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Classification of Destroyer Badges based on obverse design

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    Classification of Destroyer Badges based on obverse design

    I’m presenting here a comprehensive new classification system for the Destroyer war badge based upon obverse design. This fills the gap between our U-Boat badge and Minesweeper badge classification systems presented previously.

    Announced by Großadmiral Erich Raeder on June 4, 1940, the Zerstörerkriegsabzeichen was only the second Kriegsmarine service badge introduced during the war and like its predecessor the U-Boat badge, was designed by artist Paul Casberg. Unlike the U-Boat badge there was no WW1 precedent to influence its design, so Casberg here followed the new format of a vertical oval wreath in oak leaves in a similar vein to the Heer IAB and PAB introduced six months earlier. Also similar to the Heer badges, the wings of the eagle are in bent repose rather than horizontally outstretched, but the eagle faces the opposite direction and both eagle and swastika are much smaller and more understated than their Heer counterparts. Emerging through the wreath is a 1936-class Destroyer modelled after "Z21" Wilhelm Heidkamp, flagship of the Narvik attack force, that was sunk two months previously in the First Naval Battle of Narvik, killing its commander, Kommodore Friedrich Bonte.

    As with the U-Boat badge, C. Schwerin & Sohn was the premier manufacturer in the beginning and it’s a Schwerin badge pictured in Uniformen-Markt in 1940 (attached). Later there were 19 manufacturers of the Destroyer badge and in this classification system they are grouped into 7 design categories.

    First I’ll define the 7 categories and then I’ll show the eagle and ship’s bridge area for each manufacturer within each group. These two areas on the badge provide an easy reference for distinguishing the different types.

    Finally, a summary table will be presented which assigns a decimal “Destroyer Classification Number” (DC#) to each of 53 variants within the 7 categories.

    Best regards,
    ---Norm
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Norm F; 01-09-2017, 09:56 PM.

    #2
    The 7 basic categories

    Here are the 7 basic categories.

    Type 1: “Schwerin-like”
    Type 2: “Juncker”
    Type 3: “Schickle-like”
    Type 4: “FLL”
    Type 5: “Deumer-like”
    Type 6: “Meybauer-like”
    Type 7: “S.H.u.Co.”

    By general aesthetic, one might consider them all to fall into two basic categories:
    1) “Schwerin-like” - simple diamond-grid chest and leg feathers - Types 1,3,4,5
    2) “Juncker-like” - textured chest and leg feathers - Types 2,6,7

    But there are enough differences in the eagle and wreath details to justify the further breakdown into the 7 categories, and that way there is much closer homology apparent between makers within the same sub-group, probably indicating shared tooling sources.
    Attached Files

    Comment


      #3
      The 19 makers by category

      Here is a list of the 19 makers of the Destroyer badge by category. 10 makers made a Tombak version (6 of which also produced in zinc) and 9 makers produced zinc-only versions.

      Type 1: “Schwerin-like”

      C. Schwerin & Sohn, Berlin (Tombak and zinc) - marked
      Josef Feix & Söhne, Gablonz (zinc) - marked

      Type 2: “Juncker”

      C.E. Juncker, Berlin (Tombak and zinc) - attributed

      Type 3: “Schickle-like”

      Otto Schickle, Pforzheim (Tombak and zinc) - attributed
      Hymmen & Co., Lüdenscheid (zinc) - marked

      Type 4: “FLL”

      Friedrich Linden, Lüdenscheid (Tombak and Cupal) - attributed

      Type 5: “Deumer-like”

      Wilhelm Deumer, Lüdenscheid (Tombak and zinc) - attributed
      Gebrüder Wegerhoff, Lüdenscheid (Tombak) - marked

      Type 6: “Meybauer-like”

      Paul Meybauer, Berlin (Tombak and zinc) - attributed
      Boerger & Co. (Beco), Berlin - (Tombak) - marked and unmarked
      Steinhauer & Lück, Lüdenscheid (Tombak and zinc) - marked and unmarked
      Petz & Lorentz, Unterreichenbach (Tombak) - attributed
      B. H. Mayer, Pforzheim (zinc) - marked
      Foerster & Barth, Pforzheim (zinc) - marked
      Friedrich Orth, Vienna (zinc) - marked
      Wilhelm Hobacher, Vienna (zinc) - marked
      Rudolf Souval, Vienna (zinc) - marked
      Alois Rettenmaier, Schwäbisch-Gmund (zinc) - attributed

      Type 7: “S.H.u.Co.”

      Sohni, Heubach & Co., Idar-Oberstein (zinc) - marked

      Comment


        #4
        Type 1: “Schwerin-like”

        Type 1: “Schwerin-like”

        This archetype has an arrow-head shaped chest with a stylized diamond-grid feather pattern. There are five “lesser covert” wing feathers (upper row) both left and right. The cabin door in the ship’s superstructure is exceptionally narrow in this design.

        When putting together this study, I was struck by how similar the later zinc JFS badge was to the original Schwerin design. The obvious differences in production with crimped in hardware in the Gablonz-made product initially distract from the otherwise close homology in their obverse dies. No other maker copied Schwerin’s design so closely, although the diamond-grid chest feathers are echoed in later Types 3,4 and 5.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Norm F; 06-22-2014, 09:32 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          Type 2: “Juncker”

          Type 2: “Juncker”

          The intriguing Juncker-attributed Destroyer stands alone in this category. It had the potential to be the most distinctive Destroyer badge of its time with its muscular feathered chest and fine leg detail, a boldly sculpted style quite similar to the Juncker-attributed U-Boat badge. However something went horribly wrong with the eagle’s head which is quite misshapen, perhaps accounting for its relative rarity today. Despite its rarity, it was the model for the badge drawing in Dr. Heinrich Doehle’s 1943 Die Orden und Ehrenzeichen des Großdeutschen Reichs, along with other Juncker badges depicted in that publication. The textured chest feathers are echoed in later Types 6 and 7.
          Attached Files
          Last edited by Norm F; 06-15-2014, 09:05 PM.

          Comment


            #6
            Type 3: “Schickle-like”

            Type 3: “Schickle-like”

            The Schickle eagle is deeply chiselled and has narrow pointy wing tops compared with other types. The adjacent oak leaf lobes are different from the first two types as well. Aside from the Schwerin, this is the most common Tombak Destroyer and most likely was mass produced for the Kriegsmarine early on. The later rare private purchase L/53 zinc Hymmen badge is strikingly close to the Schickle suggesting a sister obverse die (or conceivably the same die since we don’t know what happened to Schickle’s tools after he was barred from further production in July, 1941).
            Attached Files

            Comment


              #7
              Type 4: “FLL”

              Type 4: “FLL”

              The eagle of the Linden-attributed Destroyer echoes the Schwerin design but with a thicker neck and longer chest. The bridge detail is unique in that it lacks the two small holes at the base of the main mast which are seen in all other renditions. Although usually found in Tombak, a single example of this design in Cupal was advertised by Weitze which is interesting since the FLL-attributed Minesweeper is the one other KM badge occasionally found in Cupal.
              Attached Files

              Comment


                #8
                Type 5: “Deumer-like”

                The Deumer-attributed eagle is another “Schwerin-esque” design, but again has a longer chest and numerous other small differences in the details. This is the only design with only 4 “lesser covert” wing feathers (upper row). As discussed in other threads, the GWL marked Tombak version is virtually identical but is double-struck as opposed to the single-struck unmarked Tombak and zinc versions attributed to Deumer.
                Attached Files
                Last edited by Norm F; 10-25-2020, 10:20 AM.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Type 6: “Meybauer-like”

                  Type 6: “Meybauer-like”

                  This category is the largest, containing 10 makers who all seemed to have used closely related dies from the same source. Thus it is analogous to the Type 5 category in the U-Boat classification and the Type 2 category in the Minesweeper badge category. The detail of the eagle often suffers in this design but they all show the same slightly bow-legged stance and finely feathered chest and legs. An easily recognizable feature of all these makers’ badges is the pointed oak leaf on the left side of the eagle’s lower wing tip (marked with red arrow).

                  First are the four produced in Tombak (although the Meybauer and S&L were produced in zinc as well).
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Type 6 continued

                    Type 6 continued

                    The remaining six makers in this category were produced only in zinc. The two Pforzheim makers, Mayer and F&B, produced somewhat better detail allowing better appreciation of the eagle style which can be seen to have a row of 6 smaller “lesser covert” feathers on the right and 4 on the left.

                    The Orth and Hobacher versions from Vienna are less detailed and are virtually identical to one another, differing only in their reverse dies showing their respective maker marks.
                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Type 6 continued

                      The final two (the Souval and the unmarked Rettenmaier-attributed badge) again show close homology to one another and are clearly from sister obverse dies, although different reverses and trimming characteristics.
                      Attached Files

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Type 7: “S.H.u.Co.”

                        Type 7: “S.H.u.Co.”

                        The S.H.u.Co. is the only badge in this final category. It’s quite similar to the Type 6 design but has rounded tops to the eagle wings and longer feathering on the legs as well as other small differences in the bridge and wreath. Once again the overall detail is not very fine compared with Types 1 to 5.
                        Attached Files

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Summary table

                          So there you have it.

                          19 manufacturers of the Destroyer War Badge, examples of which can found in the List of Destroyer Manufacturers database thread.

                          10 of these 19 are Tombak makers, of which 4 are exclusively in Tombak.
                          6 of those 10 makers made zinc versions as well.
                          9 of the 19 were zinc-only makers.

                          So that makes 25 badges of Tombak or zinc to collect. But then there are the die variants, maker mark variants, setup variants, etc. so so the number burgeons from there. Currently, 58 such variations are included in the Classification Table presented here which excludes variations in finish. I’ve included in this table a column which equates the new numbering system to examples in “The Kriegsmarine Awards” volumes I and III.

                          Like in most areas of collecting, you’re never truly done collecting Destroyer badges. But in the end, they can all be grouped into the 7 categories I have presented in this thread.

                          Best regards,
                          —Norm
                          Attached Files
                          Last edited by Norm F; 10-08-2018, 06:46 PM. Reason: updated table

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Norm,
                            As always, stunning work and deep gratitude for your efforts.
                            JAndrew

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hi Norm,
                              Great summary and very useful, thank you very much
                              Cheers,
                              Hubert
                              Always looking for rare Minesweeper badges and other KM awards

                              Comment

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