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

Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves


Date Instituted:

June 3rd, 1940

Awarded To:

Officers and men of all ranks within any branch of the Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS or the auxiliary service organizations.

Required Qualifications*:

In general:
  • The previous award of the Knight's Cross, and
  • Continued performance of outstanding actions of combat bravery above and beyond the call of duty.
For the Luftwaffe:
  • The previous award of the Knight's Cross, and
  • Continued accumulation of points, 1 point for downing a single-engine aircraft, 2 points for a twin-engine aircraft and 3 points for a four-engine aircraft. All points were x2 at night. This total was continuously raised as the war went on.
For the Kriegsmarine:
  • The previous award of the Knight's Cross, and
  • Continued accumulation of tons of shipping sunk for Uboots, and/or
  • Continued performance of outstanding actions of combat bravery above and beyond the call of duty.

*Criteria often changed throughout the war

First Awarded:

July 19th, 1940 - to Eduard Dietl

Number Awarded:

882 to Germans, 8 to foreigners = 890 total

Complete listing of Oakleave Holders | Distribution Statistics of the Knights Cross with Oakleaves

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 Oakleaves was worn in the same manner as the original Knight's Cross, the only differance being in the addition of oakleaves above the Knight's Cross itself.

Notes:

The Knight's Cross with Oakleaves was the next higher grade of the Knight's Cross above the original, and as such, was an even more highly regarded award. The number awarded during WWII, 890, is a testiment to the great honor attached to this award. Like the Knight's Cross, the RK with Oakleaves could also be awarded to foreigners and was also awarded to commanders in recognition of the valor of the unit they commanded. Of the 882 German holders of the RK with Oakleaves, 96 are known to be alive as of 1999 and 234 (27%) are known to have been killed in action or are listed as missing in action during WWII.
The Knight's Cross with Oakleaves
Bruno Dilley
Oakleaves holder