Product Description: This is the later, 1943 version of the Heer Paratrooper Badge. It’s made by Juncker, one of the premiere award manufacturers during the Third Reich. As with all of these wartime badges, it is made of zinc. This Heer Paratrooper Badge retains loads of great original finish- both the gold on the wreath, and the silver of the central eagle device, are well over 90 percent intact. The badge shows only light wear overall, and has some age toning to the original finish. There are a few minor spots of corrosion, which could be cleaned, but we have left this as found. The rivets used to affix the eagle are nice and tight. This is the variant that utilized a block hinge, and flat wire catch. Unfortunately, the hinge has snapped off the back of the badge, and the original hinge and pin have been lost to time. We have priced this accordingly, at less than half the cost of an intact example. The catch remains intact. Despite the missing hinge, this remains a very attractive, original example, of a rare and desirable Heer Paratrooper Badge.
Historical Description: The Heer Paratrooper Badge was officially instituted on September 1, 1937. Prior to that time, German Army personnel who had successfully qualified as paratroopers had been awarded the Luftwaffe version of this badge. The Heer version was very similar to that of the Luftwaffe, but incorporated the German Army eagle emblem at the top of the wreath; because the Army eagle already carried a swastika, the swastika was omitted on the central, diving eagle device. German Army paratroopers were awarded this badge at the completion of their training. Because the number of parachutists in the German Army was very small, only limited numbers of these badges were produced. At the time of the badge’s first issue in 1937, just over 170 men were decorated with this award. The ealiest Heer paratrooper badges were made of die struck aluminum, with an anodized finish, and bore an early form of the C. E. Juncker manufacturer stamp on the reverse. A slightly later Juncker aluminum version was also produced, using a different die, and usually omitting the manufacturer stamp. Soldiers to whom this badge had been awarded, could also purchase extremely high quality silver versions of this award, stamped .800 for silver content, and usually with a custom engraving on the reverse that included the recipient’s name. In 1939, the German Army’s airborne troops were transferred to the Luftwaffe, and the badge was discontinued. In April, 1943, a new German Army parachutist unit was organized, and on June 1, 1943, the Heer Paratrooper Badge was accordingly re-instituted. These 1943 pattern badges were also struck by C. E. Juncker, using the same dies used for previous production, but like most wartime badges, these were now made from zinc. Because of the very small total number of elite German Army airborne soldiers eligible for this badge from 1937-1945, it was produced in very limited numbers.
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