still quiet times for collectors due to the nice weather. But as a real collector you check your collection from time to time to see what you really have (sometimes it happened to me that I search for whatever and open a drawer in my home office…..between some paperwork, pictures and ribbons suddenly you see something and wow didn`t know that I HAVE SUCH THING ,-).
That way I checked my cuff title collection and saw my latest acquisition (almost forgotten). It was a cuff title of the Kriegsmarine. The name on it is “Marinehelfer” which means helper of the Germany navy.
Here we have a picture so you can see what it is. A blue woven title with the name “Marinehelfer” on it.
Let’s see who had this one on his uniform and what was the task of the owner back in the days of War.
The HJ naval helper “ HJ-Marinehelfer” were underage auxiliaries of the German Navy, who were used during the Second World War in the active weapon service. The specific form of organization emerged from the previously established units of the “HJ-Luftwaffenhelfer”, so-called “Flakhelfern”.
These units were not subordinate to the Luftwaffe despite their common origin. This not only concerned the training and education times during the ordered compulsory service on the weapon, but also involved a wide range of tasks to combat sea targets. Naval aides were under the exclusive command of the navy. In contrast to the “Luftwaffenhelfern”, which were used according to the locations of their respective anti-aircraft batteries exclusively in the Reich territory, covered the operational area of the naval aides almost the entire coastal region of the German Reich and the occupied areas with a total of almost 3000 kilometers in length. At the end of the war, naval aides were deployed in combat with Allied ground forces.
The available information was taken from the leaflet, which was given to the helpers with their summoning order at the same time. It applies to both naval and air force helpers. The same applies to the also used internal document on the use of air force helper (file reference 11 b no. 1/43), since the instructions there were also applied to the naval aides.
Let’s have a look at the daily routine of a “Marinehelfer”
The day always started with the same ritual, the morning appeal, for the naval helper (and Air Force helper). They had to compete in uniform outside their accommodations and then marched closed in the group to the roll call. It was always a flag of the Hitler Youth to carry. During the march the usual battle songs were sung together with a marching band. With the song „Holy Fatherland“ the appeal was then opened. In the following reading by the site leader then the new order of the day was announced and ended with further songs.
The “HJ-Marinehelfer” were not permanently deployed to their anti-aircraft positions, but, like their fellow HJ Air Force volunteers, had to attend school at least 18 hours a week, which was led by their old teachers, but only after a 4-week training session. The school took place in the immediate vicinity of the “Flakstellung”, mostly in makeshift barracks. In practice, however, the school operation was sometimes impossible, especially after flak missions at night, which could sometimes last into the morning. The hours after that, the naval aides first had to clean the anti-aircraft weapons and wait for the next mission.
Also during the day, as the duration of the war worsened, there was an air-raid alarm and the few remaining time apart from the maintenance of the weapons, the naval helpers used to sleep and rest or even for combat exercises. The lessons were carried out until the adolescent had passed his matriculation examination, with simpler evaluation standards than with a regular school leaving certificate. Sixth grade students who had been drafted as flak helpers in March 1943 were dismissed from school with a diploma.
Indoor service and leisure activities
The internal service was rather barren for most “HJ-Marinehelfer”, although until 21.00 clock permission prevailed. In addition to the school, maneuvering exercises and the hours-long compulsory weapons cleaning, there were always numerous air raid alarms, so that the “HJ-Marinehelfer” had very little time to pursue any meaningful leisure activities. The aspirations of the Reich Youth Leadership, the rest of free time with sporting exercise, etc. filled, were nullified by the everyday service at the gun again. Thus, the Reich Youth Leadership provided at least for the supply of literature or provided, if not available, people’s receivers for radio broadcasts and music.
Orders and decorations
The “HJ-Marinehelfer” and the “Flakhelfer” were honored with the following awards:
• Flak Badge (Luftwaffe)
• War Badge for the Naval Artillery (Kriegsmarine)
• War Merit Cross (1939) II. Class with swords
• Iron Cross 2nd Class
• Wound Badge (1939)
In addition, there were loud eyewitness reports and public commendations in front of the assembled team, so for example, a “HJ-Marinehelfer” firing at a fighter plane and it was shot down, he got a bar of chocolate. Occasionally, however, there were also certificates of recognition by the commanders.
Interesting to know is that there are also cuff titles “Marineoberhelfer” and “Marinehelferin”.
After 13 month of service as a “Marinehelfer” you could get a promotion to “Marineoberhelfer”. Just a recognition of service time but not a higher rank than the “Marinehelfer”.
A “Marineherlferin” was a female helper to the Kriegsmarine. They received various specialized training, as there were: air traffic, radio, telex and telephone service, the list probably does not even cover all training directions. So there was no active weapon duty. Actually sort of “NH des Heeres” in the Army or “Blitzmädel” of the Luftwaffe.
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