Condition: Very Good
Base Metal: Zinc
Product Description: This is an all-original, representative example of the desirable Auxiliary Cruiser Badge. This one is made all the more desirable by the manufacturer marking on the reverse, “Schwerin Berlin,” a rare maker for these. The badge is zinc based. It shows wear, and only traces of the original gold finish remain to the wreath and Viking ship. The globe is a separate piece, affixed with a domed rivet that remains tight. The original gray finish on the globe contrasts with the dull gray zinc of the rest of the badge. The reverse of this Auxiliary Cruiser Badge shows some small spots of corrosion. The hardware setup is intact, functional, and shows no signs of repair. Most of the original gold finish is still present on the reverse hardware, with some wear on the pin that is almost certainly a result of having been worn on a uniform by the original owner.
Historical Description: The WWII German naval campaign against Allied shipping was not waged only with naval vessels. Eleven merchant ships were also specially equipped by the German Navy with a variety of anti-ship weapons. These armed ships, disguised as peaceful merchant vessels, patrolled shipping lanes. To recognize the bravery of the crews of these vessels, the German Navy commander Grossadmiral Erich Raeder introduced a special award, “Kriegsabzeichen für Hilfskreuzer” (Auxiliary Cruiser War Badge), on April 24, 1941. The badge was designed by Ernst Peekhaus and featured a Viking ship sailing on a northern hemisphere, surrounded by a wreath, and surmounted by a German national eagle and swastika emblem. They were made in silver, Tombak, and zinc. The entire badge was gilt with the exception of the globe, which had a gray finish. The globe could be integral to the badge, or could be a separate piece, affixed with a single rivet. The badge was awarded to the crews of ships that completed successful long-range voyages. It could also be awarded for exceptional leadership on a voyage, and was automatically awarded to any sailors wounded in action on such a vessel. Because there were not many of these disguised merchant vessels, the Auxiliary Cruiser Badge was made in limited numbers.
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