Original German Army / Wehrmacht post WW2 (1957 pattern) Infantry Assault Badge in Silver, IN VERY NICE CONDITION, GENUINE ST&L (STEINHAUER UND LUECK) VERY EARLY (LATE 50'S) EXAMPLE WITH CLOSED HINGE BLOCK & TYPCIAL FIRST PATTERN PIN DEVICE, NICE EARLY BADGE - NOT OFTEN SEEN
FEW FACTS ABOUT THE 1957 PATTERN GERMAN 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:
Heer Infantry Combat Badge, more commonly referred to as the Infantry Assault Badge, was designed by C. E. Junker of Berlin and instituted on December 20, 1939 by Generaloberst von Brauchitsch. The initial class was instituted in silver and decorated foot infantry who participated in combat action earning a degree of experience that qualified them for the badge. A separate class, in Bronze, was instituted on June 1, 1940. The Bronzed class had criteria similar to the requirements the Silver. There was, however, one notable distinction; The status of the troops, bronzed meant motorized Panzer troops, silver meant foot infantry. The Infantry Assault Badge consists of an oval wreath of oak leaves, made up of four leaves on each side of the arch. Every oak leaf has two acorns, one on each side of the base of the leaf. Centered at the bottom of the badge is a ribbon tied around the wreath, with five raised pellets in a vertical position at the center of this ribbon. The Badges most distinguishable feature is the K98 rifle positioned diagonally across award. The butt of this rifle, positioned on the right, is slightly below the wreath. It leans to the left, with its fixed bayonet protruding through the last of the four oak leaves. The rifle sling forms a loop, hanging from the stock to the butt. Surmounting the wreath is the national emblem; an eagle with down swept wings clutching a swastika in its talons. The badge has intricate detailing from the eagle down to the bolt on the rifle. The Infantry Assault Badge measures 46mm across and was slightly convex with either a solid or hollow back, and could be die stamped or cast. The reverse had a vertical pin with a hinge that was attached to the back of the eagle, with a retaining "C" clip which retained the clip. The method of attachment for the clip varied, some were welded or soldered while others had a more elaborate scheme where the pin sits in a recessed location the edges of which are crimped in order to hold the hinge in place (pictured above in the Bronzed version). Though the majority of Infantry Assault Badges are unmarked, manufacturer marked pieces are often found. The award was also available in a lapel pin miniature version to be worn whilst in civilian clothing.