The Army Gold Medal (1808–1814), was also known as the Peninsular Gold Medal, with an accompanying Gold Cross, was a British campaign medal awarded in recognition of field and general officers' successful commands in recent campaigns, predominately the Peninsular War.
This medal was only issued to army ranks of Battalion Commander or above, and so very few were awarded. It was awarded for distinguished service in battle, so not every commander received a medal. In total only 684 Army Gold Medals and 165 Army Gold Cross were issued.
This medal came in three styles; Large medal (88 issued), Small medal (596 issued) and the Peninsular Cross, and usually supplemented with clasps identifying the battles involved.
The Large medal (2 inches diameter) was restricted to generals, with lower-ranked officers awarded the Small medal. The Cross, in cross pattée style, was awarded to those with four or more actions, identifying each action on the arms of the cross; further actions were marked with clasps.
When the medal was first established, a new one was issued for each action; but in 1813 an order was created, instructing that only one medal be worn, and instituting the use of clasps for each successive award. This was a new establishment of the bar tradition which was followed by all later medal awards. Another new development was the naming of the recipient on the rim of the medal.
Following the Peninsular War, rules governing the award of the Order of the Bath were altered, allowing recognition for military commands, and the medal and crosses were discontinued.
It is thought that the later design of the Victoria Cross was inspired by the Army Gold Cross.