Product Description: This set of Prototype Wool Wound Badges is a phenomenally rare and possibly unique offering. This is perhaps the rarest form of 1939 wound badge, and to find four of them – likely the full set of prototypes – still affixed to an original submission card, is incredible. The badges themselves are beautifully machine embroidered. The first one on the left, a black grade, is embroidered in black thread on a black wool backing. The others- another black one, a silver grade, and a gold grade- are embroidered on Luftwaffe blue-gray wool. They are still affixed to a gray card stock submission card which is ink stamped on both sides with the name of the manufacturer, Hansel und Schumann in Berlin. The lettering “IV WK” is also inked on the front. The badges themselves are obviously unworn, with what looks to be some minor insect damage to a couple of edges, that does not affect the embroidered design. These Prototype Wool Wound Badges never entered mass production, and are almost unobtainable today. This is a piece worthy of study and inclusion in a reference work on Wehrmacht awards. It could be the centerpiece of a badge collection.
Historical Description: The German Wound Badge was instituted during the First World War to recognize those wounded in the conflict. It was designed using a World War One style Imperial German helmet as the main motif. The helmet was set on top two crossed swords against a pebbled background and surrounded by a laurel leaves wreath.
During the Spanish Civil War the Third Reich reinstated the Wound Badge for a short period to honor those who were wounded during the conflict from 1936 to 1939. These German units participating in the assistance of the Spanish Fascists were deemed the “Condor Legion”. The pattern of the World War One Wound Badge was again used, except this time with a raised swastika on the center of the World War One era helmet.
At the outbreak of war in September 1939 with Poland, Adolf Hitler once again reinstated the Wound Badge Award. Again the pattern of the badge was similar to that of the earlier style except the new design was freshened up a bit by using an M35 pattern German helmet and a slightly softer looking wreath. This pattern was used until the end of the war in 1945. It is impossible to know the exact numbers of wound badges awarded during the course of the Second World War due to the vast scale and countless individuals who were wounded or killed in the conflict.
The Wound Badge Awards came in three different types of grades representing the amount , or severity, of wounds received. The first grade, the Black Wound Badge was awarded for 1 to 2 wounds received in combat. The Silver Grade was awarded for 3 to 4 wounds, and finally the Gold Grade for 5 or more wounds, total disability, or death.
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