The Lappland Shield (German: Lapplandschild) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to those military personnel of General Franz Böhme’s 20th Mountain Army who had been fighting a two-front campaign against the advancing Finnish and Soviet forces in Lapland between November 1944 and the war’s end in May 1945. Although created in February 1945, it was officially approved on 1 May, 1945 and was the last officially instituted German campaign shield of the war. It was not officially awarded until after the end of the war in unique circumstances.
A basic shield with flat top and rounded bottom incorporates an eagle at the top but without swastika (as this was banned after the end of the war). Directly below this, in capital letters, is written LAPPLAND and beneath this appears a map of the region. A sketch of the design was approved by Adolf Hitler shortly before his death in April 1945. Four small holes were punched in the shield to allow it to be sewn on the upper left sleeve of the uniform. There are numerous variations to the shield’s design caused by the limitations of the field manufacturing process and original examples are both scarce and of inferior quality.
Although conferred after the cessation of hostilities, the shield was awarded to personnel and entered in their pay book (soldbuch) because General Andrew Thorne, their captor, continued to allow German prisoners to wear their decorations. The shield was produced with any available metal (zinc, aluminium or tin).
To receive the shield, military personnel had to have:
Served six months service in the area; or
Been wounded in the campaign; or
Attained a bravery award during the prescribed dates