By Stijn David and Sebastián Bianchi
The Cholmshields basic design was produced in close cooperation between Generalmajor Theodor Scherer and Polizei - Rotwachtmeister Schlimmer. The design of the shield found its birth during the encirclement and after the battle came to an end, the proposal (and design) for the shield was presented to Hitler by Scherer.
The actual design was changed a little by Professor Klein, in particular the form of the wings were changed and the head of the eagle changed direction. The eagle on the original design looked towards right, and if the shield was worn on the uniform the head was looking backwards therefore it was decided to change the eagles direction to the left. Another change was the dimensions; Schlimmers proposal for the shield where 38mm by 70mm which was changed to 38mm by 65mm before the shields came into production
The shield is always hollow struck and slightly concave. The size of original shields are between 38mm and 39.5mm width and 65mm to 65.5mm height. Original shields can be found in thin stamped magnetic metal (iron) that has an oxidized grey appearance (indicated as the early versions), and zinc which had grey sprayed or painted on, an indication of later production. The shield was attached to a backing plate trough pins (either 3 or 4) and between these 2 parts the cloth piece was attached. The cloth piece is in the color of the recipients branch which has two variations in form; the earlier versions are attached to a half round cloth piece while the later versions are attached to a cloth piece that followed the outlines of the actual shield.
As stated before there exist two variations in shields design, here called Type I (the early version) and Type II (the later version). Main factors to determine the difference are the type of metal used and the pins that are on the reverse,
Type I : 3 pins on the reverse (2 at the top, 1 underneath in the middle), cloth backing in semi round shape.
Type II : 3 or 4 attachment pins on the reverse (2 at the top, 2 at the bottom), cloth backing that follows the outer lines of the shield
Below are pictures of the miniature Cholm stickpin that could be bought in private outlets and as regulations stated was to be worn on the civilian dress. Note the excellent detail of the original stickpin .
The recipient was allowed to buy a new Cholmshield in the official LDO controlled outlets and the price was set as follows (from the Deutsche Uniformen Zeitschrift , LDO regulated , November 1944);
- Cholmshield with cloth backing & backing plate in wrapper : 1.10 RM.
- Cholmshield with backing plate in wrapper (no cloth): 0.95 RM.
- Cholmshield without backing plate & cloth in wrapper : 0.85 RM.
- Cholmshield as stickpin (9 mm.): 0.50 RM.
According to this list the buyer could obtain a complete piece or not , and so it is possible that one could encounter a Cholmshield in wear without cloth backing attached directly towards the uniform . As with any German award the Cholmshield is nowadays widely faked and therefore prior to purchase the collector must study the subject at length. While some of the fakes are relatively easy to spot, others are more intricate.
In 1957 the Cholmschield was also authorized as a official award and could be worn on the uniform in a slightly changed form (without the Swastika , the head of the eagle is also different)
Model 1957 Cholmschield
** It is in several publications mentioned that there exist a 3 e variant ( 3 e Type ) from the Cholmshield, namely made out of a copper aloy , however there is not enough proof that these where produced during wartime , therefore these variants are not mentioned in this article so as not to confuse collectors further. If more proof of their existence surfaces this article will be updated.
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