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Anti-Partisan Badge
Bandenkampfabzeichen
Bandenkampfabzeichen.jpg
Type Badge
Eligibility Military personnel only
Awarded for Participating in anti-partisan fighting for at least 20 days or 30 sorties (airmen) - Bronze grade.
Campaign World War II
Status Obsolete
Statistics
Established January 30, 1944

The Anti-Partisan Guerrilla Warfare Badge (German Bandenkampfabzeichen) was an award of the German military of the Third Reich. Personnel of the Heer, Luftwaffe, and Waffen-SS were eligible to receive it. In German, it was called the "Bandenkampf-Abzeichen", as Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler decided to use the term Banden instead of partisans, not wishing to give credence to the guerrillas.[1]

Partisans or guerrilla fighters were active in almost every country Germany invaded during the Second World War, and while many of these movements were initially small and disorganized, in many cases, they coalesced into larger, more powerful bands of fighters. In some countries, notably Greece, Russia and the Yugoslavian states, the partisans became large and dangerous movements, requiring increasing German manpower and resources to resist them. The anti-partisan guerrilla warfare badge was created in recognition of the Axis soldiers involved in these behind-the-lines battles.

The badge existed in three grades, bronze, for 20 combat days, silver, for 50 combat days, and gold, for 100 combat days against partisans. Criteria were slightly different for the Luftwaffe, being based on sorties instead of days in action.[2] The design constituted a wreath with a sword in the center. The handle has a sun wheel swastika, which represents the Nordic and auxiliary forces. The sword plunged into the "Hydra," a multi-headed sea serpent that represented the Partisans. The mythical Greek creature was almost impossible to destroy since its heads grew again if they were cut off, this shows an interesting parallel with the ever growing presence of Partisan activities.

Members of the Wehrmacht avoided wearing it, while the Waffen SS men wore it with pride, claiming it was "their" badge.[3]

References

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