Pilot and Observer Badge 1st Form 1935

Dear collectors,

Sit down and grab a coffee. This time I have something for you what I haven´t seen in 25 years of collecting. A real stunner, so I hope you sit by now.

For some collectors this badge is the “Fliegerschaftsabzeichen” , for others it is the Pilot Badge with the funny wreath or the Air Crew Badge. But like Dietrich März wrote on the WAF, it is the Pilot and Observer Badge 1. Form “…..documented in the LVBl as „Gemeinsames Flugzeugführer und Beobachter Abzeichen“, founded on 19 January 1935 Form“.Pilot Badge first form 1935 cased (3)

Sure there were few of these “holy grails” in auctions around the world or old sales catalog, but not in the content of a whole estate of a Luftwaffe Pilot.

Well, now you think about the “second” form…..mmmhhh have I seen that one before? Sure you have , think about the Pilot Badge with the golden wreath, that’s the second form but the term “second form” got lost……somehow.

OK, back to business, to get the term right we talk about the “Flugzeugführer und Beobachter Abzeichen 1. Form“.

Pilot Badge first form 1935 cased (1)

But we want to have a close look on this bird over here. You see the badge with the large Eagle on it, looks like an attacking bird, in his fangs the swastika as always with Luftwaffen badges. The wreath in this case is not “egg shaped”  vertical like the Pilot Badge 2nd Form, it is oval and in my opinion very big.Pilot Badge first form 1935 backside

The Wreath is about 60,48 mm x 41,55 mmm. The weight is about 27,2 gramm. The pin is a round pin and about 48,8 mm long. On the backside you see a soldered round wire catch and a tube hinge, also soldered to the wreath in vertical manner. The 3 !!! rivets are like Juncker rivets used to be and they surly hold this big bird in place. The marker mark says “CEJ” on the backside of the bird, for most collectors THE company to collect Luftwaffen badges from.

Another nice feature is the blue case without any writing on it. Also a tough one to get but in this estate the badge came with it and so we have a nice combination.Pilot Badge first form 1935 case blue

Short excourse to the life of the pilot:

The man who archieved this badge was Hauptmann Günther Klünder, born on the 4th of August 1904. He served on Board of several ships of the Reichsmarine from 1927 – 1932. To name just a few of them : “Berlin” (light cruiser WW1), “Schlesien” (Battleship WW1), as well as the Torpedoboot “Albatros”.

Later on his career brought him to the “Seeübungsstaffel” (October 1933 – October 1934) and the “Erprobungsstelle Travemünde”

In 1937 he was Staffelkapitän with the Aufklärungsgruppe See 88 (A.S. 88) in the Legion Condor from February 1937 until July 1937, equipped with He-59 seaplanes.
On September 5th, 1939 – at the age of 32, he was shot down with a Junckers Ju 52 – D – AGZG by friendly fire (navy flak).

Let`s have look in the Soldbuch of the soldier. Here we found the entry for the badge with the number 1414 / 35 as you can see on the picture below.Pilot Badge first form 1935 Soldbuch

Together with the Pilot Badge there were different badges in his estate.

They were:

  1. Italian military pilot badge
  2. Medaille de la campana
  3. Wehrmacht Dienstauszeichnung 4. Klasse
  4. Deutsches Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern
  5. Cruz de guerra
  6. Officerscross Crown of Italy

We can also have a look on the historical background of the badge:

The combined pilot’s/observer’s qualification badge was originally introduced by Hermann Göring on January 19th,  1935, and featured a horizontally oval wreath encompassing a stylized national eagle in flight. On March 26th, 1935 the badge was redesigned (after 205 days) by altering the wreath to the vertical position as with the other Luftwaffe qualification badges. The badge was intended for award to personnel who had qualified for both the military pilot’s and the observer’s badges and had held at least one of the awards for a minimum of one year. This second pattern badge took the same form as the pilot’s badge, but with a golden wreath.Pilot Badge first form 1935 swas

Pilot Badge first form 1935 rivet

Pilot Badge first form 1935 catch

Pilot Badge first form 1935 tube hinge

Just to get it all together, in the summer of 1935 Hermann Göring established the combined pilot’s/observer’s badge with diamonds which was the highest Luftwaffe non-combatant award of WWII. It is estimated that roughly forty of the diamond badges were awarded.

We will never know why Hauptmann Klünder kept the first form and did not get the second form….or maybe had the second form on his uniform and it was lost when he shot down by friendly fire….

Finally said that the is one on the best estates I have seen in years and I like to quote Mr.  Dennis Suitner, the Boss of Trave-Militaria: THE HOLY GRAIL OF THE LUFTWAFFE. A big thanks in that direction to the Team of Trave-Militaria, who supported me with all the pictures and data to bring this topic in my blog.Pilot Badge first form 1935 whole estate

 

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Sascha

 

Close Combat Clasp GOLD cased

Dear collectors,

today I like to show you a close combat clasp. Ok, now you think you have seen a lot of them in different conditions and from different markers. But mostly we found on the market the bronze type close combat clasp or the silver type close combat clasp.

Close Combat Clasp FLL Gold cased

In this case we have a gold clasp in a really nice condition. As you can see on the pictures that this one was made by the company Friedrich Linden Lüdenscheid (marked FLL on the backside). Magnetic backing plate behind an eagle, a bayonet and a grenade motif.

Close Combat Clasp FLL Gold

Back plate is held in place by crimped sides at reverse. Also on the backside a broad, tapering horizontal pin, solid soldered hinge and a flat wire catch. Reverse well marked with embossed designer’s name and address, „Fec. W.E. Peekhaus Berlin“.

Close Combat Clasp FLL Gold backside

 

What really flashes me is the box. Just a card board box, at the edges put together by iron claws. On the top you can read “Nahkampfspange vergoldet ” – That means “Close Combat Clasp gilded” .

case – box Close Combat Clasp FLL Gold

The clasp was in a sort of protective paper in red color.  I know some medals which are wrapped in brown or nearly white protective paper, but red in not very often found.

 

case – box Close Combat Clasp FLL Gold

As far as we know, only the company Friedrich Linden Lüdenscheid made these boxes for their clasps. There a know card board boxes with „Nahkampfspange bronze“ / „Nahkampfspangen bronze“ / „Nahkampfspange versilbert“ on it.

For me a stunning set which is not very often for sale or even to see in the collector’s scene.

case – box Close Combat Clasp FLL Gold

To the history of close combat clasps:

The close combat clasp was introduced on November 25th, 1942 for award to personnel who fought in hand-to-hand combat situations unsupported by armor.

case – box Close Combat Clasp FLL Gold

The clasp was issued in three grades, bronze, silver and gold, with each successive grade signifying more days spent in hand-to-hand or close combat. Criteria for award of the clasps consisted of fifteen days of hand-to hand combat for bestowal of the bronze clasp, thirty days of hand-to-hand combat for bestowal of the silver clasp and fifty days of hand-to-hand combat for bestowal of the gold clasp.

case box Close Combat Clasp FLL Gold

There was also a prescribed, combat to time served ratio, enabling long serving personnel to be eligible for award of a clasp.

 

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Sascha

 

Cuff title Großdeutschland

Hello Collectors,

Today I like to show you a cuff title from the Grenadier Regiment “Großdeutschland” which grew up to Division size in May 1942.

Cuff Title Großdeutschland front view

Cuff titles from special units were worn on the right side of the uniform. Remember the combat cuff titles like Afrika, Kreta, Metz 1944 and Kurland were worn on the left side of the uniform sleeve!

This one you see here came from a soldier who died in 1944 on the eastern front.  In his estate were only this cuff title and the letter to his father from the unit commander that his son died for the fatherland.

Cuff Title Großdeutschland front view

We see here a hand embroidered cuff title, black doeskin with aluminum thread letters in sütterlin writing on it. The upper and lower border is named soutache.  This soutache is also made from aluminum thread and woven by machine in an opposite direction, meeting in the middle of the border / soutache.

Cuff Title Großdeutschland size high

The cuff title is about 32 mm high and 375 mm long. The soutache is 3 mm strong. The letters are in different sizes, so you cannot compare one and another Großdeutschland cuff title…hand embroidered make that impossible. On the backside the cuff title is closed by a up and down stiching with a black thread. This will prevent the backside to open up and it is easier to sew it to the uniform. If you carefully open the backside, you will see a fabric backing which stabilized the letters.

Cuff Title Großdeutschland size soutache

Introduced on October 11th, 1940 this is the most common version. There are several font types and production variants.

I would also like to lay an old fairy tale to rest. This variant is popularly dubbed as the „exemplary officer“ cuff title and is offered commercially as such to maximise profits. It was by no means only for officers…….the hand-embroidered version was worn by all ranks, as evidenced by a large number of examples either handed-down or shown in photos.

Here some facts about the wording in the institution which you can find  in the excerpt from the Army-Prescription-Journal on 10.11.40 / 59th Issue:

„Cuff title of the Inf.-Rgt. Großdeutschland and Führer-Begleit-Bataillon

Instead of the cuff title as described in H.-V.-Bl. (Heeres Verodnungs Blatt ) 1939, Part B / S. 179 No. 271 para. 1c2, a 3.2 cm wide cuff title of black cloth with GROßDEUTSCHLAND in German cursive hand embroidered with aluminium thread is introduced for the Großdeutschland infantry regiment and for the army units of the Führer-Begleit-Bataillon. A sample of the cuff title will be sent separately.

The cuff title shall be worn as before on the field jacket, tunic and coat.

After the troops have been supplied with the new cuff title, the previous cuff title must be removed.

Cuff Title Großdeutschland Letter in Sütterlin
Cuff Title Großdeutschland Soutache

 

I hope you got a little inside view of the field “cuff titles” and the next time you have a Großdeutschland CT in hand, you know how to look at it !

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Sascha

 

 

Para Badge Assmann

Hi Collectors,

today I like to show you one of my favorite Para Badge (Fallschirmschützenabzeichen der Luftwaffe) made by the company Assmann.

Para Badge – Fallschirmschützenabzeichen der Luftwaffe

It is in a superb condition and never worn on the uniform. I had the chance to meet the owner in Person in 2003 in his house. He showed me all his pictures from his time as a Fallschirmjäger and about the moment when he was wounded in 1944 on the eastern front. He had two para badges, iron cross 2nd class and wounded badge is silver. Sadly he died in 2005 and his son sent me all his paperwork, pictures and this Para Badge.

So a special one for me in my collection which I would never give away.

Para Badge – Fallschirmschützenabzeichen der Luftwaffe

The badge size is  54 mm high and 43 mm width. The weight is 33 Gramm. The eagle is golden all the way and holds on to the wreath with the typical Assmann rivets. The catch is a round wire catch which sits directly on the wreath (made from tombak). The barrel hinge is also directly attached to the wreath.

It comes in a blue case which has the “Fallschrimschützen=Abzeichen” in gold on the top of the case. The inlet is made from high quality material and the badge fits perfectly in it.

Para Badge – Fallschirmschützenabzeichen der Luftwaffe

About the history of para badges:

As a result of observations of the Russian experimentation with the newly developing paratroop personnel in 1928 the Germans began serious consideration of also developing paratroop units and plans were drawn up for formation of such units in late 1935. Both the Luftwaffe and Army eventually established paratrooper units, consisting of voluntary personnel, on January 29th,  1936 and March 31st, 1937 respectively and a paratroop training school was established at Stendal in early 1937.

Para Badge – Fallschirmschützenabzeichen der Luftwaffe

The Paratrooper’s qualification badge was instituted by Hermann Göring on November 5th, 1936 for award to Luftwaffe personnel who had written the required tests and completed six parachute jumps. Individuals who were awarded the badge were obligated to re-qualify annually in order to retain it. On May 2nd, 1944 award of the badge was extended to include Luftwaffe medical, administrative and legal personnel who had passed the required tests and completed one parachute jump.

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Sascha