Honor Roll Clasp of the Army and SS / Makers ?

Hi Gents,

winter time is coming and that is always the beginning of bringing your nose close to the books for research and reading interesting stuff about our hobby. I can tell you that the last three months were like a ride on I ship in stormy weather. Having a full time Job and besides starting a new business with my friend and partner Dennis is not so easy.

For those of you who are thinking about starting an Auction House with a real building where you can sit down and raise your hand to get something you are looking for, don’t do it……;-)

So much work and money to get it going…..incredible to tell you all the problems you can find on your way to the finish line. But if it works it will be somethings special.

From working on lights and electronics up to the right software for your frontend and backend is pure horror. Little things like getting somebody to work on you outside signs or get all the paperwork together in the local town hall making you crazy.

A really positive thing is that we found the best employee’s you can wish for. Finding people who love what they are doing is a pleasure to work with.

The workload and my duty time in the German Navy left not much time to study badges and write something about it on the BLOG.

About four weeks ago I wanted to do a special on the honor clasp of the army, but I did not find the time. Finally, I put the story of Feldwebels Theodor Kurpisz in the blog which was close to the topic honor roll clasps.

Enough wailing, let`s get it on.

I had the opportunity to look over the information what the WAF Member “Honor” brought together.

Honor Roll Clasp / Ehrenblattspange

I don’t want to steal it all, so I tried to get in touch with him. The idea was that he writes something about the Honor Roll Claps here on the blog. But no chance to get in contact with him. So all I put in here is 80% from HONOR, so all the credits to him and not to me. “Thanks buddy for the very good research on that topic”.

Also “Norm F” from Canada and “90th Light” from New Zealand did a good job putting even more information together. Also a big credit to them for the great work.

With that much of data and pictures I put it all together in a more “light” information blog on that topic. I don’t want to go THAT deep in it because my friend Brian Razkauskas works actually on a book about clasps.

So if you read this and you like what you see, do the next step and buy his book as soon as it is on the market. I will let you know asap.

Ok, let`s start with some historical background on the honor roll clasp itself:

The „Ehrenblatt der deutschen Heeres“, (Honor Roll of the German Army) was established in July 1941. These lists were created as a record of honor to register the names and heroic actions of personnel who performed extraordinary service in combat. Although considered a great honor to be registered on these lists there was no insignia awarded to the personnel as a visible sign that they were listed on the honor roll. This was remedied by the army on January 30th, 1944 by creation of the „Ehrenblatt-Spange des Heeres“, (Honor Roll Clasp of the Army). The clasp was designed to recognize heroic acts by those who already held the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd classes, but for which the German Cross in Gold or the Knight’s Cross would not be suitable. The Honor Roll Clasps were worn mounted on an Iron Cross 2nd class ribbon and worn inserted through the second top front closure button hole of the field-blouse and service tunic. It is estimated that the army awarded just over 4,500 clasp in total before war end.

For me as a medal and badges collector it is always the goal to get one from the army, one from the Luftwaffe and one from the Kriegsmarine (by the way the Kriegsmarine has not an Ehrenblattspange, there it was the Ehrentafelspange).

 

 

But to be honest I did not buy one in the last five years for my collection. Always when somebody offered a nice one, I passed it and spent my small collector money for other awards.

But looking closely to the honor Roll claps of the Army, you can see some different ways they were manufactured. That is good to know if somebody offers a nice one to you but you have no idea that this is a real one made by a different maker and you pass on it.

Using HONOR´s Information and some other sources we have actually FOUR different Honor Roll claps of the Army /SS.

  1. Two-piece Construction, massive Swastika molded to the outer circular oak-leaf wreath. Pins are round wire and sharp at the end. Arms of the swastika are granulated /grainy. Maker is the company Otto Klein, Hanau.
  2. Two-piece Construction, massive Swastika molded to the outer circular oak-leaf wreath. Pins are round wire and sharp at the end. Arms of the swastika are NOT granulated /grainy. Maker unknown. Possible Juncker made clasp.
  3. Hand cut out, one-piece construction, hollow swastika in a hollow circular oak leaf wreath. Pins are flat wire short and sharp at the end. You see that swastika is cut out by hand! Possible Juncker made Clasp.
  4. Trimming Stamp one-piece construction, hollow swastika in a hollow circular oak leaf wreath. Pins are flat wire long and not sharp at the end. Possible Juncker made Clasp

We go through the different models so you can actually see the differences in shape and also production details.

Let`s start with the most common Honor Roll Clasp Army / SS – to short it only HRC.

The maker is the company Otto Klein from Hanau, Germany. Always a two-piece construction which comes in a black case with a white inlet. The cross is massive and moldered to the wreath. Surface of the cross front side is flat and not “grainy”.

Picture 1 Two Piece Construction Maker Klein

 

The second one also a two-piece construction. Massive cross in a hollow wreath, round wire prongs and you can see the “hand work” on the cross itself. The surface of the cross is “grainy”. As far as I can say that one was made by Juncker and it comes in a blue case with blue inlet.

Picture 2 Two Piece Construction Possible Juncker

 

The third one is hollow made one piece HRC with short flat wire prongs on the backside. That one is a hand cut piece because you see the way the trimming tool was used to cut out the cross itself. Also possible Juncker made and found in a blue case with blue inlet.

Picture 3 One Piece Hand Cut Possible Juncker

 

The last one is also a hollow made one piece HRC with flat wire long prongs on the backside. That one was made with a trimming stamp and there are no signs of hand work for the finish.

Also possible Juncker made and found in a blue case with blue inlet

Picture 4 Trimming Stamp Possible Juncker

 

Here you can see the difference between trimming stamp and hand cut HRC, Zoom in for Details !

Picture 5 Left – Trimming stamp , Right Hand – Cut

 

Finally, the backside picture to get an idea of short and long prongs.

Picture 6 Hand Cut Short Prongs, Trimming Stamp Long Prongs

 

I think that might be deep enough to get an idea of the different models. Anything else like details on cases, packages and paperwork you will find in Brian’s book.

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Take care

Best

Sascha

 

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Copyright 2018 : Alle Rechte bei dem Verfasser Sascha Ulderup

Black Afrika Cuff Title

 

Hi Gents, the days passing by and a lot of things happened in the world of collecting. Surfing trough the different areas of WAF, GCA and MFF I found very interesting items. Some are so interesting, that I asked the collectors if I can use the material for the BLOG…..Sometimes I get an answer and sometimes not. As you might know I am a little bit into cuff titles. On the MFF submerged a picture with a soldier wearing a special version of the Afrika cuff title on his sleeve. That one was the missing link….. I have that Afrika cuff title version in one of my books (and in my collection). Till that day there was no picture of that special cuff title on a uniform available and so nobody was sure if it was for tank crews or not. I asked the owner of the picture, Max Miller, if I can use it in my blog and he gave me a thumbs up!!

But let`s step back to the standard Afrika version first:

The cuff title Afrika was awarded by the Wehrmacht in World War II. It was founded by Adolf Hitler on January 15th, 1943. The cuff title Afrika should not be confused with the sleeve stripe „Afrika Korps“, which was awarded as a sign to all members of the German Afrika Korps.

Afrika Cuff Title Collection Author

Creation date Army: January 15th, 1943

Creation date Navy: December 29th, 1942

Creation date Air Force: Jan. 28th, 1943

The cuff title Africa was awarded approximately 30,000 times. The awarding authority began from the battalion commander and the next higher ranking officer.

Afrika Cuff Title Standard Version Collection Author Backside

Closing date for the ceremony was  October 31st, 1944.

3.1 Background

 

In February 1941, the German Afrika Korps (DAK) was formed in Libya within  the “Operation Sunflower”. The DAK was created to stabilize the recent African campaign of the Italian troops and support them against the British army. From 1941, to October 1942, the DAK got hold of large parts of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. After that the DAK was stopped and driven back to El Alamein. In January 1943, the DAK had to clear Libya under the pressure from the Allies.The last German units in Africa capitulated May 13th, 1943.

Afrika Cuff Title Standard Version on Tank Tunic Collection Dirk Schneider

 

Basically the cuff title Africa could awarded to members of the armed forces, after the ceremony provisions of January 15th,  1943.  Soldiers who served  directly in the air, on land or at sea in Africa. Even members of the “Heeresgefolges” or in the immediate order of the army employed persons, also non-Wehrmacht soldiers who report to the Air Force or were active in their immediate contract, could be awarded.

 

 

Army

– Duty for six months on African soil

– Wounded in this operation

– Illness  which led to the loss of full or conditional ability to serve in the tropicsice.

Navy

The same rules are applied in the Navy as in the army. For the crews of ships:

At least six months of operations at sea from bases in Africa.

Air force

For the Air Force were the same rules as in the Navy applied.

1st change of the provisions ceremony (Army on May 20th, 1943/ Air Force  on  July 1st, 1943). Members of the Army Group Africa, who took part in the final battle on African soil, on May 6th, 1943 honorably, the cuff title Afrika could be awarded after four months of service in Africa.

 

2nd change of the award provisions (December 14th, 1943)

The cuff title Afrika could now be awarded regardless of the operating time, provided that the soldier himself earned a bravery award during the fighting in Africa such as the Iron Cross, German Cross in Gold, mention in the Honor Roll,…

The cuff title (approximately 450 mm by 36 mm) was made of camel hair fabric. The lettering Afrika was mounted in white rayon embroidery centered. It has been enclosed on the top and bottom of the sleeve a strip of white is also about 3 mm wide strand. The cuff title Afrika was worn on the left forearm above the cuff.

Here it comes !

Afrika Black Cuff Title on Luftwaffen Tunic Collection Max Miller

Finally we have the proff with the help of Max Miller that the black Afrika cuff title was a version used by the Luftwaffe and not by tank crews. An we have also proof that is a time period cuff title. Against the regulations but anyway used by some soldiers of the Luftwaffe.

Afrika Cuff Title Black Version Collection Author

 

Black Afrika Cuff Title Collection Author Close Up

Sometimes it takes a little bit time but if you stay on it, some mysterys will be solved

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Take care

Best

Sascha

 

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Copyright 2018 : Alle Rechte bei dem Verfasser Sascha Ulderup

 

 

 

General Assault Badge Screwback Clamshell

Hello Gentlemen,

during this cold and dark winter I have more time for checking the net for interesting badges. A few days ago I stumbled over a General Assault Badge with a screw back. Not a normal screw back as most of you know from Iron Crosses first class. I talk about the seashell screw back version. In Germany we use the term “Sternenschraubscheibe” which means star screw back.

General Assault Badge Screwback made by Alois Rettenmaier

My collector friend Gabin Bruneau from France is the proud owner of that nice GAB. I asked for some pictures and more details about the badge and here we go.

The weight of the screw back: 5.85g

The weight of the badge: 27.75g

Both together: 33.60g

The measurements of the badeg are:  540 mm high and 445 mm wide. The screwback itself has 410 mm.

General Assault Badge Screwback made by Alois Rettenmaier E

So in this case we have a General Assault Badge made by the company Alois Rettenmaier. If you look for this company you will see they are still in service and located in Germany, Schwäbisch Gmünd

Well, Alois Rettenmaier and seashell……maybe you remember seeing Infantry Assault Badges made by Rettenmaier before with this sort of backside. I started to search the net for more badges with clamshell screw backs and found some.

General Assault Badge Screwback made by Alois Rettenmaier A

In the Luftwaffen Badge area I found some pilot badges, sadly just with normal screw backs, Kriegsmarine was the same, no luck there. Only one Uboat Badge but I think that was not a good one with the screw back…..

So I went on and found wounded badges from World War I with clamshells, Iron Crosses 1st class 1914 and Iron Crosses 1st class 1939 with that clamshell. Even on the clasp for the iron cross 1939 1st class we found them…..So they are out there but you have to be careful:  Bad guys already know that the price goes up if there is a screw back instead of a pin….even better a seashell……watch out and get good information before you buy.

Let`s go back to the General Assault Badge. Searching for more information another collector friend provided me with pictures from his collection. There are 3 known makers which made clamshell screw backs General Assault Badges:

1.Schauerte & Höhfeld

2.Deumer

3.Alois Rettenmaier

And here are the pictures to the different GAB makers.

Schauerte & Höhfeld, Wilhelm Deumer, and Alois Rettenmaier

 

Schauerte & Höhfeld, Wilhelm Deumer, and Alois Rettenmaier backside

As always we need some historical facts to the General Assault Badge:

 

The General Assault badge was introduced on June 1st,  1940 by Generaloberst Walther von Brauchitsch, for award to support personnel who were ineligible for the Infantry or Panzer Assault badges. Criteria for award of the badge was basically the same as the criteria for award of the Infantry and Panzer Assault badges with the main qualification being participation in three separate assaults in a supporting role. On its introduction the badge was only intended for award to combat engineers and was designated, Pionier-Sturmabzeichen, (Engineer’s Assault Badge). Shortly afterwards award of the badge was extended to other support personnel including artillery and assault gun personnel, anti-tank and anti-aircraft personnel and medical personnel. Of Note: Before the introduction of the Tank Destruction Strip in March 1942, personnel who had single handedly destroyed an enemy tank with Infantry weapons were awarded the General Assault Badge.

 

Finally for the collectors of GAB`s or IAB`s who wants all varieties for their collection, it will be a hard way to get them all. I think they pop up here and there but because of the rarity they are already sold when you try to get them

Thanks again to all collectors who provided me with picture material. Some pictures are without any source, so if that is from your collection let me know. So I can credit it to your name.

Hope that the clam shell information was good for your hobby!

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Best

Sascha

 Copyright 2018 : Alle Rechte bei dem Verfasser Sascha Ulderup   / All rights with the author Sascha Ulderup

 

Panzer Assault Badge Bronce 25 Juncker

 

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 !

 

Dear collectors

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.

Panzergrenadiers after Combat

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.

Panzer Assault Badge Bronce 25 by Juncker Front view

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.

Solbuch Entry and PA Days from Sebastian`s Collection (2)

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:

  • Aufklärungs-Abteilungen
  • Schützen-Regimenter
  • Panzergrenadier-Regimenter
  • Panzerspäh-Einheiten
Panzeraufklärer sdkfz 222 Africa

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.

Russia, Kradschützen on the March 1942 / picture from the Bundesarchiv

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)

Solbuch Entry and PA Days from Sebastian`s Collection (1)

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.

Panzer Assault Badge Bronce 25 by Juncker Backview

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.

PAB 25 Bronce in wear from Philippe de Bock`s Book The German Panzer Assault badge of World War II

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…

 

 

 

Bibliography:

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 !

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Best

Sascha