6 months after the institution of the Silver Grade PAB the Bronze Grade was instituted. On June 1st, 1940, the supreme commander of the Army, Generaloberst von Brauchitsch, founded the Bronze Grade of the Panzer Assault Badge.
It was also at this date that the official name of the award was changed from Panzerkampfwagenabzeichen (Panzer Assault Vehicle Award) to Panzerkampfabzeichen (Panzer Assault Badge).
The Higher grades II to IV were instituted on January 31st, 1943
The Bronze Grade was awarded to officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted men of the Schützenregimenter (Panzer Grenadier Regiments), the Kradschützenbataillone (motorcycle rifle battalions) of the Panzer divisions, as well as to Panzerspäh-Einheiten (armoured reconnaissance units) who fulfilled the same criteria that applied to award of the Silver Grade to tank crews. To be awarded the grade I soldiers had to take part in 3 Armoured assaults on three different days
Grade I awarded after 3 combat days
Grade II Awarded after 25 combat days
Grade III Awarded after 50 combat days
Grade IV Awarded after 75 and again after 100 combat days.
For the higher grades, it should be noted that for battle-hardened veterans retroactive service was taken into account. Also, war-wounded were credited with extra combat days.
Apart from one exception, all early Panzer Assault Badges were made in hollow form. Materials used were Nickle 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 occasions Cupal. Production By the end of 1941 the order was given only to produce Combat Awards in solid form. This also affected the Panzer Assault Badge that from then on was only produced in Zinc both in Solid and semi-hollow form. As the war progressed the quality of the zinc used would steadily deteriorate. All higher grades were only made from Zinc both in Solid and Semi-Hollow form.
The same goes for the finishes used. Where early badges show 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, later only a 9mm miniature was produced.
The Panzer 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 and cellophane envelopes or in a generic cardboard box.
MANUFACTURERS & NUMBER OF SILVER GRADE PANZER ASSAULT BADGES AWARDED
So far 37 Grade one makers were identified. Three makers were responsible for the production of the Higher Grade PABs.
The number of Panzer Assault Badges actually awarded will forever remain unknown but several hundred thousand for sure were produced.
For more information on the Panzer Assault Badge, we gladly refer the interested collector to the collector's guide “The German Panzer Assault Badge of WWII “ written by Philippe De Bock.