Honour Plaque in Iron, 1st pattern of Air District XI
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The award was instituted by Oberst Cranz, commander of Air District XI between October of 1937 and June of 1938. Details on the institution are not known. It has been speculated that the second version of this award, the silver version, was instituted in 1941.
Even though no information on the institution of the award is available, due to a period document several reasons for which the award could be given are known. These include: good results in marksmanship; saving a child from drowning; improving upon the technical aspect of weaponry; merits in producing food for an airport command. The award could be received by individuals as well as entire units.
The award was given out with an accompanying document, of which two versions are known to exist.
The silver award Type A is rectangular, showing a second pattern Luftwaffe eagle with swastika, which is attached to the plaque via two clasps. The inscription begins with the recipient's rank and name, then reads: for outstanding merits / the commanding general and chief of Air District XI. It carries the facsimile signature of General der Flieger Ludwig Wolf.
The award was made of white metal, either polished or silvered.
The silver award Type B has the eagle attached to the shield by means of a screw. The inscription is the same as Type A, but in five lines rather than four. It was made of either polished white metal or silvered zinc.
The silver award 1942 version is similar to Type B, but the inscription is different and comprised of six lines rather than five. It reads: for outstanding merits in the war year 1942 / the commanding general and chief of Air District XI. It was made of either polished or silvered white metal.
With the iron award, the eagle is always part of the cast.
The 1st pattern iron award features a 1st pattern "droop tail" Luftwaffe eagle with swastika, and the recipients rank to the left of the swastika, the name to the right. The inscription is in four lines and reads: for outstanding merit / the commander of Air District XI. The award is made from bronze.
The 2nd pattern iron award has four different types, which only differ slightly. All of them have in common that the plaque is rectangular with a raised edge and features a 1st pattern "droop tail" Luftwaffe eagle with swastika, facing to the viewer's right. The inscription is in five lines and reads: for outstanding merits / the commanding general and chief of Air District XI.
The unique feature of Type A is that it has a brass plate attached via two rivets in between the eagle and the inscription, on which the recipient's name (and sometimes rank) was written.
Type B instead has a raised and smooth box (measuring 70x15mm) that is an integral part of the otherwise lightly pebbled plaque onto which the recipient's name is written.
Type C has a large smooth field on the lightly pebbled plaque for both the recipient's name and the entire inscription, however, there is about 5mm of space between the field and the bottom edge of the plaque.
Type D has the same design as Type C, but the smooth field reaches virtually all the way to the bottom. Additionally, this type sometimes includes a facsimile signature: "Wolf" in the lower right corner, with the rank of "General der Flieger" underneath.
The 3rd pattern iron award features the 2nd pattern Luftwaffe eagle with swastika, attached to the plate by means of two clamps, and the four line inscription reads: for outstanding merits / the commanding general and chief in Luftgau XI. Underneath is Wolf's facsimile signature and his title, "General der Flieger". The plaque comes in two types.
Type A is made of white metal or zinc, burnished black, but the engraved inscription reveals the white base material.
Type B is made of the same materials, but burnished olive-brown, and the engraved inscription (with the exception of the recipient's name and rank) are blackened.
The German title of this award is "Ehrenschild des Luftgaues XI".
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