Genuine German post WW2 / 1957 pattern Tank Battle Badge in Silver (Panzerkampfabzeichen), IN PERFECT CONDITION WITH INTACT PIN DEVICE, MAKER: STEINHAUER UND LUECK (ST&L), VERY EARLY (1957 - 1960) EXAMPLE WITH TYPICAL FIRST PATTERN PIN, A REALLY GOOD DETAILED PIECE WITH ATTRACTIVE FINISH
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 Panzer Badge (German: Panzerkampfabzeichen) was a German medal awarded to armour troops during World War II. Introduced in World War II in December 1939 (although first introduced during the Great War and another version from the Spanish War). The Tank Combat Badge, or Panzer Badge, first existed in the German Army during World War I, and was later issued again after the Spanish Civil War. The Panzer Badge was introduced on December 20, 1939, in order to recognize the achievements of Panzer personnel who took part in armored assaults. It was designed by Wilhelm Ernst Peekhaus of Berlin, and was instituted by order of Generaloberst Walther von Brauchitsch. On June 6th, 1940, a separate class of the badge, in Bronze, was added in order to recognize the crews of armored vehicles other than tanks. The badge was presented in a paper packet with the name of the award printed on the outside. The award document that was awarded with it was the common type that had the particulars of the recipient (rank, name) and the authorizing signature of an officer. The Panzer Badge was worn on the left tunic pocket. The Bronze Panzer Badge was authorized for armored personnel and Panzer-Grenadier units equipped with armored vehicles. It was also to be presented to members of armored reconnaissance groups and rifle battalions of Panzer divisions. The authorization of these badges was usually done at a regimental or divisional level. The Panzer Badge consists of an oval with a wreath composed of five single oak leaves on one side and four on the other (the tank treads cover one). At the base of the oval is a tie, and on top is the Wehrmacht eagle, which has downspread wings and is clutching a swastika in its talons. In the center of the badge is a tank that passes from left to right. The left track of the tank goes into the wreath of oak leaves, and the area under the tank is grooved and made to look like grass. The reverse of the badge has three variations, the badge could either be hollow backed, flat, or semi-dished. The hollowed backed variation showed the imprint of the obverse, while the flat was just solid (pictured here). The semi-dished version has a slight indent that shows part of the outline of the tank. The badge was attached to the uniform via a hitch and hook, which were affixed to the reverse and had a couple variations.There was the conventional soldering of a small rectangular medal bar (pictured here), as well as the more rare type in which a circular ball hinge was inserted into the body of the badge. The tank in the center of the medal is a Panzerkampfwagen IV. Silver Panzer Badge criteria were, to have taken part in 3 armored assaults on 3 different days, to have been wounded in an assault, to have won a decoration for bravery in an assault. The Silver class was presented to tank commanders, gunners or radio operators while the bronze class was presented to the Panzer-Grenadier regiments, tank assault crew, armored recon units, and medical personnel who went into battle in armored vehicles. The award was authorized through the Panzer Division commander. As the war continued it became apparent that the single Panzer Badge was no longer adequate to recognize the growing number of veterans with years of experience, and in June of 1943 four new classes of the award were introduced for 25, 50, 75 and 100 engagements. These new badges consisted of an award that was similar to the unnumbered Panzer Badge, but with a box showing the Arabic number of the class at the base of the wreath. The badge was slightly larger for the 25 and 50 type with the 75 and 100 being larger still. The wreath in the case of the 25 and 50 was silvered, while in the 75 and 100 class it was gilt. The center of the badge (the tank) was made of a separate striking and chemically darkened in the case of the 25 and 50 class, while in the 75 and 100 class the tank was silvered. The reverse has several variations, and could either have a slim or wide pin. The 50 and 100 engagement badges were struck in a in a lightweight zinc alloy, this was so that the larger pin did not pull inconveniently on the tunic. The 200 engagements badge was unofficially created and was never officially documented. The Tank in the center of the medal is a Panzerkampfwagen III. The 1957 de-Nazified version lost the Eagle and the Swastika, but was otherwise unchanged. On November 3, 1944 Reichsmarshall Hermann Göring instituted the Luftwaffe Panzer Badge, to honor the panzer troops of the Luftwaffe field divisions. Until this time qualified Luftwaffe personnel were awarded the Panzer Badge. The order called for two basic forms of the badge. The first style consisted of silver oak leaf wreath and Luftwaffe flying eagle with a black tank in the center. These badges were awarded to tank commanders, gunners, drivers, radiomen, repair crews and their medical personnel. The second style was identical to the first except the oak leaf wreath was now black. Panzer grenadiers, armored reconnaissance units, and the medical personnel attached to them were all eligible for this style. The Luftwaffe Panzer Badge consists of an oval wreath composed of eight oak leaves on the left and, due to the tank protruding from the center, only seven oak leaves on the right. A ribbon is positioned on the base of the wreath and a Luftwaffe flying eagle is to be found at the top. The badge was presented in a paper packet with the name of the award printed on the outside. The award document that was to be awarded with it was the common type featuring the recipients name, rank, unit, and the authorizing signature of an officer. The Luftwaffe Panzer Badge was worn on the left pocket of the tunic and (as with all badges) could be worn on civilian clothes in miniature stickpin form. Both badge styles were awarded for three combat engagements on three different days. As mentioned above the silver wreathed versions were awarded to panzer crews, repair crews, and the medical personnel attached to them, while the black wreathed version was awarded to panzer grenadiers, armored recon units, and their medical personnel.