Product Description: This Narvik Shield is a nice, representative example of this scarce and desirable campaign award. It is made of zinc. This is a Kriegsmarine type, that once had a gold finish. As is common with zinc awards, the finish has faded, leaving only traces in the recesses of the design. This example is the so-called “LDO type,” which never had a cloth backing, and is complete. The obverse is clean, with smooth surfaces, lots of fine detail, and no evident wear. The original smooth zinc backing plate is present. The reverse shows all four of the original prongs on the shield still intact and retaining the backing plate, just as they would have left the factory. There is no maker mark, but this variant is attributed to the firm of Wilhelm Deumer, in Lüdenscheid. It’s likely that this piece was never issued or worn. It has a great look, and remains in excellent condition.
Historical Description: The Narvik Shield (Ärmelschild Narvik) was awarded to members of the German Wehrmacht who participated in the battle of Narvik. “Unternehmen Weserübung,” the occupation of the neutral countries Denmark and Norway, began on April 9, 1940. On this day, a Regiment of Gebirgsjäger troops under the command of Generalleutnant Eduard Dietl landed in the city of Narvik, a Norwegian city north of the Arctic Circle, which was of strategic importance due to its harbor which remains ice-free year-round. A few days later, following a battle against the Royal Navy, this occupation force was strengthened by over 2,000 members of the Kriegsmarine. This combined force resisted Allied counterattacks until April 28, when British troops were able to take the city. German forces continued to attack the superior numbers of British troops until the British finally withdrew on June 8. The Narvik Shield was designed by the artist Richard Klein of Munich, with an Edelweiss to commemorate the Gebirgsjäger, an anchor to commemorate the Kriegsmarine and a propeller symbolizing the Luftwaffe. It was made out of iron and later also from zinc. This award was officially instituted by Adolf Hitler on August 19, 1940 and was issued to a narrowly defined group of Wehrmacht personnel who were active in the Narvik area between April 9 and June 8. It was made in two variants, with a silver finish for the Heer and Luftwaffe and a gold finish for the Kriegsmarine. Approximately 8500 of these shields were issued in total.
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