Since the Second World War the United States has been adding battle or campaign stars to the ribbons of campaign medals. Each small bronze star represents participation one battle or campaign and the small silver version equals five of the bronze. Before WWII the USA and many other countries like Germany, France and England added bars with geographic names to the ribbons of their medals. The most common example of this would be the US WWI Victory Medal. One of the earliest and most interesting battle recognitions was that of the German State of Wuerttemberg after the defeat of Napoleon in what the Germans called their war of liberation. The Kingdom issued a series of medals for battle participation from one through fourteen battles with each medal spelling out the number of battles in German. For example the reverse of the 3 battle medal was inscribed “ Fur treuen Dienst in drei Feldzugen”. These medals were issued in 1840 for service during the Napoleonic Wars 1793-1815, in addition to the regular war service medals. Similar one and two battle medals were issued in 1849 for the short war in Schleswig-Holstein and again in 1866 (for one and two battles also) in Wuerttemberg’s loosing effort during the Austro-Prussian War. Illustrated here is the two battle version issued in 1840. As you can see this is one of those medals were not being able to read the native language really puts the collector at a disadvantage.
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