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The Eastern Front of World War II (der Rußlandfeldzug 1941–1945 (Russian campaign) or der Ostfeldzug 1941-1945 (Eastern Campaign)) was a theatre of war between the European Axis powers, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Croatia and Finland (not an Axis member), and the Soviet Union which encompassed central and eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. Nazi propaganda dubbed the conflict Battle for Survival against Bolshevism or a Crusade against Bolshevism.

Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941.

Hitler wanted to recognize soldiers who fought in this campaign. He authorized the use of a medal. Also known as the "frozen meat" medal, the medal for the winter campaign on Russia is depicted on this page. This medal was instituted in May 26th, 1942.

The design of the front of the medal consists of a standard circle. At the top there is a German helmet sitting atop a stick grenade where a portion of the helmet extends beyond the perimeter of the circle.

The stick granade and steel helmet were iconic symbols of the German armed forces so they easily lent themselves as a logical choice in the design of the award.

The medal has a suspension ring attached to the top of the helmet. The ribbon is placed through the ring. Some of the rings may be stamped with a small manufacturers marking. The ribbon consisted of a reddish/burgandy background with thin stripes. A black one runing down the center with two white ones fnaking it.

This page is a recognition and identification guide for WWII German badges and awards. Multiple detailed photos of a specific sample are provided. Descriptions point out clearly defined points that should be noted.

One of the most commonly asked questions is "How much is my WWII German badge worth?". A price guide is included here to address this question. The value of the badges and awards is reviewed over a period of several years. A trend can be observed. The present worth of the German badges in the collector's market is illustrated.

This service is provided free of charge to the visitor/enthusiast courtesy of MilitaryItems.com, a company dedicated to the preservation of military history and to providing quality military antiques and collectibles to museums, institutions and the general public.

  1. FAQ's
  2. Medal Anatomy
  3. Identifying fakes and reproductions
  4. RZM manufacturing codes
  5. LDO manufacturing codes
  6. Construction materials
  7. Pins, hinges and other
  8. Perspective view
  9. Purchasing a WWII German Combat badge

The center of the medal has a large eagle with retracted wings. The head is facing right. The eagle is clutching a swastika. The claws are visible. The reverse of the medal is fairly plain. It has the words "Winterschlacht imosten 1941/42" displayed in raised font. A sword is placed just below the phrase.

This is an example of one of the award documents.

The medal was issued in a brown bag with letters printed on the front with black ink. The words are "Medaille Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42 (Ostmedaille)". This roughly translates to "Medal, campaign medal in the east, East medal".

It is mportant to note that not all of the award bags were manufactured in the exact same way.

The criteria for earning the Eastern Front medal included:

Flying over the enemy territory over 30 days. Two weeks of combat on the eastern front. As a complemint to the wound badge provided it was awarded during actions in the Eastern front.

The eastern front region consisted of territory east of the Ukraine and Ostland.

Personnel authorized to receive this award are listed on the table to the right.

1. Administrative personnel 2. Factory workers who were employed in the conquered lands.

3. Military and civilian personnel who directly impacted the war effort. This was to include female persponnel

4. Personnel killed in action or listed as missing.
5. A division commander or more senior officer could bestow this award upon foreign volunteer troops under the service of the Whermacht.

The last of the Eastern Front medals was issued on October 1944. After that the German armed forces were in full retreat and more concerned about the survival of the Third Reich. Between the Fall of 1942 and Spring of 1943 the ambitions that fueled Hitler's plans for the invasion of the Soviet Union began to fade away as the tide of war began to turn against Germany.

The German Eastern Front Medal

The "Military minute" is a series of instructional videos created by MilitaryItems.com for the purpose of providing basic information about military collectibles. The idea is to expose people to the exciting world of military collectibles.

The video presentation coupled with detailed photographs and written information, including a military collectible's price guide, and anatomical breakdown of each piece enhances the visitor's experience.

Whether you are a long time collector, a beginner or simply have an interest in the history and value of each collectible, we hope that you find the information presented here useful.

It is hard to determine the exact number of eastern Front medals that were produced. However, thanks to the record keeping maintained by the Wehrmacht, it is possible to estimate how many medals were actually issued. The number stands well above 4 million as many soldiers qualified for this medal.

The actual number of Black wound badges produced is greater than the number that was issue. It must be accounted that the armed forces would have a stock in hand so it could replace lost ones and issue new awards. In addition the factories were likely to have warehouses with inventory at hand. The Iron Cross was one of the awards most widely distributed during WWII.

The population of Germany in 1939 was approximately 64,000,000.

Collecting Third Reich memorabilia is a field that has been growing since the days the GI's rummaged around Europe bringing back military souvenirs. German soldiers wore many of their awards on their uniforms when they went to battle. Once the soldier was killed or captured, the American soldiers would take the awards as war trophies. Eventually all these pieces came back to the United States where military history enthusiasts began to collect them.

"I am trying to figure out if I should get into collecting Eastern Front medals."

Determining which military badges to collect can be a challenging decision. The combination of availabiilty and cost will often set the pace of what can be collected.

The adjacent table outlines some of the advantages and disadvantages of collecting the eastern Front medal.

This award is currently being reproduced. It is becoming more difficult to be able to tell the fake ones from the real ones because the quality of the reproductions is improving. The collector must become familiarized with the construction style and materials employed in the manufacturing of this badge. Attention to the details is critical in order to be able to determine the authenticity of the badge.

If you have an interest is seeing other badges and awards of the Third Reich, you can do so by going to our WWII German Badges and Awards identification guide. Where we cover Heer (Army), Navy (Kriegsmarine) and Air Force (Luftwaffe) items.


The Eastern Front medal was produced by several manufacturers and in different configurations. The following section displays some of the different types that were manufactured. It is important to look at different examples of the medal in orderto become more familiarized with the collectible.

Eastern Front Medal. Complete With the issue document. The finish to front and back are 80% gone.

WWII German Eastern Front Medal. Complete with the ribbon. Front of medal shows some staining.

Eastern Front Medal WWII German. Includes long ribbon, red color with three stripes down the center.

WWII German Eastern Front Medal. Retains most of the original finish. Complete with red ribbon.


The value for WWII German Combat badges and other military antiques and collectibles is provided as a means to educate the collector community and individuals who have a general interest on the field. The following is an estimated value. Prices may vary in every state and every country. This service is provided courtesy of MilitaryItems.com. The source for military antiques and collectibles in the web.

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Value $50.00 $55.00 $60.00 $65.00 $70.00 $70.00 $75.00 $75.00 $75.00 $80.00 $80.00 $80.00
Availability Common Common Common Common Common Common Common Common Common Common Common Common
Invest Grade C C C C C C C C C C C C

While the item featured here is not for sale, similar items like it are available for purchase in our website MilitaryItems.com

Jan 2nd, 2017
The medal is in good condition. However, there are som many in the market the value will go up at a slower pace.

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