Original German WWII Set of 4 Awards with Documents named to Lt. Erwin Lusche of 293rd Artillery Regt.
Original Items: One-of-a-kind grouping. This is a fantastic set, with four original German WWII combat awards, each with their original BESITTZZEUGNIS "possession/award" certificates. All were awarded to the same soldier, Leutnant Erwin Lusche. "Leutnant" was the lowest enlisted rank, equivalent to a U.S. 2nd Lieutenant.
Also included is printed out information regarding the burial location of Lusche, whose full name was Erwin Karl August Lusche, and is listed as a Hauptmann (Captain). We do not know if this was a wartime promotion, or posthumous. He was killed in Romania, and buried in German war cemetery with 3850 graves from the Second World War in Iasi, Romania. There were some re-internment activities at some point, and his remains were not recovered at that time.
The award documents are dated 1941 and 1942, making this a great set showing the progression of awards. He was a member of the Artillerie-Regiment (A.R.) 293. which looks to have been attached to the 8th Division, and later III. Armeekorps.
The four awards earned by this soldier in date order are the the:
- Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse 1939 (Iron Cross 2nd Class 1939), awarded 7. August 1941, signed by the Genneralleutnant (Major General) and 8th Division Commander.
- Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen (Infantry Assault Badge) in Silber (Silver), by Friedrich Linden of Lüdenscheid, awarded 11.11.1941, signed by the Genneralleutnant (Major General) and 8th Division Commander.
- Eisernes Kreuz I. Klasse 1939 (Iron Cross 1st Class 1939), awarded 9. April 1942, signed by a Generalmajor (Brigadier General) and Division Commander.
- Verwundetenabzeichen (Wound Badge) 3rd Class in Schwarz (Black), awarded on 12.6.1942, and signed by a Major and Unit Commander of the III./ A.R. 293
All of the awards are in good condition, with their original ribbons (if issued with them), though the Infantry assault badge is missing the pin back hook, as shown.
All of the documents measure approximately 8" x 5", and are printed on mid-weight paper with black print and typed in particulars. They are all properly filled out, dated, stamped, and signed. All documents are in good condition, with the expected wear and yellowing from age. They all show some folding and tearing, as expected of documents of this age. Please consult the pictures for condition specifics.
A really nice German WWII award set, complete with the original documents named to the same soldier. A great bit of history, showing a soldier's progression over the yeasr of the war. Ready to display!
The Eisernes Kreuz (Iron Cross)
There is no more iconic German military award than the Iron Cross. The long history of this order began during the Napoleonic Wars. King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia instituted the “Eisernes Kreuz” (Iron Cross) in March of 1813. The award criteria changed somewhat with time, but generally speaking, Iron Crosses could be awarded for individual acts of bravery, or for leadership achievements on the battlefield. The design was created by a Karl Friedrich Schinkel, his choice of the black cross with silver outline was derived from the heraldic emblem of the Teutonic Knights.
The final reinstitution of the cross came in 1939. For this version, the front of the core for both grades bore a swastika and the date 1939. The oak leaves, crown and royal initials were removed from the reverse, with only the date 1813 remaining as a reminder of the legacy of this award. In WWII, hundreds of thousands of Iron Cross First Class awards were bestowed, and four and a half million Iron Cross Second Class awards. Iron Crosses were made by a large number of authorized manufacturers. Some variants of these awards were mass produced in huge numbers. Others were made in very limited quantities.
Second class crosses would have a ring at the top where a ring was attached, and had more markings on the back. The first class award, however, was meant to attach directly to the front of the uniform. This could be done with a pin, or as with this award, a rear portion that screws on, with a small pin at the top to keep the award from spinning.
Please note the edge seam for authentication, which is not present on reproductions. Iron crosses were commonly constructed from an iron core sandwiched in a surrounding two part silver frame, normally the seam of these two silver parts is visible around the edge of the cross as is seen on this fine example.
The Infantry Assault Badge (German: Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen) was a German war badge awarded to Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht Heer soldiers during the Second World War. This decoration was instituted on 20 December 1939 by the Commander-in-Chief of the German Army, Generalfeldmarschall Walther von Brauchitsch. It could be awarded to members of non-motorized Infantry units and units of the Gebirgsjäger that had participated in infantry assaults, with light infantry weapons, on at least three separate days of battle in the front line on or after 1 January 1940. When a counter offensive led to fighting, it could also apply. Award of the Infantry Assault Badge was authorized at regimental command level.
The Wound Badge (German: Verwundetenabzeichen) was a military decoration first promulgated by Wilhelm II, German Emperor on 3 March 1918, which was awarded to wounded or frostbitten soldiers of the Imperial German Army, during World War I. Between the world wars, it was awarded to members of the German armed forces who fought on the Nationalist side of the Spanish Civil War, 1938–39, and received combat related wounds. It was awarded to members in the Reichswehr, the Wehrmacht, SS and the auxiliary service organizations during the Second World War. After March 1943, due to the increasing number of Allied bombings, it was also awarded to wounded civilians in air raids. It was awarded when the wound was the result of enemy hostile action, with an exception being for frostbite.
The badge had three classes:
- Black (3rd class, representing Iron), for those wounded once or twice by hostile action (including air raids).
- Silver (2nd class) for being wounded three or four times.
- Gold (1st class, which could be awarded posthumously) for five or more times wounded.
The "progression" could be waived in the event of loss of a limb or eyesight; when such a severe wound occurred, the silver badge was awarded.
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