Epic Artifacts

Tank Destruction Badges

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The Tank Destruction Badge (Sonderabzeichen für das Niederkämpfen von Panzerkampfwagen durch Einzelkämpfer) was officially instituted by Adolf Hitler on March 9, 1942, to recognize the achievements of soldiers who were able to single-handedly destroy an enemy tank in combat using hand-held weapons. The award was authorized to be granted for soldiers who destroyed tanks in combat actions dating back to June 22, 1941, the date of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The criteria were strictly written, and did not authorize issue of the award to crews of anti-tank cannons, but only to individual soldiers who destroyed tanks with weapons such as grenades, mines or Molotov cocktails. The Tank Destruction Badge was issued in the form of a woven cloth strip, silver in color, that would be sewn to the upper right sleeve of the recipient’s uniform. Mounted to this cloth strip was a metal emblem representing a German Panzer IV tank, with a dark finish. The badge was issued for destruction of one tank, and soldiers who destroyed more than one tank could be awarded and wear a corresponding number of Tank Destruction Badges. On December 18, 1943, the German Army command instituted a second grade of this award, the Tank Destruction Badge in Gold. This was a gold woven cloth strip, with a metal tank emblem that had a silver finish. The Gold grade of this award was bestowed for the single-handed destruction of five enemy tanks.

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