(AIRCRAFT DESTRUCTION BADGE)
______In 1945, with the British and Americans already on the Rhine and the Soviets closing in on the Vistula, Germany had little hope of victory. They also had little in the way of weapons, since the loss of many factories in the occupied territories. The often-mentioned but seldom-seen secret weapons of Goebbels were little comfort to the landser. Improvisation became the order of the day.
______Thus was instituted the Aircraft Destruction Badge, similar in appearance and purpose to the Tank Destruction Badge in existence since 9MAR42. Instead of a tank the ADB had an airplane, silver on a silver cloth band for a single victory and gold on a gold cloth band for five victories. The award was worn on the upper right sleeve.
The award as it appeared on the right sleeve.
______Flak gunners were not eligible for this award. Rather, the award was for the average soldat who managed to bring down an aircraft with an infantry-type weapon (specifically, one of 2cm or less). This was no small feat as the performance of the aircraft of the day was quite high, with ground-attack planes flying close to the ground at several hundred miles an hour. While even today armies train infantrymen to mass their platoon and company fire, the chances of actually striking the plane is small, much less the chance of causing enough damage to bring it down.
______Nevertheless, some sources have a total of 16 awards from the ADB's establishment on 12JAN45. It is highly unlikely that the gold version was ever awarded, and even the silver was probably annotated in the soldier's soldbuch rather than actually sewn on the uniform.
WHAT CONFLICT IS ALSO KNOWN AS "THE RAILWAY WAR"?