Product Description: This is a great example of a textbook Black Wound Badge manufactured by Overhoff. It is made of steel, and lightly worn, with about 90 percent of the original dark finish remaining. Most of the finish is worn off of the swastika emblem, and the contrast between the steel and the dark finish makes for a striking appearance. This badge features a unique, distinctive design to the laurel leaves that make up the outer wreath. This is a trait of some of the wound badges made by Overhoff. The reverse features an integral stamped hinge and catch. The hardware is all intact and functional. In the recess at the rear of the helmet, a stamped numeric code “81” identifies the maker. This Black Wound Badge has great detail and a wonderful overall look. The packet is the correct matching example for this wound badge making it a nice complete set.
Historical Description: The German Wound Badge was instituted during the First World War to recognize those wounded in the conflict. It was designed using a World War One style Imperial German helmet as the main motif. The helmet was set on top two crossed swords against a pebbled background and surrounded by a laurel leaves wreath.
During the Spanish Civil War the Third Reich reinstated the Wound Badge for a short period to honor those who were wounded during the conflict from 1936 to 1939. These German units participating in the assistance of the Spanish Fascists were deemed the “Condor Legion”. The pattern of the World War One Wound Badge was again used, except this time with a raised swastika on the center of the World War One era helmet.
At the outbreak of war in September 1939 with Poland, Adolf Hitler once again reinstated the Wound Badge Award. Again the pattern of the badge was similar to that of the earlier style except the new design was freshened up a bit by using an M35 pattern German helmet and a slightly softer looking wreath. This pattern was used until the end of the war in 1945. It is impossible to know the exact numbers of wound badges awarded during the course of the Second World War due to the vast scale and countless individuals who were wounded or killed in the conflict.
The Wound Badge Awards came in three different types of grades representing the amount , or severity, of wounds received. The first grade, the Black Wound Badge was awarded for 1 to 2 wounds received in combat. The Silver Grade was awarded for 3 to 4 wounds, and finally the Gold Grade for 5 or more wounds, total disability, or death.
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