Information: Badges & Awards: Nahkampfspange - Close Combat Clasp
German military award instituted on November 25, 1942 for achievement in hand to hand fighting in close quarters. The Close Combat Clasp was worn above the upper left uniform pocket. The badge was die-cast and made of either Tombac or Zinc, with a slightly curved and hand centerpiece consisting of the national emblem (a German Eagle clutching the swastika) surmounting a crossed bayonet and hand grenade.

The award was given in three classes:
    For 15 days of combat a Bronze Class - 36,400 awarded.
    For 30 days of combat a Silver Class - 9,500 awarded.
    For 50 days of combat a Gold Class - 631 to 692 awarded.

If the soldier was wounded in battle, the criteria was reduced to 10, 20 and 40 days. It was also given as a posthumous award and presented to the next-of-kin in a certificate. In addition the award was also retroactive credited for those soldiers who participated since the initial invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941.

    For 8 months service, 5 close combat days were credited.
    For 12 months service, 10 close combat days were credited.
    For 15 months service, 15 close combat days were credited.

The Close Combat Clasp was worn above the upper left uniform pocket. The award was authorized to be presented by regimental commander or equivalent. Combat days were entered in the soldier’s record and certified. A certificate was awarded in conjunction with the clasp. Of the roughly 18 – 20 Million soldiers of the German Wehrmacht 36,400 received the Bronze Class, 9500 the Silver Clasp and 631 the Gold Class.

The decoration was designed by the military artist Wilhelm Ernst Peekhaus. Normally on the reverse left side of all Close Combat Clasps you’ll find the "FEC" (meaning from the Latin "Fecit" (made by) followed by "W.E. Peekhaus" (the artist name) and Berlin. On the right side will be the the manufacturer’s logo or name.

The badge was die-cast and made of either Tombak or Zinc, with a slightly curved and hand centerpiece consisting of the national emblem surmounting a crossed bayonet and hand grenade. The centerpiece was cut out and backed with a thin, flat square steel, crimped in place on the reverse. The badge was lacquered with a composition called "Brennlack," which was a powdered metal. When oven heated the paint was burned, leaving a metallic type coating that will flake off with time. The pins are normally wider in the center, tapering at the ends. The length of the Close Combat Clasp varies between 95 to 97mm. The weight could be anything between 24 and 37gms depending on the metal used.

German Luftwaffe Paratroopers may have been issued the badge prior or around the time of the introduction of the Luftwaffe Close Combat Clasp and German Heer & Waffen SS Paratroopers were most likely awarded this version of the badge.

Known manufacturers:
    Arbeitsgemeinschaft Metall und Kunststoff, Gablonz (A.G.M.u.K. Gablonz)
    C E Juncker, Berlin Friedrich Linden, Luedenscheid (FLL)
    Funcke & Brueninghaus, Luedenscheid (F&BL)
    Hymmen & Co, Luedenscheid (H&C/L)
    Gebrueder Wegerhoff, Luedenscheid (GWL)
    Rudulf Souval, Vienna (R S)
    Josef Felix Sohne, Gablonz (JFS)

The Gold, Close Combat Clasp was regarded by Hitler as the highest infantry decoration. On 26 March 1944, Hitler exercised the right to personally present the Gold, Close Combat Clasp but this was not the definitive rule. Other high personalities from the German Army (i.e. Guderian as OKH head and Himmler as Chief of the Ersatz Heer since the 20 July 1944 plot) also proceeded to award the Close Combat Clasp in Gold.

According to Mr Dörr's book which is the most comprehensive source on that matter;
Himmler awarded Gold Nahkampfspange's on 3 occasions: 23'd Oct 1944 to seven soldiers in the Führerhauptquartier; 12th Dec 1944 to eighty three soldiers at the Rathaus in Ulm; 16th Feb 1945 to sixteen soldiers in Bernau. Hitler personally awarded 14 Gold Nahkampfspange's to officers and men of the Army and Waffen-SS on 27 August 1944.

On 30 August 1944 a decreed was issued for those receiving the Gold Close Combat Clasp were automatically to receive the German Cross in Gold. According to Angolia's book "For Führer and Fatherland" it indicates that official records show that 536 Gold CCC were awarded, 100 to enlisted, 302 to NCO’s and 134 to Officers by the end of April 1945. About 97 Waffen-SS men of all ranks received this class.

Other sources indicate about 692 known Gold Close Combat awards. It should be noted that there were two types of Gold Close Combat Awards. A Gold Close Combat Clasp so-called deluxe version showing on the reverse a top hook located behing the eagle, in which the backing plate is held in place by a small central rivet. It also does not have a maker's mark.

According to Mr. Dörr's description of the ceremonies, the Gold Deluxe Clasp was awarded but at some of the ceremonies an adujant followed behind and handed out a normal wear piece to the recipients in addition to the deluxe version. Not every Gold Close Combat Clasp recipient got one of the Deluxe, Gold Clasps. Many, especially in distant frontline areas, just got the normal Gold Close Combat Clasps. There are numerous reproductions around, this badge is very rare in all three categories and originals are very sought after.

Close Combat Clasp in Bronze Obverse
Close Combat Clasp in Bronze Reverse

Terms & Conditions I Privacy & Copyright Policy I Copyright © www.Fallschirmjager.Biz