Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Sniper’s Badge

The Sniper’s Badge - 3rd class, 2nd class, 1st class.
Instituted on 20th August 1944.
Rarity – Extremely rare, Extremely rare, Extremely rare.
Known Makers – Un-marked

The Sniper’s Badge was instituted on 20th August 1944. Initially it was intended for members of the Army only, to distinguish marksmen who were designated as snipers. But was later extended to all eligible snipers regardless of service. The basic badge was identical in each of the three classes. It was oval and the base material was army green cloth.  Onto this was embroidered a black eagles head rising out of two green oak leaves formed in a V with a smaller leaf beneath to the right and a single brown acorn to the left. The body of the eagle is crossed with white cotton to resemble fletching while the eye and beak were executed in yellow cotton. The lowest 3rd class was plain on the outer edge. The 2nd class had a silver twist cord and an oval gold twist cord distinguished the 1st class.
In Daily order No. 11, 4th November 1944, it was stated, “In order to stress the importance of snipers, to appreciate their achievements and to stimulate the efforts of beginners to fulfil the conditions for the award of the Sniper’s insignia, the following decorations and privileges are established”.

After 10 kills: 7 days special leave, Iron Cross 2nd class and mention in the divisional Daily Orders.

After 20 kills: Snipers Insignia 3rd class.

After 30 kills: 14 days special leave and mention in corps Daily Orders.

After 40 kills: snipers Insignia 2nd class.

After 50 kills: 20 days special leave, Iron Cross 1st class and mention in army Daily Orders.

After 60 kills: snipers Insignia 1st class.

After 70 kills: German Cross in Gold.

The badge was only awarded when no other award distinguished the skill. It was presented with a document and the details wee entered in the soldbuck. The badge was worn on the right sleeve positioned on the cuff above all other insignia. It was not authorised for wear on the great coat.

SS Sniper in action.

Dutch Waffen-SS Sniper.
The Sniper’s Badge - 3rd class, 2nd class, 1st class. 1957 Type.

The Sniper’s Badge - 1st class. 1957 Type.

This form is that which was authorised by regulation of 1957. It takes the design of the original, the Swastika was not a part of the design, with subtle differences. This has been offered as original by some Dealers. The statement is not untrue, but dose not take into account the Birthday of the pieces. Having said this, these are very rare items in their own right.

Possible 1957

The Sniper’s Badge - Fakes 3rd class, 1st class.

The Sniper’s Badge - Fake 1st class.

This is a convincing fake. The obverse is close, but the gold cord is of modern synthetic construction. The reverse clearly shows the imperfection, the netting is quite uncharacteristic of the reverse of an original.

The Sniper’s Badge - Fake 1st class. 
The Sniper’s Badge - Fake 1st class.
The Sniper’s Badge - Fake 2nd class.


Snipers Badge 1st class - Obverse - Fake - Bevo

Snipers Badge 1st class - Reverse - Fake - Bevo

Snipers Badge 2nd class - Obverse - Fantasy Piece.

SS Marksmen Badge.

SS Marksmen Badge.

2nd class, 1st class, Sharpshooter, Master Shooter Class.

Instituted – 1937
Rarity – Rare, Rare, Extremely Rare.
Known Makers – unmarked.

 Master Shooter Class.

Master Shooter Class - Reverse.

This award comprises of a round badge that measures 34 mm in diameter. It is formed as an open circle of oak leaves that are formed in a wreath. At the base and apex are identical ribbons that measure respectively 9 mm and 7 mm. these have raised edges that measure 1 mm. the ribbon at the base has the SS Sigrunen which are incused. From this on either side are six over lapping oak leaves. This circle is 6 mm wide. Into the centre of the wreath is placed a square on its point. Incused into this at its centre is a 5 ringed target.

In the case 2nd class, a square on its point with target and no oak leaves.

In the case of the1st class, Sharpshooter, from the base ribbon is a pair of oak leaves one on either side of the ribbon.

In the case of the Class Master Shooter from the base ribbon is a pair of oak leaves one on either side of the ribbon with a third positioned vertically at the centre of the two other oak leaves and protruding upwards to the targets bull eye

The reverse is flat with a pin hinge and hook construction. Onto the target in raised letters is Ges. Gesh. At the centre is the raised square box with cut corners and the SS Sigrunen.

The question of an award for marksmen in the SS first arose prior to the end of 1936. Members of various branches of the SS had no insignia to show marksmanship qualifications. Several members of the SS-Verfügungstruppen returned from their periods of conscript army service with a marksmanship lanyard gain during their time in the forces. Were they to be allowed to wear this on their SS uniform? On 13th October 1936 the Chief-of-Staff of the SS-Oberschnitt Elbe asked the SS-Hauptamt if it would be permitted for personnel returning from service in the armed forces to wear their marksmanship lanyard (Schützenschnur) on their SS uniform.  Himmler ruled this out, and the decision was made not to allow the wear of the lanyard, but rather to allow the wear of the older shooting awards utilising a series of bars and chevrons worn prior to June 1935 by the army. These were to be worn on the lower left cuff of the SS service dress tunic. Himmler then ordered that a metal badge to be known as the Schützenabzeichen der SS-Verfügungstruppen be created. This would be worn on the right breast pocket of the tunic with parade, re-porting, guard and walking-out dress, but not with field and training dress. The order instituting this award is rather vaguely worded, but it states that, “The lowest grade shall be without a lower oak leaf.” The middle grade will have “two lower oak leaves.” The highest, or sharpshooter, grade 2 will have three oak leaves.” The grouping within each grade will be indicated by a numeral I to 10 at the top of the wreath. Himmler appears to have dropped the idea. He writes, “The SS will receive as its marksmanship award the marksmanship award of the NS Reichskriegerbund. This concept was even shorter lived. In November 1937 an order instituted a totally new series of marksmanship insignia in four classes to be worn on the lower right sleeve. The insignia was aluminium on a black wool diamond. The metal badges were manufactured in the work-shops of the München silversmith Otto Gahr at an individual cost, including engraving of 0.74 RM per thousand.


SS Marksmen Badge 2nd class.

SS Marksmen Badge - FAKES.


In November 1937, an order instituted a totally new series of marksmanship insignia in four classes to be worn on the lower right sleeve. the insignia was produced in aluminum wir on a black wool diamond.