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German Armed Forces Research 1918-1945
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WW2 German Wound Badge / Verwundeten-Abzeichen, 1939


Date Instituted:

September 1st, 1939

Awarded To:

Officers and men of all branches of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS, the auxiliary service organizations, and after 1943, to civilians wounded in air raids.

Required Qualifications:

Wound Badge:
  • Wounded 1 or 2x by hostile action or air raid, or
  • Wounded from frost-bite in the line of duty.
Wound Badge in Silver:
  • Wounded 3 or 4x by hostile action or air raid, or
  • Loss of a hand or foot via hostile action, or
  • Loss of an eye via hostile action, or
  • Loss or partial loss of hearing via hostile action, or
  • Brain damage via hostile action, or
  • Facial disfigurement via hostile action.
Wound Badge in Gold:
  • Wounded 5 times or more by hostile action, or
  • Total blindness via hostile action, or
  • Severe brain damage via hostile action, or
  • As a result of being killed in action.

First Awarded:

Currently unknown

Number Awarded:

Currently unknown, although it is assumed that upwards of 5 million were likely awarded during WWII.

Grades/Variations:

The Wound Badge, 1939 was awarded in three grades, Black, Silver and Gold. The version awarded depended on the number of wounds received via hostile action or due to the seriousness of any single wound. The more serious a wound, the more likely a higher version of the award would be given.

Method of Wear:

All versions of the Wound Badge were worn on the lower left brest of the uniform or tunic. The Wound Badge was worn below all other awards worn on the left brest, if any were present. A cloth version of the Wound Badge in Black is believed to also have been made, but this would not have been worn on the uniform or tunic and was most likely for use on sport or work attire.

Notes:

On a personal level the Wound Badge was for obvious reasons not a popular award, as one would have to endure some amount of pain and suffering to be awarded one. In general though, the wound badge was looked upon highly, as it was a sign that one suffered for his country, especially so in the case of the Silver and Gold versions of the badge. Civilians were awarded the Wound Badge after March of 1943 due to the increasing number of people killed or wounded as a result of the Allied bombing campaign.
WW2 German Wound Badge in Silver
The Wound Badge in Silver