Original German post WW2 / 1957 pattern Luftwaffe Ground Attack Badge, IN VERY NICE CONDITION - PERFECT PIN DEVICE, GOOD ST&L (STEINHAUER UND LUECK) MADE VERY EARLY EXAMPLE WITH CLOSED HINGEBLOCK & TYPICAL 1ST PATTERN PIN DEVICE, ATTRACTIVE PIECE FROM THE LATE 50'S - HARD TO FIND
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 AWARD:
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.