German WWII U-boat Badge-Choice offering with 100% of the detail and polished gilting still intact on the obverse with extra polish going to the highlights of this handsome looking example. The reverse has some discoloration, and the pin is somewhat bent, but the assembly and pin still function properly. This is a real beauty especially from the obverse.
History: The U-Boat War Badge was instituted by 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. The design of the U-Boat War Badge was based on the 1918, Imperial, U-Boat War Badge but the imperial crown was replaced with the national eagle and swastika. 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 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 than sixty, serviceable U-Boats in total, of which only about twenty-five were suitable for operations in the deep seas of the Atlantic. In spite of the shortage of serviceable vessels, under the command of, Kapitän Dönitz, the German U-Boat arm originally had resounding success, during the, Glückliche Zeit, (Happy Time, which was roughly between July 1940-May 1943), and were credited with sinking roughly two hundred and fifteen allied vessels with registered tonnage of almost 750,000 tons 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". 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.