The Wound Badge (German: Verwundetenabzeichen) was a German military decoration first promulgated by Wilhelm II, German Emperor on 3 March 1918, which was awarded to soldiers of the German Army that were wounded during World War I. Between the world wars, it was awarded to members of the German armed forces who fought on the Nationalist side of the Spanish Civil War, 1938–39, and received combat related wounds. It was awarded to members in the Reichswehr, the Wehrmacht, SS and the auxiliary service organizations during World War II. After March 1943, due to the increasing number of Allied bombings, it was also awarded to civilians wounded in air raids. It was awarded when the wound was the result of enemy hostile action.
The badge had three classes:
- Black (3rd class, representing Iron), for those wounded once or twice by hostile action (including air raids).
- Silver (2nd class) for being wounded three or four times.
- Gold (1st class, which could be awarded posthumously) for five or more times wounded.
The «progression» could be waived in the event of loss of a limb or eyesight; when such a severe wound occurred, the silver badge was awarded.
Badges were made of pressed steel, brass and zinc. All versions of the Wound Badge were worn on the lower left breast of the uniform or tunic. The badge was worn below all other awards on the left. It ranked lower than combat badges. There were 24 approved manufacturers of the Wound Badge. At first, the Wound Badge in Black was stamped from sheet brass, painted semi-matte black with a hollow reverse pin back attachment or of solid construction. From 1942, steel was used to make the badges. The Wound Badge in silver was made (before 1942) from silver-plated brass, and (after 1942) from lacquered zinc, and had a solid reverse with either a needle pin or a broad flat pin bar. The Wound Badge in Gold was a gilded version of the Wound Badge in Silver. In 1957, a revised version of the Wound Badge was authorised for wear; however, the previous type could still be worn if the swastika were removed (for example by grinding).
Badges for wounds of class 3 were usually made by stamping from sheet metal — brass and iron, later black paint was applied to them. The badge for injuring Class 2 could also be made in a stamped form from sheet metal, usually from brass. The badges for the wound in “silver” were also produced in cast form, followed by stamping and silvering in the anodized manner. The reverse part was hollow, where the brand of the manufacturer was applied on it, in some cases the marking could be absent. From 1942 — 1944 in connection with the economy of metal badges were issued from silver plated zinc or just zinc.