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Bandit-warfare Badge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bandit-warfare Badge
Bronze grade version
Awarded forBandenbekämpfung against "bandits" or anyone assumed to present danger to the Nazi rule or Wehrmacht's security in the occupied territories.[1]
Presented byNazi Germany
EligibilityWehrmacht, Order Police and Waffen-SS personnel
Campaign(s)World War II
Established30 January 1944[2]
Last awarded1945

Bandit-warfare Badge (Bandenkampfabzeichen) was a World War II decoration of Nazi Germany awarded to members of the Army, Luftwaffe, Order Police, and Waffen-SS for participating in rear-area security operations, the so-called Bandenbekämpfung (bandit fighting). The badge was instituted on 30 January 1944 by Adolf Hitler after authorization/recommendation by Heinrich Himmler.[2]


Especially on the Eastern Front, the terms "partisan" and "bandit" were applied by the Nazi security apparatus to Jews, communists, Soviet state officials, Red Army stragglers, and any other persons deemed to pose a security risk. Rear-area security operations against armed irregular fighters ("pacification actions") were often indistinguishable from massacres of civilians, accompanied by burning down villages, destroying crops, stealing livestock, deporting able-bodied population for slave labour to Germany and leaving parent-less children on their own.[1]


All versions of the badge feature a skull and crossed bones at the base, with a laurel wreath of oak leaves around the sides and a sword in the center. The sword's handle has the "sun-wheel" swastika, with the blade plunged into a Hydra whose five heads represent the "partisans". The second version of the badge had larger oak leaves in the wreath and a larger "sun-wheel" swastika.[3] Historian Philip W. Blood notes the similarities between the symbol of the occultist Thule Society, with a sword and a swastika, and the design of the badge. He suggests that Himmler and Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski "had sealed [...] Germanic mythology into a medal for Lebensraum".[4]

The badge existed in three grades:[5]

  • Bronze, for 20 combat days against "bandits"
  • Silver, for 50 combat days against "bandits"
  • Gold, for 150 combat days against "bandits"

Criteria were slightly different for the Luftwaffe, being based on 30, 75, and 150 operational flights/sorties flown in support of "bandit-fighting" operations.[5]


  1. ^ a b Blood 2006, p. 20, 310.
  2. ^ a b Angolia 1987, p. 106.
  3. ^ Angolia 1987, pp. 106, 107.
  4. ^ Blood 2006, p. 310.
  5. ^ a b Angolia 1987, p. 107.


  • Angolia, John (1987). For Führer and Fatherland: Military Awards of the Third Reich. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0912138149.
  • Blood, Philip W. (2006). Hitler's Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe. Potomac Books. ISBN 978-1597970211.
This page was last edited on 5 April 2021, at 05:32
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