Original German post WW2 version / 1957 pattern ribbon bar: Iron Cross II. Class, Panzer Badge in Bronze (for Panzergrenadier Troops) & War Merit Cross With Swords II. Class, IN 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:
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.
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.
The War Merit Cross (Kriegsverdienstkreuz) and War Merit Medal (Kriegsverdienstmedaille) was a decoration of Nazi Germany during the Second World War, which could be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel. It was reissued in 1957 by the Bundeswehr in a De-Nazified version for veterans. This award was created by Adolf Hitler in 1939 as a successor to the non-combatant Iron Cross which was used in earlier wars (same medal but with a different ribbon). The award was graded the same as the Iron Cross: War Merit Cross Second Class, War Merit Cross First Class, and Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross. The award had two variants: with swords given to soldiers for exceptional service in battle above and beyond the call of duty (but not worthy of an Iron Cross which was more a bravery award), and without swords for meritorious service behind the lines which could also be awarded to civilians. Recipients had to have the lower grade of the award before getting the next level. There was also another version below the 2nd class simply called the War Merit Medal (German: Kriegsverdienstmedaille), set up in 1940 for civilians in order to offset the large number of 2nd class without swords being awarded. It was usually given to those workers in factories who significantly exceeded work quotas. One notable winner of the War Merit Cross was William Joyce (aka Lord Haw-Haw) who received both the second and first class, both without swords. Recipients of the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross customarily received the medal from holders of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, to symbolize the link between the combat soldier and their supporters, who helped maintain the war effort. There was one extra grade of the War Merit Cross, which was created at the suggestion of Albert Speer: The Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross in Gold, but this was never officially placed on the list of national awards as it came about in 1945 and there was no time to officially promulgate the award before the war ended. The Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross in Gold (without swords) was awarded 'on paper' to two recipients on 20 April 1945: Franz Hahne and Karl-Otto Saur. The ribbon of the War Merit Cross was in red-white-black-white-red; that was, the red and black colors being reversed from the ribbon of the World War II version of the Iron Cross. The ribbon for the War Merit Medal was similar, but with a narrow red vertical red strip in the center of the black field. Soldiers who earned the War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords wore a small crossed-swords device on the ribbon. The War Merit Cross 1st Class was a pin-backed medal worn on the pocket of the tunic (like the Iron Cross 1st Class). The ribbon of the War Merit Cross 2nd Class could be worn like the ribbon of the Iron Cross 2nd Class (through the third buttonhole). Combat soldiers tended to hold the War Merit Cross in low regard, referring to its wearers as being in 'Iron Cross Training', and prior to 28 September 1941, the War Merit Cross could not be worn with a corresponding grade of the Iron Cross, which took precedence. A total of 118 awards of the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross with swords, and 137 awards of the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross without swords were awarded. Considering the relative rarity of the award compared with the grades of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, it took on extra meaning. For example, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring made a concerted effort to get Hitler to award him this order, much to Hitler's annoyance. In response, Hitler outlined a series of criteria governing the awarding of this decoration and the philosophy of such awards, and directed that "prominent party comrades" were not to be awarded with the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross (or similar decorations), and withdrew the proposed awards of this order to Gauleiter Erich Koch and State Secretary Karl Hanke. Directing his comments at Göring personally, Hitler ordered that such attempts to gain this award be stopped (from a letter dated 27 August 1943 from Führerhauptquartier). Also, the scarcity of the award of the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross compared with the Kinghts Cross of the Iron Cross gave it an "air of exclusiveness" it did not really deserve, as it ranked below the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. Six persons received two Knights Cross' of the War Merit Cross (one with Swords and one without Swords): Walter Brugmann, Julius Dorpmuller, Karl-Otto Saur, Albin Sawatzki, Walter Schreiber, and Walter Rohlandt.