Sunday, 6 December 2015

The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross.

The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross.

Instituted on
Rarity –  Very Rare.
Known Makers – Unmarked.

The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross - Obverse.

The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross - Reverse.

This decoration is in the form of a 45 mm aluminium cross that is superimposed over a shield.  The outer edge of the cross and shield has a raised edge line.  At the centre of the cross is a circular boss with similar raised edge line.  Round the arms of the cross and within the boss, are thinner lines producing a tramline effect.  The field of the tramlines are infilled with black paint.  The resultant fields of the arms of the cross and the boss are stippled and left plain.  On to the field of the upper arm of the cross is superimposed the numeral '5' with raised outer line.  The field is filled with black paint.  The lower field has, in two lines, in similar construction, '28 X  1941.'  The left-hand field, in cyrillic characters, has, 'K O H O', and on the right, 'H O B', in similar construction.  All are infilled with black paint.  The significance of the numerals is the regimental number and the date of the foundation of the regiment.  The cyrillic characters translate to the name of its commander, Kononov.  The field of the central boss has a swastika, again with raised edge and black paint infill.  Through this and superimposed across the shield are crossed Shashkas or Cossack swords, with their hilts breaking the outer edge of the shield in the lower quadrants of the cross, and their tips the outer edge of the shield in the upper quadrants of the cross.  The panels produced adjacent to the vertical arms of the cross are infilled with red paint and those next to the horizontal ones are infilled with blue paint, representing the red and blue shield of the Don Cossacks.

The reverse is flat with a single raised line that represents the outline of the obverse.  The centre has a flat smooth circle that corresponds to the obverse's central boss.  The upper and lower arms have a protrusion with a central slit that has a steel 'safety pin' inserted into it.  This is then pressed over by the protrusions.  The whole of the reverse is finely pebbled.  It was worn on the left pocket of the uniform.

The 5th Don Cossack Regiment and the 2nd Siberian Cossacks Regiment both had their own regimental crosses.  These are not decoration per se but rather items of dress.  The wearing on the breast pocket of regimental crosses, enamelled badges or other emblems to distinguish a unit or training establishment is common to many continental countries, particularly Poland.  However, these crosses were unique in the German armed forces and took on the resemblance of a campaign award or tradition badge for, in October 1941 an entire Cossack regiment with all its officers, including its commander Colonel Kononov, deserted from the Red Army and offered their services to the Germans.

The 5th Don Cossack Cavalry Regiment was the first completely Russian unit, with its own officers, to fight for the Germans.  Kononov, by the end of the war, had been promoted to Major General and given command of all the Cossack formations in the German Army.  The German officer most closely associated with the Cossacks was Oberstleutnant Helmuth von Pannwitz.  He had struck up a close friendship with Nikolai Kulakov, the clan chief or Ataman of the Terik Cossacks, who promised the active co-operation of his people in the struggle against Stalinist Communism.  Pannwitz broached the matter to the Chief of the General Staff, General Zeitzler, suggesting that it could be possible to raise a regiment of Terik Cossacks.  Zeitzler approved and promised that Pannwitz would command such a regiment if it were ever raised.  However, when Pannwitz asked the poignant question, where were the troops he was to command the General ruefully answered, “You'll have to find them for yourself”.  The resourceful Pannwitz proceeded to tour the front in his Fieserler Storck 'plane, resorting to methods which cannot be described as entirely orthodox.  He managed to 'find' about 1000 men and six tanks.  The Pannwitz cavalry unit proved its worth in combat and convinced of their value as a fighting force, he urged the creation of a Cossack Cavalry Division.  The horrific losses in the east made the Army welcome any reinforcements of its overstretched manpower.  The raising of such a division was approved and in April and May 1943 the first Cossack Cavalry Division was formed at Kherson in the Ukraine, comprising of Don, Terik and Kuban Cossacks.  The Army also sent a regiment of Kalmuks to Kherson, who had traditionally formed part of the Don Cossack Army and subsequently over 12000 men were assembled.  They were then moved to Malwa, north of Warsaw.  It must be assumed that by this time the Germans had discovered the distinction between Cossacks and Kalmuks, since the latter did not accompany the others to Malwa.

More than half of the new division consisted of men recruited directly from the Cossack areas.  The rest were volunteers from the POW camps or from among the Ostarbeiters in Germany.  The troops at Malwa included the German commanded Jungschulz, Lehmann and Wolff Regiments, as well as Major Kononov's Kos. Abt. 600.  The volunteers were then grouped into two brigades of three regiments each. 

1st Brigade.

1st Don Cossack Cavalry Reg.  Commanded by  Oberstleutnant  Graf zu Dohna.

2nd Siberian Cossack Cavalry Reg.  Commanded by  Major Freiherr von Nolcken.

4th Kuban    Cossack Cavalry Reg.  Commanded by  Oberstleutnant Freiherr von Wolff.

2nd Brigade.

3rd Kuban    Cossack Cavalry Reg.  Commanded by  Oberstleutnant Jungschulz.

5th Don      Cossack Cavalry Reg.  Commanded by  Oberstleutnant Kononov.

6th Terik    Cossack Cavalry Reg.  Commanded by  Major H-D von Kalben.

 Of the six regimental commanders Kononov was the only non German.  From this brief background of the history of the Cossacks it is possible to conclude that due to the rarity of the badge and the lack of photograph evidence of wear of the cross, it was possible that the cross was to recognise original members of the 5th Don Cossack Cavalry Regiment who deserted in 1941.  But it must be asserted that this theory is purely supposition.
These were produced in the late 1970's and were sold by the UK Dealer T B Oliver. They were sold as copies and the price was in the region of 10 Shillings. The main point of variance is the tail of the 9 in the lower arm of the cross.

The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross - Obverse - Fake.

The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross - Reverse- Fake.

The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross - Commemorative Restrike.
These are thought to have been made as a commemorative piece in the late for former members of the Brigade. They are hard to come by. 

The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross - Commemorative Restrike - Obverse.

 The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross - Commemorative Restrike - Reverse.

Fantersy Piece .

The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross - Obverse - Fantersy Piece.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

20 July 1944 Wound badge

Wound Badge "20 July 1944" - Black Class, Silver Class , Gold Class.

Known Makers: : L/12, 2.
Rarity: Extremely Rare, Extremely Rare, Extremely Rare.



On 20th July 1944, an attempt was made to assassinate Hitler by Colonel Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberge at the Wolf's lair at Rastenburge, Hitler's H.Q. in the east.  This was unsuccessful but led Hitler and the 24 occupants of the room to suffer varying degrees of wounds.  The most serious being the loss of life of Colonel Brant and Herr Berger, who died immediately, and Generalleutnant Schmundt and General Korten dying subsequently from wounds they received.  The remaining twenty suffered superficial wounds and shock, save for General Buhle and Generalmajor Scherff, who were more seriously injured.
Hitler, to commemorate this attempt on his life and his escape, introduced a special wound badge which he awarded to the 24 occupants, or dependents in the case of the dead.  He declined to award himself one of these medals.  The first awards of this medal were made on 20th August 1944.


Wilhelm Keitel 
Black Award
Alfred Jodl            
Black Award
General der Artillerie          
Walter Warlimont
Black Award
Jesko von Puttkamer
Black Award
Kapitan Z See                     
Heinz Assmann
Black Award
Nicolaus von Below
Black Award
Hans-Erich Voss 
Black Award
Otto Gunsche
Black Award
Hermann Fegelein
Silver Award
Adolf Heusinger
Silver Award
G. Borgman            
Silver Award
General der Flieger             
Karl Bodenschatz
Gold Award
General der Infanterie             
Walter Buhle 
Gold Award
Walter Scherff          
Gold Award
General der Flieger         
Gunter Korten 
Gold Award Post.
Heinz Brant       
Gold Award Post
Gold Award Post.
Rudolf Schmundt
Gold Award Post.
von John
  Not known - presumed Black
Not known - presumed Black
Walter Hewell        
Not known - presumed Black
von Schimanski
Not known - presumed Black
Not known - presumed Black
Not known - presumed Black

The quality of these badges is very high and each example is hand finished.  This is illustrated by very fine file marks round the edges of the badge.  The badge was produced by the firm of C.E. Junker of Berlin and it is estimated that the firm produced 100 badges.  It took the form of the ordinary wound badge with a very finely formed wreath with a bow at the base and three laurel berries or dots at the apex.  The helmet is nearer the apex and the sword hilts are two bundles of laurel leaves up the wreath from the base, and the upper edge of the hilt of each sword touches the front and back of the helmet respectively.  Beneath the helmet is the date and Hitler's signature.  The date and signature are raised and polished.  The field is hand pebbled and matt finished.  The reverse is flat and bears minute scratches, which epitomise hand finishing. 

The hinge is of the "on it's edge" type with a hook at the bottom.  The pin is hand drawn and slightly curled up at the bottom where it fastens into the hook.  On the reverse beneath the pin are the maker's mark L/12 and the silver content .800.  At this point it is interesting to note that each recipient received two badges, the award one as described and a Dress Copy which had L/12 .800 and a small 2 to denote that this was the wear copy or second version.  No other difference exists between the two types save for this small number. 

The black version had the wreath, helmet and swords artificially blackened.  The Swastika was less darkened while the date and signature were highly polished and the field was matt silver.  The reverse to include the pin, hook and hinge was also artificially blackened.  The silver version is silver all over, with the signature and date highly polished as before, while the field is again matt silver.  The gold version has a gold or gilt wreath helmet and swords, with again the Swastika slightly lightened, the date and signature are highly polished silver, while the reverse and pin etc., are matt gold. 

Criteria for The Award were;-

1] 1 - 2 wounds  -  Black award

2] 3 - 5 wounds  -  Silver award

3] 1 wound resulting in the loss of hand, foot, eye or deafness - Silver award.

4] 5 or more wounds - Gold award

5]1wound resulting in total disability, permanent blindness or loss of manhood -Gold award.

The only illness or disease the badge could be awarded for was that of cases of frostbite.


It is assumed that when the recipient was wounded again he received the higher grade of the badge in this form. 

The badge was awarded with a Citation that was produced on Vellum paper with a large gilt eagle at its top.  The name and grade of the badge was individually entered on to the Citation.  At the base was Hitler's signature in ink and official seal.  The badge came in a black box with black velvet base and silk lid lining.

Jodl wearing their 20th July 1944 wound badge.
20 July 1944 Wound Badge - Obverse -  Fake.
20 July 1944 Wound Badge - Reverse -  Fake.
 20 July 1944 Wound Badge - Fake marks.

Friday, 14 August 2015

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge

Instituted on - 1941
Rarity – Very Rare.
Known Makers – Unmarked.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Obverse.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Reverse.

The badge comprises of a light blue cloth inverted triangle with rounded corners, machine woven on blue-grey wool backing. The insignia measures approximately 53mm high and 85 mm wide, which has a darker blue edge line. At the centre is a woven pair of white wings on a blue-grey field, with a black Latin “B” encircled in a black ring. From the circle are four lightning flashes, one projecting at each diagonal. The wings, central circle and flashes are in white, while the outlines of the wings, together with its fletching, and flashes are black. The capital 'B' is for Bordfunker and the lightning flashes symbolise the wireless. 
The award was introduced in 1941, however the illustration which accompanied the introduction of this badge shows a Gothic B, but this may have been only the artist’s impression.

It was awarded to students following demonstrated proficiency in practical tests and written examination involving electronics and physics. Although radio training was conducted in the classroom, flying experience was obligatory before the badge was awarded. The student was required to have earned the International Glider proficiency badge in at least the B Level – two gulls. The badge was worn on the lower left arm of the service tunic and HJ uniform.

The student had a Proficiency Book, which contained his photograph and personal details. This book had the test undertaken and duly stamped. A certificate was also issued for the award.

HJ Students undergoing lectures and training for the NSFK Radio Operator's qualification.

The badge can be seen on the left arm of the HJ Student in the fore ground.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Qualification certificate.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Qualification Book.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Qualification Book - Inner page.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Qualification Book - Page 1.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Qualification Book -
 Page  2 - 3.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Qualification Book -
 Page 4 - 5.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Qualification Book -
Page 6 - 7.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Qualification Book -
Page 10 - 11.

Wehr Helmut

The International Glider proficiency badge "A" can be seen on his lapel together with his HJ Proficiency miniature badge.

Civil Gliding Proficiency Badge. A, B, C Certificate.

These three awards are basically the same and can be found in three varieties.  A cloth badge measuring approximately 50 mm, produced in either silver-grey thread or silver bullion wire on a blue-grey Melton backing.  The badges consist of an embroidered circle that measures approximately 40 mm with one, two or three gulls to represent the grade of the award.  The third variety is a smaller metal badge with a raised outer edge line.  The relevant gull or gulls have a similar raised line and the resultant fields are in filled with blue and white opaque enamel.

A Certificate.

  30-second free flight with no manoeuvres required.

B Certificate.

  60-second free flight with 'S' turn manoeuvre.  This also    
  Qualified the recipient for the German Glider Permit.
C Certificate.
  It was necessary to make a 5-minute flight without losing height
  and pass an aural examination.  This qualified the recipient for
  the official Soaring Licence.

Achievement C Certificate.

This badge was referred to as the Leistungsprüfung C, as well as the Leistungsabzeichen.  This is assumed to have been awarded for long duration flights with a much higher standard aeronautical skills being required with flights in excess of five hours.  It has been stated that two types of badge were employed for the higher awards and these are the silver badge, which had three gulls enclosed in a silver wreath of oak leaves and the golden badge, which had three gulls in a gilt wreath.  It has also been reported that this grade has been encountered in an A Certificate, which has one gull surrounded by an oak leaf wreath and a B Certificate with two gulls surrounded by an oak leaf wreath.  These were all supposedly for long duration flights.  In January 1942 the silver badge was replaced by the NSFK Large Glider Pilots Badge.
These badges were instituted by the International Aeronautical Federation, F‚d‚ration A‚ronautique Internationale before the second world war and, it must be stressed, are still in use today.  They were for varying degrees of proficiency in gliding.  As the Versailles Treaty forbade a German air force, this left gliding as the only alternative of learning the art of civilian flying for commercial or private purposes.  Because of the cost of motor driven aircraft, Germans turned to the sport of gliding and soaring which proved to be an excellent cover for training future pilots of the clandestine Luftwaffe.  Fledgling pilots had to be tested and were judged under the rules of the International Aeronautical Federation.  Qualified pilots were authorised to wear the badges on their respective uniforms on the left breast pocket.  Germany and Italy are believed to be the only countries to allow such badges to be worn on their service uniforms. The metal badges were to be worn on the left lapel of civilian clothing.

International Glider proficiency badge A Level – one gulls. - Bullion - Obverse. 

International Glider proficiency badge B Level – two gulls. - Bullion - Obverse.
International Glider proficiency badge C Level – three gulls. - Bullion - Obverse.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Swastika.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Swastika - Obverse.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Swastika - Reverse.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Swastika - Obverse Fake.

NSFK Radio Operator's Badge - Swastika - Reverse Fake.