Erinnerungs-Medaille an den Feldzug 1864 gegen Dänemark

Commemorative Medal for the 1864 Military Campaign against Denmark

Jointly instituted by the emperor of Austria Franz Joseph I and the king of Prussia Wilhelm I on November 10, 1864 to commemorate the victory of the Prussian-Austrian coalition in the Second Schleswig War (February 01 – October 30, 1864) against Denmark. Medals issued in the kingdom of Prussia had slightly shorter name, viz. “Commemorative Medal for the 1864 Military Campaign” (Kriegs-Denkmünze für 1864) and differed in design of obverse. This article describes Austrian medal only, information on a Prussian one can be found here

Medal was issued to military personnel (officers, NCOs and other ranks) of army units that crossed the southern border of Holstein and remained in the enemy territory since the outbreak of war, i.e. February 01, 1864 until the beginning of the preliminary peace negotiations on August 02, 1864.

Unlike Prussian decoration an Austrian award was instituted in one variant only, i.e. for combatants. Its statute was approved by Franz Joseph I on November 11, 1864 and gazetted on November 20 in the Army Regulations Paper (“Armeeverordnungsblatt”).

An obverse contained two crowned ciphers of Austrian and Prussian monarchs (“FJ” and “W”). It’s worth mentioning here that the sequence of rulers’ monograms on the Prussian medal was vice-versa thus representing the main difference of both designs.

A reverse had a horizontal inscription in capital letters “To our gallant warriors 1864” (“Unsern tapfern Kriegern 1864”) running in four rows and encircled by a laurel wreath tied by a ribbon at its bottom.

An edge of the medal was inscribed “From Captured Cannon” (“Aus erobertem Geschuetz”) in capital letters. Privately purchased medals had plain edges.

Commemorative Medal for the 1864 Military Campaign against Denmark was manufactured at the Berlin mint, had a diameter of 29,2 mm, weighed 14 g approximately and was made from the bronze smelted from captured Danish bronze cannons most of which were originally stationed at the Fredericia fortress.

A round medal was worn on a black silk 40 mm wide ribbon with two vertical wide stripes closer to its edges – orange and white (vice-versa for Prussian decoration). Shape of a medal bar was a traditional Austrian, i.e. threefold.

Medals were presented to military personnel without neither presentation cases nor award documents. Corresponding entries were made in personal records of veterans and in their discharge papers upon demobilization.

1864 Commemorative Medal 1