Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves, Swords and Diamonds

The Second World War saw something of a proliferation of awards for gallantry in Germany. The Iron Cross had emerged in Prussia, where it was first awarded in 1813. After German unification it continued to be awarded during wars until 1945. The Iron Cross existed in two main grades (2nd Class and 1st Class). In order to win the Iron Cross 1st Class, the recipient already had to have the Iron Cross 2nd Class. The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded during the Second World War. To qualify for it one had to hold the Iron Cross 1st Class already. The Knight’s Cross was awarded 7,313 times.

As the war went on, extra grades were added to the Knight’s Cross. First came the Oak Leaves, awarded 883 times, then the Oak Leaves and Swords, awarded 159 times. Finally the Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was created. This was only awarded 27 times.

Recipients of the Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves, Swords and Diamonds


Date,

Name,

Branch

15 July 1941

Werner Mölders

Air

28 January 1942

Adolf Galland

Air

August 1942

Gordon Gollob

Air

2 September 1942

Hans Joachim Marseille

Air

16 September 1942

Hermann Graf

Air

March 1943

Erwin Rommel

Army

9 August 1943

Wolfgang Luth

U boats

19 October 1943

Walter Nowotny

Air

14 December 1943

Adalbert Schulz

Army

29 March 1944

Hans Ulrich Rudel

Air

15 April 1944

Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz

Army

19 April 1944

Herbert Otto Gille

SS

April 1944

Hans Hube

Army

19 July 1944

Albert Kesselring

Army*

31 July 1944

Helmut Lent

Air

6 August 1944

Josef Dietrich

SS

17 August 1944

Walter Model

Army

25 August 1944

Erich Hartmann

Air

31 August 1944

Hermann Balck

Army

19 September 1944

Hermann Bernhard Ramcke

Army

9 October 1944

Hauptmann Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer

Air

24 November 1944

Albrecht Brandi

U boats

1 January 1945

Ferdinand Schorner

Army

18 February 1945

Hasso von Manteuffel

Army

18 March 1945

Theodor Tolsdorf

Army

15 April 1945

Dr Karl Mauss

Army

8 May 1945

Dietrich von Saucken

Army

By Service

Luftwaffe      

11

Army              

12

U Boats

2

SS                   

2

 

By Year

1941

1

1942

4

1943

4

1944

13

1945

5

The high number of recipients of the Diamonds in 1944 reflects the long period of time needed to earn the previous three grades of the Knight’s Cross.

* Kesselring was still officially in the Luftwaffe, but won his award for his service as an Army commander in Italy.

Knights cross with diamonds Knight's Cross with Diamonds Recipients, Gordon Williamson. Osprey, 2006. This book looks at the twenty seven men who won Germany's highest award for bravery during the Second World War. [SEE MORE]
cover cover cover
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 August 2000), Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/lists_diamonds_knights_cross.html

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