Original German post WW2 / 1957 pattern Heer Anti Aircraft Flak Gunner War Badge, IN VERY CONDITION, GENUINE ST&L (STEINHAUER UND LUECK) MADE LATER EXAMPLE (OPEN HINGEBLOCK), WITH GOOD FINISH, THE BADGE IS NOT OFTEN 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 Wehrmacht Anti-aircraft Combat Badge institution was ordered on January 10, 1941 by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring. It had been designed by W.E. Peekhaus of Berlin in the summer of 1940. The badge consists of an 8.8cm anti aircraft gun, surrounded by an oak leaves crown, surmounted by a soldered or riveted Luftwaffe eagle. On the reverse there is a thin needle round pin. In most cases, a rounded cut out portion can be observed under the gun barrel. The badge was fabricated in tombac later in zinc. Height : 56.3mm to 56.9mm, Wide : 43.5mm to 46mm, Eagle : 39.9mm to 40.9mm, Weight: 26g to 41.8g. On January 1941, the firm er of Berlin was in charge of production, then other firms followed. Other makers are: BREHMER MARKNEUKIRCHEN G.B.(Gustav Brehmer Markneukirchen), C.E. JUNCKER BERLIN SW (this type exist with no mark), A (Assmann & Sohn) W in a circle (Werstein Jena), WH (Walter Henlein ) G, WL (Gebrüder Wegerhoff Lüdenscheid), No maker’s mark, some in zinc. The badge was presented in a cardboard dark blue box marked with gold letters "Flak = Kampfabz" or "Luftwaffen = Flak = Kampfabz". The upper lid is dragon blue silk or paper, the down portion is of blue velvet or flocage. It was worn on the left uniform upper pocket. It was presented with a certificate and its attribution was registered in the personnel documents (Soldbuch, Wehrpass). This badge was awarded in recognition for anti aircraft or ground combats, up to the institution of the ground combat badge. All air defense artillery personnel (including radar control units and search light units) were eligible for the badge. The attribution was based on points addition, and 16 points were necessary. They were earned as follows: 1 point - First detection of incoming aircraft by means of 150cm or 60 cm search lights by acoustical means, and following the aircraft to another search light team. 2 points - Participation in the downing of an enemy aircraft my means of ground based fire (AA batteries primarily, but it could also be Machine gun or rifle fire). Participation in the downing of an enemy aircraft by means of blinding the aircraft with search lights. 4 points - Same action as above, but without participation of other batteries. The badge could also be presented for single meritorious actions or distinctive leadership. The Battery Commander could be awarded the badge if the half of his Battery crews were already decorated. The conditions of attribution changed during the war. Indeed, the badge was awarded for 3 shot down aircrafts or for 5 combat actions (even without shot down aircraft).