K004190 AUXILIARY CRUISER WAR BADGE. (Kriegsabzeichen für Hilfskreuzer)
BACKGROUND: The Auxiliary Cruiser War Badge was instituted on April 24TH 1941, by Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine und Großadmiral, (Commander in Chief of the Navy and Grand Admiral), Erich Raeder, for award to armed Merchant Marine personnel, to recognise their contribution in harassing and sinking Allied merchant ships. The Auxiliary Cruisers, also designated, HSK, Handels-Stör-Kreuzer, (Merchant/Trade-Disruption-Cruisers), were an assortment of German merchant ships, in the 7,000 GRT displacement range, that were secretly refitted with armaments and sailed under the pretense of neutral ships, flying neutral country’s and even Allied flags thereby taking the Allies by surprise. Many of the Auxiliary Cruisers were also outfitted with false funnels and other camouflage techniques to disguise their actual purpose. The armaments of the Auxiliary Cruisers usually consisted of six, 15cm guns, two to six torpedo tubes and a variety of 40mm, 37mm and 20mm automatic guns and most were also equipped with either Arado Ar 196 or Heinkel He114, reconnaissance aircraft. The Komet, HSK-7, the Kormoran HSK-8 and the Michel, HSK-9 were also outfitted with small torpedo boats. The Auxiliary Cruisers were credited with sinking roughly 800,000 tons of Allied shipping during the war. Of the eleven main Auxiliary Cruisers, six were sunk by enemy action, one burnt in Yokohama harbor, one was scuttled after battle damage, one was decommissioned and the remaining two were captured by the Allies at the end of the war. Of Note: Generally the early production Auxiliary Cruiser War Badges had the separate likeness of the globe attached by a single rivet, while later war production versions were manufactured as a single piece.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Two piece, die struck, tombak construction badge with fire gilt and nickel/silver plated finishes. The badge is in the form a gilt washed, vertically oval, embossed, oak-leaf wreath with a national eagle with out-stretched wings, clutching a canted, swastika in it’s talons, superimposed to the top center, encompassing a cut-out, "Viking" style, long boat with full sail, cruising on a separate likeness of a nickel/silver plated, northern portion of the globe. The detailing includes the dragon figurehead and oval shields on the ship, longitude and latitude lines and the embossed outline of Great Britain, Western Europe and North Africa on the globe. The separate globe is attached to the badge by a single, small, dome headed, rivet which is visible on the reverse. The reverse has a soldered, solid, block type hinge, a broad, tapering, vertical pin and a heavy, soldered, retaining catch all intact. The reverse is well marked with the embossed manufacturers name, "Schwerin-Berlin".
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