Product Description: Very attractive and likely early Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge, maker marked to Osang in Dresden, and just recently acquired from a veteran family in Illinois. The front of this zinc badge has tons of original finish, with the silvering of the wreath contrasting nicely against the darkened storm cloud and lightning bolt. The separately applied tombak Luftwaffe eagle and swastika emblem is very sharply detailed, with some finish wear to the high points, and a great patina. The reverse also retains most of the finish, as well as the original barrel hinge and pin, though the catch is broken off, possibly from rough removal from a soldier’s uniform. The Osang maker mark is crisply struck. This Ground Assault Badge remains just as it was when it was brought back from the war, and has never been in any collection.
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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