The U-boat War Badge was originally instituted during the First World War on February 1, 1918. It was awarded to recognize U-boat crews who had completed three war patrols. The badge was worn on the lower left side of the uniform and was oval shaped resembling a wreath of laurel leaves. A submarine lay across the center and the German State Crown (Reichskrone) was inlaid at the top center of the wreath.
During the later part of the war, U-boat losses were so great that many crewmen never made it past the second war patrol. The other occasion when this badge was awarded was on completion of an especially successful first patrol or having been wounded or killed in action. In the event of death, the award was presented to the next of kin.
This example is made of tomback and die struck, and finished with a gilt wash. It's the hollow back (Hohl) style shown in the Steinehauer & Lueck catalog of 1936 and was likely struck during the 1930's. Unmarked.
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