Product Description: This is a hard-to-find 1943 pattern Heer Paratrooper Badge. It’s a textbook example of this wartime produced variant, struck from fine zinc. The obverse is beautiful, with outstanding finish, especially for a zinc badge. The wreath retains most of its gold wash, with some light wear to high points in the design that reveals the dull gray color of the base metal. The surviving finish has a slight, mild patina, with some remaining shine. The wonderfully detailed eagle still has much of the original silver finish, which contrasts handsomely with the gold. The reverse of this badge is unmarked, but this variant is known to have been produced by the firm of Juncker in Berlin. It features typical Juncker rivets that have never been messed with. The hardware is a later war type used by this maker, with no repairs to the soldered block hinge or catch plate. The round wire attachment pin is intact and functional. This very hard to find and desirable Heer Paratrooper Badge has a great, all-original look, and displays extremely nicely. It would be tough to upgrade. The condition rates as excellent plus.
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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