Anaspides.net

Aviator Flight Clasps (Frontflugspangen) - Luftwaffe

(last clasp added 27 February 2011)

 

 

Grades & Issue

Luftwaffe operational clasps were issued to pilots, and airmen for operational sorties in a combat zone. The clasps were issued in three levels: bronze, silver and gold. Additionally, several clasp pendants were instigated for additional flights over and above those allocated for a gold clasp award. Pendants can be found bearing numbers from 200 through to 1800 operational flights in increments of 100. This provides an indication to how many combat flights German airmen flew during the war years.

Construction & Materials

The clasps were made from an assortment of materials, with earlier manufactured clasps constructed from nickel-silver, bronze or tombac. As the war progressed, this material was essentially replaced by zinc. As such, it's possible to roughly date the manufacturing period of a particular clasp based upon its construction material. Pin attachments are usually not constructed from zinc as this material is not strong enough to maintain a sturdy fastening device. Pins have been found constructed from bronze, steel, nickel-silver and tombac.

Colour

Often the colour of a class is difficult to define. This is not how the clasp would have appeared during the war years, but is a result of the chemical reaction between the zinc base metal of the clasp and whatever application method was used to apply the colour. Clasps manufactured from tombac or nickel-silver withstand the revages of time much better than clasps that are made form a zinc base metal. This is because the former metals do not oxidise as zinc does.

This purpose of this page is NOT to provide an in depth review of all clasps, their manufacturing process, variants or detailed information relating to reproductions. For information in this field I direct you to Stephen Thomas Previtera's excellent reference book - Flight Clasps of the Luftwaffe.

LEFT: A decorated officer wearing the gold grade reconnaissance clasp with hanger.

 

Please note, that although I am interested in the Second World War history and collect Luftwaffe flight clasps, awards and badges, I do not agree, reconcile or affiliate with any political movement (s) related to the period.

All clasps and badges are genuine Second World War Two issue and not reproductions unless otherwise noted.

Further award badges of the Luftwaffe, including Flak, Close Combat & Pilot badges will be added soon.

 

Reconnaissance Clasp in Bronze - 20 combat missions (L-11)

Constructed from tombac material and instigated on January 30, 1941, the Reconnaissance Clasp was produced roughly until mid 1943 (tombac version). Reconnaissance clasps were also awarded for Air/Sea Rescue and Meteorological flights. In my opinion, one of the nicer clasps of the several styles produced

Rear of above clasp (L-11)

No markings. No concentric circling and domed rivet which is the attachment point for the eagle's head

Short Range Day Fighter Clasp in Gold - 110 combat missions (L-19)

Constructed from tombac material with the flying arrow pointing upwards away from Swastika (as opposed to the arrow of the Long Range Fighter Clasp which pointed downwards). Instigated on January 30, 1941, the SRFC was produced roughly until mid 1943 (tombac version). The arrow was usually constructed from nickel and its smooth finish muted by chemical bluing; since worn off on this example.

Rear of above clasp (L-19)

No markings. Concentric circling seen on inner part of award. Coke bottle style pin

Transport & Glider Clasp in Gold - 110 combat mission (L-25)

Constructed from tombac material and instigated on November 19, 1941, the Transport & Glider Clasp was produced roughly until early 1943 (tombac version). The eagle device on this award is constructed from nickel-silver

 

Rear of above clasp (L-25)

No markings. No concentric circling. The eagle device is attached to the clasp by a domed rivet, not seen here as it's covered by the coke bottle pin

Bomber Flight Clasp in Gold with 100 hanger - 210 combat mission (L-22)

Constructed from tombac and instigated on January 30, 1941, the Bomber Clasp is thought to have been produced by more firms than any other clasp except the Reconnaissance Clasp. The star pendant was instigated in 1942 and indicates 300 operational combat sorties. The pendant is constructed using zinc material

Rear of above clasp (L-22)

No markings. Coke bottle style pin. The flying bomb is attached by a domed rivet. The clasp is constructed from tombac, although the pendant is constructed from zinc material. The pendant can only be added to a gold clasp and is awarded for 300 operational combat sorties

Bomber Flight Clasp in Silver - 60 combat missions (L-27)

Constructed from tombac, this clasp lies between the lower bronze award and the higher gold award. The flying bomb was was chemically blackened, however, this finish wears off with time

Rear of above clasp - (L-27)

No markings with standard coke bottle style pin. In this example the pin and clasp are made from tombac. This award can be found constructed from differing material types as the award was issued throughout the war. Note the heavily spiraled concentric circles.

Reconnaissance Clasp in Silver - 20 combat missions (L-32)

Constructed from tombac material and instigated on January 30, 1941, the Reconnaissance Clasp was produced roughly until mid 1943 (tombac version). As with many clasps at the end of hostilities, this one has be de-nazified by professional removal of the swastika

Rear of above clasp - (L-32)

Note the difference with L-27; in this example the rear of the clasp is completely flat without the concentric circling

Reconnaissance Clasp in Silver - 20 combat missions (L-31)

Constructed from tombac material and instigated on January 30, 1941, the Reconnaissance Clasp was produced roughly until mid 1943 (tombac version). Reconnaissance clasps were also awarded for Air/Sea Rescue and Meteorological flights. In my opinion, one of the nicer clasps of the several styles produced. Note the differences in the design of the eagle with L-32

Rear of above clasp (L-31)

No markings

Bomber Flight Clasp in Bronze - 20 combat missions (L-30)

Constructed from tombac, this clasp is the lowest designation of the flight clasps. The flying bomb was was chemically blackened, however, this finish wears off with time

Rear of above clasp (L-30)

Note the different coloured hinge retainers. This appears to be quite common with many clasps. The manufacturing process of all clasps meant that the pin assembly was the weakest point. It must be remembered that German soldiers wore their awards and badges in combat; as such many awards were damaged or had their retaining pins broken off or damage facilitating a need for replacement or repair. No markings
 

 

 

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