Original German post WW2 version / 1957 pattern ribbon bar: Eastern Front Medal & Long Service Award for 4 Years' Service, VERY NICE CONDITION, PERFECT PIN DEVICE, ATTRACTIVE & DETAILED MINIATURE
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 AWARDS:
The Eastern Front Medal, (Winterschlacht Im Osten), more commonly known as the Ostmedaille was instituted on May 26, 1942 to mark service on the German Eastern Front (World War II) during the period November 15, 1941 to April 15, 1942. It was commissioned to recognise the hardship endured by German and Axis Powers personnel, combatant or non-combatant, during the especially bitter Russian winter of '41/'42. It was wryly called the "Gefrierfleischorden" (Frozen Meat Medal) by the Heer, Luftwaffe & Waffen-SS personnel to whom it was awarded. Qualification for the award: 14 days served in active combat within the specified area between November 15, 1941 – April 15, 1942, 60 days served in specified area between November 15, 1941 – April 15, 1942, non-combat, wounded in action, killed in action (posthumous award) or injury caused by frostbite (or another injury related to the climate) severe enough to warrant the issue of a Wound Badge. Unique in that its designer was a contemporary serving soldier, SS-Unterscharführer Ernst Krause, the medal was held in high regard by all branches of the Wehrmacht. Measuring 36mm in diameter, of (generally) zinc construction, the medal was given a gun-metal coloured coating. On one side an eagle grasps a Swastika and the reverse features the text "Winterschlacht Im Osten 1941/42" featuring a crossed sword and branch below the text. The helmet and outer ring were finished in a polished silver effect. A ribbon that accompanied the medal was coloured red, white and black (symbolic of blood, snow and death). The medal and ribbon were usually presented in a paper packet, but these were invariably discarded. Over 3 million were made by more than 26 confirmed firms by the time the order was officially decommissioned by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht on September 4, 1944. The medal itself was not worn on the combat tunic as per the 1st class Iron Cross & War Merit Cross for example, but worn as a ribbon bar, or as the ribbon alone stitched through the second from top tunic buttonhole as per 2nd Class Iron Cross and War Merit Cross.
Long Service Award (Wehrmacht-Dienstauszeichnungen) - A year after the reinstitution of the draft Germany reinstated the Long Service Awards (March 16th, 1936). All members of the Armed Forces were eligible for the award which was bestowed in five classes; four years, twelve years, eighteen years, twenty five years and fifty years. The four year service medal was mat silver and had on the obverse the Wehrmacht Eagle and the inscription "Treue Diesnste in der Wehrmacht" (Loyal Service in the Armed Forces). On the reverse it bore only the number 4 in the center surrounded by oak leaves. The twelve year award was the same design but slightly larger, in bronze, and with the number "12" replacing the "4" on the reverse. Those who served eighteen years were presented a silver Maltese cross featuring the Wehrmacht eagle in the centre obverse and the number "18" on reverse. The same design was maintained for the next and highest class, awarded to those veterans who served twenty five years. The cross in this instance was gold, larger, and naturally had "25" on the reverse. A special grade for 40 years of service was also approved; This was an oak leaves set which was worn on the ribbon of the 25 years award. All levels of the award were held on blue ribbons with the appropriate branch of service attached to it. It was either the spread wing eagle for the Army and Navy or the flying eagle for the Air Force. Only two long service awards were to be worn at the same time. The 4 and 12 year classes were obviously to be worn together, but once the individual received the 25 year class, he would wear it with the 4 year class, and if the 40 year class were achieved then it would be worn with the 12 year class. The award was worn as part of a group or in the ribbon bar for daily wear. During its early years of existence the award was normally constructed of German silver and heavily plated, but from 1942 on it was made from gold or silver washed zinc. During the last year of the war, presentation of the award ceased.