Maker: Otto Schickle
Base Metal: Brass / Tombak
Product Description: An early Tombak Infantry Assault Badge in Silver such as this is far more seldom encountered than the later zinc types. This one is a great example. It is a hollow back, die struck version, made by Otto Schickle. The Tombak base metal was originally given a bright electroplated silver finish. On the front, the finish is worn on the high points of the design, revealing the brassy Tombak, and giving this an attractive “silver and gold” look. The original bright silver plating has toned from age and use, and has taken on an attractive patina, with some lovely rainbow toning to recesses on the wreath. The detail on this Tombak Infantry Assault Badge remains outstanding. The reverse of the badge shows some expected age and patina buildup, typical of a worn example. The textbook hardware is intact, functional, and without repairs. Overall, this is a very attractive and desirable Tombak Infantry Assault Badge, never cleaned, and with great character.
Historical Description: The Infantry Assault Badge (Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen) was instituted on December 20, 1939, by German Army commander Generalfeldmarschall Walther von Brauchitsch. The design of the badge featured the iconic K98 rifle, the standard German Infantry weapon of WWII, surrounded by oak leaves and surmounted by a German Army eagle and swastika emblem. The creation of this design has been attributed to the C.E. Juncker firm in Berlin. The badge could be awarded to members of the Heer and SS-VT (later the Waffen-SS) who participate in ground combat as infantry. To earn this award, soldiers had to participate in three or more assaults, counterattacks, or reconnaissance missions, or to have participated in hand to hand combat in an assault, or to have participated in three days of reestablishing combat positions. These actions had to take place on separate days to meet the award criteria. On June 1, 1940, a Bronze grade of this award was instituted, for motorized infantry. The criteria for the award were the same, only for motorized units. The earliest versions of the Infantry Assault Badge were made of Tombak or other high quality alloys, with a plated finish. Later production awards were generally zinc alloy, with a bronze or silver wash that often faded with wear and time.
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