✚9055✚ German pre WW1 Prussian 1813 - 1913 MAJOR VON LUTZOW ANNIVERSARY MEDAL

£99.99

Original German / Prussian pre WW1 commemorative / anniversary medal Major von Lutzow “Denkmünze” 1813 - 1913 (Lützow Free Corps); in very fine condition on genuine ribbon, a rare award

HISTORY OF THE AWARD:

Prussian Major von Lutzow Anniversary Medal “Denkmünze”: oval silver medal; the obverse depicting a portrait of Lutzow, inscribed by his name and title; the reverse featuring a crowned Royal cipher, dated “1813-1913”; measuring 34.6 mm (w) x 47.1 mm (h); weighing 24 grams. The medal was awarded to commemorate the anniversary of the Lützow Free Corps (German: Lützowsches Freikorps) founding in 1813. The Lützow Free Corps was a volunteer force of the Prussian army during the Napoleonic Wars. It was named after its commander, Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow. The Corpsmen were also widely known as the “Lützower Jäger“ or “Schwarze Jäger“ (“Black Hunters”), sometimes also "Lützower Reiter" ("Lützow Riders"). The unit was officially founded in February 1813 as Königlich Preußisches Freikorps von Lützow (Royal Prussian Free Corps von Lützow). Lützow, who had been an officer under the ill-fated Ferdinand von Schill, obtained permission from the Prussian Chief-of-Staff Gerhard von Scharnhorst to organize a free corps consisting of infantry, cavalry, and Tyrolean Jäger (literally, “hunters” ― i.e., marksmen, snipers), for flank attacks and guerrilla warfare behind the French lines. Volunteers were to be drawn from all over Germany (including Austria) to fight against Napoleon I of France; it was hoped that this broadly national force would aid in rallying the smaller German governments into the ranks of the Allies. The Corps has been alleged to have consisted mostly of students and academics; however, in reality these amounted to no more than 12% of the total force, which was actually composed mostly of craftsmen and laborers. Besides the well-known Saxon dramatist and poet Carl Theodor Körner, the Corps also included academics, writers, and other well known figures, such as Georg Friedrich Kersting, Friedrich Friesen, Joseph von Eichendorff, and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. The educator Friedrich Fröbel, who later developed the concept of the Kindergarten, also belonged to the Lützowers. In addition, at least two women, Eleonore Prochaska and Anna Lühring, had managed to join in disguise. The Tyroleans, whose leaders Jakob Riedl and Joseph Ennemoser had fought with Andreas Hofer for the liberation of Tyrol since 1809, came into the Lützow Corps after the armistice of Summer 1813. The Lützow Free Corps distinguished itself from the mass of the army, in that it was a voluntary association, whose members were remarkable for superior activity, energy, and enterprise. Unlike many of the regular army, their loyalty was rather to Germany as a whole than to Prussia or the House of Hohenzollern; many of them made a vow to neither cut their hair nor their beards till they had driven the French entirely out of German lands. Nevertheless, it had the highest percentage of deserters in the Army of Prussia, was treated with marked coolness by the King (who was anything but an ardent nationalist and anyway preferred his regulars), and accomplished relatively little in the way of major military success. The average size of the Corps was 2,900 infantry, 600 cavalry and 120 artillery, varying throughout the war. It fought in many battles, operating first independently in the rear of the French troops, later as a regular unit in the allied armies. The Lützowers displayed great gallantry throughout the remainder of the war, and proved a source of constant annoyance to the French, who regarded them with exceptional hostility, Napoleon himself referring to their chief as ce brigand Lützow, chef du corps de la Vengeance" ("that bandit Lützow, head of the band of Revenge"). At the proclamation of the armistice of 4 June – 13 August 1813, the Corps, eager to gain a dashing victory against the hated emperor, had been deep behind enemy lines and were hastening back to German-held territory (supposedly under a French safe-conduct), when they were caught there in contradiction to the terms of armistice. The French general Fournier ordered an attack on the Corps, replying to a demand for explanation, "Armistice pour tout le monde, excepté pour vous!" ("truce for everyone, except for you"). After the peace of 1814 the Corps was dissolved. The infantry were converted into the 25th Infantry Regiment (from 5 November 1816 known as the 1st Rhine) as regular infantrymen, consisting of 2419 men (82 officers / 2337 troops) organized into a 1st Battalion, 2nd Battalion, and 3rd Battalion, under the command of Christian Friedrich Engel von Petersdorff (who had been a major under Lützow); the cavalry were reorganized into the 6th Ulans under Lützow himself. After Napoleon’s return from Elba, both regiments fought at Ligny and Waterloo during the Hundred Days. The composition of their units remained unique and still bore the impress of the Lützow corps, e.g., retaining the same black litewka and shako. Despite its relatively small size and its lack of military success, the Corps became famous after the war, as it was the only unit in the army consisting of people from all over the German states. Throughout the 19th century, these anti-Napoleonic Free Corps were greatly praised and glorified by German nationalists, and a heroic myth built up around their exploits. Inasmuch as many Lützow Free Corps veterans took part in the first Wartburg festival of 1817, demanding German unity and democratic reforms, the black-red-gold color scheme formed by the combination of black cloth, red trim, and brass buttons on their uniforms would later become associated with republican and nationalist (or Pan-German) ideals. During the Hambacher Fest of 1832 and Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, flags with these colors were used, if even often displayed in reverse order compared to modern day's flag of Germany. This combination, reminiscent of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (whose heraldic coat-of-arms depicted a black eagle on a shield of gold, often in later times with red beak and legs), was selected as the official national colors of the German flag in 1919, and again in 1949. In the aftermath of Germany’s defeat in the First World War, the legend was invoked by extremist groups with far greater emphasis on its nationalism than on republicanism. Consequently, one of the paramilitary Freikorps active in the period of the Weimar Republic took the name “Freikorps Lützow.”