WÜRTTEMBERG – WAR COMMEMORATIVE MEDAL – 1848 – SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN CAMPAIGN
This is not a well-known German state-issued campaign medal, although it is certainly a rarer example. It is the War Commemorative Medal for the Schleswig-Holstein Campaign. The bronze decoration was awarded by Württemberg and measures 1 1/8″ in diameter. Its obverse features a wreath going around the interior. Within that wreath is König Wilhelm I of Württemberg’s crowned cypher. [Wilhelm I (1781-1864) was the son of Frederick I (1754-1816). He was the second King of Württemberg, following his father Frederick I, the first King. Wilhelm I’s reign was from 1816-1864]. The obverse also features an assay mark, “D,” at the bottom, which indicates the decoration’s maker. The decoration’s reverse displays an abstract shield design topped by a crown and opposing lions’ heads over crossed swords. The legend “Für Treuen Dienst in einem Feldzuge” (For faithful campaign service) appears on the shield. It sports a replacement ribbon with three black and two red wide bands. A very narrow red trim band on both of the ribbon’s sides serves to frame the outer black bands and make them “pop.”
The Schleswig-Holstein Campaign was one of the earlier incidents in what were to become the German Unification Wars. [These unification wars, under the influence of Chancellor Bismarck and King (later Kaiser) Wilhelm I, continued through the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. The latter war confirmed Prussia as Germany’s supreme power]. The Schleswig-Holstein Campaign War Commemorative Medal was awarded to 42 officers, and a total of 2,240 NCO’s and enlisted men (making a grand total of 2,282). You will not find the decoration often (this is the first example that I have seen). For being more than 160-years-old, it is in amazing condition.