Product Description: This early Gold Recon Clasp is a high quality example of this desirable Luftwaffe award. It’s a very desirable early production piece, made of a heavy brass alloy (Tombak). The obverse of this clasp is stunning, with outstanding finish. The original gilding on the oak leaves and wreath are gorgeous. Gleaming highlights contrast with a more mellow golden luster in the recesses. The central eagle head emblem has a great look, with lots of nice original finish and only very slight wear. The reverse of this early Gold Recon Clasp is flat and smooth. There is no manufacturer marking, but this variant of clasp is attributed to IMME. The hardware setup is textbook for this maker, with soldered barrel hinge and catch, and has no repairs. The banjo type attachment pin remains functional, and the central rivet holding the eagle head is still nice and tight, never tampered with. This all-original IMME clasp is a choice and very appealing piece. The condition rates as excellent.
Historical Description: To acknowledge and recognize the achievements of Luftwaffe flight personnel who had taken part in missions against the enemy, the Luftwaffe in 1941 introduced a series of flight clasps, to be worn as awards on the uniform. The German term for this clasp was “Frontflugspange,” literally “Front Flight Clasp”; these are known to collectors as Flight Bars, Operational Flying Clasps or Squadron Clasps. The clasps took the form of a central emblem, set in a wreath of laurel leaves, and flanked on both sides by sprigs of oak leaves. On most designs, the German national swastika emblem was set at the bottom of the laurel wreath. The central emblem varied depending on the type of missions for which the clasp was awarded. An upward-pointed winged arrow was for Short Range Day Fighters, while a downward pointing winged arrow was for Long Range Day Fighters and Air to Ground Support (support crews later had their own crossed swords emblem). Bomber crews had a winged bomb emblem, a Luftwaffe eagle was chosen to represent Transport and Glider Squadrons, and an eagle head was worn by Reconnaissance, Air-Sea Rescue and Meteorological Squadrons. The clasps were produced in various grades to indicate the number of missions flown- Bronze for 20 flights, Silver for 60 flights and Gold for 100 flights. For personnel who surpassed the number of missions required for the Gold clasp, small pendants were produced, starting in 1942, to recognize the greater and greater numbers of missions being flown. There was a “star” pendant, that was given for certain numbers of flights beyond 100 missions (depending on the type of clasp, between 250 and 500 missions were required to earn the star). There were also numbered pendants, beginning with 200 missions, and increasing in increments of 100. As with all Third Reich military awards, Luftwaffe flight clasps are highly sought-after collectibles today.
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