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    "frontreif" badge

    I could use some help with this Badge. What is it, and is it original? It is offered to me, and I'm not sure about it, or the value.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Norm F; 10-14-2014, 10:47 AM. Reason: rotated the images

    #2
    Hi coyotecolo,

    If you do a search on "Frontreif" you'll see the previous discussions. There have been no known original badges of this design posted.

    Here's another example of the same type but with a round-wire catch.

    Best regards,
    ---Norm
    Attached Files

    Comment


      #3
      The Frontreif decal ("ready for frontline service") was applied to the U-Boat turret once it had passed the rigorous testing and training phases. From the internet here's a period photo of the decal being applied as well as a simplified decal from a model building hobby site which shows the presumed colours.

      From a description on page 15 of "Grey Wolf: U-Boat Crewman of World War II" by Gordon Williamson, 2001: "Just how intensive and dangerous this training process was can be judged by the fact that during the Second World War, 30 U-boats were actually lost in training, 856 men to their deaths. Once judged to have passed this stage and finally declared 'Frontreif', or ready for front line service, the boat would go back to the dockyard for a final overhaul..."
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Norm F; 10-15-2014, 09:05 AM.

      Comment


        #4
        Here's Gordon's posting from 2007 on Gentleman's Military Interest Club when discussing the badges:

        "I don't think anyone has ever seriously suggested these were for wear by U-Boat crews. Even with the propensity of U-Boat men to wear unauthorised stuff, that would be ridiculous.
        The theory that goes with these is that they were commemoratives for the shipyard people who built them and got them ready for service, not the KM men who crewed them.
        Amongst U-Boat collectors I know as many in the "for" camp as in the "against" camp, so until someone comes up with firm evidence one way or the other I'll keep an open mind, but consider them as said in my book as "speculative"." [referring to "Torpedo Los", 2006]

        From my perspective it seems inconsistent for shipyard workers to have a badge made of this motif since they were not actually the ones testing the sub (the crew were as is well described in Gordon's "Grey Wolf" on pages 14-15). Also, the Westwerftleistungsabzeichen stickpin for dockworkers was accompanied by certificates and entries in the Wehrpass while there's no sign whatsoever of a Frontreif badge. It doesn't help that the pin system on these is a favourite on many Staegemeir products and was/is readily available for decades. When combined with Bob Hritz's and Jody's accounts of the generations of these fakes from the 1960's to the 1990's we're left with a highly dubious badge IMO.

        Best regards,
        ---Norm

        (here's another example from this thread)
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Norm F; 10-18-2014, 11:37 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks

          Norm, Thanks for the great information on this questionable badge. SB

          Comment


            #6
            Discovered an interesting report posted online from the U.S. Navy Department dated Jan 30, 1943 on the interrogation of survivors from U-595:
            http://www.uboatarchive.net/U-595INT.htm

            The pertinent quote is on page 5:
            "U-595 sailed from Kiel for the eastern Baltic on November 25 [1941], arriving at Danzig at 1500 GMT, the following day. She remained in port until December 3 and then underwent a further series of trials in the Bay of Danzig. These included surface torpedo firing practice conducted by the executive officer (Torpedoschiessen), and maximum speed and mileage tests. From December 12 to December 22, the boat was at Hela performing exercises under control of the Active Service Training Group (Agru-Front). She was not given the usual device indicating readiness for war (Frontreifabzeichen) at this time. Some of the prisoners were scornful of this device, saying it was placed on the conning towers of U-boats only at the whim of their commanders."
            ...

            and another on page 22, this time regarding U-755 since one sailor had formerly served on that boat:
            "Early in January she went to Gotenhafen for torpedo firing trials under the Torpedo Testing Command (Torpedo Erprobungs Kommando, T.E.K.) after which she ran over a measured mile between there and Danzig, before proceeding to Hela for Active Service Training Group trials (Ausbildungs Gruppe Front, "Agru-front). These were completed before January 20 [1942] when U-755 found herself frozen in near Königsberg. After the successful completion of the trials she received the Ready for War (Frontreif) emblem."

            Best regards,
            ---Norm

            Comment


              #7
              Another U.S. Navy interrogation report, this time on survivors from U-210 from October 2, 1942:
              http://www.uboatarchive.net/U-210INT.htm

              "The boat arrived in Kiel at 1130 on June 22. After a few short excursions, U-210 entered the Germaniawerft on June 27 for final adjustments prior to her first war cruise. She had been passed for war service by the U-boat Acceptance Commission; accordingly, a small device was painted on the after side of her conning tower. This consisted of a white German eagle, encircled by a wreath and surmounting a submerging U-boat which bore the word "Frontreif" (Ready for War)."

              Comment


                #8
                Excellent research summary Norm.

                John

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thank you Norm for the detailed information regarding these "Frontreif" badges...

                  Best regards, fischer

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I agree, cheers Norm, great info and pictures!
                    Kind regards,
                    Giel


                    Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Giels-Milit...5292741243193/

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Another scary looking "Frontreif" badge, this one from a unsuccessful auction attempt in March, 2016 in Maryland, U.S.
                      Attached Files

                      Comment


                        #12
                        As an added bonus, this one came with a smaller version riveted to a cigarette case...
                        Attached Files

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