Product Description: A representative example of a later issue Eastern Front Medal in zinc. This one shows some wear, with some scattered marks to the front and back, and lots of patina. Most of the original finish is lost to time. The original long ribbon is present, with some fraying. There is some surface corrosion on the steel suspension ring. This one is uncleaned, and as found.
Historical Description: The Eastern Front Medal (Medaille “Winterschlacht im Osten” 1941/42) was a German military campaign decoration awarded to all Axis personnel who met specific criteria pertaining toduty on the Eastern Front between November 15, 1941, and April 15, 1942. This was the bitter, horrible first winter on the Eastern Front, in which millions of men who were unprepared for the brunt of the Russian winter were forced to fight in often inhuman conditions. The award was designed by SS-Unterscharführer Ernst Krauit. The obverse featured a striking Wehrmacht eagle on a massive, static swastika, surmounted by a Wehrmacht steel helmet and hand grenade. Early examples of this award were tombak, with later issues being struck from zinc. The medal had a chemically darkened finish, with silvering on the rim and to the helmet and hand grenade motif. It was suspended from a red, white and black striped ribbon. On field uniforms, only the ribbon was worn; the medal could be worn as part of a medal bar on dress uniforms. To earn this award, soldiers had to have served within a specific geographic region that had been officially designated as the area of the Eastern Front. Within this region, to qualify for the award, ground soldiers had to have experienced 14 days of active combat, or 60 days of continuous service in a combat zone. Soldiers who were wounded in combat or who suffered frostbite severe enough to merit the award of a Wound Badge were also eligible for the Eastern Front Medal. Luftwaffe soldiers had to have flown 30 combat sorties over the Front to qualify. In 1943, the award criteria were expanded to allow for awards to non-combatants who had served within the area of the Front. By the time award of the Eastern Front Medal ceased in September 1944, over three million of the medals had been awarded.
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