Panzerjager German Cross In Gold
Panzerjager German Cross In GoldPanzerjager German Cross In GoldPanzerjager German Cross In GoldPanzerjager German Cross In GoldPanzerjager German Cross In Gold

Panzerjager Oberfeldwebel German Cross In Gold

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Nice late war Panzerjager Oberfeldwebel display in field gray wraparound tunic. He is a German Cross in Gold winner. Headgear is a converted M42 hat factory made into an M43 cap.

The German Cross / Deutsches Kreuz was instituted by Adolf Hitler on 17 November 1941. It was awarded in two divisions. It was awarded in gold for repeated acts of bravery or achievement in combat. The German Cross in gold ranked higher than the Iron Cross First Class but below the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.

The Iron Cross 1st Class / Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse was instituted on September 1st, 1939. The soldier had to be a recipient of the Iron Cross 2nd Class and had to perform three to five acts of bravery above the military obligations. There were 450,000 decorations awarded during WW2.

The establishment of the General Assault Badge / Allgemeines Sturmabzeichen was confirmed in June 1940 “for awarding those military credits, which did not come in question for the Infantry assault badge (Infantriesturmabzeichen)” like pioneers, tank hunters or members of assault artillery “Sturmartillerie” and antiaircraft “Luftschutz” units.

The badge was awarded to soldiers, which attended from 1 December 1940 “three military assaults on the front line with weapons in their hands and penetrated in three different fighting days”. The awarding should be made by the commander of the division or him equal superiors.

The recipient of the badge received with the badge also an award document. The General Assault Badge was attached on the left chest side with a vertical brooch. It was awarded around 460.000 times.

Panzerjäger was a branch of service of the Wehrmacht during the Second World War which were the anti-tank arm-of-service who operated anti-tank artillery, and made exclusive use of the tank destroyers which were also named Panzerjäger. They wore ordinary field-gray uniforms rather than the black of the Panzer troops; those Panzerjäger troops who crewed the tank-destroyers however wore the Panzer jacket in field gray.

From 1940 the Panzerjäger troops were equipped with vehicles produced by mounting an existing anti-tank gun complete with the gun shield on a tracked chassis to allow higher mobility.

Development of the Panzerjäger designs begun before the war with the Sturmgeschütz-designated armored vehicles, the initial German turretless tanks to use completely closed-in armored casemates, and continued until 1944, resulting in such casemate-design vehicles as the Jagdpanzer (“Hunting tanks”), purpose-built heavy-gun tank destroyers.

These usually used upward extensions of both the glacis plate and hull sides to comprise three sides of their closed-in casemates. Panzerjäger continued to serve as a separate branch of the Heer until the end of the war, often replacing tanks due to production shortages.

Initially chassis of captured light tanks were used after turrets were removed, providing a cost-effective solution to German shortage of mobile anti-tank weapons in infantry divisions. Despite the shortcomings of light armour and high silhouette they were successfully used in their intended role.

Panzerjäger units were either assigned as 14th companies in infantry regiments, or as a whole Abteilung (battalions) within Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions, in both SS and Heer (regular army). Independent battalions and regiments were used by Corps to protect most likely avenues of tank attacks, while divisions would often position their Panzerjäger on the flanks, or use them to support infantry advances against enemy using tanks.

When used with tanks, despite intense inter-branch rivalry, Panzerjäger would work in teams, with the tank crews enticing enemy tanks to fire, disclosing their position, and Panzerjäger engaging the enemy from a defilade. Panzerjäger were often called upon to provide direct high explosive supporting fire to infantry by destroying machinegun and artillery positions, particularly in urban fighting.