Long-Range Night Fighter Clasp, in Bronze
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The first Flight Clasps were introduced on January 30, 1941 by the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Göring. Every airman flying missions, no matter their role, was eligible to obtain them. The Bronze grade clasp was awarded for participation in 20 combat missions, the Silver grade clasp for 60 missions, and the Gold grade clasp for 110 missions.
The clasps were either die-struck or die-cast. Early specimens were made of tombac, an alloy with a high copper content. As the war progressed, copper, which had to be imported to Germany, wasn’t as readily available anymore, which led to production being switched over to using zinc. Zinc was of lower quality, but cheap and abundant.
Cloth versions of clasps exist, but they are extremely rare.
In June of 1942 a pendant with a star was added to the Gold grade clasp as an additional grade to honour those airmen that achieved a very high number of missions flown. Depending on the type of clasp, the number needed for achieving this varied. On April 29, 1944 new pendants were introduced. The star was replaced by a number plaque. The number displayed started at 200 and rose in increments of 100 up to 2000. These later pendants are always made of zinc and are of lower quality than the clasps.
Only two clasps are known to have ever been awarded as a special version with diamonds, one Short-Range Day Fighter Clasp and one Air-to-Ground Support Clasp.
The Flight Clasps were designed by Professor Sigmund von Weech.
The Long-Range Night Fighter Clasp was introduced on August 14, 1942, together with Short-Range Night Fighter Clasp. The star pendant was awarded for 250 missions. The clasp shows a winged arrow pointing downwards within a black wreath.
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