Original German WWII Set of 4 Awards with Documents named to Lt. Hermann Ebenbeck of Light Flak Detachment 74

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind grouping. This is a fantastic named Heer Flak Artillery set, with four original German WWII awards, each with their original BESITTZZEUGNIS "possession/award" certificates. All were awarded to the same soldier, Leutnant Hermann Ebenbeck, who during 1943 was a member of 3. / lei. Flakabteilung 74, or the 3rd company of the 74th Light Flak Detachment 74.

From the award documents, we can see that he was a member of the RAD Reich Labor Service in 1938-1939, and as a member of RAD.-Abteilung 1/211 (S VIII) he took part in the building of the "Western Wall", the fortifications in Western Germany often known as the "Siegfried Line." He is listed as Arbeitsmann Hermann Ebenbeck, so it looks as if he had not yet enlisted in the army when the award was bestowed on 17. September 1940.

After joining the Heer (Army), Ebenbeck was commissioned at the rank of Leutnant, equivalent to a U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant, and was made a part of the 74th Light Flak Detachment, third company. As part of this unit he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class 1939 on 6. 9. 1943, and the Army Anti-Aircraft Battle Badge on 7. 11. 1943. At this time his unit was part of the 12. Flakdivision (mot.)

Ebenbeck was then transferred, or his unit reorganized, and his rank is listed as Leutnant (Kr.) Hermann Ebenbeck, which may indicate he was krank (ill / sick), but most likely something else. His award document for the KvK II indicates he was then part of the Stab / Flakabteilung 6 / III, which would indicate he was with the Headquarters / Staff of the 6th Flak Detachment, possibly the 3rd battery or company. Unfortunately German regimental markings are hard to decipher at times. The document indicates that the award was given at the Gefechtssand (command post) on 3. Dezember 1944, when the unit was part of the 27. Flakdivision.

The four awards earned by Ebenbeck (in date order) are the Deutsches Schutzwall-Ehrenzeichen (West Wall Badge), the Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse 1939 (Iron Cross 2nd Class 1939 - EK II), the Heeres Kampfabzeichen der Flakartillerie (Army Anti-Aircraft Battle Badge), and the Kriegsverdienstkreuz 2. Klasse mit Schwerten (War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords - KvK II). All of the awards are in very good condition, and come with their original ribbons if they were issued with them. The West Wall Medal and the KvK II also come with their original paper packets. The rare Army Anti-Aircraft badge is an exceptional example, and is maker marked on the back W.H. / WIEN, for Wilhelm Hobacher of Vienna, Austria.

All of the documents measure approximately 8" x 5 1/2", 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. They are in good condition, with the expected wear and yellowing from age. Only the document for the Artillery Badge has creases from folding. 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 during the immediate pre-war period, and over the years of the war. A fantastic research opportunity, as well as a great display piece!

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. This central Tatzenkreuz (cross pattée) struck from iron and mounted in a silver frame which has a raised crenulated decorative border. 

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 note the edge seam for authentication, which is not present on reproductions.

The War Merit Cross (Kriegsverdienstkreuz or KvK) was a decoration of NSDAP Germany during the Second World War, which could be awarded to military personnel and civilians alike. By the end of the war it was issued in four degrees, and had a related civil decoration. It was created by Adolf AH in October 1939 as a successor to the non-combatant Iron Cross which was used in earlier wars. The award was graded the same as the Iron Cross: War Merit Cross Second Class, War Merit Cross First Class, and Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross. The award had two variants: with swords (mit schwertern) given to soldiers for exceptional service "not in direct connection with combat", and without swords for meritorious service to civilians in "furtherance of the war effort". As with the Iron Cross, Recipients had to have the lower grade of the award before getting the next level.

The ribbon of the War Merit Cross was in red-white-black-white-red; that was, the red and black colors being reversed from the ribbon of the World War II version of the Iron Cross. The ribbon for the War Merit Medal was similar, but with a narrow red vertical red strip in the center of the black field. Soldiers who earned the War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords wore a small crossed-swords device on the ribbon. The War Merit Cross 1st Class was a pin-backed medal worn on the pocket of the tunic (like the Iron Cross 1st Class). The ribbon of the War Merit Cross 2nd Class could be worn like the ribbon of the Iron Cross 2nd Class (through the second buttonhole). Nonetheless combat soldiers tended to hold the War Merit Cross in low regard, referring to its wearers as being in 'Iron Cross Training'. The Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross was a neck decoration and worn the same way as the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross.

The West Wall Medal (German: Deutsches Schutzwall-Ehrenzeichen) was a political decoration of NSDAP Germany. It was instituted on 2 August 1939 and was given to those who designed and built the fortifications on Germany's western borders, known as the West Wall or, in English, the Siegfried Line, and to the troops who served there between 15 June 1938 to 31 March 1939. In all 622,064 medals were awarded until 31 January 1941. In 1944, after the allied invasion, it was again "re-instituted" and awarded to those who took part in the fortification of the western borders. It was awarded to over 800,000 men in total by the end of the war.

The medal was in one class, struck in bronze. Its oval shape featured on the obverse (from bottom to top) a bunker, a crossed sword and shovel, and the German Eagle. On the reverse it bore the inscription "Für Arbeit zum Schutze Deutschlands" (For Work on the Defense of Germany) The medal was designed by Professor Richard Klein, of Munich. The ribbon is golden brown with a white stripe towards each edge. In 1944, a second production run was conducted to reward the workers and military personnel strengthening the Siegfried line. This version of the medal was commonly known as the "Defense Wall Honor Award", to distinguish the decoration from its 1939 counterpart, and was constructed of a bronzed zinc. A bar with the date "1944" was authorized for those who already held the 1939 version, but this award was never mass-produced.

The Army Anti-Aircraft Battle Badge or Army Flak Badge (German: Heeres Kampfabzeichen der Flakartillerie) was a German military decoration awarded to German Army personnel for service in an anti-aircraft battery during World War II. Designed by Wilhelm Ernst Peekhaus, it was of single piece construction. The pin back and clasp badge was grey metal in color. The badge was made in one grade; it had the national eagle at the top and an oak leaf wreath around the outside rim. In the middle was an 88 mm flak gun with the barrel facing upwards to the "viewer's" right.

Criteria for the award came from a recommendation by commanders of the rank of General der Artillerie or above. It was awarded after the accumulation of 16 points or could also be awarded outside of the points system for an act of merit or bravery in the performance of anti-aircraft duties. If the candidates' battery brought down an enemy aircraft then the crew members were awarded four points. If two batteries were involved then each battery received two points. Both officers and crews were eligible for the badge. The commanding officer for an anti-aircraft unit was eligible for the badge once half of his men also qualified for the badge. Unlike the similar German Air Force Anti-Aircraft Flak Battle Badge (Flak-Kampfabzeichen der Luftwaffe), points were only awarded for the downing of aircraft and not ground targets. The award was also available to searchlight crews and sound-locator crews. German Army searchlight crews and sound-locator crews which assisted in the action by detection of aircraft could be awarded one point each.

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