Miniature Observers' Badge Case of Issue (by C.E. Junker, Berlin)

CATEGORY: Case of Issue

SKU: 03.GEM.0104.101.01.C.000

  • Miniature Observers' Badge Case of Issue (by C.E. Junker, Berlin) Obverse
  • Miniature Observers' Badge Case of Issue (by C.E. Junker, Berlin) Open
  • Miniature Observers' Badge Case of Issue (by C.E. Junker, Berlin) Front
  • Miniature Observers' Badge Case of Issue (by C.E. Junker, Berlin) Back

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The Observer Badge was introduced by Emperor Wilhelm II on January 27, 1914.
It is silver-coloured and was worn in the centre of the left breast. After the Pilot Badge, this was the second most commonly awarded air force badge.

The Observer Badge is in the same general design as the Pilot Badge. Its shape is oval. It is framed by laurel on the left and oak leaves on the right side, with an Imperial crown at the top and a bow at the bottom. In the centre, differing from the Pilot Badge, there is an enamelled square piece in red with a smaller square in the centre, which in turn is made up of four squares, top left and bottom right in black and top right and bottom left in white.

Badges measure approximately 45mm in width and 72mm in height. They weigh between 20 and 45g. The large variation is due to different materials and designs being used.

The badge was awarded to Observer Officers and accompanied by a document. In order to qualify, a soldier had to pass all relevant flying exams and fulfil additional qualifications, such as a minimum of 1,000km of overland flights. In 1916, multiple new requirements were added and others extended, for example flight experience was set to a minimum of 2,000km with at least three different pilots and types of aircraft.

The badge had to be returned once the wearer retired from active service or was no longer deemed capable of performing duties. In case of forced retirement from duty, for example due to wounds received in accidents or in combat, the badge could be retained. The badge could, in some cases, also be retained if the wearer had actively served for three consecutive years before retirement.

Early specimens were all manufactured by C. E. Juncker from “800” silver and awarded in black cases. The reverse features a sunburst pattern. Juncker badges are maker marked, as well as featuring a crescent shaped moon to indicate silver as the material of use and “800” for silver content.

Later badges were made by different manufacturers, but almost none of them are maker marked.
P. Meybauer made most of the late war hollow stamped pieces, most in silvered brass, few in silver.

Just like the Pilot Badge, the company of Godet & Sohn made Observer Badges with larger than usual crowns. However, these are rarely encountered today.

Some badges can be found with recipient engravings on the backplate.

Most badges are attached to the uniform by a pinback, however, some badges feature a screwback, or eight small holes for attachment.

Some badges were produced in a reduced size, the so-called “Prinzen” size. These generally measure 30x48mm.

A rare embroidered version of the badge made with silver wire exists as well.

It is unknown how many Observer Badges were awarded, since the original documents were destroyed during the Second World War. Estimates place the number of German recipients at 4,000+.


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