U-boat lion head tradition badge (U-66)
A very scarce original example of the lion head (on black diamond) tradition badge for the Type IXC U-boat number U-66.
The origin of this emblem has its routes in the pre-war era 'Freikorps' (Ritter von Epp), before being subsequently chosen as the tradition/cap emblem for this U-boat.
A very interesting and a relatively successful boat; U-66 was involved in 9 patrols, sinking 33 merchant vessels (201,021 GRT total tonnage). The boat was eventually destroyed and sank during a close quarters confrontation with the destroyer escort USS Buckley on the 6th May 1944. Indeed, such was the nature of this engagement, events even involved hand-to-hand fighting on deck between both sets of sailors!
Further information on the final events of U-66 is very well documented, including the once "SECRET" US Navy after action report regarding this skirmish and eventual capture of 36 survivors from the U-boat (images of this are included above).