by Sebastián J. Bianchi

The 20th of July wound badge is by far the most rare of these awards, as it was only issued to a handful of officers and aides that were injured on the famous (and failed) bomb attempt on Hitler's life at the Wolf's Lair in Rastenburg, East Prussia. Twenty-four individuals were present when the bomb detonated and they were all injured to some degree. One Officer was killed immediately and three others succumbed to their wounds a short time later.

The 20 July Badge was based on the common Wound Badge, but the helmet was slightly higher and larger, they also bore the date “20 Juli 1944” and a facsimile of Hitler’s signature below the helmet. Hitler presented all the survivors with the especial wound badge and a unique document in a ceremony on September 2nd, 1944.

Pieter Verbruggen Collection

Above, the wound badge of Kap.zur See Assmann.   He was Hitler's Naval adjutant and received the 20 juli 1944 wound badge in black on the official ceremonies on 20 Aug.1944.

Below, a picture of the first visit of the Führer at the hospital. 

Pieter Verbruggen Collection

Those present at the Guest Barracks in the Führer HQ at Rastenburg on July 20, 1944 when the bomb went off were as follows (from Hitler's right and going around the table):

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.

The bomb itself was placed closest to Oberst i.G. Brandt next to the table leg.

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