Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Panzer Assault Badges

After years of attending gun and militaria shows and years of reviewing lists of militaria for sale, I have concluded that among Army war badges the Panzer Assault Badge (Panzerkampf-Abzeichen) is second only to the Infantry Assault Badge in availability. Another indicator of availability might emerge from a comparison of the number of different maker marks found on the two badges. With Infantry Assault Badges l've found 37 different maker marks versus 17 for the Panzer Assault Badges. Additionally, seven maker marks appear in common on both type badges in my collection. I'm sure there must be more.

The maker marks on Panzer Assault Badges maybe found in a great variety of positions on the backs as shown in the illustrations. I have drawn the maker marks as close as possible to their actual location and size in relation to the size of the barge. For example, Fig.A1, the Assmann hollow back badge has the logo placed above the Panzer's road wheels to the extreme right on the back. The Assmann hollow back badges are of excellent quality and these were sold by one dealer in the 1970's in large numbers for $10 each. If the back of the Assmann badge has oxidized or darkened a bit with age the logo can be difficult to see.

At a show a few years ago, I picked up a badge, turned it over saw the faint logo and remarked to the dealer ''it's an Assmann badge." He looked surprised asking me how I knew. I showed him the faint logo. He then said I could have it for the tagged price but if I didn't want it the next person would have to pay more because of the logo.

I have examples of the ''Hermann Aurich'' badge, Fig. A4, with the presentation box in both silver and bronze. At a show in 1975 a fellow had a large container flled with bronze ''HA'' badges, including boxes. He wanted $18 for one or $12 each in quantities of five or more. I bought just one... a poor decision.

Like the Infantry Assault Badges, the Panzer Assault Badges usually come in three styles of manufacture.

Hollow back Assmann or unmarked, fig. A1..
Solid back Fig. B2 and 3.
Scoop back: Fig. B4 and 5

Solid back and scoop back badges in unmarked versions are common. The ''screwback'' badge in Fig. B1 is a wartime ''Rudolf Souval'' (the R.S. logo is more angular and smaller than the ''R S '' on postwar Souval badges). Although the badge has a ''post'' in its center to receive the fluted backing piece it still has raised boundaries to guide the attachment of the pin and catch assemblies (not illustrated in this case).

In Fig. C1 is another screwback badge; this one unmarked. The other two badges in Fig. C are also unmarked and have most unusual pins. In Fig. C2 the pin and catch assemblies are similar to those found on an Iron Cross First Class. The pin is flat tapering from the middle towards the top and bottom. The second badge is even more unusual in that it was obviously designed to accommodate the large ''tinny type'' pin attached to its center Fig. C3. could this possibly be a late war modification forced upon the manufacturer due to non-availability of the usual pin/catch attachments? Note: This Panzer Assault Badge is the only one I've come across where the swastika is ''cut out''

In recent years, tho bronze panzer assault badge in Fig. D2 has been the one most commonly encountered. At recant shows in Los Angeles, I'vc seen the asking price on this badge range from $39 to $90. How can the price vary that much on the exact same badge in the same condition at the same show? Possibly because of the size of the show. A theory is that the average collector won't have enough time and stamina to ferret out all these badges for comparison.

I have two examples of Panzer Assault badges produced from very unusual materials, both unmarked. The first is a scoop back badge, very heavy, very bight and appears to be made of solid brass. The second is a solid back badge,very light, perhaps made of aluminum, and tinted a dark brown. Of all the panzer assault badges I have examined, I have never seen any others made of these materials.

In Fig. E3 is another unmarked, solid back, bronze, Panzer Assault Badge, that is massively constructed. I have shown it in partial profile. It is about fifty percent thicker than what is normally encountered and quite heavy. Fig. E1 is a drawing of a "25'' Panzer Assault Badge in silver. The "25'' and its border are in gold. This example is unmarked. If it were a marked example, it would have the watermark of ''JFS'' or ''GB''. In Fig.E2 note the flat, tapered pin and the two finely done rivets.

Finally, I've noticed that the grass detail beneath the tank on Panzer Assault Badges varies from barely visible to highly pronounced. These variations can be subtle or marked, depending on the manufacturer.

Tim Curey, "Panzer Assauly Badges", Der Gauleiter, 1993

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