Original German WWII Set of 3 Awards with Named Documents - EKII, EKI & Silver Wound Badge

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind grouping. This is a fantastic set, with three original German WWII combat awards, each with their original BESITTZZEUGNIS "possession/award" certificates. All were awarded to the same soldier, Josef Brömer, holding the rank of Obergefreiter (Lance Corporal), and later Unteroffizier (Corporal). The award documents are dated 1941, 1943, and 1944, making this a great set showing the progression of an Enlisted Rank soldier, who progressed to becoming an junior NCO. He was a member of the 6./Gren. Rgt. (mot) 156 - 6th Company Grenadier Regiment (motorized) 156, and all of the award documents have this designation.

This regiment was part of the 16th Windhund (Greyhound) Motorized Infantry division, which saw much service during the war. Created when the 16th Infantry Division was split into a Motorized Infantry and Panzer Division, it saw service in the Balkan Campaigns and invasion of Russia. It advanced on the Caucasus with elements coming to within 20 miles of Astrakhan in 1942 – the most easterly point reached by any German unit during the war. It then participated in the failed Siege of Stalingrad, where it suffered heavy losses during the campaign and subsequent retreat. In June 1943, it was upgraded to 16th Panzergrenadier Division. This upgraded formation was depleted in the continuous retreats and was transferred to France for rest and refitting.

The three awards earned by this soldier (in rank order) are the Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse 1939 (Iron Cross 2nd Class 1939), the Eisernes Kreuz I. Klasse 1939 (Iron Cross 1st Class 1939), and finally the Verwundetenabzeichen (Wound Badge) 2nd Class in Silber (Silver). The Wound badge in particular is cumulative, so it is in fact awarded for wounds suffered in 1941, 1943, and 1944. All of the awards are in good condition, with their original attachment devices intact. The rayon ribbon on the EKII is a bit faded due to age.

The Iron Cross 2nd Class and the Silver wound badge are both marked with Präsidialkanzlei des Führers Lieferant (Presidential Chancellery Supplier) number 65, the EKII on the ring and the Wound badge near the clasp hook. This indicates manufacture by Klein & Quenzer A.G. of Idar Oberstein. The Iron Cross 1st class does not have any visible maker marking.

All three of the documents measure approximately, 8" x 5.5", (20cm x 14cm), and are printed on mid-weight paper with black print and typed in particulars.  All of the documents are dated, with their correct stamps and signatures.

Per the information printed, the Iron Cross 2nd Class was awarded to Obergefreiten Josef Brömer on 31. Oktober 1941. The document is signed by Generalmajor Johannes Streich, a recipient of the Ritterkreuz (Knight's Cross). This General had served in Africa under Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel.

The Iron Cross 1st Class was awarded to Obergefreiten Josef Brömer on 17. August 1943. This document is signed by Generalleutnant Gerhard Grav von Schwerin, commander of the 16th Panzer Grenadier Division.

The Silver Wound Badge was awarded to now Unteroffizier Josef Brömer, for three wounds, which occurred on 2. 11. 41, 7. 8. 43, and 12. 1. 44, and is signed by the Chief Doctor at the reserve hospital in Stassfurt.

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 years of the war. Ready to display!

The 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 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 (EKI) were bestowed, and four and a half million Iron Cross Second Class awards (EKII). 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.

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