L004581 NARVIK CAMPAIGN SHIELD. (Narvikschild)

BACKGROUND: Designed by Professor Richard Klein of Munich the Narvik Campaign shield was the first of a series of campaign shields to be introduced and was established by Adolf Hitler on August 19TH 1940 for award to all Wehrmacht, (Armed Forces), personnel who participated in the battle of Narvik Norway between April 9TH and June 9TH 1940. Of Note: Although the shield was officially introduced on August 19TH 1940 it wasn’t until September 12TH 1940 that the OKM, Oberkommando des Marine, (Navy High Command), published the issuing order, followed by the Luftwaffe, (Air-{Weapon}, Force), the next day. The Kriegsmarine, ({War} Navy), version of the shield was gilt washed while those awarded to Heer, (Army), and Luftwaffe personnel were silver washed. The shields were bestowed by Generalleutnant Eduard Dietl the commander of Army Group Narvik and it is alleged that a total of only 8,577 shields were awarded to all branches of service personnel. The shields were to be worn on the upper left sleeve of the uniform and the color of the backing material was to match that of the uniform it was to be worn on. Of Note: Born in Bad Aibling Bavaria on July 21ST 1890, Eduard Dietl joined the German army in October 1909, fought in WWI and remained in the Weimar era Reichswehr, (National Defence Force, Circa 1919-1933), as an commander of an Infantry Regiment reaching the rank of Oberstleutnant by February 1933. Promoted to the rank of Oberst in January 1935, Dietl then took command of a Mountain troop Regiment in October 1935. In April 1938 Dietl was promoted to the rank of Generalmajor and in May 1938 he assumed command of the 3RD Mountain Division. Dietl was promoted to the rank of Generalleutnant in April 1940 and on May 9TH 1940 he was awarded a Knight’s Cross of the Iron cross. On April 9TH 1940 the Germans launched the invasions of Denmark and Norway and although Denmark capitulated immediately, with little resistance, Norway was a harder nut to crack and the Norwegian army, with British assistance, held out until its final surrender on June 10TH 1940. The important northern port of Narvik changed hands a few times in the coarse of the campaign but was eventually held by the Germans under Dietl’s command. As the "Hero of Narvik" Dietl was the first German soldier of the war to be awarded the Oak-Leaves to his Knight’s Cross on June 19TH 1940 for his actions at Narvik. As an indication of how tenacious the battle was, allegedly Dietl commented at its conclusion, "I’m the Hero of Narvik. Had the British stayed two more hours, I would have left.". Dietl went on to be promoted twice more reaching the rank of Generaloberst in June 1942. Dietl died in an airplane crash in Styria on June 23RD 1944 and was posthumously awarded the Swords to his Knight’s Cross on July 1ST 1944. Somewhat interestingly, although common sense, eligible personnel were allegedly permitted to receive up to five shields, presumably due to the way the shields were permanently affixed to the tunic, which would enable recipients to wear the shield on different tunics for the required forms of dress, as ordered.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The award is in the form of a vertical, die stamped, alloy construction, shield with a matte silver wash, featuring an embossed, stylized, national eagle with down-swept wings, clutching a wreathed, static swastika in its talons, to the top center, positioned above the embossed script, "Narvik 1940", an edelweiss flower and a crossed propeller and anchor. The edelweiss, propeller and anchor represent the Heer Gebirgsjäger, (Army Mountain troops), the Kriegsmarine, (War Navy), and the Luftwaffe, (Air-Force), respectively, that participated in the victory at Narvik. The shield has a raised lip to its outer edge. The shield is mounted on a vertically oval, Luftwaffe blue/grey wool base with an alloy backing plate intact to the reverse. All prongs and paper backing are complete.

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $419.00

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