Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross


Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Infobox Military Award
name=Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross


caption=The ultimate expression of the award: the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, awarded only to Hans-Ulrich Rudel.
awarded_by=Nazi Germany
type=Neck order
eligibility=Military personnel
for=Awarded to holders of the Iron Cross to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership
campaign=World War II
status=Obsolete
description=
clasps=
established=1 September, 1939
first_award=30 September, 1939
last_award=11 May, 1945 / 17 June, 1945ref label|Note1|a|a
total=
posthumous=
recipients=7,318
individual=
higher=Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
same=
lower=Iron Cross 1st Class
related=


caption2=
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German language: "Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes", often simply "Ritterkreuz") was a grade of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was the second highest military order of the Third Reich, second only to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. It was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership during World War II.

Prerequisites

To qualify for the Knight's Cross, a soldier had to already hold the 1939 Iron Cross First Class, though the Iron Cross I Class was awarded concurrently with the Knight's Cross in rare cases.Unit commanders could also be awarded the medal for exemplary conduct by the unit as a whole. Also, U-boat commanders could qualify for sinking 100,000 tons of shipping, and Luftwaffe pilots could qualify for accumulating 20 "points" [with one point being awarded for shooting down a single-engine plane, two points for a twin-engine plane,and three for a four-engine plane, with all points being doubled at night] . It was issued from 1939-45, with the requirements being gradually raised as the war went on.

Grades

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was divided into five grades, excluding the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross:

Knight's Cross ("Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes")

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross is based on the enactment (Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 1573@ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek [http://alex.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno-plus?apm=0&aid=dra&datum=19390007&zoom=2&seite=00001573&ues=on&x=21&y=6 Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 1573; 1 September 1939] ] ) of 1 September 1939 "Verordnung über die Erneuerung des Eisernen Kreuzes" (Regulation of the renewing of the Iron Cross).

Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds ("mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillianten")

Also based on enactment (Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613@ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek [http://alex.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno-plus?apm=0&aid=dra&datum=19410007&zoom=2&seite=00000613&ues=on&x=14&y=9 Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 613; 28 September 1941] ] ) of 28 September 1941

Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds ("mit Goldenem Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillianten")

Based on enactment (Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11@ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek [http://alex.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno-plus?apm=0&aid=dra&datum=19450007&zoom=2&seite=00000011&ues=on&x=14&y=10 Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11; 29 December 1944] ] ) of 29 December 1944 augmenting articles 1, 2, and 4.

words

Diamonds

Non Existing Recipients

Since the end of World War II numerous people have claimed to be unrecognized recipients of the Knight's Cross. The majority of these "recipients" are lacking any evidence to sustain their claims and are thus denied the right to consider themselves "legal recipients". Up until today two cases exist where the legal proof of the award exists however the recipients do not. These two "legally correct" recipients are Günther Nowak and Heinrich Scherhorn.Fellgiebel 2000, p. 511.]

Günther Nowak

Günther Nowak, Hitlerjunge, was awarded the Knight's Cross on 14 February 1945 for the destruction of eleven tanks in Hindenburg, Oberschlesien. It was always assumed that he was the youngest recipient of the Knight's Cross, however, Günther Nowak never really existed—a deserting Commander of the "Volkssturm" was caught and claimed that after the retreat of the Wehrmacht he had destroyed five tanks single-handedly. Because of this he was taken to a "Gauleiter". Fearing that his lie would be unveiled, he created the story of Günther Nowak in order to lessen his own "feat". This report was then sent to "Reichsleiter" Martin Bormann. Bormann immediately awarded the German Cross in Gold to the "Volkssturm"-Commander Sachs and the Knight's Cross to Nowak.

Association of Knight's Cross Recipients

The Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR) (German language: "Ordensgemeinschaft der Ritterkreuzträger des Eisernen Kreuzes e.V. (OdR)") is an association of highly decorated front-line soldiers of both world wars. The association was founded in 1955 in Köln-Wahn. Generaloberst Alfred Keller, Knight of the Order "Pour le Merite" and Recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, called upon the recipients of the highest combat decorations for bravery to organize an association for tradition. Later, the Recipients of the Prussian Golden Military Merit Cross, of the "Pour le Merite" for enlisted personnel were included. The memorandum of the AKCR incoperates the awarding of 7318 Knight's Crosses, as well as 882 Oakleaves, 159 Swords, 27 Diamonds, 1 Golden Oak Leaves and 1 Grand Cross of the Iron Cross for all ranks in three Wehrmachts-parts and the Waffen-SS [ [http://www.stengerhistorica.com/Affiliations/odr/index.htm Association of Knight's Cross Recipients] ] .

Law about Titles, Orders and Honourary Signs

The German Law about Titles, Orders and Honourary Signs (German language: "Gesetz über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen") (BGBl. I S. 334) [ [http://bundesrecht.juris.de/ordeng/BJNR008440957.html BGBl. I S. 334 @ Bundesministerium der Justiz] ] regulates the wearing of the Knight's Cross in post World War II Germany. The reason for this is that German law prohibits wearing a swastika, so on July 26, 1957 the West German government authorized replacement Knight's Crosses with an Oak Leaf Cluster in place of the swastika, similar to the Iron Crosses of 1813, 1870, and 1914, which could be worn by World War II Iron Cross recipients.

Military slang

In the military slang of the German soldiers the Knight's Cross is often referred to as the "Blechkrawatte" (tin-necktie). Glory-hungry soldiers were said to have a "neck rash", "itching neck" or "sore throat".

In today's German army the term "Ritterkreuz-Auftrag" (i.e. "Knight's Cross Mission") refers to a duty that is extremely aggravating, meaning a no-win-situation e.g. taking the CO's daughter out to a prom or having dinner with an inspecting general.

ee also

*List of living Knight’s Cross recipients

Footnotes

*note label|Note1|a|a "Großadmiral" Karl Dönitz had ordered a cease of all promotions and awards as of 11 May 1945 ("Dönitz decree"). Consequently the last Knight's Cross awarded to "Oberleutnant zur See" of the Reserves Georg-Wolfgang Feller on 17 June 1945 must therefore be considered a "de facto" but not "de jure" hand-out.Fellgiebel 2000, p. 4.]

References

;Specific;General
* Berger, Florian (2006). "Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges". Selbstverlag Florian Berger.
* Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). "Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945". Podzun-Pallas.
* Fraschka, Günter (2002). "Mit Schwertern und Brillanten. Die Träger der höchsten deutschen Tapferkeitsauszeichnung". Universitas
* MacLean, French L. (2007). "Luftwaffe Efficiency & Promotion Reports For The Knight's Cross Winners"
* Maerz, Dietrich (2007). "The Knights Cross of the Iron Cross". B&D Publishing LLC. ISBN 978-0-9797969-0-6


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Knight's Cross — (German language Ritterkreuz ) refers to a distinguishing grade or level of various orders. Most frequently the term Knight s Cross is used in conjunction with the Knight s Cross of the Iron Cross of the Third Reich. However numerous orders have… …   Wikipedia

  • List of foreign recipients of the Knight's Cross — The following list of foreign recipients of the Knight s Cross is the complete listing of every soldier and servicemen, who as a foreigner to the German Wehrmacht as well as the Waffen SS and police units, were awarded the Knight s Cross of the… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Knight's Cross recipients of the Kriegsmarine — The Knight s Cross of the Iron Cross (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes ) and its variants was the highest award in the military of the Third Reich. Recipients are grouped by grades of the Knight s Cross. 318 German sailors and… …   Wikipedia

  • Grand Cross of the Iron Cross — The Grand Cross of the Iron Cross was a decoration intended for victorious generals of the Prussian Army and its allies. It was the highest class of the Iron Cross. Along with the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class, the Grand Cross was founded on March …   Wikipedia

  • List of Knight's Cross recipients — This top level list of Knight s Cross recipients plus its sub lists comprise the complete listing of all Knight s Cross recipients. The Knight s Cross of the Iron Cross and its variants was the highest award in the military of the Third Reich.… …   Wikipedia

  • Order of the Iron Crown — This article is about an order of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. For the Austrian order, see Order of the Iron Crown (Austria). Imperial Order of the Iron Crown Imperial Ordine della Corona Ferrea (French) Im …   Wikipedia

  • Order of the Iron Crown (Austria) — Imperial Order of the Iron Crown Imperial Ordine della Corona Ferrea Kaiserliche Orden Krone der Eisernen Second class badge and first class breast star …   Wikipedia

  • Military Order of the Iron Trefoil — Order of the Iron Trefoil 3rd Class with Oak Branches Awarded by Independent State …   Wikipedia

  • The Willing Flesh —   …   Wikipedia

  • Cross of Valour (Greece) — Cross of Valour Αριστείον Ανδρείας Aristeion Andreias Gold Cross of the Cross of Valour (1974 version) Awarded by Greece …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.