Original German Luftwaffe post WW2 / 1957 pattern Air Force Luftwaffe Pilot Observer Badge, IN VERY GOOD CONDITION - PERFECTLY WORKING PIN DEVICE / NICE ST&L (STEINHAUER UND LUECK) MADE LATER PERIOD EXAMPLE WITH OPEN HINGEBLOCK
FEW FACTS ABOUT 1957 PATTERN AWARDS:
In 1957 the West German government authorised replacement Iron Crosses with an Oak Leaf Cluster in place of the swastika, similar to the Iron Crosses of 1813, 1870, and 1914, which could be worn by World War II Iron Cross recipients. The 1957 law also authorised de-Nazified versions of most other World War II–era decorations (except those specifically associated with Nazi Party organizations, such as SS Long Service medals, or with the expansion of the German Reich, such as the medals for the annexation of Austria, the Sudetenland, and the Memel region). The main government contract to manufacture and supply these new de-nazified WW2 1957 official decorations went to the world famous German firm Steinhauer & Lueck, Luedenscheid Germany. Knights Crosses, Iron Crosses , Wound Badges, Tank Assault Badges etc were re-designed by Steinhauer & Lück - often with the oak-leaf spray replacing the swastika, with S&L having the sole patent rights to all WW2 1957 German decorations. S&L did not have the whole monopoly on medal making, other famous firms such as Deschler & Sohn, BH Maher and Juncker also manufactured these new German decorations. Lüdenscheid is situated between the cities Dortmund and Bonn. It was here that one of the youngest medal firms was founded in 1889 by August Steinhauer and Gustav Adolf Lück. The first production began in a cellar, the customer base continued to increase. A property was bought at 51 Hochstrasse which is still home for this famous company today. During WW2 Steinhauer & Lück produced medals and badges, like the famous Knights Cross and many other types of medals and badges. In 1957 this company was awarded the contract to produce all the newly re-designed legal WW2 1957 de-nazified decorations, plus the contract to manufacture all of Germany's official decorations including Germany's highest order the Bundesverdienstkreuz. Only a very limited number of original WW2 1957 medals are still produced, mainly Iron Crosses, German Cross Gold & Silver & Wound Badges and are considered 100% genuine by the German Government.
HISTORY OF THE AWARD:
Luftwaffe Pilot / Observer Badge - Herman Göring, replacing the Aircrew Badge that had existed since 1933, officially instituted the Combined Pilot-Observer Badge on January 19, 1935. As the name implies, the badge was to be awarded to personnel who qualified as both pilot and observer. The badge's measurements and design are identical in every respect to the Pilot‘s Badge. It consists on an eagle in flight, surrounded by an oval laurel and oak leaves wreath. The difference between the Pilot-Observer and the Pilot's badge is that the eagle is polished silver and the wreath finished in gold. The eagle is soldered to the wreath by 2 round rivets, and sometimes has a space between the claws while others not. As the other Luftwaffe badges, it was manufactured in tombak, aluminum, and zinc. A cloth version existed, with embroidered bullion or cotton threads (pictured below). and a Pilots-Observer Badge with Diamonds was also awarded. The badge was rendered in a presentation case covered with simulated dark blue leather with the designation printed in gold letters on the lid (pictured above). The inner lining varied according to the manufacture, from satin and velvet to flocage and paper. It was entered in the “solbuch” and a document accompanied the award. As with most War Badges, the Pilot-Observer Badge was worn on the uniform upper left pocket. As mentioned in the introduction, the award was presented to all Luftwaffe personnel who qualified as both a pilot and an observer. It was also awarded in special cases to foreigners in recognition of special services to the Luftwaffe, and was usually presented to attaches from Axis Allies nation upon their return to their home. The number of presentations is not known to the authors at this time.