Third Reich Era War Medals and Decorations – Luftwaffe 1933-1946

The following (rare) colour photo shows a Luftwaffe night fighter pilot: Manfred Meurer, seen here receiving the Ritterkreuz out of the hands of Gen. Josef Kammhuber in Septtember 1943. This event took place at the airfield of Venlo in Holland.

 

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Air Gunner Badge

Anti-Aircraft Flak Battle Badge

Anti-Aircraft Flak Battle Badge (German: Flak-Kampfabzeichen der Luftwaffe) was a World War II German military decoration instituted on 10 January 1941 by the Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring to commemorate soldiers or servicemen of the Flak Artillery who distinguished themselves in action against enemy aerial or ground attacks (for example, tanks and bunkers).

Designed by Wilhelm Ernst Peekhaus, it was of single piece construction with a pin back and clasp. The badge was made in one grade; it had a Luftwaffe eagle at the top, and an oak leaf wreath around the outside rim. In the middle was an 88 mm flak gun with the barrel facing upwards to the right. It was worn on the lower part of the left breast pocket of the service tunic, underneath the 1st class Iron Cross if awarded. The German Army had a similar badge, however, earning points towards it were only awarded for the downing of aircraft and not for ground targets.

Condor Legion Tank Badge

Flyer’s Commemorative Badge

Flugerinnerungsabzeichen (Pilot Commemorative Badge). The badge was introduced in 1936 and issued for honourable discharge to flying personnel who previously received Luftwaffe badges (i.e. aerial gunner, observer) in the line of duty. In the case of death, the Next Of Kin could receive this award as well.

Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe

The Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe (German: Frontflugspange) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to aircrew and certain other Luftwaffe personnel in recognition of the number of operational flights flown. It was awarded in Bronze, Silver, and Gold with an upgrade to include diamonds possible. Pennants suspended from the clasp indicated the number of missions obtained in a given type of aircraft. Front Flying Clasps were issued for missions completed in the following Luftwaffe aircraft:

  • Day Fighters
  • Night Fighters
  • Long Range Day Fighters
  • Air to Ground Support Fighters
  • Bombers
  • Reconnaissance
  • Transport and Glider

The different clasps were inaugurated by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring on:

  • 30 January 1941 for the Front Flying Clasp
  • 26 June 1942 for the Pennant to the Gold Front Flying Clasp
  • 29 April 1944 for the Pennant with number of mission

Glider Pilot Badge

Ground Assault Badge of the Luftwaffe

The Ground Assault Badge of the Luftwaffe (German: Erdkampfabzeichen der Luftwaffe) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to Luftwaffe personnel for achievement in ground combat. It was instituted on 31 March 1942 by the commander-in-chief (Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe) Hermann Göring.

Luftwaffe Panzer Battle Badge

On November 3, 1944 the head of the Luftwaffe, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, instituted the Luftwaffe Panzer Badge, to honour the Panzer troops of the Luftwaffe Field Divisions. Until this time qualified Luftwaffe personnel were awarded the Panzer Badge. The order called for two basic forms of the badge. The first style consisted of silver oak leaf wreath and Luftwaffe flying eagle with a black tank in the center. These badges were awarded to tank commanders, gunners, drivers, radiomen, repair crews and their medical personnel. The second style was identical to the first except the oak leaf wreath was now black. Panzer grenadiers, armoured reconnaissance units, and the medical personnel attached to them were all eligible for this style. The Luftwaffe Panzer Badge consists of an oval wreath composed of eight oak leaves on the left and, due to the tank protruding from the center, only seven oak leaves on the right. A ribbon is positioned on the base of the wreath and a Luftwaffe flying eagle is to be found at the top. The badge was presented in a paper packet with the name of the award printed on the outside. The award document that was to be awarded with it was the common type featuring the recipients name, rank, unit, and the authorizing signature of an officer. The Luftwaffe Panzer Badge was worn on the left pocket of the tunic and (as with all badges) could be worn on civilian clothes in miniature stickpin form. Both badge styles were awarded for three combat engagements on three different days. As mentioned above the silver wreathed versions were awarded to Panzer crews, repair crews, and the medical personnel attached to them, while the black wreathed version was awarded to Panzer grenadiers, armoured reconnaissance units, and their medical personnel.

Lufwaffe Observer Badge

Paratrooper Badge

In the National Socialist Wehrmacht , the Parachutist Badge which first established by order of Hermann Göring on November 5, 1936. It was originally Awarded to soldiers of the Air Force after completion of parachute workout and the required number of jumps. The badge Depicted a diving eagle with a swastika in its claws surrounded by buildings a silver wreath. It was worn over the left breast pocket.

An army version which later Introduced, with the swastika relocated to the top of the wreath and surmounted by a smaller upright eagle.

Pilot’s Badge

The Pilotenabzeichen (Pilot’s Badge) of the former Luftwaffe came in three distinct types; bronze, silver (changed to zinc during the war) and gold. It depicts a silver eagle (Silberner Adler) perched atop a swastika (Hakenkreuz), wings open in a landing pose, and surrounded by a wreath with laurel (Lorbeer) and oak (Eichenlaub) branches on the left and right, respectively. Which badge a pilot received depended on how well the pilot did on the final exam.

Pilot/Observer Badge

The Pilot/Observer Badge (German: Flugzeugführer und Beobachterabzeichen) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to Luftwaffe service personnel who had already been awarded the Pilot’s Badge or Observer Badge. It was instituted on 26 March, 1936 by the Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring. It was worn on the lower part of the left breast pocket of the service tunic, underneath the Iron Cross 1st Class if awarded.

The badge was originally manufactured in bronze, and later zinc. The badge can be distinguished from the Pilot’s Badge by the gold wreath; the Pilot’s Badge had a silver wreath.

Radio Operator Badge

The Radio Operator & Airgunner’s Badge (German: Fliegerschützenabzeichen für Bordfunker) was a German military decoration awarded to radio operators, air gunners and mechanics (flight engineers) who were members of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) after they completed two months training or had taken part in at least five operational flights. If one was wounded during an operational flight, the badge could be awarded earlier. Later in June 1942, a separate badge was introduced for Air Gunners and Flight Engineers. That badge had the same qualifications.

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German Military History with a focus on World War 2 History including other areas of German History

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