The Blockade Runner Badge (Abzeichen Für Blockadebrecher) was instituted by Hitler on April 1st 1941 to reward the courage of the Merchant Navy personnel who tried to break trough the British sea blockade around Germany. The first awarding took place on July 1st 1941. On this date the crew of the D. Hugo Olendorf and later also the crew of the Helene were awarded with the Blockade Runner Badge. This award was designed by Otto Placzeck of Berlin.
The Blockade Runner Badge has a round shape with a centre motif of a ship that is steaming from the right towards the left side and breaking through a chain. This chain encircles the entire badge and refers to the British sea blockade of Germany. The chain is usually silver coloured but in some examples it has a whitish colour. The ship has the model of a liner and on the tip of the bow is the national symbol of Germany in flying form mounted. This big eagle clutches a small swastika in its claws and is just like the chain usually silver coloured but in some examples it has a whitish colour. At the left side of the ship are 9 waves visible and the rest of the award has a dark grey colour. The reverse of the badge usually bears the makers name or logo and has further a flat surface. Also is there a hinge with hook construction mounted. The hinge is on most of the badges a large broad one but it can also be a thin round one. The award was stamped out tombak or zinc and produced by multiple manufactures, of which Schwerin & Sohn of Berlin is the most common. Another well know manufacture was the Austrian firm Rudolf Souval (R.S.) of Vienna. There are also 2 miniatures made of this badge namely an 30mm and an 16mm big stickpin. These stickpins were made to wear on the civilian cloths.
The recommendations for the awarding of the Blockade Runner Badge for the men of the Merchant Navy went through the Reich Commission for Sea Travel and for Kriegsmarine personnel it went through the regular Kriegsmarine channels. The Blockade Runner Badge was awarded in a bleu box with a bleu flock base and bleu silk lining. The box comes in 2 different sizes. The smaller box was meant for the award and the 16mm stickpin, the larger box was meant for the award and the 30mm stickpin. With the awarding came a standard award document that usually had a facsimile of the award on it. The awarding was also notated in the Soldbuch. The Blockade Runner Badge was worn on the lower left breast pocket, underneath the Iron Cross First Class, or equivalent award. The 2 smaller stickpins were worn on the left lapel of the civilian cloths.
The criteria for receiving the award were:
- Running the ship successfully through the British sea blockade and docking in a German port or German-held port.
- Having served on a blockade runner ship that was sunk during the voyage by the enemy.
- Having scuttled the own ship to avoid the capture of it by the enemy.
- For displaying extraordinary courage in preventing the capture of a ship by the enemy.