The Close Combat Clasp was instituted on November 25th, 1943 by the then Supreme Commander of the Army, Adolf Hitler.
The award was created to recognize the accumulating combat days of the infantry soldiers. It was awarded for actual hand-to-hand close combat days where it would have been possible to see the “white in the enemy’s eyes”. For each soldier track was kept of every individual combat day in his Military Booklet (Soldbuch). 3 grades were awarded.
Grade I Bronze awarded after 15 combat days
Grade II Silver awarded after 30 combat days
Grade III Gold Awarded after 50 combat days
Actual combat days were counted as of December 1st, 1942. For soldiers serving continuously on the Russian and African front since June 22th 1941 retroactive combat days were granted depending on the actual months of service. Also for severely wounded soldiers, retroactive combat days could be awarded.
With the exception of the C.E. Juncker made Gold presentation clasp; all other Close Combat Clasps were only made in Zinc. By the time the CCC was instituted in November 1943, no early high-quality materials, as used for the other combat awards, were still in use. For that same reason, all CCC was made in solid form.
The same goes for the finishes used. Again with the exception of the fire gilded C.E.Juncker made presentation clasp, all other CCC received lower-quality electroplated, galvanized and washed finishes. The use of these low-quality finishes and almost 80 years of ageing, makes determining the true grade of a CCC today, not always easy.
For civil use, albeit very rare, only 9mm miniatures have been encountered.
The Close Combat Clasp had to be worn 1 centimetre above the left breast pocket. If a ribbon bar was worn the Close combat clasp moved 1 centimetre above that bar.
The recipient would receive an A4 or A3 sized award document.
The Gold presentation clasp came in its custom made presentation case. The lower grades are either in cardboard boxes or paper envelopes mentioning the grade of the award.
MANUFACTURERS & NUMBER OF CLOSE COMBAT CLASPS AWARDED
So far 18 different makers were identified
The number of Close Combat Clasps actually awarded will forever remain unknown but several hundred thousand for sure were produced.