Product Description: This Auxiliary Cruiser Badge is a particularly nice example of a typical late war badge. It is made of fine zinc. The obverse is outstanding, with about 90 percent of the original factory applied finish still intact- much more than is usually seen on these zinc pieces. The bright gold finish on the wreath and ship shows attractive tones, with some old patina. There is some slight wear. The reverse of this Auxiliary Cruiser Badge has most of the original silver finish, and is marked on the center with “RS” in raised, angular letters, indicating wartime manufacture by the firm of Rudolf Souval in Vienna. The hardware is textbook for this maker, with a sheet metal hinge and round wire catch with catch plate. The round wire attachment pin tapers to a point, and is straight and perfectly functional. This badge is complete, with no damage or repairs, and has great visual appeal. The condition rates as excellent.
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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