Product Description: This Cloth Pilots Badge is a top quality, deluxe example. It’s made of a typical bluish gray Luftwaffe wool fabric, with a slightly coarse look that suggests wartime manufacture. All of the original fuzzy wool nap is present on the surface of the fabric. The obverse of this cloth badge features a Luftwaffe pilot badge emblem, machine embroidered in cotton thread. Multiple colors of thread were used to highlight the design, with a white wreath and a gray eagle with darkened wings. This badge is nicely padded, which gives it a very appealing, three-dimensional look. The reverse of this Cloth Pilots Badge features a backing of blue fabric. Hand stitching in gray thread around the border of the design affixes this backing and also secures the padding inside. This is an unworn badge, with no stitch holes around the edges and no signs of wear. It is a choice example, outstandingly well-preserved, and still looking as it did when it was made. The condition rates as near mint.
Historical Description: The Luftwaffe Pilot Badge was instituted by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring on August 12, 1935. It was among the earliest badges introduced in the German Wehrmacht and was worn by all qualified pilots in the German Air Force, similar to the “wings” worn by some other armies. The design of the badge featured a large, swooping eagle clutching the German national swastika emblem, surrounded by a wreath of oak and laurel leaves. The badge was normally presented in a blue hinged case. It was worn on the upper left uniform pocket, and a cloth version was also authorized for field use. In the nearly ten years from the introduction of this badge, to the end of WWII, the manufacturers of these awards made many changes in the features of the designs. Some companies, like Juncker, Assmann, and Deumer, had early first pattern badges which looked completely different from later pieces by the same manufacturers. Pilot badges were made of aluminum, nickel silver, plated Tombak, and zinc. The eagle was always a separate piece, riveted to the wreath, with different manufacturers using different rivet designs. As the war progressed, and dies wore out, many makers produced badges with subtle changes. All of these changes, over time, opened up a large spectrum of variation collecting for Luftwaffe badge collectors.
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