Product Description: This F&BL Bomber Clasp in Bronze is a typical late war product. It’s made in zinc, and much of the original finish has faded with time, as is typical for original zinc awards, revealing the gray color of the base metal. The front retains great detail, with traces of bronze finish on the wreath and oak leaves, and plenty of original finish on the central winged bomb emblem, which appears to be made of Tombak. The reverse of this F&BL Bomber Clasp is entirely textbook. There are no signs of repair. It is marked in raised lettering “F. & B. L.” indicating manufacture by the firm of Funcke & Brüninghaus, Lüdenscheid. The rivet holding the central emblem is typical, the block hinge and round catch plate are held in place by the original solder. The broad pin, hinge and catch retain a good amount of original silver finish. This F&BL Bomber Clasp remains in very good condition overall.
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 Reconnaisance, 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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