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Wehrmacht Awards

Wehrmacht Awards

Germany produced and manufactured an enormous amount of medals, badges, decorations, pins, and awards, before and during the course of the war. Germany had a long history and tradition of issuing medals and awards, after Adolf Hitler came to power the way in which medals and awards were handled totally changed, all awards were treated as National awards. Many of the older style medals and awards were abolished, many of the more traditional medals were reinstated by Adolf Hitler, which generally involved redesigning the medal and adding the swastika to the design. Of course many new designs of medals and awards appeared throughout World War II.

German decorations for valour consist of the various grades of Iron Cross shown below. Together with the Honour Roll Clasp. In actuality iron crosses of the first and second classes may be allotted allotted in bulk to combat units, whether or not the personnel are individually deserving of such decorations. At one time there appeared to be some plan on the part of German authorities to keep locations of the various types of decorations, combat service, and ordinary service, and ordinary service awards distinct and recognizable as such to the relatively uninitiated. In brief, this plan seemed to be to locate campaign and ordinary service awards above the left breast pocket in the form of ribbons, with participation in notable campaigns indicated by badges on the sleeve. Combat and wounds would be indicated by badges of bronze, silver, and gold located on the left breast, while actual decorations would be worn as ribbons in the buttonhole, at the neck or in the form of the easily recognizable actual metal medal pinned on the uniform. This rule holds as a rough guide, but there are many exceptions, notable among which are the various foreign ribbons for valour worn with other ribbons above the left breast pocket. Marksmanship awards are worn in the form of fourragers across the right breast.

The German armed forces place much emphasis on the morale effect of various decorations and awards the numbers of which are almost incredibly large because of the authorisation of the wearing of the Nazi party and police badges, as well as foreign decorations and those of minor German states under the German Empire. Much of the paperwork of the German army is concerned with the awarding of various types of medals and badges and their certificates. The German troops themselves priced these honours highly and wear them on the field uniform even in combat.

Shown below are some of the more famous German medals, badges, decorations, pins, and awards, but I must emphasise this is not an exhaustive reference.

Awards

Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross





Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
Grand Cross of the Iron Cross





Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds
Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds





Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds




Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords




Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves
Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves




Knight's Cross
Knight's Cross




German Cross Gold
German Cross Gold




German Cross Silver
German Cross Silver




Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Cross 1st Class




Iron Cross 2nd Class
Iron Cross 2nd Class




1939 Clasp to the Iron Cross
1939 Clasp to the Iron Cross




Military Honor Roll Clasp
Military Honor Roll Clasp




War Merit Cross 1st Class
War Merit Cross 1st Class




War Merit Cross 2nd Class
War Merit Cross 2nd Class




Military Long Service Award

Waffen-SS Long Service Award

Anschluss Medal
Anschluss Medal




Sudetenland Medal

Memel Medal

Eastern Front Medal
Eastern Front Medal




Blue Division Medal

West Wall Medal
West Wall Medal




Ostvolk 1st Class
Awarded in Gold and Silver with and without Swords

Ostvolk 2nd Class
Awarded in Gold, Silver, and Bronze with and without Swords

Narvik Shield
Narvik Shield




Cholm Shield
Cholm Shield




Crimea Shield
Crimea Shield




Demyansk Shield
Demyansk Shield




Kuban Shield

Wound Badges


Wound Badge, Awarded in Gold, Silver, and Black
Wound Badge, Awarded in Gold, Silver, and Black




Wound Badge of 20 July 1944, Awarded in Gold, Silver, and Black
Wound Badge of 20 July 1944, Awarded in Gold, Silver, and Black




Heer Badges


Infantry Assault Badge, Awarded in Silver and Bronze
Infantry Assault Badge, Awarded in Silver and Bronze



Close Combat Clasp, Awarded in Gold, Silver, and Bronze
Close Combat Clasp, Awarded in Gold, Silver, and Bronze



Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge




Panzer Assault Badge, Awarded in Silver and Bronze
Panzer Assault Badge, Awarded in Silver and Bronze



Panzer Destruction Badge, Awarded in Gold and Silver
Panzer Destruction Badge, Awarded in Gold and Silver



General Assault Badge
General Assault Badge




Army Anti-Aircraft Badge
Army Anti-Aircraft Badge




Anti-Partisan Guerrilla Warfare Badge
Anti-Partisan Guerrilla Warfare Badge





Condor Legion Tank Badge
Condor Legion Tank Badge




Kriegsmarine Badges


U-Boat War Badge
U-Boat War Badge




Destroyer War Badge
Destroyer War Badge




Minesweeper War Badge
Minesweeper War Badge




Blockade Runner Badge
Blockade Runner Badge




Auxiliary Cruiser Badge
Auxiliary Cruiser Badge




High Seas Fleet Badge
High Seas Fleet Badge




E-Boat War Badge
E-Boat War Badge




Naval Artillery War Badge
Naval Artillery War Badge




U-Boat Combat Clasp, Awarded in Gold and Silver
U-Boat Combat Clasp, Awarded in Gold and Silver





Luftwaffe Badges


Pilots-Observation Badge
Pilots-Observation Badge




Pilot's Badge
Pilot's Badge




Aircrew Badge
Aircrew Badge




Observer Badge
Observer Badge




Glider Pilot Badge
Glider Pilot Badge




Radio Operator Badge
Radio Operator Badge




Air Gunner Badge
Air Gunner Badge




Luftwaffe Paratrooper Badge
Luftwaffe Paratrooper Badge




Anti-Aircraft Flak Badge
Anti-Aircraft Flak Badge




Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge
Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge




Luftwaffe Flying Clasps, Awarded in Bronze, Silver, and Gold
Luftwaffe Flying Clasps, Awarded in Bronze, Silver, and Gold



This short clip shows a U-boat captain, being awarded the Knight,s Cross on the dockside after returning from a combat mission.


Sources

For a complete list of sources