Posted 8 months ago
WWII presented a much more serious threat to the Swiss. The Nazis running Germany positively hated a neutral Switzerland and made plans to invade. The Swiss in turn let it be known that surrender was not an option. No one in the Swiss government or military even had the authority to surrender. The Swiss would fight to the death. By 1940 after France was invaded the Swiss had mobilized over 1,000,000 men, 53,000 horses and 16,000 motorized vehicles. By the end of the war the average Swiss soldier had served 800 days on active duty. WWII Swiss medals are harder to find than the WWI medals probably due to the fact that not enough time has past. Many of the original owners and their families are still alive. (In my collecting experience I have concluded that most medals end up on the resale market by the 3rd and 4th generations after the medals were issued.) Unit medals are the most encountered Swiss medals of WWII. Illustrated here is a medal for service in the 214th Frontier Fusilier Battalion for 1939-40. The obverse depicts a Swiss soldier using his rifle as a club after he ran out of ammunition. A reminder of the no surrender policy. The second medal which is non-portable was issued for active service 1939-41 in the Sanitary department of the army. The term sanitary is like our medical department. The obverse depicts a modern Swiss soldier and one of the original Swiss freedom fighters of 1291.
Next Christmas in the field medals.