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German Armed Forces Research 1918-1945
WW2-German-Iron-Cross-Oakbar

Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuzes mit Goldenem Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillianten
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds


Date Instituted

December 29th, 1944

Awarded To

In theory, to 12 of the most deserving officers and men of any rank within any branch of the Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS or the auxiliary service organizations, awarded post-WWII pending an Axis victory. In practice, an exception was made and only one award was ever presented.

Required Qualifications

In general:

First Awarded

Awarded December 29th, 1944
Presented January 1st, 1945

Number Awarded

One

Grades/Variations

During the time of the Third Reich, the range of categories of the Iron Cross were as follows:

The Iron Cross
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
The Grand Cross of the Iron Cross


The various grades of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross specifically are discussed within seperate entries due to the great importance of each grade. The grades of the Knight's Cross were as follows:

Knight's Cross
Knight's Cross w. Oakleaves
Knight's Cross w. Oakleave, Swords
Knight's Cross w. Oakleaves, Swords, Diamonds
K.Cross w. Golden Oakleaves, Swords, Diamonds

Method of Wear

The Knight's Cross with Golden Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds was worn in the same manner as the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds, the only difference being that the cluster of inlaid diamonds, oakleaves and swords above the Knight's Cross itself was made of gold rather than silver.

Notes

The Knight's Cross with Golden Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds was the highest single grade of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, and was awarded only once during WWII - an exception to the rule for this award which was only to be awarded 12 times once WWII ended. It was awarded to Hans Ulrich Rudel in honor of his unrivaled heroism as a Luftwaffe Stuka pilot. Rudel was responsible for the destruction of 530 Soviet tanks, enough tanks for five complete Soviet Tank Corps! He also destroyed 150 anti-aircraft and anti-tank positions, 800 motor vehicles, the Soviet Battleship Marat, a Soviet Cruiser, a Soviet Destroyer, 70 Soviet landing craft, and numerous bridges and bunkers. He also heavily damaged another Soviet Battleship, the October Revolution. Rudel flew 2,530 combat missions, claimed 11 air victories in his Stuka, and was shot down 30 times.
Knight's Cross with Golden Oakleaves, Swords, and Diamonds
Knight's Cross
with Golden Oakleaves, Swords, and Diamonds
Hans Ulrich Rudel wearing German Knight's Cross
Hans Ulrich Rudel
Only Golden Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds Holder