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:
  • The previous award of the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds, and
  • Continued performance of outstanding actions of combat bravery above and beyond the call of duty.
  • 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



    The only Golden Oakleaves, Swords and
    Diamonds holder, Hans Ulrich Rudel