Original German post WW2 version / 1957 pattern ribbon bar: Iron Cross First Class, Iron Cross II. Class, Luftwaffe Anti-Aircraft Combat (Flak) Badge, Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge & Wound Badge in Black, VERY NICE CONDITION, PERFECT PIN DEVICE, ATTRACTIVE & DETAILED MINIATURES
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 AWARDS:
Iron Cross (German: Eisernes Kreuz) was a military decoration of the Kingdom of Prussia, and later of Germany, which was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and first awarded on 10 March 1813 in Breslau. In addition to during the Napoleonic Wars, the Iron Cross was awarded during the Franco-German War, the First World War, and the Second World War. The Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for performing military functions. Two examples, the civilian pilot Hanna Reitsch was awarded the Iron Cross First Class for her bravery as a test pilot during the Second World War and Melitta Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg (also a German female test pilot) was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class. The Iron Cross was also used as the symbol of the German Army from 1871 to 1915, when it was replaced by a simpler Greek cross. In 1956, the Iron Cross became the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces. The traditional design is black and this design is used on armored vehicles and aircraft. A newer design in blue and silver is used as the emblem in other contexts. The Iron Cross is a black four-pointed cross with white trim, with the arms widening towards the ends, similar to a cross pattée. It was designed by the neoclassical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and reflects the cross borne by the Teutonic Knights in the 14th century. The ribbon for the 1813, 1870 and 1914 Iron Cross (2nd Class) was black with two thin white bands, the colours of Prussia. The noncombatant version of this award had the same medal, but the black and white colours on the ribbon were reversed. Initially the Iron Cross was worn with the blank side out. This did not change until 1838 when the sprig facing could be presented. Since the Iron Cross was issued over several different periods of German history, it was annotated with the year indicating the era in which it was issued. For example, an Iron Cross from the First World War bears the year "1914", while the same decoration from the Second World War is annotated "1939". The reverse of the 1870, 1914 and 1939 series of Iron Crosses have the year "1813" appearing on the lower arm, symbolizing the year the award was created. The 1813 decoration also has the initials "FW" for King Frederick William III, while the next two have a "W" for the respective kaisers, Wilhelm I and Wilhelm II. The final version shows a swastika. It was also possible for a holder of the 1914 Iron Cross to be awarded a second or higher grade of the 1939 Iron Cross. In such cases, a "1939 Clasp" (Spange) would be worn on the original 1914 Iron Cross. (A similar award was made in 1914 but was quite rare, since there were few in service who held the 1870 Iron Cross.) For the First Class award the Spange appears as an eagle with the date "1939" that was pinned above the Cross. Although two separate awards, in some cases the holders soldered them together. A cross was the symbol of the Teutonic Knights (a heraldic cross pattée), and the cross design (but not the specific decoration) has been the symbol of Germany's armed forces (now the Bundeswehr) since 1871. The Iron Cross was founded on 10 March 1813 in Breslau and awarded to soldiers during the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon. It was first awarded to Karl August Ferdinand von Borcke on 21 April 1813. King Wilhelm I of Prussia authorized further awards on 19 July 1870, during the Franco-German War. Recipients of the 1870 Iron Cross who were still in service in 1895 were authorized to purchase a 25-year clasp consisting of the numerals "25" on three oak leaves. The Iron Cross was reauthorized by Emperor Wilhelm II on 5 August 1914, at the start of the First World War. During these three periods, the Iron Cross was an award of the Kingdom of Prussia, although given Prussia's pre-eminent place in the German Empire formed in 1871, it tended to be treated as a generic German decoration. The 1813, 1870, and 1914 Iron Crosses had three grades: Iron Cross 2nd Class (German: Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse), Iron Cross 1st Class (German: Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse), Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, often simply Großkreuz). Although the medals of each class were identical, the manner in which each was worn differed. Employing a pin or screw posts on the back of the medal, the Iron Cross First Class was worn on the left side of the recipient's uniform. The Grand Cross and the Iron Cross Second Class were suspended from different ribbons. The Grand Cross was intended for senior generals of the German Army. An even higher decoration, the Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross, was awarded only twice, to Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher in 1813 and to Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg in 1918. A third award was planned for the most successful German general during the Second World War, but was not made after the defeat of Germany in 1945. The Iron Cross 1st Class and the Iron Cross 2nd Class were awarded without regard to rank. One had to already possess the 2nd Class in order to receive the 1st Class (though in some cases both could be awarded simultaneously). The egalitarian nature of this award contrasted with those of most other German states (and indeed many other European monarchies), where military decorations were awarded based on the rank of the recipient. For example, Bavarian officers received various grades of that Kingdom's Military Merit Order (Militär-Verdienstorden), while enlisted men received various grades of the Military Merit Cross (Militär-Verdienstkreuz). Prussia did have other orders and medals which were awarded on the basis of rank, and even though the Iron Cross was intended to be awarded without regard to rank, officers and NCOs were more likely to receive it than junior enlisted soldiers. In the First World War, approximately four million Iron Crosses of the lower grade (2nd Class) were issued, as well as around 145,000 of the higher grade (1st Class). Exact numbers of awards are not known, since the Prussian archives were destroyed during the Second World War. The multitude of awards reduced the status and reputation of the decoration. Among the holders of the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and 1st Class was Adolf Hitler, who held the rank of Gefreiter. Hitler can be seen wearing the award on his left breast, as was standard, in many photographs. The straight-armed Balkenkreuz, the emblem of the Wehrmacht, first used in a narrower form on Luftstreitkräfte aircraft in mid-April 1918, and as shown here, as it appeared on German planes, tanks, and other vehicles during the Second World War.
Luftwaffe 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 C.E.Juncker 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) and 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).
Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge was designed by Professor von Weech of Berlin and instituted by Hermann Goring on March 31, 1942 to honor Air Force personnel that took part in ground military actions. Individuals who were previously awarded the General Assault Badge, Infantry Assault Badge or the Tank Assault Badge, exchanged them for this badge at this point. The Ground Assault Badge consists of a Luftwaffe eagle flying above a storm cloud, which generates a lightening bolt that strikes rough ground. In most cases, the Luftwaffe eagle is a separate, stamped nickel piece and is riveted on top of an eagles’ outline on the badge. This can either be done by three domed rivets, two domed rivets, or one flush rivet. On some late war badges, the eagle is cast as an integral part of the badge itself, with no need for a separate piece. The eagles' wings protrude outside the wreath of oak leaves that surrounds it. These badges were produced with both silver and darkened wreathsAt the base of the badge there is a tie which has on each side a single half oak leaf rising into the seven bunches of three oak leaves that make up the wreath. The bunches end tip to tip at the badges apex. The wreath is separated from the storm cloud by three voided areas located on each side and above the cloud. The badge measures 56mm by 43mm and the width of the wreath varies between 7 and 7.5mm. The eagle has a wingspan of 41.5mm and the height of the eagle including the swastika is 21mm. The reverse of the badge is flat and can carry a variety of hinges. There are three separate types. The first is a conventional hinge that is let into the back of the badge and then has a piece of the badge turned over at each end. It usually has a broad bellied pin. The second type consists of a conventional hinge, which is soldered directly onto the badge. The third has a hinge that has the integral hook cast in the badge during manufacture. The second and third type, have needle pins held by a shepherds hook attachment, or a barrel attachment, which includes a “C” shaped hook attached to the badge by a plate, or recessed into the badge. The Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge was awarded in either a black leatherette box with a silk liner and blue velvet base, or a paper packet. An authorizing document was presented with it, and the proper annotations were made in the soldiers’ Wehrpass and Soldbuch. As with most Wehrmacht War Badges, the decoration was worn on the left side of the uniform.## The award was presented to Luftwaffe field divisions who were engaged in combat along side their comrades in the land armed forces. There were twenty-two fully equipped Luftwaffe field divisions, among them the famed and elite “Herman Goring” division, who were under the direct command of the Goring himself until July of 1944. The Divisions were controversial as many in the Wehrmacht command thought them a drain of precious resources that could have been better utilized if employed in the ever retreating Heer forces. Even though there were skeptics, it must be stated that the better trained Luftwaffe divisions gave a good account of themselves in land combat alongside their brothers at arms. In order to receive the Ground Combat Badge, the following criteria needed to meet: involvement in three separate engagements on separate days, being wounded in an engagement, being awarded a decoration in an engagement, a member killed in an action was automatically awarded the badge. Paratroopers and assault gunners could also receive this award provided they met the above criteria. As the war continued, a need to decorate the Luftwaffe ground aces arose and on November 11, 1944, the Luftwaffe numbered badges were introduced. These badges were slightly larger and included a box at the base of the badge with the number that represented the number of attacks the recipient has participated in. Paratrooper and gun assault units could also receive the number badges if they meet the criteria. Due to its late institution these badges are extremely rare, in fact there is debate as to whether or t they were ever actually presented.
Wound Badge (German: das Verwundetenabzeichen) was a German military award for wounded or frost-bitten soldiers of Imperial German Army in World War I, the Reichswehr between the wars, and the Wehrmacht, SS and the auxiliary service organizations during the Second World War. After March 1943, due to the increasing number of Allied bombings, it was also awarded to injured civilians. It was ultimately one of the most common of all Third Reich decorations, yet also one of the most highly prized, since it had to be "bought with blood". The badge had three versions: black (representing Iron), for those wounded once or twice by hostile action (including air raids), or frost-bitten in the line of duty; silver for being wounded three or four times, or suffering loss of a hand, foot or eye from hostile action (also partial loss of hearing), facial disfigurement or brain damage via hostile action; and in gold (which could be awarded posthumously) for five or more times wounded, total blindness, "loss of manhood", or severe brain damage via hostile action. Badges exist in pressed steel, brass and zinc, as well as some base metal privately commissioned versions. Those of the First World War were also produced in a cutout pattern. All versions of the Wound Badge were worn on the lower left breast of the uniform or tunic. The badge was worn below all other awards on the left. It is thought that more than 5 million were awarded during World War II. In 1957, a revised version of the Wound Badge was authorised for wear; however, the previous type could still be worn if the swastika was removed (for example by grinding). The unaltered Second World War version is shown in the illustration to the right. Wound Badges were primarilly manufactured by the Vienna mint, and by the firm Klein & Quenzer. At first, the Wound badge in Black was stamped from sheet brass, painted semi-matt black, and had a hollow reverse with a needle pin attachment. From 1942, Steel was used to make the badges, which made them prone to rust. The Wound Badge in silver was made (before 1942) from silver-plated brass, and (after 1942) from laquered zinc, and had a solid reverse with either a needle pin or a broad flat pin bar. The Wound Badge in Gold was a gilded version of the Wound Badge in Silver.