Knights Cross and Oak-Leaves Recipients 1941-45

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Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Description On 21 June , as the Wehrmacht stormed forward across frontiers of the Soviet Union, Hitler instituted a new higher grade of the Knight's Cross decoration for galantry and leadership: the silver clasp of the Oak-leaves with Swords. It would be awarded to only men of the approximately 15 million who served in the German armed forces during World War II.

This third in a sequence of four titles describes and illustrates a selection of the recipients: from much-wounded front line infantry officers, to Hitler's 'brother-in-law'; from a sergeant pilot fighter ace, to the commanding general of the greatest tank force ever gathered on the Russian Front.

Product details Format Paperback 64 pages Dimensions The Knight's Cross was awarded for a wide range of reasons and across all ranks, from a senior commander for skilled leadership of his troops in battle to a low-ranking soldier for a single act of military valour. Presentations were made to members of the three military branches of the Wehrmacht ; the Heer army , the Kriegsmarine navy and the Luftwaffe air Force , as well as the Waffen-SS , the Reichsarbeitsdienst RAD—Reich Labour Service and the Volkssturm German national militia , along with personnel from other Axis powers.

The award was instituted on 1 September , at the onset of the German invasion of Poland. A higher grade, the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross, was instituted in Over 7, awards were made during the course of the war. The design was a silver-framed cast iron cross on 13 March The Prussian state had mounted a campaign steeped in patriotic rhetoric to rally their citizens to repulse the French occupation.

The award was reinstituted for the wars in and The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, without distinction, was awarded to officers and soldiers alike, conforming with the National Socialist slogan: "One people, one nation, one leader". Analysis of the German Federal Archives revealed evidence for 7, officially bestowed recipients. The renewal for the first time had created an honorary sign of the entire German state. As the war progressed four additional years, leaders had to distinguish those who had already won the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross or one of the higher grades and who continued to show merit in combat bravery or military success.

Knight's Cross, Oak-Leaves and Swords Recipients 1941-45

The Knight's Cross was eventually awarded in five grades:. Its appearance was very similar to the Iron Cross. In May the number of presentations peaked. Like the Knight's Cross to which it was added, the Oak Leaves clasp could be awarded for leadership, distinguished service or personal gallantry. The clasp was drilled out to accept the diamonds. However three individuals never received a set of Diamonds. Hans-Joachim Marseille , the fourth recipient, was killed in an aircraft crash prior to its presentation. The deteriorating situation and the end of the war prevented its presentation to Karl Mauss , the 26th recipient and Dietrich von Saucken , the 27th and final recipient.

Knight's Cross and Oak-Leaves Recipients –40 - Osprey Publishing

Six sets of Golden Oak Leaves were manufactured, each consisting of an A-piece, made of 18 Carat gold with 58 real diamonds and a B-piece, made of 14 Carat with 68 real sapphires. One of these sets was presented to Hans-Ulrich Rudel on 1 January , the remaining five sets were taken to Schloss Klessheim , where they were taken by the US forces. Unit commanders could also be awarded the medal for the exemplary conduct of the unit as a whole.

Also, U-boat commanders could qualify for sinking , 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.

Knight's Cross and Oak-Leaves Recipients 1941–45

It was issued from to , with the requirements being gradually raised as the war went on. Nominations for the Knight's Cross could be made at company level or higher. Commanders could not nominate themselves. In the Luftwaffe the lowest level was the Geschwader and in the Kriegsmarine the respective flotilla was authorized to make the nomination. It was also possible to nominate subordinated foreign units. The nomination by the troop had to be submitted in writing and in double copy.

The format and the content were predefined. Every nomination contained the personal data, the rank and unit at the time of the act, since when the soldier held this position, the military service entry date, previous military decorations awarded and date of presentation, etc. The nomination had to be forwarded in writing by a courier up the official command chain.

Every intermittent administrative office or commander between the nominating unit and the commander-in-chief of the respective Wehrmacht branch commander-in-chief of the Heer , commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe and commander-in-chief of the Kriegsmarine with their respective staff offices had to give their approval along with a short comment.

In exceptional cases, such as the nominated individual had sustained severe injuries or that the command chain had been interrupted, a nomination could be submitted via teleprinter communication. At first, the recipient of the Knight's Cross, or one of its higher grades, received a brief telegram informing him of the award of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Army Personnel Branch Office was split due to the deteriorating war situation and was moved to Marktschellenberg in the time frame 21 to 24 April The approval authority of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross became confusing after Hitler's death on 30 April General Ernst Maisel , deputy chief of Army Personnel Office, was authorized by the Presidential Chancellery to approve presentations of the Knights Cross effective as of 28 April Maisel, on 30 April, legally approved and conferred 33 Knight's Crosses, rejected 29 nominations, and deferred four.


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  • A teleprinter message dated 3 May was sent to the Commanders-in-Chief of those units still engaged in combat, empowering them to make autonomous presentations of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross themselves. The following decision making chains of command were possible at this time: [23].

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