"SS DIENSTAUSZEICHENUNGEN" SS SERVICE AWARDS

    Introduction

    All members in the Wehrmacht including the SS were eligable to receive as of March 16, 1936, the long service award. The SS long service awards was not instituted until the 30th January 1938, but weren't manufactured until May 1939. This award was rendered to members of the SS-Verfügungstruppen, SS-Totenkopfverbände and SS-Junkerschulen.

    It should be noted that membership in the Waffen-SS did not count as national military service until 1935, so SS men would have been eligible for the 4 years in 1939 and the 8 years in 1943, which is way after the Wehrmacht awards were superseded.
    Also military service counted double for SS members who joined in 1925 up to 1933. In addition, all other long serving personnel were eligible to receive the NSDAP Long Service Award.

    The SS service awards were instituted in the following four classes:

    The 4 year medal in black finished was rendered only to NCO's and enlisted.
    The 8 year medal in bronze finished was renderd to all Officers, NCO's and enlisted.
    The 12 year award in the shape of the swastika in silver finished was rendered to all Officers, NCO's and enlisted.
    The 25 year award in the shape of the swastika in gold finished was rendered to all Officers, NCO's and enlisted.
    The four classes of the SS service awards were designed in Munich by Professor Karl Diebitsch.

    The 12 and 25 year SS Service Award

    The SS service medals were manufactured by two firms "Deschler" of Munich and "Petz & Lorenz" of Unterreichenbach.

    These medals were die struck and had a metal composition of different alloys such as bronze, tin, copper and zinc.

    All levels of the long service awards were held on blue ribbons. The 12 year and 25 year service class awards normally had the SS runes service branch embroidered into the ribbons.

    These awards were presented in a black case, which bore white or silver wash SS runes posted on the top center of the box cover as illustrated above.
    The interior in the examples above are found in a light gray or brown color felt cloth.

    Both medals have the tear-drop suspension loop.

    SS 12yr Service Medal SS 12yr Service Medal

    Above is a 12 year SS service award in silver. It is alloy constructed with nickle silver plated and frosted white finishes. The award has the shape of a swastika. The center of the swastika has an embossed SS runes surrounded by an oak-leave wreath.
    The reverse shows the embossed latin script: "Für Treue Dienste in der SS" (For Loyal Service in the SS) from the collection of Mr. Bob Writz.

    SS 25yr Service Medal SS 25yr Service Medal

    Above is a 25 year SS service award in gilt. It is alloy constructed with gold plated and frosted gilt finishes. The award has the shape of a swastika. The center of the swastika has an embossed SS runes surrounded by an oak-leave wreath.
    The reverse shows the embossed latin script: "Für Treue Dienste in der SS" (For Loyal Service in the SS) from the collection of Mr. Bob Writz.

    SS 25&12yr Medal case

    The 12 yr. and 25 yr. SS Service medal cases from the collection of Mr. Bob Writz.

    The 4 and 8 year SS Service Award

    SS 4 & 8yr Service Medals

    These awards were presented in a black cardboard case, which bore white or silver wash SS runes posted on the top center of the box cover as illustrated above.
    The interior in the examples above are found in a light gray or brown color felt cloth.

    Both medals have the tear-drop suspension loop.

    The 4 year SS Service Award

    SS 4yr Service Medal SS 4yr Service Medal

    Above is the 4 year service medal. The obverse features a raised outer lip with central embossed SS runes surrounded by an oak-leaf wreath, on a slightly textured background field.

    The reverse shows the embossed latin script: "Für Treue Dienste in der SS" (For Loyal Service in the SS) superimposed over a large embossed numeral 4, on a subtly textured background field.

    The 4 year service medal above was manufactured by the firm "Petz & Lorenz" of Unterreichenbach. The difference is that the Petz & Lorenz versions typically have the Jump ring soldered of center usually to the left side. The beveled ring is normally tall and thin as shown above.

    The 8 year SS Service Award

    SS 8yr Service Medal SS 8yr Service Medal

    Above features the 8 year service medal. The obverse shows a raised outer lip with central embossed SS runes encircled by an embosssed oak-leaf wreath, which is superimposed over a large embossed swastika, on a subtly textured background field.

    The reverse shows the embossed latin script: "Für Treue Dienste in der SS" superimposed over a large embossed numeral 8, on a subtly textured background field.

    The 8 year service medal shown above is a Deschler version with the jump ring soldered directly centrally above the runes. The beveled ring is small and thick.

    General Characteristics

    The following technical characteristics are found on standard SS 4 and 8 year service awards:

    The standard acceptable measurement known for these medals is 38mm in diameter.
    However, it should be noted that many originals 4 years and 8 years are encountered with 38.5mm diameter. Speculation on the size difference is probably due to a slightly larger planchet (trimming die) used in the die striking procedure.

    The suspension ring should measured approx. 17mm x 9mm and should be soldered closed on the bottom.
    The SS 4 year and 8 year have a standard ribbon width of 35mm.

    These medals weigth approx. 25gms.

    Original SS tear-drop suspension loops should be lightly soldered at the bottom of the loop.
    The suspension ring should measured approx 17mm x 9mm and should be soldered closed on the bottom.

    The left lower arm of the "8" year service award should be wider then the lower right side.
    The stippling shown on the swastikas arms of the 8 year service award should be thinner and well defined.
    Reproductions tend to be under 38mm in diameter. They are normally cast and suffer from the typical under size characteristic. The common repro batches normally encounter measurements approx. between 37mm to 37.5mm.

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