Product Description: This Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge is a nice representative example, with a “been there” look. It is made of zinc, with a separate, riveted eagle. On the front, the original finish on the eagle has toned dark, with attractive rainbow tones. The recesses of the leaves on the outer wreath retain a good amount of the original silver wash. The badge shows some wear, and an even age patina throughout. The back of this badge is flat and smooth, and is unmarked. This variant of the Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge is attributed to the firm of J. E. Hammer & Söhne, in Geringswalde. There is some extant original finish on the reverse, as well as age patina that has built up in some areas. The hardware features a sheet metal hinge and a wire catch with catch plate, soldered into place. There is no indication this badge was ever repaired or altered in any way. The round wire pin is functional, with some slight bends along its length suggesting this piece was worn on a soldier’s uniform. The rivet on the reverse is textbook original. This badge remains in excellent 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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