Wehrmacht mountain troops badge
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|Mountain Troops Badge|
Mountain troops' cap badge of the Wehrmacht
|Awarded by Nazi Germany|
|Eligibility||German military units|
|Awarded for||mountain combat and survival training|
|Description||Two-tone grey metal edelweiss with yellow stamen|
The German language word for such mountain infantry is Gebirgsjäger (mountain + hunter or rifleman). The cap badge is based on the edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) (German: Edelweiß) flower which grows at high Alpine elevations. It is among the few Nazi military emblems not to include swastikas or rune symbols. Soldiers with approved mountain infantry training and who also completed an Edelweißmarsch high-altitude training hike could wear such an emblem on the left side of their cap.
Some period specimens have holes drilled in the extremities to allow the pin to be sewn on. Officers' pins sometimes bore a bright finish. Pre-war versions often had a slightly convex shape while the late-war M43 field cap variant is more flat. Felt-backed versions are also known to exist.
Personnel of the German mountain units wore the pin with the stem facing forward, while units of Austrian origin pointed the stem towards the back.
The tradition continues (though with an edelweiss pin of different design) among current Gebirgsjäger-qualified personnel in the Bundeswehr (common German military soldiers wear a beret rather than the Bergmütze mountain cap used by mountain, ski, and Jäger units). Mountain troops' uniform jackets also bear an edelweiss emblem ovoid sleeve patch.
Circa 2005 the badge began reappearing when a Chinese factory made chrome-plated pot-metal purse buttons and clasps in the same shape, leading to some fashion customers unknowingly sporting an emblem associated with Nazi Germany. Unrelated edelweiss pins of different designs without Nazi-associations are still sold in the mountain tourist shops of Bavaria and Tyrol.