Original German WWII HJ Youth Sharpshooter Marksmanship Proficiency Badge by Matthias Oechsler & Söhne - RZM M1/14
Original Item: Only One Available. In 1936 Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach established an HJ Firearms School in Obermatzfeld, Thuringia to train for expertise in firearm handling and to further the para-military training of the HJ. Shortly after the establishment of the HJ Firearms School, Von Schirach instituted a Marksman’s badge for HJ members who had proven their proficiency with firearms, followed in 1938 by the establishment of a Sharpshooters badge for HJ members and a new Marksman’s badge for DJ members with each badge having different award criteria.
The HJ Marksman’s badge, the first and lowest class badge, was awarded to qualifying HJ members over the age of fourteen for proficiency in target shooting, with small caliber rifles. Qualification for the badge consisted of the accurate results of five shots fired from an unsupported prone position, five shots from a supported prone position and five shots from an unsupported kneeling position. The series of HJ shooting badges was further expanded with the introduction of a Master Shooters badge in December 1941.
The criteria for award of the Sharpshooters badge and the Master Shooters badge required ten shots in each of the same three positions as the Marksman’s badge but with a higher degree of accuracy.
The badge is approximately 27mm diameter, slightly convex, two piece, die stuck alloy construction with a multi-colored enamel and nickel/silver plated finish. The badge features a recessed, embossed outer oak-leaf wreath encompassing four “target” rings on a black enamel background field with a separate and raised HJ diamond superimposed over crossed rifles affixed to the center. The HJ diamond features a semi-translucent red enamel field to the top and bottom and white enamel fields to the sides, with a central black mobile enamel swas.
Reverse of the badge is well marked with an embossed RZM logo with dual circular borders and manufacturers code, M1/14 indicating manufacture by Matthias Oechsler & Söhne, Ansbach. Badge is complete with its original combined pin and catch assembly intact to reverse. It still retains much of the original plated finish, especially on the back.
From its institution in 1938 until the end of 1943 it is alleged that 31,904 Sharpshooter Badges were awarded.
A very nice example of a genuine HJ youth badge in lovely condition. Comes more than ready for display.
Of Note: In late 1934 items manufactured for the NSDAP and other organizations, including membership pins, came under the quality control of the RZM, Reichzeugmeisterei, (National Equipment Quartermaster) and as a result were marked with the RZM logo when appropriate. The registry was was based at the Brown house in Munich and NSDAP party headquarters in Berlin. The RZM ensured that the manufacturers of military items were consistent in design, quality of materials and other characteristics of the items. It also defined standards of design, manufacturing and quality and published an authoritative color chart for textiles. The M1 in the code stands for Metal Badges, with Matthias Oechsler & Söhne of Ansbach being contractor number 14.
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