Product Description: This is a textbook example of a wartime German made Spanish volunteer medal. It’s made of zinc, as all of these were. This one retains more of the original bronze finish, than is typically seen. About 95 percent of the original finish is retained, with lots of original luster, and the typical “bubbling” commonly seen on original zinc awards. The front of this Spanish volunteer medal shows some wear to the high points, and some uneven age toning to the finish. There is some slight oxidation, particularly on and around the swastika near the bottom of the medal. The reverse also shows slight wear as well as some patination and bubbling of the finish. This Spanish volunteer medal is complete with its original, full length ribbon. The ribbon is nearly pristine, with only extremely minor age toning. Overall, this Spanish volunteer medal remains in excellent condition.
Historical Description: In 1941, Spanish leader Francisco Franco authorized formation of a Spanish volunteer division to fight on the Eastern Front, as a way to repay the Germans for their assistance in the Spanish Civil War. This division, designated “División Española de Voluntarios” by the Spanish and “250. Infanterie-Division” by the Germans, was the only foreign volunteer unit in the Wehrmacht to be awarded its own special service medal. This was the “Erinnerungsmedaille für die spanischen Freiwilligen im Kampf gegen den Bolschewismus” (Commemorative Medal for the Spanish Volunteers in the Struggle against Bolshevism), commonly known by collectors as the Spanish Volunteer Medal, or the Blue Division Medal (“Blue Division” was a nickname that came from the blue shirts worn by the Spanish volunteers while in Spain). The medal was instituted rather late in the war, on January 3, 1944. The German made wartime awards were produced by the firm of Deschler in Munich, and were all made of zinc, with a bronze wash. The front of the medal features a sword over which are superimposed two shields, one with a German Army eagle and swastika, the other with the Falange crossed arrows symbol. Above the shields is a German Army helmet; below them, a swastika and laurel leaves. The reverse of the medal has an inscription which reads “División Española de Voluntarios en Rusia” (Spanish Division of Volunteers in Russia) surmounting an Iron Cross with oak leaves. The force of Spanish volunteers on the Eastern Front in WWII totaled about 47,000 men.
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