Hi Collector Friends, today I like to bring an article about the Imme Pilot Badge to you which was written by Mr. Sebastian Talbot who is a specialist in WW2 Luftwaffe Badges. Enjoy it.
Today I would like to present to you this J2 JMME pilot badge which holds much importance to me. When you collect, you tend to be drawn to a specific award for many reasons. This badge holds a special place in my collection since it was the very first one I acquired for my personal collection. Purchased from another collector and friend, Giel, more than a decade ago.
This badge dosen’t have anything rare or fancy, but represents a wide range of badges awarded during the mid war period. Made from Juncker wreath and eagle, this pilot badge was assembled by the JMME manufacture. The JMME signature in the hardware is the typical doomed nickel silver rivets and nickel silver C catch. The finish colour is particular to this maker with the nice goldish/greenish finish for both the wreath and eagle. Produced between 1939 to 1942, this badge was produced in a large number. Some rarer examples can be found with a darkened eagle and these were most likely darkened by Juncker firm.
The JMME pilot badge from this period came out with the presentation box with either early velvet or spray felt interior and paper hinge depending of the period distributed. The exterior can be either the two or three layers imprint on the cover.
Historical Facts about the Pilot Badge:
The pilot’s qualification badge was originally introduced on January 19th, 1935 for award to personnel of the DLV, “Deutscher Luftsportsverband Fliegerschaft”, (German Air Sports Association, Pilot Base), the secret forerunner of the Luftwaffe, who achieved their pilot’s license. The badge was officially adopted by the Luftwaffe on March 26th, 1936, by order of Hermann Göring. The pilot’s badge was awarded on an individual basis to personnel who had successfully completed the appropriate theory and flight training and had achieved their military pilot’s license. As with other flyer’s specialty badges a cloth version of the pilot’s badge was authorized for wear on the flight blouse with a machine embroidered pattern for EM/NCO’s and a hand embroidered pattern for Officers. Of Note: Originally the cloth version of the pilot’s badge was only authorized for wear by Officers ranks until regulations of November 18th, 1937 extended the authorized wear of the cloth versions to EM/NCO’s. Further regulations of May 8th, 1942 discontinued production of the cloth versions although they continued to worn through-out the war.
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Copyright 2018 : Alle Rechte bei dem Verfasser Sebastien Talbot / All rights with the author Sebastien Talbot
Hi gents, almost time to go back to our mace of good or bad high end shields of World War II.
I did the Cholm shield part one and got a lot of feedback from collectors with thumbs up and more good information. What I liked the most was the question if I can do a part two with the cupal example and the zinc version….I will do that but it takes some time.
By the way I would like to know if there are hobby writers among you guys. I would love to make this blog bigger with more articles but my time is endless. So if you like to do something on a special badge of World War II or something similar…..just contact me and we work it out. If you are from Germany don’t be afraid, if you write in german I can translate it for you 😉
However back to our riddle of rare shields. Today I like to bring you some information on the Lorient shield and what happened there.
And (I think you already knew it) I have been to Lorient in the early 90´s and was impressed about the big Bunker`s which were build there during the war. Huge monsters made from concrete and steel to protect the German submarine from air raids until 1945 on the Atlantic coast. Lorient was the home base of the 10th. U-Flottilla (Unterseebootflottille). I was lucky to get a picture of the cap badge which Uboat crew member used to wear on their oversea cap (Schiffchen).
Here some background to the area of Lorient and historical facts:
Lorient, on the Bay of Biscay, had been an important French naval base until June 1940. With the capture of the base in the same month by German troops (see France campaign), the town in succession got more and more of strategic importance for the German Navy.
This concerned above all the submarine construction with its bunker buildings on the peninsula Kéroman.
In August / September 1944, following the Allied invasion of Normandy, the port and town of Lorient were completely enclosed by US and British forces, with some 22,000 German soldiers. Adolf Hitler thereupon declared the city a fortress. During the eight-month siege, which ended with the surrender of the remaining German forces on May 10th, 1945, there were some fighting going on.
Fortress Lorient was not Lorient only, but also Groix Island, Etel River, the coast between Lorient and Port Navalo, Quiberon peninsula, Belle-Ile island, and had connection with the Saint Nazaire pocket.
So finally a big area to defend with lots of artillery, bunkers and trenches around the main part of Lorient.
To get a better view on the fighting during that time, we jump in after the D-Day to August 9th ,1944. The 4th US Armored Division reached the large-scale German defense area around Lorient, which was surrounded as an important submarine base by a ring of anti-aircraft guns and artillery. In Saint-Gilles fierce fighting broke out around a bridge, which was one of the few accesses to Lorient.
A volunteer Belarussian cavalry brigade had been stationed by the Germans in defense of the American advance in this place. After a short battle, the streets were covered in blood in the rain of the wounded or dead horses and soldiers. Further towards the village core, Belorussians had positioned themselves on the houses and in turn began firing at the invading US tanks.
The tanks and other vehicles succeeded after some time the breakthrough to the bridge and its crossing. At nightfall, the Allies succeeded in positioning artillery at Caudan, about three kilometers north of Lorient. After brief bombardment of the opposing positions in Lorient, the Americans gave the Germans an ultimatum to the task, which was rejected. Since a further procedure would have been possible only with significantly increased artillery, the division leadership decided a partial retreat to the area of Vannes, about 60 kilometers southeast of Lorient. Only a smaller siege group was left behind.
Task Force B of the 6th US Armored Division advanced 180 miles from Brest to Vannes on 14 August to replace the units of the 4th US Armored Division north and east of the city. On the way there they encountered no German resistance. Around noon, a reserve command advanced to Lorient to support the remaining group of the 4th US Armored Division. On August 15, the entire 6th US Armored Division arrived at Lorient. The front line enclosed the fortress Lorient and the Quiberon peninsula in the east as well as patrols from Redon in the east to the area to the Daoulas peninsula in the west.
After Vannes was taken and the wider area was controlled by the French resistance, the 6th US Armored Division focused on the area around Lorient. The city itself was too heavily fortified to have a promising attack there. The German defenders, who are from parts of the XXV. Army Corps under the Commander-in-Chief for Brittany, General Wilhelm Fahrmbacher, as well as remnants of the 265th Infantry Division under Lieutenant General Hans Junck, who was in the fortress Saint-Nazaire, and Rear Admiral Otto Kähler, since February 1944 Commander of the Naval Defense of Brittany [NB Kähler, however, had become a prisoner of war on September 18, 1944 in Brest], passed, had in return no chance of counterattacking, and was also bound by Hitler’s order to keep the port cities to the last.
So both sides confined themselves to intensive patrols and artillery fire. The Americans had set up twelve observation posts around Lorient, from which reconnaissance units were sent to scout the German artillery positions. In addition, work began on mining the entire front line with booby traps. In some cases German patrols could be captured. But also Americans came during a small skirmish between reconnaissance patrols in German captivity.
The 6th US Armored Division was replaced on September 10 by the 94th US Infantry Division, which continued the siege, and moved east to the 3rd US Army. On 17 November, a brief ceasefire was agreed for the purpose of mutual exchange of prisoners. General Wilhelm Fahrmbacher capitulated on May 10, 1945,
Both the Lorient and St.Nazaire pockets contained about 53000 German troops at the time of surrender. The Lorient pocket alone had over 25000 German troops.
These forces surrendered to the US 66th Infantry Division with a number of attached French units.
During the siege of Lorient the idea to make a remberence shield was born by some of the officers. The artistic design of the shield goes back to the head of the shipbuilding workshops of the submarine base “Marine Baurat” K. Fehrenberg. They asked General Fahrmbacher (Wilhelm Fahrmbacher (19 September 1888 – 27 April 1970) was a General in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II who commanded several corps. He was a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Upon Germany’s surrender in 1945, General Fahrmbacher was interned in France until 1950.
After his release he served as a military advisor in Egypt) and he approved the idea. With little corrections (a German eagle with a swastika on the soldiers shield) the shield was approved and the production began by using different materials due to the supply problems during the siege of Lorient.
The final shield itself shows in its upper end the year 1944 as well as on the lower side the lettering LORIENT. In the center, a naked Wehrmacht soldier was stylized with a steel helmet attached, holding a sword in his right hand and a shield (symbol of defense) in his left hand.
It is not exactly known if all Lorient shields have the Wehrmacht eagle on the soldiers shield, there are information about some shields with a Luftwaffen eagle on the soldiers shield (not proven until today). The unusual idea of representing a naked soldier presumably goes back to the idea of the creator, who wanted to use this symbolism to vividly portray „bare survival“. Also the evidence for this theory is missing. Behind the symbol of the soldier were represented the rays of the rising sun, which are regarded as a symbol of hope.
Finally, under the soldier a submarine is shown, which can be seen in front of a submarine bunker (on the Keroman Island) on waves in ride. Since it was not possible to supply the garrison on land, from the air or to water, it was decided to use the existing sheet metal stocks, u. a. from scrap, to resort. For the production one used copper, brass, aluminum and even steel. Higher officers received a chromed version of copper. Of course, the use of different metals also resulted in different colors. Through the use of several „punching presses“ and templates, the appearance of the sign differed significantly from machine to machine, so that there was no question of a uniform pattern embossing.
Accurate and reliable award numbers cannot be quantified. It is assumed that after all sheet metal stocks were used up in November 1944, about 10,000 – 12,000 shields were pressed. These were then issued at Christmas 1944 to deserving soldiers of the occupation. Thus, about every second garrison received the Lorient shield.
The Lorient shield is not a combat badge of the Wehrmacht like the Cholm shield, as neither its foundation nor the ceremony were officially. The shield was therefore regarded only as a „traditional badge“. With the entry in the “Soldbuch” also no claim to official acceptance of the shield by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Therefore, this shield has not been included in the Law on Titles, Orders and Decorations of 26 July 1957.
Original Lorient Shields
After all these good information’s from collector friends, books, archives and databases I come to the following conclusion about Lorient shields.
There are some originals out there, but they are very hard to find. If it is true and they made 12.000 of them, what happened to the soldiers of Lorient during the surrender. Most of their personal things were taken by the allied soldiers as a souvenir. Maybe a few got their badges home from their POW time. I you look on the originals, you see them made of different materials. Some shields with prongs, some shields with holes to sew it to the uniform and some shields without anything of that. Originals are not made with a lot of details and they are not solid. You can always see that they were “pressed” in a certain way. Some have a fabric backing, but in my opinion that was made so you cannot see the backside and buy it as an original shield from the time period. In this high price area you have to be sure that you buy an original. Better to spend more money on it and buy at a dealer with a “give back guarantee”. Even if you buy directly from the family, there is no proof that the vet didn`t buy it in the early 50`s or 60`s. To be really sure you should use one of the bigger forums like GCA or WAF with all the experts there. They will know it for sure.
Copys of Lorient Shields
Big “thank you” to all collectors who helped me bring this information to you. There are Pascal, Patrick, Luc, Christian, Uwe, Holger, Jens and some guys who like to stay in the shadow.
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Copyright 2018 : Alle Rechte bei dem Verfasser Sascha Ulderup / All rights with the author Sascha Ulderup
alomst time for another cuff title to speak about. It is connected with the beginning of the Fallschirmtruppe of the Luftwaffe. So lets go into it and I hope you like it.
Shortly after 31.01.1933, and the accession of Adolf Hitler to the position of Reichskanzler, Hermann Göring, at that time amongst other things also the Prussian Minister of the Interior, ordered the creation of a special Police unit, a unit which would stand loyal to the Führer and break any resistance to the young National Socialist movement. On 23.02.1933 Major of the Prussian Police Walther Wecke was entrusted with the command of this unit. Two days later Wecke reported the creation of his „Polizei-Abteilung zbV. “ with a strength of 14 Officers and 400 Men. The „Abteilung“ was initially based in the district of Kreuzberg (Berlin), in the former barracks of the Queen Augusta Grenadier Guards Regiment 4 and then in the barracks of the former Prussian Queen Elizabeth Grenadier Guards Regiment 3 in Charlottenburg.
Already on 02.03.1933, the „Abteilung“, more commonly called „Polizei-Abteilung Wecke“ , was first used against political opponents in Berlin. It was mainly used to smash the KPD meetings and other workers‘ organizations, with the aim of eliminating the political opposition.
On 07.17.1933 the unit was renamed „Landespolizeigruppe zbV. Wecke„, and thus was created the first country-wide „Landespolizeigruppe“ in Germany. On 17.09.1933 the „Gruppe“ was endowed by Hermann Göring with its own Standard, along with the words: „It is my intention to convert the Prussian police into a powerful weapon, similar to the Reichswehr, which I will hand over to the Führer, whenever we will fight our external enemies“.
On 22.12.1933 the Gruppe was renamed again, this time as „Landespolizeigruppe General Göring“. Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich-Wilhelm Jacoby, formerly adjutant of Göring in his capacity as Prussian Minister of the Interior and Reich Aviation Minister, took over command of the group on 06.06.1934. After the introduction of conscription on 16.03.1935, the „Polizeigruppe“ received the more military sounding title „Regiment General Göring“ .
In September 1935, Jacoby received from Göring the order to transfer the regiment to the Luftwaffe on the date 01.10.1935. Volunteers of the regiment would form the basis of a battalion of the future German paratroop units. At that time the regiment contained the following units:
I (Jäger) Bataillon /Regiment General Göring (späteres Fallschirmjäger-Bataillon)
II (Jäger) Bataillon /Regiment General Göring
13. Kradschützen-Kompanie/Regiment General Göring
15. Pionier-Kompanie/ Regiment General Göring
Reiterzug/ Regiment General Göring
Nachrichtenzug/ Regiment General Göring
Added later were:
III. (leichte) Flak-Abteilung/ Regiment General Göring (Autumn 1935)
14. Wach-Kompanie / Regiment General Göring (11.07.1936)
16. Wach-Kompanie / Regiment General Göring (01.04.1937)
In January 1936, one bataillon under Major Bruno Bräuer and the 15th company, moved to the military training grounds at Döberitz, where they received parachute training, while the rest of the regiment moved to Altengrabow to reorganize. On 21.08.1936 Major Walther von Axthelm took command.
Later, during the 2nd World War the Hermann Göring units would be seen as a sort of elite, not only within the Air Force, but also within the entire Wehrmacht. This is partly due to the fact that the personnel, at least in the early years, were all volunteers. There were also high recruitment standards and physical training. However, the Hermann Göring units also offered the best opportunities for advancement. Also playing their part were factors such as accommodation in the new barracks in Reinickendorf, the most modern of all throughout the whole German Reich, to gain national and international recognition by the outwardly visible insignia of the white collar tabs and the cuff title „General Goering“, the possibility of being a bodyguard to Goering, and the comradeship within the regiment all provided enough reasons to wish to serve within this regiment.
By 01.10.1937 the regiment consisted of the following units:
I (schwere) Flak-Abteilung/Regiment General Göring (from II. (Jäger) Bataillon with:
Stab, Stabsbatterie, 1.-3. Batterie (8,8-cm) and 4. Batterie (3,7-cm)
II (leichte) Flak-Abteilung/Regiment General Göring (from III. (leichte) Flak-Abteilung with:
Stab, Stabsbatterie, 5.-7. Batterie (2-cm)
III. Wach-Bataillon/Regiment General Göring (from Reiterzug, 13. Kradschützen-Kompanie, 14. and 16. Wach-Kompanie with:
Stab, Nachrichtenzug, Reiterzug, 8. Kradschützen-Kompanie with Panzer-Spähzug (disbanded 01.11.1938), 9. and 10. Wach-Kompanie, from 01.04.1938 11. Wach-Kompanie
IV Fallschirmschützen-Bataillon/Regiment General Göring (from I./ (Jäger) and 15. Kp./Regiment General Göring) with:
At the end of March 1938, the IV. Bataillon and the 15th company left the regiment and formed the I./Fallschirm-Regiment 1. At about the same time, the regiment took part in the annexation of Austria and on 15.03.1938 paraded in front of Hitler. In October 1938, it participated in the invasion of the Sudetenland and on 15.03.1939 took part in the parade in Prague.
Due to the loss of parachute units, the breakdown of the regiment from 01.11.1938 was as follows :
Regimentsstab/Regiment General Göring with Musikkorps and Stabsbatterie
I (schwere) Flak-Abteilung/Regiment General Göring
II (leichte) Flak-Abteilung/Regiment General Göring
III. Scheinwerfer-Abteilung/Regiment General Göring
IV (leichte) Flak-Abteilung/Regiment General Göring
Wach-Bataillon/Regiment General Göring with Reiterzug and three Wach-Kompanien
Luftlande-Bataillon/Regiment General Göring (since Summer 1938 as Ausbildungseinheit, up to August 1939)
In the course of the Polish crisis, the regiment was mobilized on 15.8.1939 which resulted in the following restructuring of the Regiment:
Reiterzug became Reiterschwadron/Regiment General Göring
Reserve-Scheinwerfer-Abteilung/Regiment General Göring
Ersatz-Abteilung//Regiment General Göring
1 (schwere) Eisenbahn-Flak-Batterie
1 (leichte) Flak-Batterie as support unit for the Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe Göring, the Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and as air defence for the Führer Hauptquartier
During the Polish campaign the majority of the regiment remained in the Berlin area to provide anti-aircraft protection and to protect the headquarters of Goering. Amongst other things in October 1939, a company participated in the victory parade in Warsaw.
With the end of the Polish campaign, at the end of October 1st., the III. and IV. Abteilung of the regiment moved in secret to the western front, where they were subordinated to anti-aircraft regiments. Only the II. Abteilung remained in the Berlin area where it would continue to provide part of the air raid protection of greater Berlin.
In early April 1940 a battalion, also known as “Einheit Kluge”, was formed from a Wach-Kompanie, a 2-cm-Flak-Battery (sf) and a newly established Kradschützen-Kompanie of the regiment all under the command of Major Kluge. This unit took part in operation „Weserübung„, the occupation of Denmark and Norway. In Norway, it participated in the fighting between Oslo and Trondheim. The rest of the regiment secured the Rhineland on the Dutch border.
As from 10.05.1940, large parts of the regiment took part in the battles which followed in the West, capturing Brussels. These units were in this case used as „Kampfgruppen“, and the anti-aircraft units achieved very good results in the anti-tank role. After the armistice, the regiment was initially stationed for several weeks on the channel coast and then used for air defense in the Paris area. Towards the end of 1940, the regiment moved back to Germany and was once again part of the air defense of Berlin.
Before the beginning of the Balkan campaign the regiment moved to Romania, there to protect the major oil fields from enemy air raids. Then it moved in the early summer of 1941 to the River Bug at Sokal and remained there in readiness for the eastern campaign. After the fighting began, it distinguished itself in the fighting around Dubno and Kiev. By October 1941 the regiment had destroyed:
167 Artillerie Guns
530 Machine Gun Positions
In the process more than 11,000 prisoners were taken. Up to this point four members of the regiment received the Knight`s cross and four members the german cross in Gold .
At the end of 1941, the regiment moved back to Germany to refresh, while a newly formed „Schützen-Bataillon“ remained in the east and took part in the defensive fighting there until April 1942.
In March 1942, Göring ordered the extension of the regiment to brigade level, and on 15.07.1942 the regiment was renamed as „Brigade Hermann Göring“.
Description Cuff Title L.P.G. General Göring
The cuffband which consisted of dark green, Police uniform like badge-cloth was 3.2 cm wide and was in executed in “Frakturschrift” as follows:
For Officers the cuff title was hand embroidered in Aluminium thread and featured additional embroidery in the form of a 3mm wide Aluminium thread (Soutache) braid strip on the upper and lower edges of the cuff title.
Although similar in material and colour the version for enlisted ranks was additionally identified by having no edge strip.
Method of Wear:
The cuff title was worn on the “Tuchrock” just above the turned back cuff of the right sleeve. When worn by a soldier holding an appointment to the position of “Hauptfeldwebel” , it was attached just above the sleeve rings indicating this status. Officers also wore the cuff title on the “Fliegerbluse” and the white summer tunic. It is evidenced by numerous photographs however, that the wearing of this cuff title was probably complied with less and less over the course of the war.
I like to thank Mr. Helmut Weitze, Hamburg and his Staff for helping me out with pictures of LPG cuff titles and also lot of collector friends who are all listed in my cuff title book: Göring units and Para units WW2
Hi Friends, today I am very happy to present you an article which was written by a good friend who helped me to get this blog more intersting for you. Please enjoy !
Today I would like to present another badge that is rarely seen: a bronze PAB „25“ made by the company of C.E. Juncker. Unlike the bronze PAB „25“ from JFS or from Gustav Brehmer which pop up from time to time only very few examples from Juncker are known to exist.
Numbered PABs were instituted on 22nd of June 1943 and Juncker examples – in contrast to their JFS and G.B. counterparts – are supposed to be the earliest awarded and actually worn pieces. At least this is what evidence shows based on groupings with documents.
Whereas numbered PABs in silver can be encountered quite often numbered bronze PABs are rare on their own. Why is this so?
If you look at the first grade – the PABs without numbers – the ratio beween existing examples in bronze and silver is roughly 1:1.
Now when it comes to the second grade (not to mention the third or even the fourth grade) the ratio changes considerably and is about 1:20 (estimated). This applies to single pieces. The ratio for PABs „25“ in groupings is more like 1:50.
The award criteria for a numbered PAB in bronze bring up the answer.
The exact regulations were not really dealt with in the literature up to now and on top of that there were several changes to them over the course of time. Thus it is not possible to provide any really precise information but generally speaking there were the following units that were eligible for awarding bronze PABs:
The first grade was won after taking part in at least three assaults on three different(!) days. For a second grade PAB a soldier had to take part in a minimum of 25 assaults on 25 different days. The day the crediting began was the 1st of July 1943. There were exceptions for those who were killed or got severely wounded and thus would not have a chance any more to take part in further combat. The required minimum for a second grade was 18 days in this case.
Furthermore a certain amount of days could be credited generally for those who served in Russia or in Africa without interruption – depending on the length of time:
10 days for 8 months of service
15 days for 12 months of service
25 days for 15 months of service
(cf. Klietmann 1991)
Unlike in panzer-units the soldiers in the units mentioned above had practically no real protection when engaged in combat. There were quite many guys serving in these units but it was a serious business and only very few were granted to fulfil the criteria for a higher grade…
Now back to the badge starting this thread:
It shows only slight traces of wear – the bronze finish is preserved extremely well and only the high points expose the base metal: zinc. All the typical production related traits are present that can be encountered on almost any other Juncker made award. The details are well pronounced and aesthetically pleasing. The whole badge has a certain depth which makes it look more substantial than any JFS or G.B made PAB.
When it comes to numbered Juncker badges there is also a certain variety among them. In this case the number shield is magnetic (it can be encountered unmagnetic as well) and soldered into the little box. Earliest examples feature a hole in this box intended for the number shield to be riveted rather than soldered. Apparently this idea was soon overruled.
The rivets which hold the tank in its place are made of aluminium and penetrating which means that they can be seen from both sides: obverse and reverse. They are correct in form and size.
The catch is made of round wire fixed to a round base plate whereas other examples may feature a flat wire catch. Everything is textbook (cf. De Bock 2009).
I bought this particular piece from a dealer at the show in Ulm last year. This is the only thing about it that I know for sure. What I don‘t know: who was the man who earned it? What happened to him? If it only could speak…
De Bock, Philippe: The German Panzer Assault Badge of World War II, Pap Jay Publishing (Belgium) 2009
Klietmann, Kurt.-G.: Auszeichnungen des Deutschen Reiches 1936-1945, 6th ed., Stuttgart 1991
Big Thanks to collector friends who helped out with pictures and documentation but they like to stay in the shadow, what I understand !
Hi Gentleman and a happy new year 2018. Hope you all found a good way into the New Year with you families and friends.
Now it is time to go back to our hobby. For this posting I picked a combat award which has a long story. Not because it is ultra rare (well it is rare), but obviously it takes some time to get it.
But let`s start at the beginning.
Back in time when I was a young boy about twelve years old I sat together with my grandfather “Opa Walter” in his garden. He was an army veteran of the 30. Infantrie Division and fought on the eastern front. There he lost most of his right leg when he was wounded by a splinter.
He told me about that time only a little bit, because he got always very shaky talking about his years on the eastern front. But that day he explained when he was hit and at which place it happened. It was the fighting in the pocket of
Demjansk where he was wounded and later on (luckily) taken out by a plane. In his estate there was not such a combat award as a Demjanskshield, no paperwork about the battle or any entry in his Soldbuch. Later on I found out more about the Demjansk battle and what happened there. That raised my interest on shields of World War II.
Starting my collection I tried to get the Demjanskshield
and that was not impossible. So I got more and more Information about shields and my shield collection grew.…..not so much were awarded….easy task I thought…..I was wrong.
But I have to admit it must always be an award which fits in the own collection, so a nice one, better worn than unworn in a good condition. Narvik, Krim, Kuban, Demjansk came quick, Lappland has to be an estate (that way you get a little bit more proof that it “may” a war time piece), Lorient is nearly impossible to get one, Dünkirchen is more a cap badge than a shield….but if I could get one I would take it.
So you figure it out, it is the Cholmshield which was TOP of my list. Hard to get one in the version which was given to the fighters of the Cholm battle (so a short M version) in the condition 2+. Maybe not so hard for some of you, but with a small wallet it will take some time.
A good friend told me:”It takes time, but like a knights cross…. someday it will come to you”. In all the years I bought 4 Knight crosses from private (I kept only two of them), and also a paper grouping from a Cholm fighter….but never ever a Cholmshield for my collection.
One day before Christmas 2017 I checked my collection and also the drawer “I better put this grouping aside for later…..” I think everybody has such a drawer with things inside which are not your field of collection but toooooo nice to give it away….maybe later.
I found a grouping I could let go to raise some money for buying other things for my collection. Checking Christian von Eickes web shop Militaria Berlin I finally found THE Cholm shield I was looking for. The price was OK and we did a trade……and I got my first Cholmshield, short M, fabric backing condition 2+ !!!
Happy Christmas time for me!!!!
But after you read the whole story how I got mine, here is some more information to the Cholm mystery and maybe you can learn a little bit
History about the Cholm battle:
During the first week of December 1941 Marshall Zhukov launched Operation Typhoon and, in combination with appalling weather, pushed the invading Wehrmacht back from the gates of Moscow. In the North on the Southern Flank of Heeresgruppe Nord the German 16th Army reeled under the blow, conceding ground but not the two primary routes through the swamps covering the area between Seeliger See and Ilmen See. These routes ran through the towns of Demjansk and Cholm.
At Cholm, a force of just 5,500 men under the command of Generalmajor Theodor Scherer, though completely surrounded, held out for 105 days withstanding 100 infantry attacks (42 of which were supported by tanks). When the garrison was relieved, only 1,200 survivors remained. Throughout the ordeal the besieged men were supplied by air, and in the absence of heavy weapons, were supported by artillery 10 miles away in the main German lines. Following this epic battle Scherer was awarded a Knight’s Cross and his men were feted as heroes all over Germany.
These are the units which fought in the battle as follows:
Parts of the 123. ID (Grenadier Regiment 416, Artillerie Regiment 123)
Parts of the 218. Infanterie Division (Stab Grenadier Regiment 386 with the 13 & 14 Kompanie Grenadier Regiment 386)
A „Fahrrad Bataillon“ from „Aufklärungs Abteilung 218“
The “Gebirgs Jagdkommando 8”
Parts of the Reserve Police Bataillon Cholm
A “Marine Kraftfahrer” Unit
Various other units or parts of units (mostly from stragglers) were present in the pocket as well. During the course of the struggle, there was also an influx of a few new troops from parts of units flown in, as well as personnel attached to the K.G.z.b.V 172 (such as the glider pilots). It is stated in the German literature that over 60 units where present in the pocket, varying in size from small to large.
But let`s go back to the Cholm Shield itself. Who had the idea, how was it made and so on…
The basic Idea came from Generalmajor Theodor Scherer and the design was made by Polizei-Rottwachtmeister Schlimmer of the Reserve-Polizei-Bataillon Cholm. The draft was revised by Prof. Klein from Munich. He change the looking direction of the eagles head (if the shield is on the left sleeve of the jacket, the eagles head would look to the back, but Hitler liked it the other way, the eagle has to face the frontline…..) . He also changed the size of the shield. The draft was as long as the Narvikshield, so he made it a little bit shorter.
All shields were hollow and slightly concave to better fit on the sleeve of the uniform. Different manufacturers used different metals in the manufacture of the shields, and they can be found in earlier stamped white iron versions, which are magnetic and later shields of zinc, both versions were washed in silver. A backing plate was attached to the shield, between these was placed a piece of colored fabric. On the backside we find short prongs and long prongs. Also there are shields with paper backing and fabric backing.
Very important for us collectors is to spot an original from a copy. Original Cholm shields are very expensive; buying a post war shield is terrible and a hard lesson for you and hard on your wallet.
So here you go with what the collector`s world found out and what is in parts written in different Magazines and Online Forums. We have three major differences:
1. Cholm Shield magnetic with short M (this is the award type given to the troops)
2 . Cholm Shield made from zinc short M / dark surface and different shape of the fabric
3. Cholm Shield magnetic with long M / flaw in the swastika
I have to admit that are Cupal made shields out there but I am not so much into this cupal theory, so lets save that when the collectors world found out more.
If you look close to a number 1 Cholm shield you will notice some embossed errors, easy to spot. Under the wing and on the left side of the shield / edge.
If you look at the zinc version or number 2, after all the years the basic zinc material is dark and the fabric shows a different shape then number 1 and 3.
If you look close to a number 3 Cholm shield you will notice a flaw in the swastika. Right lower gap between the swastika arms there is something you can see.
Also to identify a copy is that you have to check the eagles head. Some eagles look like they have a helmet on….which is not good. On some copy shields the eagle claws are not crossed in the middle light they should. Copy`s very often don`t have the details like an original. And……if the Price is very low you have to look twice……almost everyone knows that you pay for a good one 1800,- until 2800,- and more (depends on the condition). So if one is offered for 1000,- Euro and below, you warn signal has to go off and makes noise like hell.
I remember the Kassel fair in November 2017 where I was looking for a good one for my collection. I found some cheap copy`s (which are marked as postwar) but also a table where Cholm shield were offered for 1000,- Euro a piece in TOP condition. I did not make an effort to take it for an „in hand inspection“. They were fakes and the seller knew it but they tried to sell them……well, I won`t forget that.
Here are some original Cholmshields
And here are some BAD Cholmshield / FAKE Cholmshields
Buttom line my friends, try to remember these things when you buy a Cholm shield somewhere or buy at a trustworthy dealer. That way you will be happy all the way.
A while ago I read an article about German Crosses in Gold and their different makers. Interesting information about the Juncker, Godet, C.F. Zimmermann and so on.
Later that day I found a posting / a discussion in a Forum which German Cross in Gold is the best to collect or the best to put in your own collection.
Some collectors say that the rarest is the best German Cross in Gold to keep, other say that the condition is deciding for keeping or buying a cross. Some refer to the story behind it (yes I know….never buy the story just the badge ;-)) but in this case the story behind it stands for the whole grouping or the estate.
I can remember a time where I bought a huge Uboat grouping form a family here in Germany. The Kriegsmarine Soldier was from 1939 until 1945 on Uboats as a mechanic and served the whole war on these steel tubes.
Finally he was on a Monsun UBoat and went all the way to Japan. In 1945 he earned the German cross in Gold.
As the war ends he stayed in japan until 1947 and came back to Germany…..He went a long way on Uboats and as you all know, a lot of german Uboat men died during war time but he survived it. That’s the story behind my German Cross in Gold and I put the whole grouping in my collection. That Cross was made by Junker, it was cased and in good (but worn) condition
About two years later I put my hands on a German Cross in Gold made by Zimmermann (a light one) in the best condition I have ever seen. It came along with the case, also in very nice condition.
I went to the bank and opened my bank deposit, took my Juncker cross out and went home. I put the side by side and thought about them.
Should I keep the unworn minty Zimmermann or the worn Juncker……keep them both and sell some other stuff.…….
Finally I made my decision and I kept the Juncker. I had a name to it, I had a face to it and (yes I know….) I had the story to the cross.
Another thing which made my decision easy was the fact that you see ten Zimmermann a year and only one Juncker. So not always that hard to get a Zimmermann cross in a decent condition.
But let`s stay with the Zimmermann. As you all know there is the number “20” for the Zimmermann company on the needle (inside) of the cross. Easy to identify but there is a problem. Have you ever heard of the „dotted“ German Cross in Gold from Zimmermann?
It is not a secret but there might be somebody out there who didn`t know. So let bring some light in this dark area.
The “dotted” Zimmermann was a long time described and handled as a fake cross. It took a long time to proof that they are original „pre“ war time made.
But fact is, that you have three things to look for to identify these “dotted” crosses.
The first thing is the Number 20 ( Präsidialkanzleinumber “20”) on the inside of the crosses needle. If the 20 is in full shape and on a straight line, that is a normal Zimmermann. If the upper area of the number 2 is cut off and the whole number 20 is not in a horizontal line, you have the indication of a “dotted”. At least it looks like a false or incorrect marking.
The second thing is the number “1941” on the outer golden wreath. On a normal Zimmermann cross the number is on a normal metal underground. On a dotted German cross the date numerals are filled with little holes, which means that there are little dots inside the numbers.
Last thing is the production mistake on the 11 O´clock area of the wreath. The first „dotted“ which were examined didn`t have the „flaw“ but now some Crosses were found with the „Zimmermann Flaw“. If you see that, the cross should be a good cross.
Mr. Dietrich März is on this subject and he searched for more evidence on the dotted mystery. I think if he finds out something new, we will know it soon.
Under the line it comes down to facts and evidence. If you have a normal Zimmermann or a „dotted“ one, don`t get nervous. Just read about the facts and keep the dotted in you collection.
Finally and as always, you have to know certain things in our hobby, so you don´t lose money or pay twice.
today I want to go back a little bit in time. I think it is about two years ago when a family contacted me and offered a little estate of a World War II soldier. Not a real big grouping with paperwork and pictures, just two badges and a story behind it. I told them to send me pictures and I will tell them how much I can pay.
A few days later the pictures of the badges came via Email on my computer. I opened them and saw that the badges were damaged. Ok, we see that more often as collectors that a catch is missing or the hinge is broken off. But in this case the damage severe, looked like bullets went straight trough the badges.
If you see that on the screen you come to a “full stop” and you start thinking about your hobby. A hobby where you collect badges from brave soldiers who fired their weapons to win the battle and…..to kill or to wound soldiers from the other side.
Some of you might know it that I am a soldier on active duty, so I think always different when it comes down to battle or war. In 25 years of service I went 5 times in war areas to do what I have to do. Mostly in special units with special orders….that way you see things you don’t want to see.
Anyway, that´s the job and I am still here.
There must be a story behind that two badges, so I started digging for more information. I wrote an Email to the family and asked them about the fate of the soldier.
All they knew was that he served in the Germany army on the eastern Front, was heavily wounded but survived the war.
We all know where a wounded badge and an Iron cross 1st class is placed on the uniform, with the damage on that badges I would say that these were bullets of a machine gun. However he survived this wounds is not comprehensibly. Maybe he had a book in his breast pocket or his ID Tag somewhere in between. Or he was in a special move or jumped when he was hit…….
Here you see another strong hit, this time on a Knights Cross
About three weeks ago a Kriegsmarine grouping was offered with a dog tag of the soldier who got a lung shot through his Erkennungsmarke / ID Tag. In the email the seller wrote that the brave navy soldiers survived that too. Sadly I didn´t get the tag and the paperwork to study the story.
By scanning the net and also the Wehrmacht Award Forum I found some more battle damaged badges and what happened on the battlefield.
Some damages are made by bullets and some made by splinters. Also these little bastards can do a lot of damage. Back in 1999 I was on a busting course with some german navy seals. Just a basic course for blowing up everything we found. After a week of training we had to blow up a part of an old American tank. For cover we had to climb in a troop carrier about 500 meters away from the explosive area. Sitting in the tank and waiting for the bang, you think for yourself: I am 500 meters away, good spot….. no danger. But after we pulled the trigger a lot of metal splinters flew around like hell and also hit our cover tank with such a high energy…..deadly velocity.
So it dosen`t mater if it is a bullet or an explosive splinter, always enough to hit you hard and wound or kill you.
Some time ago there was a Soldbuch and an ID Tag on display in the WAF where a bullet or a splinter went straight through the book and some tiny metal things hit the ID Tag. Here you see some pictures of it.
Another interesting part is, why the soldiers kept their damage badges? Nice souvenirs from the war or maybe to tell their family “how close it was”?
On day I saw a TV report about army medics in Bagdad during the Iraq war. All wounded soldiers who came in that hospital with several injuries told the doctors :”Whatever you take out of my body, put it in a plastic pot and let me take it home!”
The next badge we have here is a Knights Cross L/12 from the WAF User ErikN. The soldier, Hauptmann Hans Klärmann, was killed in action by wearing that cross………. He was awarded the Knights Cross as a Hauptmann and Führer II./PzGrenRgt 361 on 19.09.1942 and died on the Eastern Front / Poland on 06.09.1944. Whatever went trough his Body had so much energy to damage his cross on the backside.
If this would not be an serious subject we handle here, the next badge would be considered a funny thing.
As you all know you get the wounded badge after you were hit by a bullet or by a splinter. Here we have a soldier who was really “in the middle” and got another hit from whatever crossed his path. We will never know the story but that looks like a real big shrapnel which went through the edge of that badge.(Pictures came from WAF user Urza 1)
I can remember when I was hit by a “thing” after an explosion some time ago some where in the world. I had a protective vest on and a Kevlar helmet, I was kneeling down for cover. I was not in the direct line with the point where the explosion was, but somehow something went up in the air and came down balistic, hit me in the chest and pushes me back on my butt. For me as 190 cm tall and 108 Kg heavy guy you need some energy to push me somewhere……..
The last badge I want to show you has really no story behind it. The German Cross in Gold (134) is melted from extreme heat. So maybe a battlefield pick up or it was in a house which burned down. Another collector told me that he had a similar German Cross which came out of a destroyed german tank in normandy…..We will never know it for sure.
Finally we have to look twice on badges and documents from the war, always behind all the heroism and bravery we have the other side of injury, pain and death. I won`t forget that and hopefully that blog entry let you think about it.
If you combat damaged badges in you collection feel free to send me pictures and stories for Part II of that subject.
After a week on the Kassel Military Show autumn (name in German is `Waffenbörse Kassel / WBK`) I have a lot to tell you. For those guys who missed it: You really missed something!
For those guys who have been there: Yeah….you were at the right time at the right place. Mr. Wolf Rüdiger Krey from the Company Expo Management Kiel who manages the whole Kassel Show gave me some numbers about Dealers and Visitors, so you get an idea how big it was.
About 282 Dealers on the show and 18245 Visitors !!
For me a really good event where I met old friends and found new friends. But let’s start at the beginning. This year was my first year on the other side of the table! That means, I was there with the team of Trave Militaria and responsible for buying and selling military, public relations, networking, meetings, English speaking customers, building new connections and finally present the company in all areas. That’s the way you get in the fair hall early during that time where all dealers unpack their stuff and design their sales booth. We arrived on Wednesday at 11.00 O´clock and started unloading our transport car. It took us about two hours until our sales “corner” was build up the way we liked it. During that time you saw dealers with “dealer cards” around their neck and collectors with “dealer cards” around their neck!!!! Almost everyone was hunting for nice badges or high end estates for good prices. So that way some things were sold on Wednesday before the fair even started (start for all others is Thursday).
I had not that much time to go around and look for good stuff and old friends, but most people knew where I was and stopped by for a little military chat and we had interesting conversations.
Later that day I met Mr. Christian von Eicke from the company Militaria-Berlin and Mr. Frank Scholz from Militaria-Scholz. Sadly they had no sales booth on that fair but enough time for an exchange of the latest news, information about the hottest badges and best deals of the day. Really good guys and they know “who is who in the Zoo!”
Finally I met old collector comrades like Thomas K., Gerd S., Marco S., Frank H. face to face which was almost time. Sure we write via Email more than once, but that way on the show in Kassel is much better.
Also I met some guys from around Europe and Russia….First time eye to eye after we made good deals the last years. There where Hubert from Poland, Ivan from Russia and Stefano from Italy. Felt good to finally shake hands, always a good fundament for further business. After a long day we hit the Hotel Bar for a few Beer as a little reward.
On Thursday I went over the fair to see some of the German Dealers and Owners of some Auction Houses. I talked to them about the development in the collector area and why the prices went up (or down).
I met Mr. Andreas Thies for the company Auktionshaus Andreas Thies EK, who had a really nice sales booth build up with high class medals and badges and also a Generals tunic on display. Mr. Thies is a real old school gentleman who knows the game and it was a short but very interesting conversation.
Later on I went to Hermann Historica and met Mr. Sascha Zimmerman. Very friendly person who is also responsible for customers who sell and buy high class military objects from all over the world. Nice talking there and a professional for sure in his field. Here I found also high end weapons and military of different decades from all over the world.
That was enough for the first day when the fair was open for anybody. Lot of collectors in the hall, but also some pick pockets who stole about 50 wallets and two money boxes from dealers. That’s really bad and I hope the loss was not that high for the people who lost their wallet.
On Friday there were less people there and I had the chance to walk around again and see what the other dealers do. I talk to Andy, a military dealer from Austrian and his friend Mel who was from Belgium.
Running around I saw good things and bad things on the tables. Some estates extremely overpriced and also repaired or damaged badges in bad condition. I found copies which were offered as originals and really bad reproductions. Fantasy items and reenactor stuff……Lots of guns and rifles from all epochs and ammunition…so much you can start world war III.
Later on I went to see Mr. Carsten Baldes from Militaria Archiv Carsten Baldes e.K. With the principle less is more he had not so much but very nice badges and medals on Display. He told me that most of his new Military Items are sold fast and that way there is not so much left for a big sales booth in Kassel. All medals and badges as always with a good sense of price finding. A real polite and pleasant dealer with a good reputation. Always a good place to buy from and to talk to.
An hour later I stopped at the booth from Ratisbon to take a picture and check the “hardware”. Nice stuff which are in the online auctions and only for Kassel on display. They were really busy with customers and I decided to try it again later. Finally I had some things for the next ratisbon auction and then I had the opportunity to talk to Andreas and Michael. Nice guys, very friendly and they offered good conditions for the military items I brought. So looks to me like a professional Team with a good reputation and an inherent part of our military collector’s world.
We had our sales area from Trave-Militaria close to the company of Helmut Weitze, and I had the chance to talk to most of his employees who worked in special fields of Mr. Weitzes Company. I think I met Mr. Weitze about three times and we had good talks about military items and also about my active navy time and Mr. Weitzes navy time on destroyer’s years ago. Real hanseatic salesman and gentleman with a professional team and the biggest sales area in the fair hall of Kassel.
Well, know you want to know what I bought in Kassel…….not that much. Only an infantry assault badge, cut out, hollow in good condition and for my cuff title collection a Panzer Afrikakorps cuff title which is always hard to get.
Under the stroke we had 4 hard days of work, but when you love what you do it is not work….it is fun. After the fair hall closes on 18:00 we went to our Hotel close by and relaxed by good dinner and some long drinks….not too much long drinks because the next day is also a long day. And again collectors will need some advice and maybe a good hint not to buy this or better buy that.
Thanks to Mr. Dennis Suitner as the Head from Trave Military for such a good time in Kassel and hopefully we will meet you all there in 2018.
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“.
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“.
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.
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.
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.
Together with the Pilot Badge there were different badges in his estate.
Italian military pilot badge
Medaille de la campana
Wehrmacht Dienstauszeichnung 4. Klasse
Deutsches Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern
Cruz de guerra
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.
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.
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.
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.
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“.
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” .
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.
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.
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.
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.
There was also a prescribed, combat to time served ratio, enabling long serving personnel to be eligible for award of a clasp.