U-Boat War Badge with Diamonds
U-Boat War Badge with Diamonds Types A & B
Known Makers – Schwerin
A special U-boat badge was produced to be awarded to particularlysuccessful commanders. This badge followed the design of the standardaward but had a separate swastika set with nine brilliants which wasplaced on to the swastika incorporated into the design of the badge. Thesize of this swastika varied with manufacture and has been alluded to asthe ‘A’ and ‘B’ types. The ‘A’ type represents the badge as first awardedand the ‘B’ type was issued sometime in late 1942. The precise date ofthe change and the reasons for it are at present unclear. The firm thatproduced both types was Schwerin of Berlin.
The ‘A’ type badge was produced in tomback which was either gold plated orfire gilded and on to the swastika of the badge was placed a swastikawhose top point rests on the lower chest of the eagle and the bottom pointis positioned on top of the conning tower of a type VII U-boat. Thismassive swastika is finely hand crafted from solid silver with burnishededges and raised beaded border to the arms of the swastika. The fieldproduced has nine individual grounds, each being bordered by a raised linein the form of a square, into which is set a rose cut simulated stone orwhite saphire set by four claws, one in each corner. The swastika is 13mm in diameter and 2 mm thick. The badge measures 48 mm wide and 38.5 mmhigh from the base of the wreath to the top of the eagle’s head and is 3mm thick.
The reverse shows clearly the swastika applied over the cut out swastikaof the badge. The holes that are drilled to allow the light to passthrough, thus enhancing the fire of the brilliants, are reamed out tomaximise the effect and its reverse is matt finished. The badge itself isflat with a large pin and hinge construction and a ‘C’ form hook soldereddirectly to the bottom of the badge. The maker’s name, in indentedcapital letters, is on the reverse of the U-boat in two lines, ‘SCHWERIN,BERLIN 68’. On the two examples of this type I have examined, there isvisible a claw line on either side.
The ‘B’ type badge is, to all intents and purposes, the same as the ‘A’type badge but is struck in unmarked solid silver that is fire gilded.The swastika that is applied to the badge in the same manner, is formed inthe same way but has a diameter of 8.5 mm and is inset with nine smallrose cut diamonds. The badge has similar measurements and reverse to thatencountered on the ‘A’ type badge.
The known recipient of the ‘A’ type badge was;
Kapitän Viktor Schutze, commander of U103 and commander of theU-boat School, who was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 11December 1940 for actions in the North Sea. He received the Oak Leaves on14 July 1941. He had a total of 209,000 shipping tons to his credit.
The known recipients of the ‘B’ type badge were;
Kapitän Klaus Scholtz, commander of U108, who was awarded theKnight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 26 December 1941 and received the OakLeaves on 10 September 1942 for operations in the Atlantic. His coolnessduring the attack or while being attacked permitted him to emergevictorious in his engagements. At the war’s end he commanded a battalionof Marine Regiment. He had a total of 168,000 shipping tons to hiscredit.
Kapitän Carl Emmermann, commander of U172 and commander of the 31stSubmarine Flotilla, who was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Crosson 27 November 1942. He received the Oak Leaves on 4 July 1943 forcontinued successful sorties in the Atlantic. He had a total of 191,000shipping tons to his credit.
Kapitänleutnant Georg Lassen, commander of U160, who was awarded theKnights Cross of the Iron Cross on 10 August 1942 and received the OakLeaves on 7 March 1943. The award was personally handed to him byGrossadmiral Raeder in 1943 and there was no case or document accompanyingit. He had a total of 205,000 shipping tons to his credit.
From these known awards and the dates of the bestowal of the Oak Leaves,it is fairly safe to deduce the theory of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ types as well asthe period of change. However, Klaus Scholtz had a second piece and thathad a large swastika similar to the ‘A’ type but with the noticeabledifferences that the swastika did not have the beaded edge or the squaresettings for the stones which, in this case, were white saphires. Thesettings were not drilled through to the reverse and the badge itself isbelieved to have been struck from tomback.
U-Boat War Badge with Diamonds (Variation)
Known Makers – L/21
There is another version of this award badge which so far is quite unique.The wreath is a finer type. The eagle has a heart-shaped chest with broadfletching and its legs are separated to hold the swastika. This is setwith nine rose-cut diamonds which are set directly into the arms of theswastika. The reverse is semi hollow with a thin square pin which has thesilver content .800 stamped into it and the maker’s mark L/21. In theexample that has been examined, this is in a square which has beendouble-struck. This badge is of particularly high quality and wasproduced by the firm of Foerster & Barth. Few of these badges are knownto exist and whether or not they were awarded or produced by that firm asprototypes for consideration for acceptance by the naval high command, isunknown.
To have qualified for the badge the recipient had to be a holder of theKnight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The twenty-eightcommanders who qualified and received this award are listed below.
This prestigious award was not a government or Reich award but one whichwas purely from the commander of the navy.
It has been reported that Reichsmarschall Göring received a badge inacknowledgement for his award to Grandadmiral Dönitz of the CombinedPilots Badge with Diamonds and this event is described in the section onthe Combined Pilots Badge with Diamonds. Whether or not a formal bestowalof the U-Boat Badge with Diamonds followed this occurrence is unknown.The award would have been made begrudgingly by Dönitz, as itcontravened his intended award criteria for this badge. In correspondencewith me, Dönitz stated he had no recollection of receiving theCombined Pilots Badge with Diamonds or the German Order which he had alsosupposedly been awarded by Hitler.
The badge was rendered in a protective black or exceptionally dark bluebox, which is hinged with a press-stud holder. The base of the box has araised plinth on which the badge sits. Through this plinth is a slit totake the pin. In the case of the Schwerin badge that I examined, thelining was of a very dark blue but it was black velvet in the case of theFoerster & Barth badge. The lid liner in both was of white satin butneither had the maker’s name or logo stencilled on to them.