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25/02/2020 18:19pm

Atlantic Star

Conflict
 
World War II.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
The Atlantic Star was a British Commonwealth campaign medal presented for service during World War II. The medal was instituted in 1945 and was awarded for six months service afloat, in the Atlantic or in Home Waters, within the period 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.
 
It was also awarded to aircrew who had taken part in operations against the enemy at sea within the qualifying areas, and to naval personnel, subject to two months service in an operational unit.
 
The 1939-1945 Star must have been earned before commencing qualifying service for the Atlantic Star.
 
Merchant seaman also qualified for the medal. They were required to have served in the Atlantic, home waters, North Russia Convoys or the South Atlantic.
 
The star was immediately awarded if the service period was terminated by death, disability or wounding.
 
The award of a gallantry medal or a ‘Mention in Despatches’ also led to an immediate award.
 
Description
 
The medal is of a six–pointed star design and was struck in yellow copper zinc alloy, with a height of 44mm and a maximum width of 38mm.
 
The obverse of this medal has a central design of the Royal Cypher of King George VI, surmounted by a crown. The cypher is surrounded by a circlet containing the inscription; ‘THE ATLANTIC STAR’.
 
The reverse is plain, with the recipient's name impressed only on the medals issued to Australian and South African forces. The ribbon is attached to the medal by a ring that passes through the uppermost point of the star.
 
Ribbon
 
 
The ribbon is 32mm wide and consists of a number of equal width vertical stripes of shaded blue, white and sea-green which represent the colours of the Atlantic Ocean.
 
The ribbon for this medal, along with those of the other Second World War campaign stars, is reputed to have been designed by King George VI.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
British uniform regulations stipulated that neither the Air Crew Europe Star nor the France and Germany Star would be awarded to a recipient of the Atlantic Star. Subsequent entitlement to the Air Crew Europe Star or the France and Germany Star was denoted by the award of the appropriate bar to the Atlantic Star.
 
However, regulations stipulated that only the first bar earned could be worn with the medal.
 
When the ribbon is worn alone, a silver rosette ribbon emblem is worn to denote the award of a bar.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value *
 
Atlantic Star
£30.00
With Air Crew Europe bar
£65.00
With France And Germany bar
£45.00
 
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- The Battle Of The Atlantic.
- The Arctic Convoys.
- RAF Bomber Command.
- The France And Germany Campaign.
 
The Battle Of The Atlantic - The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 to the defeat of Germany in 1945. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. It was at its height from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943.
 
The Battle of the Atlantic pitted U-boats and other warships of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) and aircraft of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) against the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Navy, and Allied merchant shipping. The convoys, coming mainly from North America and predominantly going to the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, were protected for the most part by the British and Canadian navies and air forces. These forces were aided by ships and aircraft of the United States from September 13, 1941.
 
The Germans were joined by submarines of the Italian Royal Navy after their Axis ally Italy entered the war on June 10, 1940.
 
As an island nation, the United Kingdom was highly dependent on imported goods. Britain required more than a million tons of imported material per week in order to be able to survive and fight. In essence, the Battle of the Atlantic was a tonnage war: the Allied struggle to supply Britain and the Axis attempt to stem the flow of merchant shipping that enabled Britain to keep fighting. From 1942 onwards, the Germans also sought to prevent the build-up of Allied supplies and equipment in the British Isles in preparation for the invasion of occupied Europe. The defeat of the U-boat threat was a pre-requisite for pushing back the Germans. Winston Churchill was later to state:
 
'The Battle of the Atlantic was the dominating factor all through the war. Never for one moment could we forget that everything happening elsewhere, on land, at sea or in the air depended ultimately on its outcome…'
 
The outcome of the battle was a strategic victory for the Allies - the German blockade failed - but at great cost: 3,500 merchant ships and 175 warships were sunk for the loss of 783 U-boats. The name 'Battle of the Atlantic' was coined by Winston Churchill in February 1941. It has been called the 'longest, largest, and most complex' naval battle in history.
 
The campaign started immediately after the European war began, and lasted six years. It involved thousands of ships in more than 100 convoy battles and perhaps 1,000 single-ship encounters, in a theatre covering thousands of square miles of ocean. The situation changed constantly, with one side or the other gaining advantage, as new weapons, tactics, counter-measures, and equipment were developed by both sides. The Allies gradually gained the upper hand, overcoming German surface raiders by the end of 1942 and defeating the U-boats by mid-1943, though losses to U-boats continued to war's end.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Arctic Convoys - The Arctic convoys of World War II were oceangoing convoys which sailed from the United Kingdom, Iceland, and North America to northern ports in the Soviet Union - primarily Arkhangelsk (Archangel) and Murmansk, both in modern-day Russia. There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945 (although there were two gaps with no sailings between July and September 1942, and March and November 1943), sailing via several seas of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
 
About 1400 merchant ships delivered essential supplies to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program, escorted by ships of the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and the U.S. Navy. Eighty-five merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy warships (two cruisers, six destroyers and eight other escort ships) were lost.
 
The German Kriegsmarine lost a number of vessels including one battleship, three destroyers and at least 30 U-boats as well as a large number of aircraft. The convoys demonstrated the Allies commitment to helping the Soviet Union, prior to the opening of a Second Front, and tied up a substantial part of Germany's Navy and Air Force.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
RAF Bomber Command - RAF Bomber Command was formed in 1936 to be responsible for all bombing activities of the RAF. It found especial fame during World War II, when its aircraft were used for devastating night-time air raids on Germany and occupied Europe, principally the former, their bombing raids causing tremendous destruction of urban areas and factories.
 
Much of its personnel were drawn from outside the United Kingdom. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, many Commonwealth countries contributed squadrons or individuals to British air and ground staff. For example, No. 6 Group, which represented about one-sixth of Bomber Command's strength, was a Royal Canadian Air Force unit. Some non-British personnel came from occupied European countries.
 
At its height, Bomber Command under Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris could put over 1,000 aircraft into the air over Germany. Over 12,000 Bomber Command aircraft were shot down during World War II, and 55,500 aircrew were killed, the highest attrition rate of any British unit.
 
The planned campaign medal for Bomber Command was never struck. The decision not to award a medal for all members of Bomber Command occurred during the short gap between the wartime coalition and Attlee's Labour Government, whilst Churchill was still P.M. This caused Harris to turn down Attlee's subsequent offer of a peerage in protest at this snub; a principled stand which Harris had taken, and declared, at the time the decision not to award a separate campaign medal was made.
 
The Command's raids had tied up huge amounts of Germany's defensive resources - which might have been diverted to the Eastern and Western Fronts and elsewhere - and the physical destruction of war material was considerable. Nevertheless Churchill, much to Harris's chagrin, made virtually no mention of Bomber Command's campaign in his victory speech on V.E.day. Harris, who was promoted to Marshal of the RAF by the Labour Government in 1946, was persuaded to accept a baronetcy when Winston Churchill became Prime Minister again in 1951, after Attlee's Labour Government was voted out of office. The battle for a campaign medal continues.
 
Various aircraft were used, from the obsolete and horrendously vulnerable Fairey Battle in 1939 to the command's most numerous and successful aircraft, the Avro Lancaster. Bomber Command used not only British aircraft but also American-built machines such as the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator (although less than 2% of Bomber Command's wartime sorties were flown by US-built aircraft); in the case of the former they were the first to be put into battle and gave useful information on improvements before the US entered the war.
 
RAF Bomber Command was merged into RAF Strike Command in 1968.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The France And Germany Campaign - On 6 June 1944 (known as D-Day), after three years of Soviet pressure to open a second front in Europe, the Western Allies invaded northern France. After reassigning several Allied divisions from Italy, they also attacked southern France.
 
These landings were successful, and led to the defeat of the German Army units in France. Paris was liberated by the local resistance assisted by the Free French Forces on 25 August and the Western Allies continued to push back German forces in Western Europe during the latter part of the year. An attempt to advance into northern Germany spearheaded by a major airborne operation in the Netherlands ended with a failure.
 
After that, the Western Allies slowly pushed into Germany, unsuccessfully trying to cross the Rur River in a large offensive later that year.
 
On 16 December 1944, Germany attempted its last desperate measure for success on the Western Front by using most of its remaining reserves to launch a massive counter-offensive in the Ardennes to attempt to split the Western Allies, encircle large portions of Western Allied troops and capture their primary supply port at Antwerp in order to prompt a political settlement. By January 1945, the offensive had been repulsed with no strategic objectives fulfilled.
 
By March, the Western Allies crossed the Rhine north and south of the Ruhr, and swept across Western Germany. The American and Soviet forces linked up on Elbe River on 25 April. On 30 April 1945, the Reichstag in Berlin was captured, signalling the military defeat of the Third Reich.
 
German forces surrendered in Italy on 29 April. Total and unconditional surrender was signed on 7 May, to be effective by the end of 8 May 1945.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.