Product Description: This CCCiB by F&BL is a nice, detailed strike. It is made of zinc. Virtually all of the original finish is missing, a result of microflaking over time that is a typical issue with these zinc alloy pieces. Enough traces of the finish remain to be sure that this Close Combat Clasp is a bronze grade. The front of this clasp is clean, with great original detail. The reverse is flat and smooth, with a light, uncleaned patina. It’s unmarked, but this variant is known to have been manufactured by the firm of Funcke & Brüininghaus, in Lüdenschid (F&BL). The steel back plate is missing, not an uncommon issue to encounter with these as the plate was simply crimped in. The hardware setup is intact, and originally attached, with a sheet metal catch, block hinge, and functional banjo pin. Overall, this CCCiB by F&BL remains in strong very good condition.
Historical Description: The Close Combat Clasp (Nahkampfspange) was instituted on November 25, 1942, to recognize the feats of German soldiers in close quarters combat. Units with soldiers who survived hand-to-hand fights with the enemy and other extremely close-range combat actions would keep track of the dates and places of each of these battles, and soldiers who managed to make it through many of these fights became eligible for this award. Because only front-line troops with direct combat experience could earn this clasp, it was a regarded by the soldiers as a very prestigious award. The Close Combat Clasp was awarded in three grades: Bronze, for 15 close combat days; Silver, for 25 close combat days, and Gold, for 50 or more days of close combat. Hitler reserved the right to personally award the Gold Close Combat Clasp, which was widely regarded as more prestigious than even the Knight’s Cross. The total amount of these clasps awarded, in all grades, was fewer than 50,000.
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