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eMedals-The Italian Medal for Military Valour in Gold to German Luftwaffe Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille

Item: EU13365

The Italian Medal for Military Valour in Gold to German Luftwaffe Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille

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The Italian Medal for Military Valour in Gold to German Luftwaffe Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille

The Italian Republic Issued Medal for Military Valour in Gold, to German Luftwaffe Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille: 22K Gold, marked "917" (22K Gold) on the edge, weighing 24.7 grams, obverse illustrating the Italian Republic coat-of-arms, surrounded by the inscription "AL VALORE MILITARE" and maker marked "Z", reverse engraved "HANS JOACHIN MARSEILLE" in the centre, framed by an open-ended wreath of laurel leaves and surrounded by the engraved inscription "CIELO DEL MEDITERRANEO DELL'AFRICA SETTENTRIONALE ITALIANA 26.1V.1941 - 18.VI.1942" on the reverse, 33.5 mm, very light contact, extremely fine.

Footnote: Hans-Joachim Marseille (December 13, 1919 - September 30, 1942) was a Luftwaffe fighter pilot and flying ace during the Second World War. He is noted for his aerial battles during the North African Campaign and his Bohemian lifestyle. One of the most successful fighter pilots, he was nicknamed the "Star of Africa". Marseille claimed all but seven of his "official" 158 victories against the British Commonwealth's Desert Air Force over North Africa, flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter for his entire combat career. No other pilot claimed as many Western Allied aircraft as Marseille. He was of French Huguenot ancestry and joined the Luftwaffe in 1938. At the age of 20, he graduated from one of the Luftwaffe's fighter pilot schools just in time to participate in the Battle of Britain, without notable success. A charming person, he had such a busy night life, that sometimes, he was too tired to be allowed to fly the next morning. As a result, he was transferred to another unit, which relocated to North Africa in April 1941. Under the guidance of his new commander, who recognized the latent potential in the young officer, Marseille quickly developed his abilities as a fighter pilot. He reached the zenith of his fighter pilot career on September 1, 1942, when during the course of three combat sorties, he claimed 17 fighters shot down, earning him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Only 29 days laterMarseille was killed in a flying accident, when he was forced to abandon his fighter due to engine failure. After he exited the smoke-filled cockpit, Marseille's chest struck the vertical stabilizer of his aircraft. The blow either killed him instantly or incapacitated him, so that he was unable to open his parachute.

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