WWII, GERMANY, HEER PARATROOPER BADGE, HALLMARKED CE JUNCKER BERLIN SW
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(Wehrmacht Fallschirmschützenabzeichen). Multi-piece construction; consisting of a gilded oak wreath with a Wehrmacht eagle clutching a swastika on the top of the wreath, and three ribbons on the bottom; affixed to the badge is a silvered eagle, attached via two ball-rivets to the reverse marked CE JUNCKER BERLIN SW.
The Heer Paratrooper Badge was officially instituted on September 1, 1937. Prior to that time, German Army personnel who had successfully qualified as paratroopers had been awarded the Luftwaffe version of this badge. The Heer version was very similar to that of the Luftwaffe but incorporated the German Army eagle emblem at the top of the wreath; because the Army eagle already carried a swastika, the swastika was omitted on the central, diving eagle device. German Army paratroopers were awarded this badge at the completion of their training. Because the number of parachutists in the German Army was very small, only limited numbers of these badges were produced. At the time of the badge’s first issue in 1937, just over 170 men were decorated with this award. The earliest Heer paratrooper badges were made of die struck aluminum, with an anodized finish, and bore an early form of the C. E. Juncker manufacturer stamp on the reverse. A slightly later Juncker aluminum version was also produced, using a different die, and usually omitting the manufacturer stamp. Soldiers to whom this badge had been awarded, could also purchase extremely high-quality silver versions of this award, stamped .800 for silver content, and usually with a custom engraving on the reverse that included the recipient’s name. In 1939, the German Army’s airborne troops were transferred to the Luftwaffe, and the badge was discontinued. In April 1943, a new German Army parachutist unit was organized, and on June 1, 1943, the Heer Paratrooper Badge was accordingly re-instituted.