20th July Wound Badge - Verwundetenabzeichen 20. Juli 1944
The 20th of July Wound Badge is by far the rarest of these awards, as it was only issued to those injured during the failed attempt on Adolf Hitler's life at the Wolf's Lair headquarters in Rastenburg, East Prussia. Twenty-four were present when the bomb detonated. One officer was killed and three succumbed to their wounds a short time later. Hitler, believing this to be a "moment of destiny" for him, personally directed the designing of a special badge commemorating the event. This special award is based on the common Wound Badge, but the helmet is slightly higher and larger; it also bears the date "20 Juli 1944" and a facsimile of Hitler's signature below the helmet and date.They were made in all three grades of black, silver, and gold. All of these wound badges were made by the Juncker firm and were made out of solid hallmarked silver. Recipients who had already been previously awarded regulation Wound Badges were awarded the 20 July Wound Badge in a higher grade. Unlike the Wound Badge in Black, the 20 July Wound Badge in Black was not all black. Only the helmet and wreath were black; the background was in silver so that the date and facsimile signature could be seen. The 20 July Wound Badge in gold also had a silver background with the helmet and wreath colored gold. The 20 July Wound Badge in silver has black highlights on the helmet swastika, the date, and the facsimile signature. Unlike the standard Wound Badges, these were of two-piece construction. Hitler presented the survivors with the special wound badge as well as a unique award document in a ceremony on 2 September 1944. Although Hitler had been injured in the bombing, he did not give one of these badges to himself. Hitler had earned his own Wound Badge (in black) in World War I. He had awarded himself the Golden Party Badge number 1, but this was a political badge and not a military medal. The four posthumous awards were sent to the recipients' next-of-kin. These medals were all plated in gold, including the background. The badge replaced the basic 1939 Wound Badge on those persons who were presented the 20 July Badge. It is important to note however that this badge was more a personal gift from Hitler to those involved, and was intended to be a treasured one-off souvenir of a momentous historical event, and thus was not expected to be worn. While Field Marshal Keitel and Colonel-General Jodl for example did wear their 20 July wound badges on their tunics, other recipients preferred to wear their regular wound badges. Recipients of the 20 July wound badge could have their 20 July wound badges upgraded if they earned higher grades of the Wound Badge. Konteradmiral Hans-Erich Voss eventually had the 20 July Wound Badge in all three grades, earning it in black on 20 July 1944, and having it upgraded twice for subsequent battles.
The Recipients of this badge were the following:
1. Adolf Hitler 2. General Heusinger, Chief of the Wehrmacht Operations Branch of the Generalstab and Deputy Chief of the Generalstab. 3. General Korten, Chief of the Luftwaffe Generalstab, died of his injuries. 4. Oberst i.G. Brandt, Heusinger's deputy, killed. 5. General Bodenschatz, liason officer of the C in C of the Luftwaffe at Führer HQ. Severely wounded in the legs. 6. General Schmundt, Chief Adjutant of the Wehrmacht and Chief of the Army Personnel Office, died of his injuries. 7. Oberstleutnant i.G. Borgmann, adjutant of the Führer, severely injured. 8. Admiral von Puttkamer, Naval Adjutant of the Führer, lightly wounded. 9. Stenographer Berger, killed instantly. 10. Kapitän z. See Assmann, Admiralty Staff Officer in the Wehrmacht Operations Staff. 11. General Scherff, Special Commissioner to the Führer on the writing of military history, OKW, lightly injured. 12. General Buhle, Chief of Staff, OKW, lightly injured. 13. Admiral Voss, representative of C in C of the Kriegsmarine at Führer HQ. 14. SS Gruppenführer Fegelein, Waffen SS representative at Führer HQ. 15. Oberst i.G. von Bulow, Luftwaffe adjutant of the Führer. 16. SS Hauptsturmführer Günsche, adjutant of the Führer. 17. Stenographer Hagen. 18. Oberstleutnant i.G. von John, Keitel's adjutant. 19. Major i.G. Büchs, Jodl's assistant. 20. Oberstleutnant i.G. Waizenegger, Keitel's Adjutant. 21. Ministerial Counselor von Sonnleithner, Foreign Office representative at Führer HQ. 22. General Warlimont, Deputy Chief of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff. 23. General Jodl, Chief of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff, lightly wounded. 24. (seated immediately to Hitler's left) Generalfeldmarschall Keitel, Chief of the OKW.