Original German post WW2 - 1957 pattern ribbon bar & miniature: Luftwaffe Close Combat Badge in Gold, IN PERFECT CONDITION, A VERY RARE MINIATURE - HARD TO FIND, SIZE: cca 25 mm
FEW FACTS ABOUT 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:
Luftwaffe Close Combat Badge - On the 3rd of November, 1944, Herman Göring created new decorations for the men of the Luftwaffe, one of which was the Luftwaffe Close Combat Clasp. The order translated: "The Reichsmarschall des Reiches and Commander of the Luftwaffe. 1574. Statutes for the introduction of a close combat clasp and Panzer combat award of the luftwaffe.Due to the increasing frequency that Luftwaffe troops, esp. Fallschirmjaegers, are involved in ground combat on all fronts and Brennpunkten (hot spots) and in view of the kind of combat they are involved in, I have decided to introduce a number of new kinds of Luftwaffe combat badges. To compliment the Armies version, I institute as a visible award for courage in close combat, using small arms and close combat means, and as a incentive to devotion to duty "the Luftwaffe close combat clasp" and for having proved oneself in combat as a member of a panzer, panzerrecon or Panzergrenadier unit of the Lufztwaffe "The Panzer combat award of the Luftwaffe". The award of the Luftwaffe combat badges is to go according to the supplied statutes. The responsible superior officers are to be held accountable for the following of these statutes. Manufacturing style will be dictated by the chef of the Personnel, equipment and NS leadership of the LW. HQ ofthe Ob.D.L. 3.11.44”. The basic shape of Close Combat Clasp was that of the Operational Flying Clasp minus the swastika at the bottom of the wreath. The eagle clutched a swastika, which had directly underneath it a bayonet and a hand grenade crossing each other. The Oakleaves wreath varied in color depending on the class of the award (Bronze, Silver, Gold), but the eagle was always oxidized silver. The badge was to be worn directly above the left breast pocket, and if the recipient was wearing a ribbon bar, it was to be 1cm above said device. One of the earliest Bronze awards was presented to Obergefreiter Albert Mählamann of the Herman Göring Division on the 19th of December, 1944. The next month, Hitler presented the first Gold award to an NCO. No information is currently available to the author on the documents of this badge. The badge was divided into three classes as follows: Class I – Bronze, earned after 15 days of close combat, reduced to 10 days if the candidate had been wounded. Class II – Silver, earned after 30 days of close combat, reduced to 20 days if the candidate had been wounded. Class III – Gold, earned after 50 days of close combat, reduced to 40 days if the candidate had been wounded. Because the award was instituted so late in the war retroactive serviced was recognized as follows: Eight Months of Service – five Combat days credit, twelve months of service – ten combat days credit and fifteen months of Service – fifteen combat days credit. Luftwaffe personnel who received the Gold class were entitled to a twenty-one day furlough, a rare luxury in the fifth year of the war.