Product Description: This Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge is very attractive and loaded with character. Over 90 percent of the original bluish-gray paint is present on the cloud and lightning bolt, giving this a particularly appealing look. The badge is made of zinc. The wreath shows some wear to the high points, and some typical patination from age and wear. The eagle is a separate piece, made of Tombak, and highly detailed. It is affixed to the badge by three domed rivets, which remain nice and tight. The reverse is marked “M.u.K. 5” for Metall und Kunst, which was likely a conglomerate of award manufacturers. The back of the badge has an old patina that matches the front. There is an area on the reverse where there may have been a label or price tag for a long time, and the patina is different in the area that had been protected by the sticker. The hardware is magnetic and features a desirable wide pin. The hardware is functional, completely intact and unrepaired, and is correctly crimped in place. This Ground Assault Badge really stands out as an obvious, one-look original piece.
Historical Description: In the early days of WWII, the German Air Force had few units intended to serve as infantry. As the war progressed, and especially after the disastrous first winter on the Eastern Front, more and more Luftwaffe personnel were being engaged in ground combat on the front lines. To recognize the combat experience of these soldiers, Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering introduced the Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge on March 31, 1942. The badge had been designed by Sigmund von Weech and featured a Luftwaffe eagle and swastika emblem atop a wreath, within which was a storm cloud striking the earth with a bolt of lightning. Those Luftwaffe soldiers who had previously been awarded German Army ground combat badges such as the Infantry Assault Badge, General Assault Badge or Panzer Assault Badge, were to exchange them for the new Luftwaffe badge. To earn this badge, Luftwaffe soldiers had to survive three ground combat actions on three separate days, be wounded in a ground combat action, or to have earned another decoration in such an action. Luftwaffe soldiers killed in ground combat were to receive the award posthumously. Personnel who could receive this award included paratroopers, members of the Luftwaffe Field Divisions, assault gun crews, and even Flak crews tasked with using their anti-aircraft guns against ground targets. On some of these badges, mostly early versions, the Luftwaffe eagle is a separate piece, riveted on. Later in the war, the eagle was most often integral to the badge.
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