Original German post WW2 / 1957 pattern Luftwaffe Reconnaissance, Air-Sea Rescue and Meteorological Squadron Clasp in Gold, IN VERY NICE CONDITION, PERFECT PIN DEVICE / NICE ST&L (STEINHAUER UND LUECK) MADE LATER EXAMPLE (WITH OPEN HINGEBLOCK), THE BADGE IS RARELY SEEN
FEW FACTS ABOUT THE 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:
The Reconnaissance, Air-Sea Rescue and Meteorological Squadron Clasp - To recognise the type and number of operational flights undertaken by aircrew and certain other Luftwaffe personnel, the FRONTFLUGSPANGE (literally "Front Flight Clasp") was progressively introduced from January 1941. Commonly referred to by collectors as Flight Bars, Operational Flying Clasps or Squadron Clasps, these badges consist of a central device encircled by a wreath of laurel leaves set between two 'wings' of oak leaves. In most designs, the ubiquitous swastika is set at the base of the wreath. Clasps measure around 7.5cm x 2.5cm (3" x 1"). The central device distinguishes between the types of flight undertaken. The colour of the clasp, with the exception of the centre which is usually blackened, identifies the number of flights achieved. Thus, the BRONZE clasp was awarded for 20 flights SILVER clasp was awarded for 60 flights GOLD clasp was awarded for 100 flights. Note that a flight was considered "operational" if the enemy was engaged or enemy airspace was penetrated by a given distance. If the number of hours in the air was exceeded by a given amount a single 'sortie' could also be counted as more than one flight towards an award of the Operational Flying Clasp. The central device of the eagle's head facing to the right denotes the award to Reconnaissance, Air-Sea Rescue and Meteorological flyers. In this unmarked example note the "star pendant" attached to the basic bar ... as operational flights quickly began to exceed the 110 represented by a Gold award, it became necessary to recognise these achievements by enhancing the badge. Introduced in June 1942, the pendant represents the completion of the following numbers of operational flights: Transport and Glider Squadrons - 500 Dive Bomber, Long Range Day Fighters, Air to Ground Support Squadrons - 400 Bomber, Air-Sea Rescue, Meteorological Squadrons - 300 Reconnaissance, Night fighter Squadrons - 250. The other feature of this badge to note is that it is manufactured from zinc alloy. These badges are very commonly found with the original color wash faded, or indeed, non-existent, having been absorbed over time by the base metal. Author Adrian Forman describes these as "crude", and certainly they command less money on the collectors' market. However, they generally maintain a solid standard of construction with sharp detail and serve to inform today's generation of the extreme demands on resources which occur in a war economy - if anything, they are historically interesting!