Information: Badges & Awards: Fallschirmjaeger Heer Award Badge
Why am I writing this article? There are a few reasons. I started this article mainly as a road map for myself when looking for genuine World War Two Heer (Army) Fallschirmjaeger (Paratrooper) award badges to purchase. Before I purchased my first badge I did not have a clue in identifying a fake from original unless it was stamped 'Made in Hong Kong'! I also noticed that authors never really detail the subject in a calculated way, this could be because they did not want to give too much information to the fakers.
I wanted a more formal process of identification to help reduce the margin of error, especially since some originals will sell for £10,000 plus for original 800 silver engraved badge and £1000 plus for 1943 Zinc badge!
There seem to be expressions here and opinions there, which is all very well and good but I want to know what to look for to identify a fake. Yes, it is important to have opinions and different viewpoints on the look and feel but to me the starting point is to ideally have dimentions, weights, finishes, materials, facts etc. to feed into the overall verification calculation. I may sound a bit calculated here but I do appreciate their beauty and I also appreciate that no 'process' will identify an original item in its own right (some fakes were made immediately after the war, so carbon dating is pretty much out even if you could afford it!). Get the basics correct and then work from there is my opinion. However there will be disagreement with some of the basics and that is fine as long as you factor in a sutable margin of error that is acceptable to you as the buyer. Remember the seller has very little too loose selling you a lovely aged aluminium 1st pattern replica for £4,500 that cost him less than £50!
I do intend to expand on this section to cover all versions of the German Army Paratrooper Award Badge but I'll start with the 1943 Feinzink version. Before I begin I recommend that if you are a serious buyer that you purchase at least some of the following and I recommend car boot sales if you want to save money: a metal centimeter (cm) ruler ideally graduated to 0.5mm; metal internal and external measurement calipers with a fine graduation wheel; precision thickness measure (don't know the real name but the picture below demonstrates what I mean!); a set of fine electronic scales graduated in grams and a good quality jewlers eyeglass. (Some items pictured below).
You may say that these instruments are overkill and you won't get the chance to use them but I've spoken to several dealers who say that more of the experienced buyers are using these instruments just as a double check or reassurance that their initial opinions are correct. Also why would a seller stop you from sitting down for five minutes and measure up the badge worth £8,000, if they do, then they have something to hide - walk away from that Fallschirmjäger badge!
This version of the badge - 1943 issue in Zinc. Was issued to Brandenburgers (the German Army Commandos), the Heer Fallschirmjager as replacement badges to their original aluminium badges which broke easily and it is conjectured the Waffen SS Fallschirmjaeger 500 / 600 Battalion. This battalion is thought to have been issued both Luftwaffe and Heer versions of the badge, although this is difficult to verify due to scant information and photographs on this unit.
Here are the attributes of the badge. There may be slight variations so please take this into account but generally tolernaces of 0.5mm are I would say acceptable.
Measurable Attributes: Value:
 Height - Top of eagle head to bottom of wreath 55.5mm
 Height - Swastica to bottom wreath internal 32.5mm
 Height - Eagle Claw vertical measure to top wing 23mm
 Height - Top of eagle head to bottom of swastica 17mm
 Width - Wreath central to wreath central 44mm
 Width - Wreath central to wreath central internal 29.5mm
 Width - Eagle beak to rear middle wing 51mm
 Width - Top eagle wing to wing horizontal 11.5mm
 Width - Brass to brass roller 7.53mm
 Width - Right & left hand wreath 6.5mm
 Depth - Right & left hand wreath 3.52mm
 Depth - Eagle middle wing extremity to rear 5.52mm
 Depth - Eagle Claws 3.55mm
 Weight 29 grams
General Attributes:  
Bubbling on rear of eagle Yes
Rivets usually very dark and small (tiny) Yes
Pictures of attributes to follow...

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