Original German 1957 Pattern Bundeswehr Luftwaffe Combined Pilot Observer Badge
Original Item: Only One Available. Following the end of WWII in Europe, Germany had been partitioned into 4 occupation zones, Soviet, American, French, and British, with several smaller zones administered by various other European countries. The Capital of Berlin was also split up into zones as well. It was originally planned that the Allies would administer occupied Germany via the Allied Control Council, however the different goals of the four major powers resulted in a total breakdown of this system. France wanted very much to break Germany back into smaller states, as it had been during the 19th century. The Soviet Union wanted it to become a Marxist state and bullwark against Western Europe.
The eventual result of these disagreements was the partitioning of Germany into the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). This divide became the frontier of the new Cold War, and as such it became clear that West Germany would need to re-arm, as East Germany was already well into that process. This led to the formation of the West German Bundeswehr in 1955, with branches for the air, land and sea forces.
There were still plenty of service age veterans from WWII, which were readily inducted into the fledgling forces. However, many awards and medals from the WWII Era were prohibited from display due to the NSDAP symbols they bore. This was a bit of a sticking point, as members of the military definitely wanted to be able to still display their military achievements. The German Law about Titles, Orders and Honorary Signs (Gesetz über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen) regulated the wearing of these awards in post war Germany.
This led to many awards being reissued in 1957, with the NSDAP symbols either removed or replaced with classic German motifs such as the Iron cross or Oak leaf clusters. Other awards such as the wound badge reverted to their Pre-WWII configurations. This is a genuine 1957 Pattern Combined Pilot Observer Badge (Gemeinsames Flugzeugführer- u. Beobachterabzeichen) in very good condition. We do no know whether it was issued during the West German era or after the reunification.
The design is almost identical to the WWII version, except that the swas (hook cross) is no longer part of the design. The pinback is fully functional, and the gold wash on the wreath is fully retained. There is some wear and patination to the eagle.
The joint pilot and observer badge was created on January 19, 1935 by Hermann Göring in his capacity as Reich Minister of Aviation as a successor to the pilot badge. The prerequisite for the awarding of the Joint Pilot and Observer Badge was the awarding of the pilot or observer badge and the prerequisites for both badges. By decree of July 31, 1944, it was decided that at least one year had passed between the award of the pilot or observer badge and the Joint Pilot and Observer badge would be awarded.
It is an oval badge, whose wreath is gilded and made of oak (right) and laurel leaves (left). On the wreath, the silver sovereign badge of the Luftwaffe of the second form is launched. The back of the otherwise broken badge shows a perpendicular soldered needle with hooks. The award was worn as a badge on the left chest below, if it was awarded, Iron Cross I Class. Embroidered versions of this badge were allowed for the pilot's kit.
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