Third Reich Era War Medals and Decorations – Kriegsmarine

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Auxiliary Cruiser Badge

The Auxiliary Cruiser Badge (German: Kriegsabzeichen für Hilfskreuzer) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to officers and men of the Kriegsmarine for service on Auxiliary Cruisers or the supply ships that supported them for a successful large voyage. The award was instituted on 24 April, 1941 by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder. During World War II mainly the u-boats, but also other ships needed to be supplied at sea to continue their patrol with minimum time lost on refueling and supply.

Blockade Runner Badge

The Blockade Runner Badge or the Badge for Blockade Runners (German: Abzeichen für Blockadebrecher) was a World War II German military decoration awarded for service on warships or merchant vessels that attempted to break through the British sea blockade of Germany. It was instituted on 1 April, 1941 and first awarded on 1 July of the same year.

Destroyer War Badge

The Destroyer War Badge (German: Zerstörerkriegsabzeichen) as a World War II German military decoration awarded to and awarded to officers and crew for service on Kriegsmarine destroyers. It was also awarded to the crews of Kriegsmarine torpedo boats and fast attack craft until the institution of the Fast Attack Craft War Badge. It was instituted on 4 June, 1940 by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder following the battle of Narvik. In all, about six thousand Destroyer War Badges were awarded during the war. A handful of Destroyer War Badges with diamonds were also manufactured but there were no bestowals of the diamond upgrade to any Kriegsmarine member. Records indicate that the Destroyer War Badge with diamonds was to be a highly selective award and presented to only the most successful destroyer captains at the conclusion of World War II.

Fast Attack Craft War Badge

The Fast Attack Craft War Badge or S-Boat War Badge (German: Das Schnellbootkriegsabzeichen) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to members of the Kriegsmarine for service on fast attack craft or torpedo boats. It was worn on the lower part of the left breast pocket of the naval service tunic, underneath the 1st class Iron Cross if awarded, or equivalent grade award. Requirements included an outstandingly successful sortie, wounds in action, 12 sorties against enemy vessels or installations, or outstanding leadership.

The badge was produced in two versions: the first, instituted on 30 May 1941; the second in January 1943. Both were designed by Wilhelm Ernst Peekhaus of Berlin. A third exclusive version with nine diamonds replacing the solid bars of the swastika at the top, also exists, but only eight are known to have been awarded. The criteria for this award were: 1, To engage in 12 engagements against the enemy; 2, For a particularly successful mission or being killed in action; 3, Special circumstances of being wounded or surviving being sunk by the enemy; 4, To have performed a heroic action in which no other award was given.

High Seas Fleet Badge

The High Seas Fleet Badge (German: Das Flottenkriegsabzeichen) was a World War II German military decoration awarded for service to the crews of the Kriegsmarine High Seas Fleet, mainly of the battleships and cruisers, but also those ships that supported them operationally for which there was no other award given.

Although the award was instituted in April 1941, it could be awarded for actions that took place prior to this date and could highlight the struggle against the British fleet.

Criteria for award:

To be eligible to receive the badge one must have 12 weeks service on a battleship or cruiser, with proof of distinction and good conduct. The number of weeks were reduced if one of these conditions were met:

  • If the recipient was wounded or killed during the voyage.
  • Outstanding achievements in an engagement.
  • If the cruise was successful.
  • Individual’s ship was sunk in action. (Bismarck, Admiral Graf Spee, Blücher)
  • For participation in Rawalpindi and Jan Mayen.
  • All crew members of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau received the award in view of the operational effectiveness of the ships.
  • To every sailor who was present on the Tirpitz when it was bombed and sunk by the British R.A.F. in Tromsö Fjord on 12 November, 1944.

The award worn on the lower part of the left breast pocket of the naval service tunic, underneath the 1st class Iron Cross if awarded, or equivalent grade.

Minesweeper War Badge

The Minesweeper War Badge or Minesweepers, Sub-Chasers and Escort-Vessel War Badge (German: Kriegsabzeichen für Minensuch-, U-Boot-Jagd- und Sicherungsverbände) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to Kriegsmarine members for service on minesweepers vessels. The award was instituted on 31 August 1941 by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder.

Naval Artillery War Badge

The Naval Artillery War Badge or War Badge of the Coastal Artillery (German: Kriegsabzeichen für Marineartillerie) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to the crews of Kriegsmarine land-based marine artillery and anti-aircraft units. Initially presented to only coastal air defense units, it was later awarded to crews of guns positioned against naval targets.

The award was instituted on 24 June, 1941 by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder to reward the actions of both individuals and crew members. The badge was issued in a single degree only. A version of the Naval Artillery War Badge with diamonds was discussed amongst Kriegsmarine leaders, but no regulations were ever established regarding a diamonds version of the badge, nor was a Naval Artillery War Badge with diamonds ever produced.

Naval Combat Clasp

On November 19th, 1944, Admiral Dönitz instituted the Marine Combat Clasp to be presented to Navy personnel for meritorious actions which were not covered by existing decorations. It was necessary to perform actions five times in excess of the requirements for a basic war badge. The badge was intended to be worn above the left pocket. Because this badge was created so late in the war, it is rare in the extreme. A 1957 version was also instituted.

Small Battle Unit Combat Clasp of the Kriegmarine

U-Boat War Badge

The U-Boat War Badge (German: U-Boots-Kriegsabzeichen) was a German war badge that was awarded to U-boat crew members during World War I and World War II.

U-boat Front Clasp

The U-boat Front Clasp (German: U-Boot-Frontspange) or U-boat Combat Clasp,was a World War II German Kriegsmarine military decoration awarded to holders of the U-boat War Badge to recognize continued combat service and valor.

The award was instituted on 15 May 1944 to bring the U-boat force in line with other branches of the German armed forces, all of which had a similar medal to recognize valor. There were no specified merits for earning the award; decoration was based on the recommendations of the U-boat commander and subject to approval by Karl Dönitz. Awards were often due to the number of patrols completed or demonstrations of valor in combat.

The clasp was worn directly above the ribbon bar on the left breast.

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German Military History with a focus on World War 2 History including other areas of German History