medals had been distributed by August 14, 1816. Commemorative medals were subsequently issued to veterans who were not able to receive them during spring-summer 1816 for some reason or other and submitted written applications. Thus, the last known Kriegsdenkmünze für den Feldzug 1815 was awarded on November 26, 1834 to a certain Hauptmann Noell according to the special Order of the Grand Ducal Cabinet. Name of the decoration stated in the award document differed from the official one and read “Military Merit Medal for 1815 Military Campaign” (“Militair-Verdienst-Medaille für den Feldzug 1815”).

Medals were presented together with award documents (Besitzzeugnis) signed by the commander of the regiment and stamped with a regimental seal.

After the demise of a veteran, the medal had to be kept in the family of the deceased as a token of remembrance of his heroic deeds during the Liberation War. However, decoration had to be surrendered to issuing authorities in case of a criminal offence committed by its holder.

1815 Commemorative Medal 2Oldenburg authorities kept on receiving written applications of war veterans for delivery of duplicate medals instead of the lost ones right up to the beginning of the XX century. All those pleas were satisfied. Numerous Oldenburg officers were also issued with duplicate copies to mount them on different tunics and spare time from changing medal bars. Moreover, regimental order of May 10, 1816 violated original statute of the medal by allowing metal bar (Bandschnalle) to be worn on uniform instead of the actual decoration. The wearing of the bar was abolished only in two years, according to the regimental order of April 07, 1818.

Circular medal measuring 29 mm in diameter and weighing 10,6 g (or 10,9 mounted on a ribbon) was manufactured of silver at the Berlin Mint. Eyelet for ribbon suspension measured 8 mm in height.

Kriegsdenkmünze für den Feldzug 1815 was worn on the left side of the breast suspended from a 37 mm wide dark blue silk ribbon. Interesting to know that “Das Buch der Ritterorden und Ehrenzeichen” published by the Verlag von Carl Muquardt in 1848 stipulated the medal to be worn on a “dark blue ribbon with two red stripes at its edges”. At the same time, period volume erroneously named decoration in question as “Honorary Medal” (“Die Ehren-Medaille”).

1815 Commemorative Medal 1