Shortly before the start of the Second World War Generaloberst von Brauchitsch ordered the creation of an Infantry Assault Badge. Work started early December 1939 and on December 20th, 1939, based upon the final design C.E. Juncker, the Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres von Brauchitsch signed the official institution document for this award in Berlin.
The Infantry Assault Badge is awarded to Officers, NCO’s and Soldiers of non-motorized Infantry Divisions and Mountain Infantry Companies (Gebirgsjäger) who participated in Infantry Assault or Counter Assaults with light Infantry weapons on three separate days. The assault days were counted as of January 1st, 1940.
Grade I was awarded after 3 combat days
No higher grades existed but to reward continued fighting by the infantry in 1943 the Close Combat Clasp was created.
Apart from one exception, all early Infantry Assault Badges were made in hollow form. Materials used were Nickel Silver and Tombak (Buntmetall) Both yellow and on rare occasions also white Tombak was used.
In an effort to save precious materials, by the middle of 1941 the switch was made to Hollow Zinc and, on rare occasion Cupal, production By the end of 1941 the order was given only to produce Combat Awards in solid form. This also affected the Infantry Assault Badge that from then on only was produced in Zinc both in solid and in semi-hollow form. As the war progressed the quality of the zinc used would steadily deteriorate.
The same goes for the finishes used. Where early badges show a high-quality plated finish, later awards will receive electroplated or galvanized finishes and the last will only receive a cheap wash finish.
For civil use first, a 16mm and later a 9mm miniatures were produced.
The Infantry Assault Badge had to be worn on the left breast side of the uniform. In a central position if worn as a single decoration, below and to the right if in combination with higher valor awards such as the EK I.
The recipient would receive an A4 or A3-sized award document.
No presentation case did ever exist. The awards either came in paper or cellophane envelopes or in a generic cardboard box.
MANUFACTURERS & NUMBER OF SILVER GRADE PANZER ASSAULT BADGES AWARDED
Till date over 50 different were identified.
The number of Infantry Assault Badges actually awarded will forever remain unknown but most likely far more than 1 million were made.