Product Description: This Heer Para Badge is one that was very likely worn on a uniform. It’s a third pattern example, made of fine zinc. The front of this badge has wonderful finish, especially for a zinc piece, with attractive original silvering to the eagle and gold to the wreath. Wear to the high points exposes the dull gray color of the base metal in some areas. The remaining original finish has a mellow, pleasant patina. The reverse of the badge shows traces of age, wear and tear. There is no manufacturer marking, but this variant is known to have been manufactured by the prestigious firm of C. E. Juncker in Berlin. There is original finish on the reverse, with some normal bubbling on the back of the eagle, and wear that one would expect to see on a worn piece. The hinge is broken, and the pin is missing. The catch has been repaired. This Heer Para Badge displays great, despite the issues with the hardware, and of course has been priced with those issues taken into account. It is a scarce award, and remains in very good condition.
Historical Description: The Heer Paratrooper Badge was officially instituted on September 1, 1937. Prior to that time, German Army personnel who had successfully qualified as paratroopers had been awarded the Luftwaffe version of this badge. The Heer version was very similar to that of the Luftwaffe but incorporated the German Army eagle emblem at the top of the wreath; because the Army eagle already carried a swastika, the swastika was omitted on the central, diving eagle device. German Army paratroopers were awarded this badge at the completion of their training. Because the number of parachutists in the German Army was very small, only limited numbers of these badges were produced. At the time of the badge’s first issue in 1937, just over 170 men were decorated with this award. The earliest Heer paratrooper badges were made of die struck aluminum, with an anodized finish, and bore an early form of the C. E. Juncker manufacturer stamp on the reverse. A slightly later Juncker aluminum version was also produced, using a different die, and usually omitting the manufacturer stamp. Soldiers to whom this badge had been awarded, could also purchase extremely high-quality silver versions of this award, stamped .800 for silver content, and usually with a custom engraving on the reverse that included the recipient’s name. In 1939, the German Army’s airborne troops were transferred to the Luftwaffe, and the badge was discontinued. In April 1943, a new German Army parachutist unit was organized, and on June 1, 1943, the Heer Paratrooper Badge was accordingly re-instituted. These 1943 pattern badges were also struck by C. E. Juncker, using the same dies used for previous production, but like most wartime badges, these were now made from zinc. Because of the very small total number of elite German Army airborne soldiers eligible for this badge from 1937-1945, it was produced in very limited numbers.
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