Close Combat Clasp
|Close Combat Clasp|
Close Combat Clasp in Gold, Silver, and Bronze
|Awarded by Nazi Germany|
|Eligibility||Heer, Kriegsmarine and Waffen-SS personnel|
|Awarded for||hand-to-hand fighting|
|Campaign(s)||World War II|
|Established||25 November 1942|
|Total awarded||36,400 Bronze Class|
9,500 Silver Class
631 Gold Class.
The Close Combat Clasp (German: Nahkampfspange) is a German military award instituted on 25 November 1942 for achievement in hand-to-hand fighting in close quarters. The Close Combat Clasp was worn above the upper left uniform pocket. The clasp was die-cast and made of either tombac or later zinc, with a slightly curved centerpiece consisting of the national emblem surmounting a crossed bayonet and hand grenade.
The award was bestowed in three classes: Bronze for 15 close combat battles; Silver for 25 battles; and Gold for 50+ battles. The Gold Close Combat Clasp was often regarded in higher esteem than the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross by the German infantry. Of the roughly 18–20 million soldiers of the German Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS, 36,400 received the Bronze Class, 9,500 the Silver Class and 631 the Gold Class.
In popular culture
- In Where Eagles Dare, Maj. Von Hapen (Derren Nesbitt) is portrayed wearing the decoration in gold (how a Gestapo officer would have qualified for such a rare combat decoration is left unexplained).
- In Sam Peckinpah's film Cross of Iron, Sgt. Rolf Steiner (James Coburn), is portrayed wearing the decoration in gold (it is highly unlikely, however, that a soldier would wear such a conspicuous decoration in a combat zone).
- In Breakthrough, a sequel to Cross of Iron, Richard Burton plays Steiner and is also portrayed wearing the decoration.
- Thomas M. Durante (2007), The German Close Combat Clasp of World War II, ISBN 978-90-812301-1-7
- Florian Berger (2004), Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold, ISBN 3-9501307-3-X