Eastern Front Medal
Eastern Front Medal/badges
The Eastern Front Medal/badges (The badge below are part of my personal collection.) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to both German and Axis personnel. It was awarded to those who served on the German Eastern Front during the winter campaign period of 15 November 1941 to 15 April 1942. It was instituted on 26 May 1942 and was commonly known as the Ostmedaille (East Medal) or Russian Front Medal. Due to the large number of frostbite among German troops, it was called “Frozen Meat“. Over three million were issued and many more manufactured.
Armed service personnel qualified for the badge after a minimum of 14 days served in active combat; 30 combat sorties for Luftwaffe members; 60 days of continuous service in a combat zone; being wounded or suffering a “frozen limb”, severe enough to warrant the issue of a Wound Badge. The medal could be awarded posthumously.
On 20 January 1943, the qualifications for the award changed to include both combatant and non-combatant personnel (including females) in the Wehrmacht. Also, foreign members of Wehrmacht units; personnel killed or missing in action and civilians working in area factories.
Geographic limits were placed on its award of east of Ukraine and Ostland or in the Finland area, east of the original 1940 Russo/Finnish border. It was officially decommissioned by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht on 4 September 1944.
The design of the medal approved for the award was from a contemporary serving soldier, SS-Unterscharführer Ernst Krauit.
The award is made in the form of a circle with a diameter of 36 mm and is decorated with a hand grenade and a helmet on top of which a ring for the award ribbon is attached. The medallion on the edge has a silver coating, the helmet has the same coating. In the center of the medallion is an eagle with folded wings, sitting on a swastika, in the background of which a laurel branch is placed.
There is an inscription on the reverse of the medal, which means “WINTER COMPANY IN THE EAST 1941/42”, crossed sword and laurel branch are placed below the inscription. The medal ribbon is red, with two white and a black stripe in the center, colors mean: Red – blood of soldiers fighting in battles, white – endless Russian snow, black – memory of fallen soldiers.