Product Description: This Close Combat Clasp in Bronze is an all-original example. It is struck from fine zinc. On the obverse, nearly all of the original bronze finish has faded away, which is common with these zinc pieces. The dull gray zinc shows smooth, clean surfaces and all of the crisp original detail. The reverse of this Close Combat Clasp in Bronze is flat and smooth. It’s maker marked “R.S.” in raised letters, indicating manufacture by the firm of Rudolf Souval in Vienna. The hardware is textbook for wartime production by this maker, with soldered hinge and catch plates. The banjo style attachment pin is functional. The hardware still retains the finish, leaving no doubt this is a bronze grade clasp. As is often the case with these, the backing plate is missing. With the exception of this missing plate, there is no damage at all to this piece, and no repairs. The overall condition of this desirable award rates as excellent.
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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