Bruno Loerzer with his old comrade Hermann Göring in 1942
|Otto Dessloch’s denazified B-Stück badge (Private Collection)|
However, the righthand wing of the eagle on the period dress copy worn by Dessloch ends in four points, like the B-Stück “IMIT” badge attributed to Erhard Milch in the above extract from a Wolfe-Hardin catalog. The alleged Loerzer badge offered by Hermann Historica has six points on the end of the righthand wing. Readers will note that the award badge attributed to Milch does not conform in appearance to the known originals shown in this series of articles. Even more troubling is the fact that the alleged Loerzer badge, which seems to be the child of a union between A and B Stück badges, is housed in another of the blue velvet DGW cases that nobody can remember seeing before 2005.
|Photo: Christopher Ailsby|
|WAF: a front for fakers?|
Generalfeldmarschall Hugo Sperrle, Supreme Commander of Luftwaffenkommando West.
A Combined Pilots and Observers Badge in Gold with Diamonds, in its original case of issue. The oak leaf and laurel wreath in gold, the cambered eagle and the swastika are silver, in open work set with more than 170 diamonds, assembled with two slit nuts on soldered threaded pins. The swastika pinned to the ribbon binding at the bottom of the wreath. The pin with a roller hinge and a safety catch. Weight 30.70 g, 51.55 x 60.19 mm.
The extremely rare case covered and lined with purple velvet, the lid with white silk lining and the maker’s name “DGW – Deutsche Goldschmiedekunst-Werkstätten Berlin-W.”.
Including a 2006 photo expertise by Detlev Niemann.
Condition: I-II Limit: 65000 EURO sold
Provenance: Given in the 1950s by the Horty family to a Portuguese noble, who supported them to settle in Estoril.
|Göring, wearing his badge, just before presenting a badge to Horthy, on his left|
|Empty cassette and folder for the award document – The Ruptured Duck 2008|
|Folder or mappe added to the Skorzeny grouping between 2004 and 2009|
|Copyright © Christopher Ailsby|
|Copyright © Christopher Ailsby|
Inquiries welcome: Craig Gottlieb’s website on 9.9.2011
From: Christopher J Ailsby
Date: Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 6:18 PM
Subject: Re: More Skorzeny Scamstering
To: Wilbur C Stump
Dear Mr StumpThank you for the mail. I am impressed with your findings. This is a case I have been on a long time. But you have made a few mistakes, first and fore most you quote, “the best Ailsby could do with his fakes was get that fat freak who burglarized Jack Angolia’s home to front them in the US. “. I would like to inform you, we produced one piece for Mr Rohnts and that is the only piece that has been comisioned. It was as the original and produced in platinum, gold and set with the correct diamonds. It has a small jewller mark to inentify it. So no selling of pieces by any one other than those that are comisioned. I would also hasen to say that to make another to the same specification would cost in access of £20000.00.Having put that in the right perspective, the piece you show as ex Campion, is in fact in my collection and the photo you use is one that I took. It is the piece as you correctly identify, that was Gorings. It was brought back with the other medals which are now currently at the RAF Museum in Hendon. This is important since the Museum comisioned a copy to be made for wear on the maniquine that is on display. I believe that Mollo was responcible for advising and could have been instrimental in the comisioning of the award and the uniform parts. So this is a possible leed to the producer of the awards that are currently doing the rounds.The next point of interest is these awards are often found with the recipients name engraved upon them. This has to be the GREATEST NO NO. These awards had to be returned to the Office of the Reichsmarshal on request or death.I take the liberty to give you some of my research,”The criteria for the award was that each recipient must be the holder of a pilot’s licence. This pilot’s licence could have been either in the civil form, to encompass single engine aeroplanes and even to have allowed the consideration of the holder of a glider pilot’s licence. This would have qualified them for the badge. This explains the entitlement of the badge for some of the more unusual bestowals namely, Himmler and Dietrich. It is also believed that Dr. Fritz Todt was a recipient of the award but this has yet to be fully confirmed. Upon the death of the holder, the badge had to be returned to Göring’s personal office. This was the case with General Korten who was mortally wounded in the bomb plot attempt of 20 July 1944. After his death, the badge was not immediately returned and Göring’s office was most indiscreet in requesting its return before his body was cold in its grave.
So any one who had their name on the reverse would be have a small future problem.
I have studied as many photos of recipients as possible, all have shown the same type. That is the Göring one. I have attached a few photos for your interest.
I look forward to your comments
My very best wishes
|The surrender of Hermann Göring.|
The ex-Eric Campion Collection Göring Pilot-Observer Badge in Gold with Diamonds, now in the Christopher Ailsby Collection. This is the badge Göring was wearing when he surrendered to US forces in May 1945.
|The RAF Museum: the Andrew Mollo replica|
|Roger F Honts in Dachau|
|The alleged Hugo Sperrle badge: sold by Hermann Historica in 2010|
Description: Pilot and Observer Badge in gold, platinum and diamonds; marked SS – Ostubaf. O. Skorzeny” and “585” on the back; vertical pin.
Together with its relevant document dated “16.9.1943” signed facsimile Göring, and an original of the confirmation by a Colonel-General beside the stamp.
Together with a personal letter from Hermann Göring, on his personal writing-paper, to Skorzeny, in which he anticipates the ordinance of the decoration along with the small version of the document where he confirms the sending of the bigger version in a second moment.
Moreover, the original, brown leather cover, with gilded impressions, in the middle is an eagle with crossed sticks.
Finally, a picture of Skorzeny in his uniform, with the Knight’s cross of the Iron Cross.Otto Skorzeny (1908-1975), a legendary character among the Officers of the Waffen-SS, became worldwide known for his sensational actions, the most famous of which was the release of Benito Mussolini on the Gran Sasso on Sept. 12, 1943. Four days later, he received this honor from Göring.
The kidnapping of Admiral Horthy’s son during Operation Panzerfaust in October 1944 was effective but a man like Göring would never have described it in the context of German honor. Skorzeny’s coup in Budapest was rewarded with a promotion to SS-Obersturmbannführer. The collaboration to which Göring might have referred in a letter about his award to Skorzeny of the Pilot-Observer Badge in Gold with Diamonds was that between the paratroopers of Fallschirmjäger-regiment 7 who landed on Gran Sasso on September 12 1943 and the twenty or so SS-Jagdverband men, accompanied by their commander, who accompanied the Luftwaffe force after turfing Luftwaffe paratroopers out of two gliders and commandeering them. This letter could not have been written in October 1944 in relation to Operation Panzerfaust because Skorzeny had by then held the Pilot-Observer Badge in Gold with Diamonds for more than a year. So, the District Attorney’s office in Stuttgart clearly decided that the letter was a worthless fake and returned it to its owner. The omission of the exclamation mark from the German Greeting was another clue.
Some sources, including Andrew Mollo in a letter in the December 1981 issue of Guns, Weapons & Militaria, refer to the creation by Hermann Göring of a third class of the Combined Pilot-Observer Badge, this being a gold version of the basic badge awarded by Göring to foreign monarchs and heads-of-state like King Boris of Bulgaria and Benito Mussolini. But we know that Mussolini received a diamond-studded badge and we know that the first award of the Pilot-Observer Badge with Diamonds was to Generalleutnant Walter Wever on November 11th 1935.
In his own memoirs, Skorzeny stated quite clearly that “The next day, September 16, 1943, Hermann Göring arrived in a special train and asked me a multitude of question. He awarded me the Flying Badge in Gold, but remarked that I had assumed a great responsibility when I went along with the Duce in Gerlach’s machine”. In fact, Skorzeny’s insistence upon joining Hauptmann Gerlach and Mussolini in the tiny Fieseler Storch had almost killed all three men when the overloaded aircraft, unable to lift off properly, went into a dive as it rolled off the edge of the plateau,
While Operation Panzerfaust was a successful operation, it had nothing to do with the Luftwaffe whereas Operation Oak, the Gran Sasso mission, was entirely planned by the Luftwaffe, hence Göring’s arrival at Hitler’s Headquarters to claim some of the kudos. Skorzeny’s reward for Operation Panzerfaust was his promotion to SS-Obersturmbannführer. The SS-Personalakte is therefore wrong. The date should be December 1st 1943, which might have been the date inscribed on the award document Skorzeny would have received from Göring’s office.
The document sold by several top auctioneers gives the date as September 16th 1943 and is made out to Skorzeny as SS-Sturmbannführer. Yet the badge is engraved to SS-Obersturmbannführer Skorzeny, a promotion he received on December 10th 1944. Yet none of the sellers and buyers of this extraordinary ensemble, the Honorary Pilot-Observer Badge with Diamonds awarded by Hermann Göring to Otto Skorzeny for the rescue of Benito Mussolini, depending on which auctioneer’s patter you prefer to believe, managed to spot these glaring discrepancies.
Michael Dick, head of Hermann Historica’s German Orders and Collectibles department, did not respond to my emails about the Otto Skorzeny Pilot-Observer Badge with Diamonds and the discrepancy between the award document of September 1943, the letter of October 1944 and the rank on the reverse of the badge.
The Viennese Studentenbund was a National Socialist Party organization. As such, they should also have picked up on the misspelling of the rank abbreviation: SS-Stuf. The normal abbreviation was SS-Stubaf or SS-Stbf, SS-Stuf being meaningless in terms of SS-Sturmbannführer. Perhaps the dedication was done by the same craftsman who produced the SA-Feldherrnhalle presentation dagger given to Hermann Göring by Viktor Lütze in 1937, or so whoever salted that particular auction would like some fool to believe.
How many gullible collectors did Otto turn over after the war? We shall probably never know but the tradition continues, with the German dealer André Huesken offering this ensemble for around $120,000 at the time of the 2008 Mohawk Arms sale of the Skorzeny grouping. However, Skorzeny’s Pilot-Observer Badge with Diamonds will be the subject of a future article.