Original Rare German WWII Silver Grade Anti-Partisan Bandit-Warfare Badge - Bandenkampfabzeichen
Original Item: Only One Available. These awards are nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find on the market. This is a very nice example of a German WWII Silver Grade Bandenkampfabzeichen, or Bandit-warfare Badge. This is a rare World War II decoration, awarded to members of the Army, Luftwaffe, Order Police, and Waffen-SS for participating in rear-area security operations, known as Bandenbekämpfung (bandit fighting). The badge was instituted on 30 January 1944 by Adolf Hitler after authorization/recommendation by Heinrich Himmler. The war was not going well by this point, and resistance movements had become much more active, especially on the Eastern Front.
There, the terms "partisan" and "bandit" were applied by the Nazi security apparatus to Jews, communists, Soviet state officials, Red Army stragglers, and any other persons deemed to pose a security risk. Rear-area security operations against armed irregular fighters ("pacification actions") were often indistinguishable from massacres of civilians, accompanied by burning down villages, destroying crops, stealing livestock, deporting able-bodied population for slave labor to Germany and leaving parent-less children on their own.
This example is a hollow-back design, made of silvered zinc alloy. There is still a good amount of the silvering present on the wreath, as well as on the back, and overall it has a great patina. We have never had one of these before, and do not expect to see another for some time. A fantastic collector's opportunity!
All versions of the badge feature a skull and crossed bones at the base, with a laurel wreath of oak leaves around the sides and a sword in the center. The sword's handle has the "sun-wheel" swastika, with the blade plunged into the "Hydra", whose five heads represent the "partisans". The second version of the badge had larger oak leaves in the wreath and a larger "sun-wheel" swastika. Historian Philip W. Blood notes the similarities between the symbol of the occultist Thule Society, with a sword and a swastika, and the design of the badge. He suggests that Himmler and Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski "had sealed [...] Germanic mythology into a medal for Lebensraum".
The badge existed in three grades:
Bronze, for 20 combat days against "bandits"
Silver, for 50 combat days against "bandits"
Gold, for 150 combat days against "bandits"
Criteria were slightly different for the Luftwaffe, being based on 30, 75, and 150 operational flights/sorties flown in support of "bandit-fighting" operations
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