By Sebastián Bianchi

The Narvik Shield, designed by Professor Klein of Munich, was instituted on the 19th of August 1940.  It was authorized for all German forces that took part in the conquest and subsequent defense of the port city of Narvik during the Norway Campaign.  The battle took place between the 9th of April and the 9th of June 1940.  The allies withdrew on June 9th due to the unfavorable turn the campaign in France, that started on May 10th, had taken.  There was particularly heavy land fighting and naval engagements in the port, with the German garrison being brought to the brink of disaster before the Allied withdrawal.

Shield Properties

The award takes the form of a shield that is surmounted by an eagle with elongated wings, clutching in its claws a wreath that surrounds a swastika. Under the eagle there are 3 lines, with the last one constituting the top of the box that encloses the word “NARVIK”. The main body of the shield was designed to represent the three branches that were responsible for the success of the campaign. It features an edelweiss, representing the mountain troops of Generaloberst Edward Dietl, an anchor, representing Kommodore Bonte’s Destroyers, and a propeller, which pays tribute to the Luftwaffe units (both air and field) which participated in the battle. The anchor and propeller are crossed, and the edelweiss fits between them on the top portion of the X, with the numbers “19” and “40” placed at the top corner of the main body of the shield.

Narvik Shield Kriegsmarine Maat wearing the Narvik Shield as regulated.

The award was hollow backed and stamped from sheet metal which was usually zinc, although a few early examples were made in brass.  Depending on the class, the shield was painted gold or silver, and in this respect it is unique among shields as no other was produced in two versions. T he silver class went to the Luftwaffe and Heer, while the gold was presented to Kriegsmarine members.  The cloth back of the shield matched the color of the service the recipient belonged to. 

The shield was worn on the left arm of the uniform as described above.  Each recipient was presented with 3 copies, and had the ability to purchase additional copies by producing the award document.

Criteria and Award Statistics

As already mentioned, the Shield was presented to those who participated in the battle of Narvik. In the case of death, the award was presented posthumously to the next of kin.

The first award was made to Generaloberst Edward Dietl by Hitler on March 21st, 1941.  A total of 8,577 shields were presented, and they were distributed in the following manner:

Kriegsmarine members are awarded the Iron Cross for Service in Narvik


Total- 2,755
2. Gerbigs-Division - 206
3. Gerbigs-Division – 2338.

Luftwaffe Total – 2,161
Flying Crew – 1,309
Posthumous – 410

Kriegsmarine – 3,661
Destroyer Crews- 2,672
Other – 115
Posthumous – 410

Merchant Navy- 442

Merchant Navy Posthumous-22

Narvik Shield 1957

In 1957, the Shield was reissued in the same manner without the eagle and swastika. The regulations remained basically the same, with the only difference being that now junior NCO’s and privates were allowed to wear the shield on their white shirts and dress jackets.

Narvik Shield 1957


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