Anti-Partisan Guerrilla Warfare Badge
Bronze grade version
|Awarded by Nazi Germany|
|Awarded for||Participating in anti-partisan fighting|
|Campaign||World War II|
|Established||January 30, 1944|
The Anti-Partisan Guerrilla Warfare Badge (German Bandenkampfabzeichen; literally: "Bandit-fight badge") was a World War II German military decoration awarded to members of the Heer, Luftwaffe, and Waffen-SS for service against partisan activity behind German lines. The badge was instituted on 30 January 1944 by Adolf Hitler.
Specifically on the Eastern Front, the terms "partisan" and "bandit" was applied by Nazi Germany's security apparatus to Jews and Communist officials (so-called Jewish Bolsheviks), Red Army stragglers and others. Anti-partisan military operations ("pacification actions") were often indistinguishable from massacres of innocent civilians.
Partisans or guerrilla fighters were active in almost every country occupied by Germany during World War II, and while many of these movements were initially small and disorganized, in many cases, they coalesced into larger formations. In some countries, notably France, Greece, Poland, Russia and the Yugoslavian states, the partisan movements became large, requiring increasing German manpower and resources to suppress them.
Grades of award
The badge existed in three grades:
- Bronze, for 20 combat days against partisans
- Silver, for 50 combat days against partisans
- Gold, for 100 combat days against partisans
Criteria were different for the Luftwaffe, based on 30, 75, and 150 operational flights/sorties flown in support of anti-partisan operations.
All versions of the badge feature a skull and crossbones at the base, with a laurel wreath of oak leaves around the sides and a sword in the center. The sword's handle has a sun wheel swastika, with the blade plunged into the "Hydra".
Military historian Phillip W. Blood notes the similarities between the symbol of the occultist Thule Society, with a sword and a swastika, and the design of the badge. He suggestes that Himmler and Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski "had sealed [...] Germanic mythology into a medal for Lebensraum".
Members of the Wehrmacht avoided wearing it, while the Waffen-SS men wore it with pride, claiming it was "their" badge.
- Blood 2006, p. 310.
- "THE ANTI-PARTISAN WAR BADGE: HITLER'S MOST GROTESQUE DECORATION By Eric Johansson and Brian Bowerman". Manions.com. Retrieved 2013-02-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Blood, Phillip W. (2006). Hitler's Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe. Potomac Books. ISBN 978-1597970211.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>