Product Description: This is a nice example of the second pattern Heer marksmanship lanyard device. The previous version featured a Wehrmacht eagle on a shield-shaped background. This later pattern, which was used up until issue of these was discontinued early in WWII, was made in a style very much reminiscent of an assault badge. It features a wreath of oak leaves, surmounted by a Wehrmacht eagle and swastika emblem. In the center of the wreath is a shield, superimposed with crossed swords. This Heer marksmanship lanyard device is made of zinc, as is expected for these. It was once covered with a thin silver finish, which has mostly evaporated, revealing the gray color of the base metal. It retains good detail. There is some normal age patination. The back of this Heer marksmanship lanyard device features all four of its original brass alloy wire attachment prongs, used to affix this to a woven aluminum cord lanyard. The prongs show bends from having been used, but no damage or repairs. This Heer marksmanship lanyard device would be great for restoring a lanyard with the device removed, and also displays great as it sits.
Historical Description: Marksmanship was a highly valued skill in the militaristic culture of the Third Reich. For soldiers, of course, this skill was taught and trained, and soldiers were expected to achieve marksmanship proficiency. Members of paramilitary organizations such as the Hitler Youth also trained with the use of weapons, and of course there were civilian shooting clubs that held events and competitions as well. There were a myriad of different kinds of marksmanship awards that were used to recognize this skill. In the SS, and early in the German Wehrmacht, sleeve insignia was used in different patterns to display different levels of rifle qualification. Later, the Heer and Luftwaffe used special lanyards for this purpose. Heer and Luftwaffe lanyards used distinctive emblem patterns, as did the Panzer branch of the Heer. The lanyards were produced in many different grades for which a soldier could qualify, and were not worn on the field uniform. Because of this, issue of these lanyards were discontinued around the start of WWII. Civilian and paramilitary groups had their own wide array of different marksmanship awards, ranging from pins and badges to non-portable medals and award plaques.
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