West Wall Medal
|West Wall Medal|
The West Wall Medal
|Awarded by Nazi Germany|
|Established||2 August 1939|
|Last awarded||31 January 1941|
The West Wall Medal (German: Deutsches Schutzwall-Ehrenzeichen) was a military decoration of Nazi Germany. It was instituted on 2 August 1939 and was given to those who designed and built the fortifications on Germany's western borders, known as the West Wall or, in English, the Siegfried Line, and to the troops who served there prior to May 1940. In 1944, as Germany was expecting the arrival of the allied invasion, it was again awarded to those who took part in the fortification of the western borders. In all 622,064 medals were awarded by the end of the war.
The medal was struck in bronzed brass. Its oval shape featured on the obverse (from bottom to top) a bunker, a crossed sword and shovel, and the German Eagle. On the reverse it bore the inscription "Für Arbeit zum Schutze Deutschlands" (For Work for the Protection of Defense of Germany).The medal was designed by Professor Richard Klein, of Munich. 
Second Production Run
In 1944, a second production run was conducted to reward the workers and military personnel strengthening the Siegfried line. This version of the medal was commonly known as the "German Defense Medal", to distinguish the decoration from its 1939 counterpart, and was constructed of a bronzed zinc. A bar with the date "1944" was authorized for those who already held the 1939 version, but this award was never mass-produced.