Product Description: This Late War FLL Pilot Badge is a nice, representative example. It’s made of a fine zinc alloy, which was the typical material used on war badges later in the war. The finish on this one has mostly faded with time, as is common with zinc awards; what finish remains has toned dark, with some slight bubbling. The obverse of this badge shows little or no actual wear, and retains crisp original detail, especially on the central eagle and swastika emblem. This badge is unmarked, but this variant is attributed to the firm of “FLL” (Friedrich Linden, Lüdenscheid). The rivets and hardware on the reverse of this late war FLL Pilot Badge are intact and completely untouched. The hardware is functional, with a sheet metal hinge and catch, and round wire pin, as is typical for this badge type. This all-original piece has great character, and is in excellent condition.
Historical Description: The Luftwaffe Pilot Badge was instituted by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring on August 12, 1935. It was among the earliest badges introduced in the German Wehrmacht and was worn by all qualified pilots in the German Air Force, similar to the “wings” worn by some other armies. The design of the badge featured a large, swooping eagle clutching the German national swastika emblem, surrounded by a wreath of oak and laurel leaves. The badge was normally presented in a blue hinged case. It was worn on the upper left uniform pocket, and a cloth version was also authorized for field use. In the nearly ten years from the introduction of this badge, to the end of WWII, the manufacturers of these awards made many changes in the features of the designs. Some companies, like Juncker, Assmann, and Deumer, had early first pattern badges which looked completely different from later pieces by the same manufacturers. Pilot badges were made of aluminum, nickel silver, plated Tombak, and zinc. The eagle was always a separate piece, riveted to the wreath, with different manufacturers using different rivet designs. As the war progressed, and dies wore out, many makers produced badges with subtle changes. All of these changes over time open up a large spectrum of variation collecting for Luftwaffe badge collectors.
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