Original German WWII Named Soldbuch with Iron Cross 2nd Class & Gold Wound Badge - Gefr. Friedrich Walter

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind set. This is a lovely set of a German WWII Soldbuch and Medals named to Friedrich Walter, who is identified as holding the neuer Dienstgrad (new Rank) Gefreiter (Exempted). This is an enlisted rank roughly equivalent to the British Army's "Lance Corporal", and this also indicates that Walter was promoted to that rank. Included with the book is a lovely summary of the contents in English:

Soldbuch of Friedrich Walter, born 1906 and inducted in the German Army in February 1942. After the training with Replacement Battalion 483, he joined the 332nd Infantry Regiment in June 1942; he received front line pay beginning June 30, 1942/ The 332nd was part of the 197th Infantry Division fighting with Army Group Center on the Eastern Front at Rzhev, Newel, Orscha, and Vitebsk.

Promoted to Corporal in January 1944, he was badly wounded in the face by shrapnel in early March. Treated in Field Hospital 1/626 in Borisov, Belarussia, he soon transferred to hospital Siedlec, and later Giesen, Germany. While at Giesen, he was initially awarded the Gold Wound Badge, as the wound had badly affected his eyesight. He also received the EKII, awarded by IX Army Corps, while in the hospital.

In June he god convalescent leave, then transferred to Landeschutzen Replacement Battalion 12. In October he received his terminal leave when his last last unit was discharge station 1/XII in Kaiserlautern. In March 1945, his vision was examined by an eye clinic in Heidelberg, near his home down (pages 10-11) with the notation "Can serve without prosthesis" and on the lower right "Glasses not necessary."

His terminal leave certificate, issued by the discharge station and carried in the back pocket of the Soldbuch, valid from October 30,1944 "until further notice". It indicates he was combat wounded and could wear civilian clothes.  The back of this form shows his issues of ration stamps for food, smokes, and laundry soap through the end of the war.

The page of the Soldbuch are quite covered with information, so this summery must have taken some time to assemble.

Also included are the following Medals, as mentioned in the translated Summary of the Soldbuch:

- One German WWII Iron Cross 2nd Class 1939 (Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse 1939) with Ribbon. This fine example is in very good condition, though there is adhesive residue on the ribbon interior.

- One German WWII Solid Back Gold 1nd Class Wound Badge in very good condition. It does not have a maker mark, but that is not uncommon for wartime produced badges.

A great named collector's set, complete with medals and a summarized translation. Ready to add to your collection and display!

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 final reinstitution of the cross came in 1939. For this version, the front of the core for both grades bore a swas 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.

Please also 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 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.

More on the German Soldbuch:
The Soldbuch served the soldier as a personal identification document in wartime and as an authorization to receive pay from his own or outside pay-stations. In addition, it was identification for rail travel, detached service, leave, and for receiving mail. The Soldbuch was always carried by the soldier on his person in a tunic pocket. Leaving the book in one's baggage or in one's quarters was not permitted. The careful preservation of the book was in the best interest of the owner. The Soldbuch had to be kept in an orderly fashion. The owner must see to it, that all changes in pay due to transfer or promotion are immediately entered by his responsible duty station. The Soldbuch was an official document. Entries were only to be made by a Wehrmacht duty station. Making unauthorized changes is punishable as falsification of official documents. The loss of a Soldbuch was to be reported as soon the loss is discovered to the holders unit or duty station, and the issue of a new Soldbuch will be requested.

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