Product Description: This German-Italian Africa Campaign Medal has great character. It’s made of a brass alloy, and is likely an early piece. The campaign medal itself is a nice strike, showing only extremely minor wear, and retaining loads of original detail on both sides. There is a pleasant, even, age patina. This one is complete with its correct original ribbon, and appears to have been worn. The green, white, red and black ribbon shows some fading and toning to the original colors, and some wear, but remains complete. The ribbon is sewn together, neatly hand stitched in place with off-white thread. This piece is an attractive, representative example of the German-Italian Africa Campaign Medal, and displays great. It remains in excellent condition overall.
Historical Description: Cuff titles (Ärmelstreifen) are uniform accoutrements that have been used in the German military since the 19thcentury. Intended to foster a certain sense of ‘esprit de corps’ amongst members of the armed forces, they were authorized for wear by members of designated units for the duration of their service time within that unit. In the event of transfer out of the unit, the cuff title was to be removed from the service member’s uniform. During the Third Reich, the German military continued this tradition by instituting honorary cuff titles to certain ‘special’ formations. This practice is perhaps most well-known for its application amongst Waffen- ϟϟ units. Cuff titles were also authorized for wear within all branches of the Wehrmacht (Army, Air Force and Navy) as well. These unit-specific cuff titles are not to be confused with others, which were awarded for participation in a certain campaign. The tradition, within the German military of wearing cuff titles, continues into the 21st century with certain honor guard contingents of the Bundeswehr being permitted to wear unit-specific cuff titles.
In the spring of 1942, the Italian government instituted a special campaign award to recognize the achievements of German troops in the campaign in Africa. It was designed by Roberto De Marchis. Early examples were struck from Tombak, while later examples were made of zinc with a bronze wash. The front of the award depicts a Nazi Swastika and Italian Fascist emblem, flanking an image of the Arco del Felini, which stood in modern Libya. The inscription “Italo-German Campaign in Africa” is rendered in both German and Italian. The reverse of the medal shows two gladiators, representing Germany and Italy, doing battle with a crocodile, symbolizing Britain. The award was suspended from a ribbon bearing both the German and the Italian national colors. The first awards of this medal took place in 1942. Because Italy was a German ally, German soldiers were permitted to wear this award. That changed in 1944 with the surrender of Italy. On March 29, 1944. new orders prohibited German troops from wearing Italian decorations. The Africa Campaign Medal was specifically mentioned in this order.
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