Product Description: This GWL Observer’s Badge is a very fine example of this desirable Luftwaffe qualification badge. It’s an early piece, made of nickel silver, with a high quality silver electroplated wreath and eagle. The wreath received a high quality rhodium finish, with polished high reliefs. The eagle is the typical GWL style design, with absolutely exquisite detail. The badge is clean, and virtually pristine, with only very minimal age toning. The reverse of this GWL Observer’s Badge is all original, with slight toning to the finish on the wreath. The back of the eagle is marked with the stylized initials “GWL” in a circle, indicating manufacture by the firm of Gebrüder Wegerhoff, in Lüdenscheid. The block hinge, needle pin, and directly soldered flat-wire “C” catch is textbook GWL hardware. The slightly countersunk rivets are also typical for this maker. The pin remains functional, and there is no damage and no repairs. This badge would be tough to upgrade. The condition rates as excellent.
Historical Description: The Luftwaffe Observer Badge (Beobachterabzeichen) was instituted by Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring on January 19, 1935. To earn the badge, a member of the Luftwaffe had to have had an observer’s license for two months, or to have participated in five flights over enemy territory, or to have been wounded on a flight. Members of other branches of the Wehrmacht could also be awarded the badge, if the necessary conditions had been met. The badge featured a flying eagle and swastika emblem, affixed to a wreath of laurel and oak leaves. Early examples were made of Tombak or nickel silver, with aluminum used (rarely) later, and finally zinc for wartime badges. A cloth version was also authorized for field use. The badge was worn on the left breast of the uniform. About 35,000 pieces had been awarded by war’s end.
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