Original German post WW2 / 1957 pattern Luftwaffe Paratrooper Badge miniature stickpin, IN NICE CONDITION - GENUINE ST&L (STEINHAUER UND LUECK) MADE EXAMPLE, ATTRACTIVE MINIATURE STICKPIN, SIZE: 16 mm, A VERY GOOD EXAMPLE
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:
Wehrmacht Army (Heer) Paratrooper Badge - On January 29th 1936, it was determined that volunteers from I./RGG ( 1st Batl. Regiment "General Göring" ) would make up the cadre of the first paratrooper training class. Later, in March of that year, the Luftwaffe opened its first jump school at Stendal (Borstel) under Capt. Immans. The first training course consisted of 24 volunteers, and lasted for two months (May 4th to July 3rd). The first jump licenses (Fallschirmschützenschein) were awarded the day after the course was completed (July 4th, 1936), with Major Bruno Bräuer receiving license number one (1). The first paratrooper badges (Fallschirmschützenabzeichen (Luftwaffe)) would not be awarded until November 5th of that year. On October 4, 1936 the Army ordered the institution of its own parachute company, a Fallschirm Infanterie Kompanie. The call went out for volunteers in early March 1937, and on April 1st men who had passed both the psychological and physical exams (only 7 out of each 30 volunteers passed) began arriving at the "Albrecht der Bär" barracks in Stendal. The army did not have a training facility of its own, thus they utilized the already established Luftwaffe facility at Stendal/Borstel (under Olt. Bassange) exclusively. Actual jump training commenced in early June 1937, and only 3 out of each 7 trainees passed the jump course. On June 1st, 1938, the Fallschirm Infanterie Kompanie was officially expanded (per order HM38 No.286 dated March 15th 1938) to the Fallschim Infanterie Batallion. In addition to the Nachrichten Zug and the Pionier Zug, there were 4 infantry companies (the 4th being "heavy" (machine guns and mortars)) under Major Heidrich and Capt. Prager. 1st Company (under Olt. von Brandis), 2nd Company (under Olt. Huebner), 3nd Company (under Lt. Pagels) and 4th Company (under Olt. Pelz ). On November 4th, 1938, the Fallschirm Infanterie Batallion moved from Stendal to their new barracks (the Rosalies Kaserne) in Braunschweig. On September 1st, 1937, Generaloberst Frhr. von Fritsch, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, authorized the Army paratrooper qualification badge ( Fallschirmschützenabzeichen (Heer) ) for members of the Fallschirm Infanterie Kompanie. The first badges were awarded later that month, in the afternoon of September 10th, by Hauptmann Zahn and Olt.Pelz during the fall maneuvers at Mecklenburg. A little over 170 badges were awarded on this day, and Generalleutnant Roese (who signed the badge award documents) personally awarded badges to Hauptmann Zahn and Olt.Pelz. Members of the Fallschirm Infanterie Bataillon continued to wear their original issue Army paratrooper badges after the transfer to the Luftwaffe on 1.1.39. On December 18th 1943 all former members of the Fallschirm Infanterie Bataillon were officially awarded the Luftwaffe version of the paratrooper badge, but very few opted to wear it in place of their original Army badges. The first Army Paratrooper badge produced by CE Juncker of Berlin was what is referred to today as the 1st pattern badge with cut out talon. The badge was die struck in aluminum and had an anodized finish. Unique features of original 1st pattern badges are the absence (in nearly all cases) of the flat die plate (or beard) under the Wehrmachtadlers beak and the existence (in all cases) of the early CE Juncker stamp on the reverse of the diving eagle. Upon realization that the die of the 1st pattern badge could not be successfully reconfigured, a new die was designed and produced. The talons on the diving eagle were now slightly enlarged and held close to its body (not extended like the first pattern) thus greatly reducing the likelihood that they would be sheered off during the strike process. Another new feature was the existence of the flat die plate (or beard) which extended from the Wehrmachtadlers beak to its right shoulder. It is assumed that this measure was taken to reinforce the beak area, and perhaps to save the time needed to do the delicate tooling to this area after the strike. The 2nd pattern, just like the 1st, featured only an anodized finish. The major noticeable difference when looking at the reverse of the 2nd pattern badge in comparison to the 1st pattern) is the lack of a makers mark. In nearly all cases these badges were not marked (as of the writing of this article, the author has only seen one (1) 2nd pattern badge with the CE Juncker stamp thought to be original) Other features (barrel hinge, "C" form catch from round stock wire, domed rivets remain the same) 2nd pattern badges were produced with both pointed and rounded tip pins. Dimensions of these badges were approximately 55mm x 42mm and weighed approximately 12.5 grams. The Army Paratroopers Badge (now called Fallschirmschutzenabzeichen des Heeres) was re-instituted on June 01, 1943 with the formation of the 15th ( Fallschirmjager ) Kompanie of Brandenburg Regiment 4 ( on April 01, 1943 ). The badge was produced Feinzink by CE Juncker of Berlin with the same dies used to manufacturer the 2nd model badge in aluminum. Dimensions were the same as the 2nd pattern badge in aluminum and the weight was approximately 29.5 grams. Notice that the 1943 pattern badge, like the 2nd model aluminum, was also unmarked. There were some differences, however. Both the barrel hinge and "C" form catch were first affixed to a flat plate ( oblong for the barrel hinge and circular for the "C" form catch ) then adhered to the reverse of the wreath ( not to the reverse of the wreath directly as with the aluminum badges ). The finish used on these post reinstatement badges was an "economy wash", similar to what was used on other mid-war badges. Notice the "bubbling" on the reverse of the diving eagle, which is characteristic of know originals.