The Narvik Shield (German: Narvikschild) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to all German forces that took part in the battles of Narvik between 9 April and 8 June 1940. It was instituted on 19 August 1940 by Adolf Hitler with the decree published in Reichsgesetzblatt Number 154 on 28 August for the army followed on 12 and 13 September for the navy and air force respectively.
Designed by Professor Dr Richard Klein of Munich, the narrow shield features a pointed bottom and, at its apex, an eagle with folded-down wings clutching a laurel wreath that surrounds a swastika. Below this in capital letters is written NARVIK. The body of the shield features an edelweiss (representing the Heer mountain troops), an anchor (representing the Kriegsmarine), and propeller (for the Luftwaffe (both air and field) units). The anchor and propeller are crossed, with the edelweiss placed at the top of the X. The numbers 19 and 40 appear at the top corners of the main body of the shield.
The shield was hollow backed and stamped from sheet metal which was usually zinc, although a few early examples were made in brass. It was worn on the upper left arm of the uniform and each recipient was presented with three copies. The shield was awarded in three versions; two silver (often dull gray) versions (for Heer and Luftwaffe) and a gilded (golden coloured) version (for Kriegsmarine). Each version was issued on cloth backing (colour determined by unit) for attachment to the uniform:
Silver shield on field-gray for Heer (army)
Silver shield on gray-blue for Luftwaffe (air force)
Gilded shield on dark blue for Kriegsmarine (navy)
Other than colour and cloth backing, all three designs of the shield were exactly alike.
It was attached to the uniform using the cloth backing issued with each shield, but if the cloth backing was missing or not issued, it was attached to the upper left sleeve by a set of four prongs on the back of the shield. If a second shield was awarded to an individual, both shields could be worn, one above another separated by 5 mm of space.
The first award was made to Generaloberst Eduard Dietl by Adolf Hitler on 21 March 1941. A total of 8,577 shields were presented:
Heer: total 2,755 (posthumous - 96);
Luftwaffe: total 2,161 (flying crew – 1,309, paratroopers - 756, posthumous – 410);
Kriegsmarine: 3,661 (destroyer crews - 2,672, other – 115, posthumous – 410), merchant navy - 442 (posthumous - 22).