Product Description: This Heer Paratrooper Badge is a nice example of a rare badge. This is the scarce 1943 issue pattern, made of zinc. The obverse retains decent gold and silver finish, with a bit of the fading that one expects to see on a zinc badge. There is a bit of built-up patina in some areas on the wreath. All of the original detail is intact, with only extremely minor contact marks from handling. The reverse of this Heer Paratrooper Badge is unmarked, but this variant is known to have been made by the firm of Friedrich Linden, in Lüdenscheid. The hardware is textbook FLL, with a soldered sheet metal hinge and catch. The round wire attachment pin is steel, with a small area of rust, and is still functional. The rivets are correct for this maker. This badge is all original, with no signs of repair. This is a very desirable award that is missing from most collections. It’s complete and sound, and remains in excellent 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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