Campaign and Battle Arm Shields

 

 

 

The Narvik Campaign Shield

(Der Narvikschild)

 

The Narvik Shield (Narvikschild) was designed by Professor Dr Richard Klein of Munich, and instituted on the 19th August 1940 by Adolf Hitler with the decree published in "Reichsgesetzblatt" (Number 154) on the 28th August for the army, followed on the 12th and 13th of September for the navy and air force respectively.

 

The first award was made to Generaloberst Eduard Dietl by Adolf Hitler on 21 March, 1941. A total of 8,577 shields were presented.

Heer (army): total 2,755

Luftwaffe (airforce): total 2,161

Kriegsmarine (navy): 3,661

 

Dietl with narvik schield in wear

Generaloberst Eduard Dietl with the Narvik Shield in wear

 

 

Award Criteria

The shield was awarded to all German forces that took part in the battles of Narvik between the 9th April and 8th June, 1940.

 

Versions

Silver shield on field-gray wool backing for Heer (army)
Silver shield on gray-blue wool backing for Luftwaffe (air force)
Gilded shield on dark blue wool backing for Kriegsmarine (navy)

 

Narvik Shield. Heer -  Kriegsmarine

Narvik Campaign Shield - left: Kriegsmarine (Navy) right: Heer (Army)

 

 

Document for the Narvik Shield

Document for the Narvik Campaign Shield

 

 

Narvik Shield in wear

Narvik Campaign Shield in wear - left: Kriegsmarine (navy) right: Heer (army)

 

Fallschirmjager Officer with Narvik Shield in wear

officer with Narvik Shield in wear

 

 

 

 

The Cholm Battle Shield

(Der Cholmschild)

 

After the relief of Cholm, a design for the Cholm Battle Shield (Cholmschild) was produced by Generalleutnant Theodor Scherer and Polizei-Rottwachtmeister Schlimmer and instituted on the 1st July 1942 for award to those who fought in the Cholm Pocket between the 21st January and 5 May 1942.

 

 

HJ Leader showing the Cholm Shield

A member of the Hitler-Jugend with Cholm Battle Shield in wear

 

 

Award Criteria

Have served honourably within the Cholm Pocket between thebetween the 21st January and 5 May 1942.

Have been wounded in the campaign

Have flown and landed at the airfield within the pocket

 

Versions

Shield on field-gray wool backing for Heer (army) and Waffen-SS
Shield on gray-blue wool backing for Luftwaffe (air force)
Shield on black wool backing for Panzer units (armoured units)

 

Cholm Shield

The Cholm Battle Shield

 

Document for the Cholm Shield

Document for the Cholm Battle Shield

 

 

Cholm Shield in wear

Cholm Battle Shield in wear - left: Heer (army) right: Luftwaffe (airforce)

 

 

 

 

The Crimea Campaign Shield

(Der Krimschild)

 

The Crimea Shield (Krimschild) was instituted on the 25th July 1942 and awarded to military personnel under the command of Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein who fought against Soviet Russian forces and captured the Crimea region (Krim) between 21 September 1941 and 4 July 1942.  As well as the German forces, the shield was also awarded to soldiers of the Romanian Armed Forces who participated in the Crimea campaign.

 

 

von Manstein wearing the Krim Shield

Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein with the Crimea (Krim) Shield in wear

 

Award Criteria

Participation in one or more of the following battles

1.Breakthrough Battle of Perekop (21 to 30 September 1941)
2.Breakthrough Battle of Juschun (18 to 27 October 1941)
3.Crimean follow-up battles, breakthrough at Kerch (28 October to 16 November 1941)
4.First attack on Sevastopol (17 to 31 December 1941)
5.Battle of Feodosiya (15 to 18 January 1942)
6.Defensive battles at Parpach (19 January to 7 May 1942)
7.Reconquest of the Kerch Peninsula (8 to 21 May 1942)
8.Second attack on Sevastopol (7 June to 4 July 1942)
Wounded in action
Continuous three-month service south of the line Genischesk - Salkowo - Perekop

 

Versions

Shield on field-gray wool backing for Heer (army) and Waffen-SS
Shield on gray-blue wool backing for Luftwaffe (air force)
Shield on black wool backing for Panzer units (armoured units)
Shield on dark blue wool backing for Kriegsmarine (navy)

 

 

KM Krim Shield

Crimea (Krim) Shield - Kriegsmarine (navy)

(Jody Beltram collection)

 

 

Krim shields

The Crimea Campaign Shield - left: Heer (army) middle: Luftwaffe (airforce) right: Panzer (armoured units)

 

 

Documents for the Krim Shield

Of the many designs of document (both official and unit specific) that were produced for the Krim Shield, the three above are but a few

 

 

Krim Shield in wear

A member of a Panzer Regiment with the Crimea (Krim) Shield in wear

 

 

 

 

The Demyansk Battle Shield

(Der Demjanskschild)

 

The Demyansk Battle Shield ( Ärmelschild Demjansk) was instituted on 25 April, 1943 by Adolf Hitler for award to all military personnel who fought in the Demyansk pocket (Festung Demjansk) between the 8th February 1942 - 21st April 1942

Trapped in the pocket were the 12th, 30th, 32nd, 123rd and 290th infantry divisions, and the SS-Division Totenkopf, as well as RAD, Police, Todt organization and other auxiliary units, for a total of about 90,000 German troops and around 10,000 auxiliaries. Their commander was General der Infanterie Walter Graf von Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt, commander of the 2nd Army Corps.

 

 

Junkers Ju 52 Air bridge

A Junkers Ju 52, as part of the air-bridge, delivering much needed supplies in to the Demjansk pocket

 

 

Award Criteria

Requirements for Heer and auxiliary units included honorable service in the besieged area for 60 days or wound or frostbite in the besieged area.

For Luftwaffe - 50 combat or supply missions over the besieged and surrounding area.


Versions

Shield on field-gray wool backing for Heer (army) and Waffen-SS
Shield on gray-blue wool backing for Luftwaffe (air force)
Shield on black wool backing for Panzer units (armoured units)

 

 

Damjansk Shield

The Demjansk Battle Shield

 

 

Document for the Demyansk Shield

Typical document for the Demyansk Battle Shield

 

 

 

Panzer Officer with Demjansk Shield in wear

Officer with Demyansk Battle Shield in wear

 

 

 

 

The Kuban Battle Shield

(Der Kubanschild)

 

The Kuban bridgehead (Kuban-Brückenkopf), also known as Gotenkopf (Gothic head), was a German retreat position on the Taman Peninsula, which existed from January to October 1943. It had originally been held by the Germans after the retreat from the Caucasus to allow a new attack on the oil fields of the Caucasus. After the withdrawal of the German Army to the Panther-Wotan line, the troops located in the bridgehead were evacuated across the Strait of Kerch to the Crimea. The German 17th Army under the command of Generaloberst Richard Ruoff, later under the command of General der Pioniere Erwin Jaenecke, was tasked with the defense of the bridgehead.

 

Defensive postion at the Kuban bridgehead

German defensive position at the Kuban bridgehead

 

The Kuban bridgehead was held despite repeated Soviet attacks during this period. This enabled the evacuation by sea, using the Marinefährprahm (naval ferry barge), of 239,669 soldiers, 16,311 wounded, 27,456 civilians and 115,477 tons of military equipment (primarily ammunition), 21,230 vehicles, 74 tanks, 1,815 guns and 74,657 horses to the Crimean peninsula. The Luftwaffe further evacuated from the bridgehead 15,661 men from an airfield at Slavyansk-na-Kubani. The withdrawal was one of the few military withdrawal operations of the Wehrmacht in which the entire Army Group and all its heavy equipment was not lost.

 

Instituted on the 20th September 1943, the Kuban Battle Shield (Kubanschild) was awarded to those who fought to preserve the bridgeheads in the Kuban region from February 1943 until they were abandoned in October.

 

Award Criteria

Personnel needed to have defended bridgeheads between February 1943 - October 1943.

To have served in the bridgehead for 60 days.
To have been wounded while defending the bridgehead.
To have been engaged in a single major operation at the bridgehead:

1.Battle of Krasnodar (1-11 February 1943)
2.Defensive battles to prevent the Red Army outflanking the left wing of the army (1 February to 4 March 1943 and 26 to 31 March 1943)
3.Defensive actions against enemy landings at Novorossiysk (3 to 28 February 1943)
4.Battle of Abin (12 to 1 February 1943)
5.Defence of the Troizkoje bridgehead (2 to 8 March 1943)
6.Battle for Abinskaja (10 to 16 March 1943)
7.Defensive battle at Krymskaja with defense of Kurka front (4 to 18 April 1943)
8.Attack against Novorossiysk beachhead (17 to 20 April 1943)
9.Defensive battle at Krymskaja with simultaneous defense of the enemy attack in Novorossiysk (29 April to 10 May 1943)
10.Defensive battle at Krymskaja (26 May to 8 June 1943)
11.Defensive battle at Krymskaja with offensive and defensive battles in Neberdschajewskaja and defense of attacks on Kurka section (16 July to 13 August 1943)
12.Defence of the landing attack at Novorossiysk (10 May to 9 October 1943)

 

Versions

Shield on field-gray wool backing for Heer (army) and Waffen-SS
Shield on gray-blue wool backing for Luftwaffe (air force)
Shield on black wool backing for Panzer units (armoured units)
Shield on dark blue wool backing for Kriegsmarine (navy)

 

 

KM Kuban shield

Kuban Battle Shield - Kriegsmarine (navy)

(Jody Beltram collection)

 

 

Kuban Shields

The Kuban Battle Shield - left: Heer (army) middle: Luftwaffe (airforce) right: Panzer (armoured units)

 

Document for the Kuban Shield

Document for the Kuban Battle Shield

 

 

Kuban Shield in wear

Kuban Battle Shield in wear

Interesting to note the wear of both Krim Campaign and Kuban Battle Shields as per regulations

 

 

 

 

The Warsaw Battle Shield

(Der Warschauschild)

 

 

The Shield was intended to be awarded to members of the Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS and auxiliary forces who participated in the suppression of the Warsaw uprising by the Free Polish Army between the 1st August and 4th October 1944.

Troops, under the command of SS-Obergruppenführer unf General der Polizie Erich von dem Bach-Zelewiski ,battled the free Polish army and used brutal force in putting down the rebellion. Two SS divisions in particular, the 29th Ukrainian volunteers under Bratislav Kaminski and the 36th under Dr Oskar Dirlewanger, committed such appalling acts that a few of the worst offenders were executed for discreditable conduct.

 

 

The Warsaw Battle Shield (Warschauschild), designed by Benno von Arent, was instituted on the 10th December 1944

 

confirmation of Warsaw Shield Reichsgesetzblatt

The decree confirming the institution of the Warsaw Battle Shield in the "Reichsgesetzblatt" dated 9th January 1945

 

 

Award Criteria

Heer (army) Waffen-SS

To have participated on a minimum of seven combat days 
To have been wounded in the fighting 
To have performed an act of bravery during the fighting 
To have served for a period of 28 days in the combat zone in a support capacity

Luftwaffe (airforce)

To have flown 20 combat missions during the fighting

 

 

The Warsaw Battle Shield, like a number of awards instituted in the closing months of the war, never got past the design stages. However, a design matrix is said to have been struck prior to the Allied bombing that destroyed the dies that had been produced to strike the shields, so it is entirely possible that some shields were produced prior to the bombing.

whether the shield was awarded on paper will remain a question for future historians to answer... as, at present, there is little hard eveidence to support that it ever was.

 

The only reference that we have as to what the shield looked like are the two design drawings submitted by the designer, Benno von Arent, for approval.

 

 

Warsaw Shield design drawings by Benno von Arent

The design drawings for the Warsaw Battle Shield submitted by, Benno von Arent

 

 

The only other references that exist are tha 101 fakes that are for sale, with the "story"

One of the better productions is the post-war produced Warsaw Battle Shield from "Souval"

Of course, for illustration purposes only

 

 

SOUVAL FAKE

Post-war Warsaw Battle Badge by "Souval"

 

 

 

Warsaw Ghetto

The Warsaw Ghetto 1945

 

"The city must completely disappear from the surface of the earth and serve only as a transport station for the Wehrmacht. No stone can remain standing. Every building must be razed to its foundation."

SS-Chief Heinrich Himmler - SS officer's conference

 

 

 

 

The Lappland Campaign Shield

(Der Lapplandschild)

 

The Lappland Shield (Lapplandschild) was created in February 1945, officially approved on 1 May 1945 and was the last officially instituted German campaign shield of the war. It was awarded to those military personnel of General Franz Böhme's XX Mountain Army who had been fighting a two-front campaign against the advancing British and Soviet forces in Lapland between November 1944 and the war's end in May 1945.

Though the shield has been found to have been recorded into XX Mountain Army paybooks (soldbuch) as early as April, it is believed that no awards were actually presented at this time. However, after the cessation of hostilities the German forces in the area found that their captor, General Thorne, went against common practice and allowed his prisoners to wear their decorations. In light of this circumstance, the men of 20th Mountain Army began to produce the shield from whatever industry was available in the area. Examples of the shield have been found to have been constructed from a variety of medals including zinc, aluminium and tin.  

 

 

General Franz Böhme

General Franz Böhme

 

 

Award Criteria

Served six months service in the area

Been wounded in the campaign

Attained a bravery award during the prescribed dates

 

 

Even though the award was presented after the end of the war, it should be considered an official award as it was authorized prior to the capitulation of the Wehrmacht.

 

 

variations of the Lappland Shield

Some of the variations of the Lappland Shield

 

 

Documents for the Lappland Shield

Two of the many variations of document for the Lappland Shield

 

 

POW with Lappland Shield in wear

POW with Lappland Shield in wear

 

 

 

 

 

Unofficial Battle Shields

 

 

We now enter a rather grey area when it comes to these unofficial "shields".

Much, often contentious, debate has been going on over the years with regards to the circumstances surrounding these shields; whether the shields, considered as original, are in fact period artifacts or just fantasy, or if the shields were even awarded in any form.

The eveidence, such as it is, suggests that some sort of commemorative "shield" was locally produed for these "fortresses" (festungen) personnel, but in what form, and under what criteria still needs to be clarified by way of conclusive proof, which will one day hopefully emerge.

 

 

 

The Dunkirk Shield

(Der Dünkirchenschild)

 

The port of Dunkirk was cut off by the Allies after the breakout from the Normandy beachhead in the summer of 1944. Hitler gave orders that certain ports were to become fortresses (festungen) and were to hold out as long as possible, what ever the cost.

The Siege of Dunkirk occurred from September 1944 when units of the Second Canadian Division surrounded the heavily fortified city and port of Dunkirk. German units within the fortress withstood initial probing attacks, and as the opening of the port of Antwerp became a higher priority, the Allied commander, Montgomery, decided to merely contain the Germans within Dunkirk without attacking the fortified city. For this task, the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade was used.

The German garrison, made up from elements of the49th Infantry Division, 226th Infantry Division, 346th Infantry Division, 711th Infantry Division, 97th Infantry Division, 26th Fortress Battalion, 1046th Fortress Battalion, Waffen-SS group "Reinecke" and a mixed force of Navy and Luftwaffe troops numbering some 15,000 remained in Dunkirk until the general German surrender in May 1945.

On 5 April 1945, Frisius launched Operation "Blücher" a raid in force against the enemy positions around his perimeter. The raid so surprised the British command that it blew all the bridges over the canals near the town. Although the Allies counterattacked under heavy air cover, they failed to dislodge the Germans from their newly established positions, making this action possibily the last German victory of WW2

The fortress, commanded by Vizeadmiral Friedrich Frisius, eventually surrendered unconditionally to Brigade General Alois Liška, the commander of the Czechoslovak brigade group, on 9 May 1945

 

 

The Dunkirk Shield (Dünkirchenschild), which is believed to have been unofficially introduced and locally manufactured around the end of February 1945, for award to those troops who had participated in the defence of the port of Dunkirk, was not intended for wear on the sleeve, but for attaching to the side of the cap in much the same manner as the "Traditionsabzeichen" worn by U-boat crews; this borne out by an entry in an original Soldbuch (paybook) referring to the shield as a "Mützenabzeichen" (cap badge). Other entries found in paybooks, it has to be said, refer to it as the "Dünkirchenschild".

The number of shields awarded is unknown as no official documents have come to light. We do know that it was never recognized as an offical award as there is no mention of it in the "Gesetz über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen" of 1957.

 

 

Dunkirk Shield

The Dunkirk Shield

(Interesting to note the incorrect German spelling of Dunkirk)

 

 

 

 

Czechoslovak soldiers near dunkirk just after the German surrender

Czechoslovak soldiers on a Cromwell tank near Dunkirk just after the German surrender

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lorient Shield

(Der Lorientschild)

 

The port of Lorient was of vital importance to the German maritime war effort, first coming into use in September 1942. At the beginning of 1943 Lorient was at its peak of its activity and there were as many as 28 U-boats (home to the 2nd and 10th U-boat Flotillas as well as the 14th Sub-Hunter Flotilla) at the base at the same time.

 

U123 at Lorient

U123 - Lorient

 

It was eventually expanded to include three colossal submarine bunkers that included dry docks. As late as 1944 not everything had been completed as planned but Lorient was without doubt the largest and more intricate of all the U-boat bases in France. Of the 1,149 major U-boat overhauls in the French bases during the war, 492 were carried out in the Lorient dockyard.

 

U37 in dry dock - Lorient

U37 in dry dock - Lorient

 

 

As with Dunkirk, Hitler ordered port of Lotient to Fortress (festung) status in readyness to prevent the Allies from re-supplying their armies after the invasion of France and to secure the continued use of submarines in the Battle of the Atlantic.

All personnel were ordered to fight to the last man

A mixed force of Army, Navy and Airforce, numbering approximately 25,000, under the command of General Der Artillerie Wilhelm Fahrmbacher successfully defended Lorient, and held out against repeated attacks from the 12th August 1944 until the German Surrender on the 10th May 1945

 

As to the shield; I will leave it up to one who is more knowledgeable in this area than I .

From the observations of the internationally renowned author and historian, Gordon Williamson.

 

 

"A shield to commemorate the defence of Lorient is said to have been designed by Marinebaurat Fehrenberg and submitted for approval to the base commander, Admiral Hennecke, who is said to have authorised its manufacture and issue some rime in late 1944. (It is worth noting, however, that when approached for information in the late 1970s, the admiral insisted that he had no knowledge of the existence of such an insignia).

The insignia, which has been illustrated below, consists of a tall, narrow shield bearing a helmeted naked warrior figure standing astride the Lorient U-boat pens, armed with a sword and oval shield, the latter bearing an eagle and swastika emblem. To either side of the helmeted head are '19' and '44'.

All sorts of tales have circulated about shields being made up in a local fish cannery using tinplate, and even that at least 50 per cent of the garrison received the insignia (a figure which would have required the theoretical manufacture of anything up to 24,000 examples). This certainly is not supported by the testimony of veterans, of which Admiral Hennecke's is perhaps the most significant.

A number of apparently genuine Soldbuch entries exist, however, which would suggest that some sort of commemorative award was received, whether or not it was the shield in question. A few shields also exist which have a provenance of sorts, which might suggest that they are genuine wartime originals. The shield may have been intended, and perhaps a few trial strikes were indeed made: but until verifiable evidence emerges to back up the theory of its production this version of the shield will continue to be regarded with considerable scepticism.

What is known for a fact, however, is that some troops of the garrison were issued with a commemorative piece, in the form of an identity disc blank stamped with the legend 'Festung Lorient 1944' using the standard numeral and letter die punches used to mark up regulation discs. Original examples of this type are known in private collections, some even still sewn on to the sleeves of the tunics of the original recipients. It is said that photographs exist of garrison personnel being marched into captivity in which this piece can be seen being worn."

 

As with the 'Dunkirk Shield', we know that any award to do with Lorient was ever recognized offically, as there is no mention of an award, of any kind in the "Gesetz über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen" of 1957.

 

 

Lorient Shield

Lorient Shield

 

 

Cherbourg 1945

Admiral Walter Hennecke at the official surrender - Cherbourg 1945

 

 

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