Tank Destruction Badge

(Sonderabzeichen für das Niederkämpfen von Panzerkampfwagen durch Einzelkämpfer)

aka: "Panzervernichtungsabzeichen" or "Panzerknackerabzeichen"

 

 

The tank destruction badge in silver was instituted by Adolf Hitler on the 9th March 1942 to honour individuals who single handedly destroyed an enemy tank with hand held weapons. This award was made retroactive to the beginning of the invasion of the Soviet Union (22nd June 1941).

The tank destruction badge consists of a blackened 43mm x 18mm Panzer Mk IV tank attached to a 33mm x 88mm silver ribbon. The tank is attached to the ribbon by three prongs bent over a small oblong metal plate, and covered with black or army green cotton/wool cloth or, as found in some cases, canvas. The silver ribbon includes a 4mm black cotton stripe running horizontally 2mm from the upper and lower edges of the ribbon.

 

Tank Destruction Badge in Silver

Award for the destruction of a single tank

 

As individuals earned multiple badges, it became evident that a higher class was needed. Therefore on 18th December 1943, a gold class was instituted to signify the single-handed destruction of five tanks.

 

Tank Destruction Badge in Gold

Award for the destruction of five tanks

 

Criteria

The tank destruction badge was awarded to soldiers who destroyed an enemy tank single handedly by a hand held weapon. Anti-tank units were not eligible for this award.

Silver Award: The single handed destruction of an enemy tank by use of hand held weapons such as a hand grenade, panzerfaust, satchel charge, Molotov-cocktail, etc.

Gold Award: The single handed destruction of five enemy tanks using hand held weapons such as a hand grenade, panzerefaust, satchel charge, Molotov-cocktail, etc.

 

Presentation and Wear

Upon presentation, the badge was pinned to the right sleeve of the recipient in a ceremony and was later sewn on the uniform by the individual

 

Awarding the Tank Destruction Badge in the field

 

The silver badge was worn on the upper right arm of the tunic with subsequent awards being attached directly below the first one until four were attached at one time.

 

TAB in wear

 


On the award of a fifth badge, the four were taken off the uniform and replaced with a single gold badge. On the award of a sixth badge, a silver class was attached
below the gold class. The process repeated itself until a tenth badge was awarded, then the silver badges were replaced by a second gold badge. Again, the process
continued until the fifteenth award, then the twentieth, and so on.

 

Documentation

(urkunden)

 

Award document

 

 

There were many designs of the citation (urkunde) both official and unit-specific

 

Award documents


 

The highest number of awards given to a single man was twenty-one, awarded to Oberstleutnant Gunter Viezenz (10./Gren.Rgt. 7).

 

Oberstleutnant Gunter Viezenz

 


 

Next: List of holders of the Tank Destruction Badge