by Sebastian Bianchi
On the 3rd of November, 1944, Herman Göring created new decorations for the men of the Luftwaffe, one of which was the Luftwaffe Close Combat Clasp, with the order translated below,
"The Reichsmarschall des Reiches and Commander of the Luftwaffe.
1574. Statutes for the introduction of a close combat clasp and Panzer combat award of the
Due to the increasing frequency that Luftwaffe troops, esp. Fallschirmjaegers, are involved in ground combat on all fronts and Brennpunkten (hot spots) and in view of the kind of combat they are involved
in, I have decided to introduce a number of new kinds of Luftwaffe combat badges.
To compliment the Armies version, I institute as a visible award for courage in close combat, using small arms and close combat means, and as a incentive to devotion to duty "the Luftwaffe close combat clasp" and for having proved oneself in combat as a member of a panzer, panzerrecon or Panzergrenadier unit of the Lufztwaffe "The Panzer combat award of the Luftwaffe"
The award of the Luftwaffe combat badges is to go according to the supplied statutes. The responsible
superior officers are to be held accountable for the following of these statutes.
Manufacturing style will be dictated by the chef of the Personnel, equipment and NS leadership of the LW. HQ ofthe Ob.D.L. 3.11.44”
The basic shape of Close Combat Clasp was that of the Operational Flying Clasp minus the swastika at the bottom of the wreath. The eagle clutched a swastika, which had directly underneath it a bayonet and a hand grenade crossing each other. The Oakleaves wreath varied in color depending on the class of the award (Bronze, Silver, Gold), but the eagle was always oxidized silver.
Presentation, Wear and Documents
The badge was to be worn directly above the left breast pocket, and if the recipient was wearing a ribbon bar, it was to be 1cm above said device.
One of the earliest Bronze awards was presented to Obergefreiter Albert Mählamann of the Herman Göring Division on the 19th of December, 1944. The next month, Hitler presented the first Gold award to an NCO.
No information is currently available to the author on the documents of this badge.
The badge was divided into three classes as follows,
Class I – Bronze, earned after 15 days of close combat, reduced to 10 days if the candidate had been wounded
Class II – Silver, earned after 30 days of close combat, reduced to 20 days if the candidate had been wounded.
Class III – Gold, earned after 50 days of close combat, reduced to 40 days if the candidate had been wounded.
Because the award was instituted so late in the war retroactive serviced was recognized as follows,
Eight Months of Service – five Combat days credit.
Twelve months of service – ten combat days credit.
Fifteen months of Service – fifteen combat days credit.
Luftwaffe personnel who received the Gold class were entitled to a twenty-one day furlough, a rare luxury in the fifth year of the war.
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