U-boat Front Clasp
|U-boat Front Clasp|
U-boat Front Clasp
designed by Wilhelm Ernst Peekhaus
|Awarded by Nazi Germany|
|Awarded for||to holders of the U-boat War Badge to recognize continued combat service and valor|
|Campaign(s)||World War II|
|Established||15 May 1944|
|Next (lower)||U-boat War Badge|
The U-boat Front Clasp (German: U-Boot-Frontspange) or U-boat Combat Clasp, was a World War II German Kriegsmarine military decoration awarded to holders of the U-boat War Badge to recognize continued combat service and valor.
The award was instituted on 15 May 1944 to bring the U-boat force in line with other branches of the German armed forces, all of which had a similar medal to recognize valor. There were no specified merits for earning the award; decoration was based on the recommendations of the U-boat commander and subject to approval by Karl Dönitz. Awards were often due to the number of patrols completed or demonstrations of valor in combat.
The clasp was worn directly above the ribbon bar on the left breast.
Wilhelm Ernst Peekhaus of Berlin submitted the design of the badge, which consisted of a central laurel wreath with a stylized submarine and wings of oak leaves. The wings on either side consisted of six staggered oak leaves (for a total of twelve). Two crossed swords decorated the bottom of the central wreath; the submarine in the middle mimicked the design of the U-Boat War Badge. The wreath on the original design from 1944 integrated an eagle holding a swastika. However soldiers in Germany may only wear the medal if it does not include National Socialist emblems - in keeping with the German Ordensgesetz. An alternative design with a complete laurel wreath (without eagle and swastika) with a centered submarine emblem exist for this purpose.
The award was bestowed in three classes. All classes of the badge were manufactured in zinc, then either bronzed, silvered or - hypothetically - gilded.
- Bronze - the lowest grade and awarded based on the number of war patrols, the degree of risks involved in the mission and for personal bravery
- Silver - on November 24, 1944, the silver class was introduced to further recognize bronze holders with continued merits and acts of valor
- Gold - there were some reports of a gold class, though it remains uncertain if it was ever awarded.
- Angolia, John R., For Führer and Fatherland, Military Awards of the Third Reich, R. James Bender, 1976.
- Ailsby, Christopher, Combat Medals of the Third Reich, Patrick Stephens Limited, 1987.