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Towards the end of the Spanish civil war, several German soldiers were wounded prompted. This prompted Hitler to reinstitute an award dating back to WWI, the wound badge. The year was 1939, the design of the badge was very similar to that employed during the great war, the main difference being that the new badge sported a raised swastika on the helmet.

The Black wound badge was of metal construction with a hollowed back. very thin. A vertical pin is provided to secure the badge to the tunic of the owner. This was accomplished by putting the pin through a series of loops (two or more) that were sewn to the breast area of the jacket. The pin is hinged on one end and has a catch on the other.

The black wound badge was issued on a paper envelope.

It is hard to determine the exact number of Black wound badges that were produced. However, thanks to the record keeping maintained by the Wehrmacht, it is possible to estimate how many crosses were actually issued. The number stands well above 4 million.

The actual number of Black wound badges produced is greater than the number that was issue. It must be accounted that the armed forces would have a stock in hand so it could replace lost ones and issue new awards. In addition the factories were likely to have warehouses with inventory at hand. The Iron Cross was one of the awards most widely distributed during WWII.

The population of Germany in 1939 was approximately 64,000,000.

The German Wound Badge

The "Military minute" is a series of instructional videos created by MilitaryItems.com for the purpose of providing basic information about military collectibles. The idea is to expose people to the exciting world of military collectibles.

The video presentation coupled with detailed photographs and written information, including a military collectible's price guide, and anatomical breakdown of each piece enhances the visitor's experience.

Whether you are a long time collector, a beginner or simply have an interest in the history and value of each collectible, we hope that you find the information presented here useful.

Consisting of an oval shape with a laural wreath with Berries surrounding the perimeter of the award. The main body has raised pebbling. The profile of a German helmet is placed in the center. A swastka is placed in the center of the helmet. A pair of crossed swords is located behind the helmet. The shape is stamped so it is raised in the front and sunk in the back. Markings may be found in the back of the badge. The sample shown here does not have any. It is important to note that not all the badges had markings.

The badge does not come apart as it is shown on the following photo. The different components are shown here for illustration purposes.

The designers of the Black wound badge used items that were important to the German military complex as well as the people in general. The following is an outline of the items and the possible motivation for their use.

Laurel with berries Helmet Swords Swastika

The Laurel is native to the Mediterranean region. It is the source of the bay leaf used in cooking. It figures prominently in classical Greek, Roman, and Biblical culture.

The German helmet was re-designed in 1935. Loosely based on the same model as used during WWI. The new helmet was shorter, had ventilation rivets and a roled edge.

The sword has long been a symbol of strength. The German Saxon tribes employed the sword in combat for generations.

The Swastika was chosen by Hitler as the symbol of the Third Reich. It was displayed in just about every military and civilian award.

The 1939 wound badge was issued in three classes: Black, silver and gold . The appearance of the badges was identical with the exeption of the color.

At the start the badge was issued to military personnel from all branches. As the war progressed and the allied bombing campaigns intensified the award was extended to cover civilian personnel who were injured during the attacks. This change came about by order of Dr Goebbels in 1943.

The criteria for earning the award follows:

Black Wound badge

Issued to soldierd who received one to two wounds.

Silver wound badge

1. Awarded to soldiers who received three to four wounds.

2. One wound resulting in the loss of hand, foot, eye or causing defness.

Gold wound badge

1. Given to soldiers for getting wounded five or more times

2. Issued to soldiers who were totally disabled, permanently blind or lost their manhood as a result of a wound.

The only illness that qualified for receiving the wound badge was frostbite. This was a common ailment in the Eastern front.

A document was issued with every badge. It is important to note that the award documents came in a variety of designs. Not one was the standard version. The example shown here is one of the documents employed. Other documents of different format may have been employed.

This page is a recognition and identification guide for WWII German badges and awards. Multiple detailed photos of a specific sample are provided. Descriptions point out clearly defined points that should be noted.

One of the most commonly asked questions is "How much is my WWII German badge worth?". A price guide is included here to address this question. The value of the badges and awards is reviewed over a period of several years. A trend can be observed. The present worth of the German badges in the collector's market is illustrated.

This service is provided free of charge to the visitor/enthusiast courtesy of MilitaryItems.com, a company dedicated to the preservation of military history and to providing quality military antiques and collectibles to museums, institutions and the general public.

  1. FAQ's
  2. Wound Badge Anatomy
  3. Identifying fakes and reproductions
  4. RZM manufacturing codes
  5. LDO manufacturing codes
  6. Construction materials
  7. Pins, hinges and other
  8. Perspective view
  9. Purchasing a WWII German Combat badge

Collecting Third Reich memorabilia is a field that has been growing since the days the GI's rummaged around Europe bringing back military souvenirs. German soldiers wore many of their awards on their uniforms when they went to battle. Once the soldier was killed or captured, the American soldiers would take the awards as war trophies. Eventually all these pieces came back to the United States where military history enthusiasts began to collect them.

"I am trying to figure out if I should get into collecting Black wound badges."

Determining which military badges to collect can be a challenging decision. The combination of availabiilty and cost will often set the pace of what can be collected.

The adjacent table outlines some of the advantages and disadvantages of collecting the Black wound badge.

This award is currently being reproduced. It is becoming more difficult to be able to tell the fake ones from the real ones because the quality of the reproductions is improving. The collector must become familiarized with the construction style and materials employed in the manufacturing of this badge. Attention to the details is critical in order to be able to determine the authenticity of the badge.

If you have an interest is seeing other badges and awards of the Third Reich, you can do so by going to our WWII German Badges and Awards identification guide. Where we cover Heer (Army), Navy (Kriegsmarine) and Air Force (Luftwaffe) items.


The black wound badge was produced by several manufacturers and in different configurations. The more examples of a particular dagger that are examined the more knowledge is gained about the particular piece. Differences in construction can be better appreciated. Markings on the back and other sections are better understood. The overall knowledge about the wound badge is expanded.

This section of the site provides several examples of the wound badge.

Black Wound Badge - 1
WWII German Black Wound Badge. Not marked. Some rust to the back section.

German Black wound badge. As used during WWII. Missing some paint. Not marked.

Black Wound Badge - 2
This is a Black Wound Badge. Unmarked. Pointed pin. In very good condition.

Black Wound Badge - 3
Black wound badge. Most of the paint is Missing, making it look like a gold version.

Black Wound Badge - 4
This is a basic black wound badge example. Retaining most of the paint.

Hollowed back construction. Pin back type. No markings found. Retains most pictures.

While the items displayed here are not for sale, you may visit our STORE to see similar items that can be purchased.


The value for WWII German Combat badges and other military antiques and collectibles is provided as a means to educate the collector community and individuals who have a general interest on the field. The following is an estimated value. Prices may vary in every state and every country. This service is provided courtesy of MilitaryItems.com. The source for military antiques and collectibles in the web.

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Value $40.00 $45.00 $50.00 $55.00 $60.00 $60.00 $60.00 $60.00 $65.00 $65.00 $65.00 $65.00
Availability Common Common Common Common Common Common Common Common Common Common Common Common
Invest Grade B B B B B B B B B B B B

While the item featured here is not for sale, similar items like it are available for purchase in our website MilitaryItems.com

This Black wound badge is in near mint condition. Very desirable to any collector. The value increase over the years will be somehow limited by the large number of examples available in the market.

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