Anti-Partisan Guerrilla Warfare Badge ( Bandenkampfabzeichen) in Bronze
The Anti-Partisan Guerrilla Warfare Badge (German Bandenkampfabzeichen) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to members of the Heer, Luftwaffe, and Waffen-SS for service against partisan activity behind German lines. The badge was instituted on 30 January 1944 by Adolf Hitler. In German, it was called the "Bandenkampf-Abzeichen", as Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler decided to use the term Banden instead of partisans, not wishing to give credence to the guerrillas.
Himmler also reserved the right to award himself the gold badge.
Partisans or guerrilla fighters were active in almost every country occupied by Germany during World War II, and while many of these movements were initially small and disorganized, in many cases, they coalesced into larger, more powerful bands of fighters. In some countries, notably Greece, Russia and the Yugoslavian states, the partisans became large and dangerous movements, requiring increasing German manpower and resources to resist them. The anti-partisan guerrilla warfare badge was created in recognition of the Axis soldiers involved in these behind-the-lines battles.
The badge existed in three grades:
Bronze, for 20 combat days against partisans
Silver, for 50 combat days against partisans
Gold, for 100 combat days against partisans
Criteria were slightly different for the Luftwaffe, being based on 30, 75, and 150 operational flights/sorties flown in support of anti-partisan operations.
A version in gold with diamonds, maker marked C.E. Juncker, also existed but was never awarded.
All versions of the badge feature a skull and crossed bones at the base,with a laurel wreath of oak leaves around the sides and a sword in the center. The sword's handle has a sun wheel swastika, with the blade plunged into the "Hydra", whose five heads represent the partisans.
Members of the Wehrmacht avoided wearing it, while the Waffen SS men wore it with pride, claiming it was "their" badge.