Product Description: This Eastern Front Medal is a nice, representative example of this iconic campaign award. The medal is made of zinc, as all of these were, and as is typical, most of the finish has faded, with some traces of the original silvering still visible on the helmet and grenade. The medal shows only slight wear to high points, and has an even, uncleaned age patina to the surface on both sides. The suspension ring is intact, and is marked with a Präsidialkanzlei numeric maker code, but we cannot make it out. This Eastern Front Medal is complete with an original replacement ribbon, that has never been affixed to the suspension ring. The ribbon is very clean and crisp, with bright original color, and no damage. This Eastern Front Medal has an appealing look, and remains in excellent condition overall.
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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