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Medal - Battle of Yser, by Henri Allouard, France, 1914 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 34427

Summary:
Bronze medal commemorating the Battle of L'Yzer 1914 and the role of General Foch and Admiral Ronarc'h.
Mint: Paris, France (probably struck in 1916).

Those depicted of the obverse of the medal are:
Ferdinand Foch OM GCB was a French soldier, military theorist, and writer. He served as general in the French army during World War I taking charge of the French role in the Flanders campaign in 1914 and rising to Marshal of France in its final year, 1918. Shortly after the start of the Spring Offensive, Germany's final attempt to win the war, Foch was chosen as supreme commander of the Allied armies, a position that he held until 11 November 1918, when he accepted the German request for an armistice.
Admiral Ronarc'h was promoted to Vice-Admiral in June 1914 and rose to French national prominence during the Flanders campaign of October - November that year where he lead a brigade of 6500 French marines in support of the Belgian Army under King Albert I on the Yser (Yzer) river. His actions helped save the Belgian army and the French Channel ports.
Statement Of Significance:
In 1914 Germany invaded Belgium intending to rapidly overpower Belgium and France so avoiding a war on two fronts (part of their Schlieffen Plan developed in the early 20th century). However, as the Belgian army was pushed back it was decided to make a stand at the Yser (Yzer) Canal to deny German plans of gaining the French ports of Calais and Dunkerque. This stand is known as the Battle of the Yser. At the same time the first Battle of Ypres was occuring to the South. The Belgian and French forces withstood the German invasion and the trench lines of the Western Front took their first form.

Those depicted on the medal are Admiral Ronarc'h who led a force of French marines in the defence and General Foch decided to inundate the whole region between Nieuport and Dixmude, a district which at high tide was below the sea level. At high tide the sluices were opened and the tide flowed across the land, they were then closed and the water held back until the next high tide. The German advance was stopped.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Melbourne Branch of Royal Mint, 1978
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 68 mm (Diameter)

More information

Tagged with: wars conflicts, world war i 1914-1918
Themes this item is part of: Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: MEDALS
Secondary Classification: Commemorative
Tertiary Classification: military history
Series: Commemorative
DateEra: 1914 AD
Obverse Description: Within two oval frames resting within oak and laurel branches half-length facing portraits of, on the left Admiral Ronarch and on the right General Foch, both in military uniform and wearing caps; around above the related portrait, AMIRAL RONARCH and GENERAL FOCH; the artist's name H. Allouard signed incuse at top.
Reverse Description: At the centre, Belgium standing arms folded with sword in sheath; below, the German eagle on its back facing the French cock; at left soldiers fighting in the open, one being wounded; on the right soldiers defending from within a trench feet in water (probably the Yser canal or to the flooding of the land, not a reference to later trench conditions); around above, BATAILLE DE L'YZER / OCTOBRE MCMXIV; the artist's name H. Allouard signed incuse on ground behind the eagles head
Edge Description: Stamped BRONZE
Inscriptions: Obverse inscription: "AMIRAL RONARC'H" and "GENERAL FOCH". The artist's name "H. Allouard" signed incuse at top.
Reverse inscription: "BATAILLE DE L'YZER / OCTOBRE MCMXIV". The artist's name "H. Allouard."
Shape: Round
Material: Bronze
Place & Date Inscribed: Yser, Belgium, 1914
Issued By: France, 1914
Artist: Henri Allouard, 1914
Person Depicted: Marshal Ferdinand Foch, France, 1914
Person Depicted: Admiral Pierre Ronarc'h, France, 1914
References: References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Foch, viewed 1 June 2011
Tucker, Spencer, The Encyclopedia of World War I, 2005, p.1002.
Timelines First Battle of Ypres http://timelines.com/perspectives/37ec4405d1afa4693cd98c9c854f9de0

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