H026590 BRAVERY & COMMEMORATIVE MEDAL OF THE SPANISH BLUE DIVISION, 1941. (Tapferkeits-und Erinnerungsmedaille der Spanischen Blauen Division)

BACKGROUND: With the collapse of France in June 1940 Hitler appealed to Spain’s Generalissimo Francisco Franco to ally with the Axis as a form of repayment for Germany’s military assistance in the Spanish Civil war. Franco refrained from any commitment until the Germans invaded Russia which had provided aid to the Spanish communist Republican party during the Spanish Civil war. As a result it was decided that a Spanish Legion of roughly 4,000 personnel were to be raised and sent to the Russian front. When the call went out for the Spanish volunteers over 40,000, mostly Civil war veterans, came forward and it was decided to form a full Spanish Infantry Division. Since Spain had made no official declaration of war the Spanish volunteers were integrated into the German army as the 250TH Infantry Division but were most commonly referred to as the Spanish Blue Division. In appreciation for the Spaniards service, the Germans instituted the Bravery & Commemorative Medal of the Spanish Blue Division in January 1944 to recognize and reward the Spanish volunteers who served on the Russian front from August 1941 to October 1943. The criteria for bestowal of the award was very similar to the criteria for the Russian Front Medal with the main qualification being at least fourteen days of participation in combat on the Russian front. Of Note: Pressure from Great Britain for Spain to declare its neutrality, the decaying war situation and high Spanish casualties prompted Franco to request that the Germans release the Blue Division and return it to Spain, which they did in October 1943 although a token Spanish Legion did remain in service with the Germans. Also Of Note: Spain also created a specific medal for personnel of the Spanish Blue Division entitled, the Commemorative Decoration for Spanish Volunteers in the Battle against Bolshevism, 1941.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Die struck alloy, award with a gilted bronze wash. The obverse features a raised outer lip encircling an embossed German style helmet situated above two shields, with one shield having an embossed German Wehrmacht style eagle with down-swept wings and the other shield having the embossed Spanish Falangist emblem of a bundle of five upward pointing arrows. The shields are superimposed over an embossed, horizontal broad sword. The bottom of the obverse also has an embossed static swastika superimposed over a cluster of laurel leaves all on a smooth background field. The reverse also features a raised outer lip encompassing embossed Latin script, "Division Española de Voluntarios en Rusia", (Spanish Volunteer Division in Russia), situated above an embossed Iron Cross with oak-leaves to the right and laurel leaves to the left on a smooth background field. The ribbon suspension ring and loop are both intact and comes the original ribbed rayon ribbon which is in both the German and Spanish national colors of black, white, red and golden yellow. The ribbon has a gilt washed, stamped alloy, open horizontally rectangular bar with a pin back device to the reverse (Spanish production).

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $238.00

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