Product Description: This Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge is a choice example of a very desirable variant. It is made of zinc. The obverse has great visual appeal, with about 80 to 85 percent of the original factory applied finish. The wreath and eagle retain bright silvering, with attractive original luster. The darkening to the cloud and field being struck by the lightning bolt is well-preserved, with nice contrast. The very slight wear to the surface does not obscure any of the original detail. On the reverse, this Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge shows the dull gray color of the base metal. The reverse of this badge never had any finish applied, which is common for this variant. There is no maker mark, but this style is badge is known to have been manufactured by the firm of Friedrich Linden, Lüdenscheid (FLL). The hardware is typical for the type, with a barrel hinge, wire pin, and wire catch. The attachment pin is functional, and there are no signs of repair. This scarce badge has a wonderful look, and is in outstanding condition.
Historical Description: In the early days of WWII, the German Air Force had few units intended to serve as infantry. As the war progressed, and especially after the disastrous first winter on the Eastern Front, more and more Luftwaffe personnel were being engaged in ground combat on the front lines. To recognize the combat experience of these soldiers, Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering introduced the Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge on March 31, 1942. The badge had been designed by Sigmund von Weech and featured a Luftwaffe eagle and swastika emblem atop a wreath, within which was a storm cloud striking the earth with a bolt of lightning. Those Luftwaffe soldiers who had previously been awarded German Army ground combat badges such as the Infantry Assault Badge, General Assault Badge or Panzer Assault Badge, were to exchange them for the new Luftwaffe badge. To earn this badge, Luftwaffe soldiers had to survive three ground combat actions on three separate days, be wounded in a ground combat action, or to have earned another decoration in such an action. Luftwaffe soldiers killed in ground combat were to receive the award posthumously. Personnel who could receive this award included paratroopers, members of the Luftwaffe Field Divisions, assault gun crews, and even Flak crews tasked with using their anti-aircraft guns against ground targets. On some of these badges, mostly early versions, the Luftwaffe eagle is a separate piece, riveted on. Later in the war, the eagle was most often integral to the badge.
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