Product Description: This Luftwaffe Paratrooper Badge is an interesting, immediate post war para badge by Steinhauer & Lück. It is built with a zinc wreath and aluminum eagle. The zinc wreath shows fading to the finish, as is typical, and has mostly reverted to the dull gray color of the base metal, with some traces of original finish in the recesses of the design. The aluminum eagle is stunning, with virtually all of the original bright gold finish still intact. The contrast between the bright eagle and dull wreath gives this badge an eye-catching look. The reverse of this Luftwaffe Paratrooper Badge is complete and sound, with a short barrel hinge, flat wire “C” catch and functional attachment pin. This is a nice example of this souvenir type variant. The condition rates as excellent plus.
Historical Description: The German Paratrooper Badge (Fallschirmjäger Abzeichen) was first instituted on the 5th of November 1936, by order of Hermann Göring. It was originally awarded to Luftwaffe personnel after the completion of their training and the required six jumps. On September 1, 1937 the Heer (Army) version of the badge was instituted to recognize members of the Heer who had successfully qualified. However, by 1939 the Luftwaffe gained full control of all trained paratroopers and the small number of Heer Paratroopers were then absorbed into the ranks of the Luftwaffe.
The design of the badge features a diving eagle surrounded by a wreath. With this guideline in place, initially the Heer and Luftwaffe each had their own respective version of the Fallshirmjager Badge to call their own. The Luftwaffe’s version featured a gilded diving eagle clutching a swastika which was surrounded by a darkened wreath of laurel and oak leaves. (Please note that a specific maker exists which utilized a silvered wreath instead of the typical darkened wreath.) The earliest examples of the Luftwaffe Fallshirmjager badge were made of superior metals such as brass and nickel silver. As the war progressed, and the need to save precious metals became more of an obstacle, aluminum and zinc were substituted as replacements. The Heer Fallshirmjager Badge design was a silvered diving eagle surrounded by a wreath of gilded oak leaves with a national “Hoheitszeichen” positioned at the top of the wreath. The first Heer Paratrooper Badges were constructed of delicate aluminum, whose hardware was very prone to breaking. Early deluxe versions of the badge can be found made of “800” silver, such examples are extremely rare. The only known maker of the early Heer Paratrooper Badges is C.E. Juncker. The Heer Paratrooper Badge was discontinued in 1939 after the absorption of the Heer Fallshirmjager into the Luftwaffe, However, the badge was reinstituted in 1943 for members of the Heer who previously qualified and also for members of the Waffen-SS who qualified. These later badges were manufactured strictly in zinc. The only known manufacturers of the later Heer Paratrooper Badge is the firms of C.E. Juncker and Friedrich Linden, Ludenscheid (FLL). Cloth versions of both types of paratrooper badges exist in various forms of embroidery and bullion.
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