K006586 U-BOAT WAR BADGE. (U-Boot-Kriegsabzeichen)

BACKGROUND: The U-Boat, (Submarine), War Badge was instituted by Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine und Großadmiral, (Commander in Chief of the Navy and Grand Admiral), Erich Raeder on October 13TH 1939 for award to all ranks of U-Boat personnel who had served on at least two sorties against the enemy, or were wounded or killed in action. When bestowed the U-Boat War Badge was accompanied by an award/possession document. The design of the U-Boat War Badge was based on the 1918, Imperial, U-Boat War Badge but replaced the Imperial crown with the national eagle and swastika. The badge was to be worn, by qualified personnel, on the lower left breast of most uniforms. Of Note: At the conclusion of WWI an article of the Treaty of Versailles had expressly forbidden Germany from building and developing any type of U-Boat arm of service and although a Anglo-German Naval Agreement was negotiated in June 1935, permitting the Germans to produce a small number of U-Boats, at the outbreak of WWII, in September 1939, the German navy was drastically ill-prepared to go to war with less then sixty, serviceable U-Boats in total, of which only about twenty-five were suitable for operations in the deep seas of the Atlantic ocean. In spite of the shortage of serviceable vessels, under the command of, Kapitän zur See Karl Dönitz, (Later, Großadmiral, and Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine and also appointed as Hitler’s as the last head of the Third Reich state in May 1945, as Reichs Präsident), the German U-Boat arm originally had resounding success, during the, Glückliche Zeit, (Happy Time, Roughly, July 1940-May 1943), being credited with sinking roughly two hundred and fifteen allied vessels with registered tonnage of almost 750,000 tonnes by the end of 1939. Großadmiral Raeder was so pleased with Dönitz, early success that he presented him with a special version of the U-Boat War Badge with Diamonds, (Circa 1941). Although not an officially sanctioned badge, the U-Boat War Badge with Diamonds was also later bestowed by Dönitz, in a slightly different version then his own badge, to roughly twenty-seven U-Boat commanders who has already been awarded a Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak-Leaves. The effectiveness of the German U-Boat offensive was well recognized by Winston Churchill which he expressed with such quotes as, "The only thing that really frightened me during the war was the U-Boat peril", and, "The U-Boat attack was our worst evil. It would have been wise for the Germans to stake all upon it". Also Of Note: German U-Boat personnel casualties are estimated to be as high as 80%, or more, resulting in it being one, if not the most, dangerous branch of service during WWII.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Die struck, alloy construction badge with a faded gilt washed finish, is in the form of a horizontally oval, embossed, laurel 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, profile view of a submarine. The badge is nicely detailed and features veins to the laurel leaves, cut-out detailing to the swastika’s arms, the submarine’s conning tower, flag, and the forward deck gun. Original pin and catch are complete. The reverse of the badge is well marked with the embossed, stylized, manufacturer’s initials, "f.o", indicating manufacture by Friedrich Orth of Wien, (Vienna).

GRADE ****                             PRICE $595.00

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