Original German p ost WW2 / 1957 pattern Luftwaffe Fighter Squadron Clasp in Gold, IN VERY NICE CONDITION – PERFECT PIN DEVICE / NICE ST&L (STEINHAUER UND LUECK) MADE LATER EXAMPLE (OPEN HINGEBLOCK), A VERY GOOD PIECE. FEW FACTS ABOUT THE 1957 PATTERN AWARDS. In 1957 the West German government authorised replacement Iron Crosses with an Oak Leaf Cluster in place of the swastika, similar to the Iron Crosses of 1813, 1870, and 1914, which could be worn by World War II Iron Cross recipients. The 1957 law also authorised de-Nazified versions of most other World War II-era decorations (except those specifically associated with Nazi Party organizations, such as SS Long Service medals, or with the expansion of the German Reich, such as the medals for the annexation of Austria, the Sudetenland, and the Memel region). The main government contract to manufacture and supply these new de-nazified WW2 1957 official decorations went to the world famous German firm Steinhauer & Lueck, Luedenscheid Germany. Knights Crosses, Iron Crosses, Wound Badges, Tank Assault Badges etc were re-designed by Steinhauer & Lück – often with the oak-leaf spray replacing the swastika, with S&L having the sole patent rights to all WW2 1957 German decorations. S&L did not have the whole monopoly on medal making, other famous firms such as Deschler & Sohn, BH Maher and Juncker also manufactured these new German decorations. Lüdenscheid is situated between the cities Dortmund and Bonn. It was here that one of the youngest medal firms was founded in 1889 by August Steinhauer and Gustav Adolf Lück. The first production began in a cellar, the customer base continued to increase. A property was bought at 51 Hochstrasse which is still home for this famous company today. During WW2 Steinhauer & Lück produced medals and badges, like the famous Knights Cross and many other types of medals and badges. In 1957 this company was awarded the contract to produce all the newly re-designed legal WW2 1957 de-nazified decorations, plus the contract to manufacture all of Germany’s official decorations including Germany’s highest order the Bundesverdienstkreuz. Only a very limited number of original WW2 1957 medals are still produced, mainly Iron Crosses, German Cross Gold & Silver & Wound Badges and are considered 100% genuine by the German Government. HISTORY OF THE AWARD. Luftwaffe Fighter Clasp – To recognize the type and number of operational flights undertaken by aircrew and certain other Luftwaffe personnel, the FRONTFLUGSPANGE (literally “Front Flight Clasp”) was progressively introduced from January 1941. Commonly referred to by collectors as Flight Bars, Operational Flying Clasps or Squadron Clasps, these badges consist of a central device encircled by a wreath of laurel leaves set between two’wings’ of oak leaves. In most designs, the ubiquitous swastika is set at the base of the wreath. Clasps measure around 7.5cm x 2.5cm (3″ x 1″). The central device distinguishes between the types of flight undertaken. The color of the clasp, with the exception of the center which is usually blackened, identifies the number of flights achieved. Thus, the BRONZE clasp was awarded for 20 flights SILVER clasp was awarded for 60 flights GOLD clasp was awarded for 100 flights. Note that a flight was considered “operational” if the enemy was engaged or enemy airspace was penetrated by a given distance. If the number of hours in the air was exceeded by a given amount a single’sortie’ could also be counted as more than one flight towards an award of the Operational Flying Clasp. The central device of the upward pointing winged arrow denotes the award for Short Range Day Fighter. The winged arrow pointing downwards indicates Long Range Day Fighter and, prior to April 1944, Air to Ground Support. The reverse of this clasp highlights the typical construction, pin and catch to be found on these awards. The wide tapered pin is almost always encountered, albeit with some variation in shape and colouring – late war clasps by “RS&S” are an exception with a needle pin and ball hinge. Note the absence of a maker’s mark on the above example…. The majority of clasps, particularly those of early manufacture, were unmarked. When encountered, some of the makers to be found are: G. K, F & B. BSW (within a cloverleaf), M. Juncker and Imme & Sohn. Clasps were presented in a small, dark blue, rectangular case with the designation of the award imprinted on the lid in gold. These cases measure around 9 x 4 x 1.5cm. Note the materials commonly used to line the case: white silk for the lid and cream colored flocking to form the base.