Product Description: This is a nice example of an early Black Wound Badge. It’s the 1939 pattern, issued during WWII. It’s made of a brass alloy, Tombak, an indicator of early production. The obverse retains most of the original, factory applied, smooth black enamel paint finish. Wear to high points has exposed the brass color of the base metal, which has pleasant, mellow toning. The contrast between the black paint and yellow metal gives this piece a very appealing look. The pebbling is well defined, and the swords and laurel leaf wreath have nice detail. The hollow reverse of this desirable early Black Wound Badge is typical, and it is unmarked, as is standard for these early pieces. Nearly all of the paint is present on the reverse. The hardware setup is intact and functional, with no sign of repair. Wear to the paint on the attachment pin and a slight bend to the sheet metal catch indicate this piece was likely worn on a uniform during the war. This is a quality badge, with great character, and remains in excellent condition.
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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