Heeresbergführer

This article deals with what is probably the rarest achievement badge or service badge of the German Wehrmacht, the Heeresbergführer badge. With only around 380 Heeresbergführer and candidates during the Second World War, there were probably only a few more Heeresbergfuhrer badges issued or in circulation. In addition, the badge was in principle returnable, which is certainly an important aspect when one considers the rarity of the badge. It can therefore be said that this badge was never produced in very large numbers or even in mass production. This is also indicated by the very elaborate, multi-part production and the materials used in its manufacture. For a short period of Time it was also possible after you sucessfully passed the Heeresbergführer Course, to buy yourself your own Badge. That was only possible in Austria at Breiherr in Garmisch.
The Heeresbergführer badge was first introduced by the Reichswehr in 1931 and subsequently adopted by the German Wehrmacht in an unchanged form and design.

The Heeresbergführer Badge was only awarded and issued after appointment as an Heeresbergführer together with a certificate of appointment and the Heeresbergführer Book. The prerequisite for this was, among other things, the completion of the same course of training as a Heeresbergführer. As already mentioned, the Heeresbergführer Badge was purely a service badge, which is why it was not counted among the orders and decorations and therefore did not fall under their legal protection. When talking about the German Heeresbergführer badges, it is important to note that they should not be confused with the police Bergführer Badges the Bergführerbadges of the Waffen-SS mountain troops. All three of the aforementioned badges existed completely independently and in their own right!

The original and very early regulations for the Heeresbergführer from the year 1931 already contain a number of points that directly concern the army Heeresbergführer badge. These provisions were later extended and supplemented in some respects. For example, the passage that the insignia was to be worn on the left side of the chest in accordance with H.Dv. 122 Section A No. 97g. It could only be worn in uniform and in military service. Furthermore, the badge could be temporarily or completely revoked at any time in certain cases at the request of superiors. The loss of the rank of Heeresbergführer inevitably had the consequence that the person in question was removed from the list of Heeresbergführer. He then had to hand in his certificate of appointment as an Heeresbergführer, the Heeresbergführer book and the Heeresbergführer badge. In return for reimbursement, the badge could be handed over to the Heeresbergführer upon leaving the service.However, with regard to the wearing of the Heeresbergführer badge, it must be noted that in many cases this regulation was not observed by the Heeresbergführers from the time of its inception, as a large number of contemporary photographs of wearers prove.

 

Design characteristics:

The Heeresbergführer Badge of the German Wehrmacht is a convex-oval designed Award with a vertical brooch on the reverse (so-called safety pin brooch or in German “Sicherheitsnadel”).It is always made in several parts and consists of a solid, gold-plated base body or Iron (depend on the Manufacturer) with a separately applied precious white made of tin-magnetic non-ferrous metal sheet. The Edelweiss is applied twice to the the base body is riveted and itself consists of two individual elements (a silver, stone rosette of leaves and a golden central section). The inscription “Heeresbergführer”, written in Gothic script by hand, was executed in enamel in a dark green color under a clear enamel.Due to the handwriting, deviations in the lettering are possible and also known. The outer edge of the Badge is painted white. The base of the Enamel in the center of the Badge was probably engraved for optical reasons. Original copies with and without manufacturer’s markings are known.

 

Manufacturer and variants:

The widespread opinion that only Deschler produced these badges in marked or unmarked versions is wrong. It is true that Deschler produced most of the badges, but there are two other manufacturers that I have been able to identify. One of these was Klein in Vienna, who carried out a single order in 1939 for Deschler and produced 100 badges. This was because there was a fire at the Deschler factory. The badges made by Klein are identical to those made by Deschler and are unmarked. It can therefore be assumed that all unmarked badges known today are those produced by Klein in Vienna besides the Iron Deschler Version. It also need to be noted that Klein was producing the Gendamerie Alpinist and Hochalpinist Badges!  And then there is Breiherr in Garmisch. The general opinion about Breiherr has always been that he only produced Heeresbergführer badges for comradeship organizations after the war. But that is wrong. After very intensive research and a visit to the Breiherr company in the late 1990s, I was able to prove that Breiherr produced Heeresbergführer badges from 1938 to 1944, but only in very small numbers and only to order. I am in the possession of two groups of Heeresbergführer in which both badges are from Breiherr, and for one of them the invoice from 1943 still exists where the soldier ordered the badge from Breiherr. Heeresbergführer Badges produced by Breiherr are identical in dimension, only the edelweiss used is slightly different. All Breiherr Badges produced during the war have the same dark green lettering as the Deschler insignia. However, in 1941 and 1944, 10 badges with gold lettering were produced, 4 of them sold to 2 Generals 5 to regular Heeresbergführer and one left in Stock at Breiherr.  This design was then used and produced by Breiherr after the war. The only difference are the materials used and the quality to those produced during the war.

 

Dimensions:

Deschler Tombak version:

Height: 51.92 mm
Width: 42,96 mm
Weight: 34,50 Gram

Deschler iron version:

High 51,93 mm
Width 42,97 mm
Weight 35,20 Gram

Klein/Vienna:

Height: 51,91 mm
Width: 42.95 mm
Weight: 34.51 grams

Breiherr/Garmisch:

Height: 51.92 mm
Width: 42.95 mm
Weight: 34.65 grams

All specifications may vary slightly as these badges were made by hand and then processed!

 

 

Various examples of badges from all manufacturers:

 

Deschler produced and marked Badge:

 

 

Deschler produced Iron Version unmarked:

 

 

Klein produced unmarked Badge:

 

 

Breiherr Wartime normal Version:

 

 

Breiherr Wartime “gold letter” Version:

 

 

Breiherr Wartime Version engraved with super rare Booklet:

 

 

 

Handmade wartime Version:

 

 

Heeresbergfuhrer Award Documents:

 

 

Heersbergfuhrer “Bergfahrten Booklet”:

 

 

Alois Gugganig Heersbergfuhrer Group:

 

 

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