Medal of Military Valor

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Medaglia d'oro al valor militare.svg
Gold Medal
Medaglia d'argento al valor militare.svg
Silver Medal
(Republic of Italy)
Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare.svg
Bronze Medal

Medaglia d'oro al valor militare-regno.svg
Gold Medal
Medaglia d'argento al valor militare-regno.png
Silver Medal
(Kingdom of Italy)
Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare-regno.png
Bronze Medal

Croce di guerra al merito (recto).svg
Cross of Merit of War
Croce di guerra al valor militare (recto).svg
War Cross
of Military Valor
Gold Medal, Italian Social Republic, 1943-45

The Medal of Military Valor (Italian language: Medaglia al valor militare) is an Italian medal, originally established as a Sardinian award. It is awarded to military personnel, units above the level of company, and civilians for exceptional valor in the face of the enemy.

The medal has three levels:

Description[edit]

All three levels have the same design:[2]
Obverse: Up to 1946, a wreath containing the arms of the House of Savoy surmounted by a Crown, surrounded by the inscription "AL VALORE MILITARE". Awards of the Republic of Italy replace the arms of Savoy with the emblem of Italy. A version was also produced by the Italian Social Republic in 1943 in which the central arms are replaced by a Gladius.
Reverse: A laurel wreath. The name of the recipient is sometimes engraved within the wreath.
Ribbon: Bright blue moire for all levels.
Each medal can be earned several times by the same recipient, entitling them to wear two or more identical medals,[2] although from 1915 to 1922 the gold and silver medals could only be awarded three times to any one man, any further act of bravery being rewarded by a promotion.[3][4]

Award history[edit]

Originally an award of the Kingdom of Sardinia, it became an Italian decoration on the creation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, being also used by the Italian Social Republic between 1943 and 1945. It is a now awarded by the Republic of Italy.

The award began as the Order of Military Valor established by Victor Amadeus III in 1793. Falling into disuse during the Napoleonic era, it was revived on 1 April 1815 by Victor Emmanuel I. Emmanuel I repealed the institution a few months later, on 4 August 1815, replacing the medals for bravery with the Military Order of Savoy.

In 1833, King Charles Albert acknowledged that the requirements for the grant of the Military Order were too strict, and re-established medals for valor in gold and silver to reward selfless acts in war and in peace by the military.

The medal was awarded for the Crimean War, the reverse inscribed "Spedizione d'Oriente 1854-1856" outside the wreath. Awards of this medal in silver included to 450 officers and men of the allied British Royal Navy and Army.[5]

In 1887 the medal in bronze was authorised by King Umberto I. Soldiers who had received honourable mentions (menzioni onorevoli) for bravery between 1848 and 1887 were granted the bronze medal, and from this date it was awarded to those whose acts of bravery did not justify the higher gold or silver levels.[1]

During the First World War a total of 368 Gold, 38,614 Silver and 60,244 Bronze medals were awarded for individual acts of heroism.[6] In 1916 Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was awarded the Medal of Military Valor in Gold,[7] the only foreign head of state to receive this award.

Royal Decree #1423 of 4 November 1932 defined new rules for granting the Valor medals, as well as the War Cross for Military Valor and the Cross of Merit of War. In the text of the decree, Articles 1 and 3 define the areas of basic and primary application for the grant of these honors. Article 1 states:

The decoration for military valor was established to celebrate acts of military heroism, mark the recipients as worthy of public honor, and create a spirit of emulation in belonging to the military forces.

While Article 3 provides that:

Decorations for Valor are awarded to those who commit an act of bravery above the requirements of duty and honor, showing remarkable courage and initiative, at serious and manifest personal risk in war. The award of such decorations can be made, however, only when the act is such that it can in every respect be an example worthy of emulation.

The full text of Royal Decree was published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale 12 November 1932, #261.

Nominations for the medal, except in exceptional cases provided for in time of war, are scrutinized by a special military commission.

The award is intended for the military (individuals or entire military units, not below Company level), former partisan combatants, municipalities, provinces, and individual citizens.

Types[edit]

Victor Emmanuel II wearing gold and silver Medals of Military Valor

Decorations for Valor are divided into the following classes:

Valor militare gold medal - old style BAR.svg Gold Medal for Valor (26 March 1833 – 10 May 1943)
Valor militare gold medal BAR.svg Gold Medal for Valor (10 May 1943 – Present)
Valor militare silver medal BAR.svg Silver Medal for Valor (26 March 1833 – Present)
Croce di guerra al valor militare BAR.svg Bronze Medal for Valor (8 December 1887 – 10 May 1943)
Valor militare bronze medal BAR.svg Bronze Medal for Valor (10 May 1943 – Present)
Croce di guerra al valor militare BAR.svg War Cross for Military Valor (10 May 1943 – Present)
Valor dell'esercito gold medal BAR.svg Medaglia d'oro al valore dell'esercito
Valor dell'esercito silver medal BAR.svg Medaglia d'argento al valore dell'esercito
Valor dell'esercito bronze medal BAR.svg Medaglia di bronzo al valore dell'esercito
Valor di marina gold medal BAR.svg Medaglia d'oro al valore di marina
Valor di marina silver medal BAR.svg Medaglia d'argento al valore di marina
Valor di marina bronze medal BAR.svg Medaglia di bronzo al valore di marina
Valor aeronautico gold medal BAR.svg Medaglia d'oro al valore aeronautico
Valor aeronautico silver medal BAR.svg Medaglia d'argento al valore aeronautico
Valor aeronautico bronze medal BAR.svg Medaglia di bronzo al valore aeronautico
ValoreCC1.png Medaglia d'oro al valore dei carabinieri
ValoreCC2.png Medaglia d'argento al valore dei carabinieri
ValoreCC3.png Medaglia di bronzo al valore dei carabinieri
ValoreGdF1.png Medaglia d'oro al valore della Guardia di Finanza
ValoreGdF2.png Medaglia d'argento al valore della Guardia di Finanza
ValoreGdF3.png Medaglia di bronzo al valore della Guardia di Finanza
Croce al merito dell'esercito gold medal BAR.svg Croce d'oro al merito dell'esercito
Croce al merito dell'esercito silver medal BAR.svg Croce d'argento al merito dell'esercito
Croce al merito dell'esercito bronze medal BAR.svg Croce di bronzo al merito dell'esercito
Croce al merito della marina gold medal BAR.svg medaglia d'oro al merito di marina
Croce al merito della marina silver medal BAR.svg Medaglia d'argento al merito di marina
MeritoMarinaBz.png Medaglia di bronzo al merito di marina
Croce al merito dell'aeronautica gold medal BAR.svg Croce d'oro al merito dell'aeronautica
Croce al merito dell'aeronautica silver medal BAR.svg Croce d'argento al merito dell'aeronautica
Croce al merito dell'aeronautica bronze medal BAR.svg Croce di bronzo al merito dell'aeronautica
Croce al merito dei carabinieri gold medal BAR.svg Croce d'oro al merito dei carabinieri
Croce al merito dei carabinieri silver medal BAR.svg Croce d'argento al merito dei carabinieri
Croce al merito dei carabinieri bronze medal BAR.svg Croce di bronzo al merito dei carabinieri
MeritoGdF1.png Croce d'oro al merito della Guardia di Finanza
MeritoGdF2.png Croce d'argento al merito della Guardia di Finanza
Croce al merito della Guardia di Finanza - 03.png Croce di bronzo al merito della Guardia di Finanza
Croce di guerra al merito SC BAR.svg Croce al merito di guerra, seconda concessione
Croce di guerra al merito BAR.svg Croce al merito di guerra

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Italy n. 298 of 20 December 1887
  2. ^ a b Captain H. Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. p. 226. Published A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. 1956.
  3. ^ Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Italy n. 139 of 2 June 1915
  4. ^ Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Italy n. 176 of 27 July 1922
  5. ^ Captain H. Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. pp. 140. A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. 1956.
  6. ^ "Nel 1° Centenario della istituzione della Medaglia al Valor Militare" edizione del 1933 dell' Ufficio storico dell' esercito
  7. ^ "Romanov Nicola II Czar di Russia" (in Italian), Official website of the president of the Republic. Retrieved 11 December 2018.

External links[edit]