Product Description: It’s not particularly easy to find any packeted Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge, but to find a set like this in such nice condition is very tough. This badge is near mint. It’s made of zinc, and retains nearly all of the original silver finish to the wreath, as well as the darkening to the central motif. The silver finish on the separately applied eagle has become thin in some areas, but remains mostly intact. The badge shows no wear, but does have some age patina, including minor surface corrosion to the steel wire pin. The manufacturer of the badge is J. E. Hammer u. Söhne. The original hardware is intact and fully functional, no issues, no repairs. The packet is the correct, matching packet for this badge, with the corresponding maker mark on the reverse as one would expect to see. It’s a very nice packet, with only light wear. The packet is marked with the German designation for the Luftwaffe Ground Combat Badge (“Luftwaffen-Erdkampf-Abzeichen”). Both the badge and the packet are textbook examples. A very desirable set, very attractive, and in nearly pristine 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 Ground Assault 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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