The Sniper Badge

The German Army Sniper Badge

For the Reichsheer a badge for the sniper class was created in 1920.

Appendix 1 “Shooting Awards and Badges for the Sharpshooter Class” of the “Bekleidung und Ausrustung des Reichsheeres” (Clothing and Equipment of the Imperial Army) published in the Army Ordinance Bulletin, 2nd Volume, No. 77, 24 December 1920, pages 1013 and 1018 (No. 1368) – contains details and an illustration of this badge, which was worn in the form of a braid on the cuff of the Tunic. After the “Schutzenschnur” had been introduced by decree of the Army High Command (V 5 [III all of 29 June 1936), the decree of the O.K.H. – V 5 (III a) – of 14 September 1936 2) stated in section 1, last line: “The Scharfschutzen badge is dropped.”

The High Command of the Army issued with Order 29 AHA/A11g. H IV d No. 7388/36 of 27 November 1936 announced:

“The request to take into account the previous Sharpshooter Badge, which has ceased to exist according to HVB1. 1936, No. 918, when classifying it as the new Sharpshooter Badge, cannot be accepted.

The sharpshooter badge was not a shooting award in the sense of H.Dv. 240, but was worn by all members of the sharpshooter class (see HVB1. 1928, No. 56 A penultimate paragraph).

Therefore, there can be no question of crediting it in the classification for the new Schutzenschnur.” 3)

With date of 20 July 1943 the following decree was issued to the Deputy General Commands (Wehrkreiskommandos) by the Army High Command – Chief H Rust u. BdE. No. 13725/43 In 2V – 4) :

“It is intended to introduce a special uniform badge for snipers.

Suggestions from the troops regarding the form and method of wearing are very welcome.

s1.jpg

Sniper Badge

Unimplemented design by Paul Casberg, Berlin

The badge shall not exceed 6 X 4 cm, but deviations are permissible with otherwise suitable proposals. It may be made of textile (embroidered or sewn on) or metal (clip-on, etc.) and shall be awarded to all non-commissioned officers and enlisted men who have fulfilled the shooting requirements of the sniper class. Proposals for the sniper badge with simple colored sketches are to be submitted to the Deputy General Kdo. A.A.K. by 15.8.43. Dept. IIaO by 15.8.43.”

The reason for this decree was above all the fact that the Soviet snipers at the front represented a tangible burden and that, on the other hand, only the Iron Cross had been available as a visible and wearable decoration for German snipers in combat. In order to “relieve” this badge of honor and to limit the number of awards, one resorted to a special badge for snipers that had already existed before. The designs sent in were in no way satisfactory, so that artists such as Casberg, Berlin, were commissioned to produce drawings. Finally, a design was submitted which was approved by the Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht. It took more than a year until the foundation of the sharpshooter badge could be completed. The reasons for the unusually long delay were various: for example, opinions on the design of the badge differed. The two sides disagreed on whether the badge to be created should be a special group of shooting awards or a combat badge; in their own propaganda, the enemy had denounced the awarding of enemy snipers as a bounty hunter and now had to try to avoid the same reproach from their own and enemy ranks; the drafts submitted were in no way satisfactory and had to be redrawn again and again on the highest instructions. Thus it came about that the publication of the foundation of this badge was delayed again and again.

S2.jpg

Sniper badge Official model

published: AHM, 21st issue, 7th IX. 1944, p. 272 Lw.V.BI., 3rd issue, 15th I. 1945, p. 29

A “Fuhrer order” of 20 August 1944 then endowed the sharpshooter badge.

“The Fuhrer and Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht F.H.Qu., 20. 8. 1944.

In recognition of the high commitment of the individual sniper with rifle as a sniper and to commemorate the success achieved in this, I am establishing the “Sniper Badge” for the Army and the SS Verfugungstruppe.

The Sharpshooter Badge is awarded in 3 levels.

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