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

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

Date Instituted:

September 28th, 1941

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 with Oakleaves and Swords, 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 with Oakleaves and Swords, 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 with Oakleaves and Swords, 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 15th, 1941 - to Werner Mölders

Number Awarded:

27 - Distribution Statistics of the Knights Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds | Complete listing of Diamond Holders

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, Swords and Diamonds was worn in the same manner as the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves and Swords, the only difference being the addition of a set inlaid diamonds in the oakleave and sword cluster above the Knight's Cross itself.

Notes:

The Knight's Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds was the next higher grade of the Knight's Cross above the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves and Swords. It was the highest award presented to more than one person in the Third Reich, and it was reserved for the most highly decorated and heroic figures in the German Wehrmacht. This grade of the RK, like the one previous to it, was instituted after the first award of it had actually been presented. Of the 27 holders of this award, none are alive today and 9 (33%) were killed in action or are listed as missing in action during WWII.
Knights Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds
Knights Cross
with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds

Erwin Rommel Photo Wearing Knights Cross
Erwin Rommel
Knight's Cross
with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds holder

Distribution Statistics of the Knights Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds 1941-1945*

Rank on day of award Heer Waffen-SS Kriegsmarine Luftwaffe Totals
Generalfeldmarschall / Grossadmiral 2 1 3
Generaloberst / Generaladmiral 1 1 2
General d. Inf. usw. / Admiral 4 4
Generalleutnant / Vizeadmiral 1 1 1 3
Generalmajor / Konteradmiral 1 1
Oberst / Kapitän zur See 2 2 4
Oberstleutnant / Fregattenkapitän 1 1
Major / Korvettenkapitän 2 2 4
Hauptmann / Kapitänleutnant 2 2
Oberleutnant / Oberleutnant zur See 3 3
Grand Totals 11 2 2 12 27

* These stats are only for the distribution of the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds, and not the many other grades of the RK

Holders:

Number of Holder Rank Name Position at time of award Date of Award
1.OberstWerner MöldersGeneral der Jagdflieger7.16.41
2.GeneralleutnantAdolf GallandGeneral der Jagdflieger1.28.42
3.OberstGordon M GollobGeneral der Jagdflieger8.30.42
4.HauptmannHans-Joachim MarseilleStaffelkapitän 3./Jagdgeschwader 279.4.42
5.OberstHermann GrafKommodore Jagdgeschwader 529.16.42
6.GeneralfeldmarschallErwin RommelOB Heeresgruppe B3.11.42
7.KommodoreWolfgang LüthKommandant der Marineschule Flensburg-Mürwik8.11.43
8.MajorWalter NowotnyKommandeur Erprobungsgruppe "Nowotny"10.20.43
9.GeneralmajorAdelbert SchulzKommandeur 7.Panzer-Division12.14.44
10.OberstHans-Ulrich RudelKommodore Schlachtgeschwader 2 "Immelmann"3.29.44
11.GeneralmajorHyazinth Graf von StrachwitzKommandeur einer Panzer-Kampfgruppe bei der Heeresgruppe Nord4.15.44
12.General der Waffen-SSHerbert Otto GilleKommandierender General des IV. SS-Panzer-Korps4.19.44
13.GeneraloberstHans HubeOB 1.Panzer-Armee4.20.44
14.GeneralfeldmarschallAlbert KesselringOB Süd7.19.44
15.OberstHelmuth LentKommodore Nachtjagdgeschwader 37.31.44
16.Generaloberst der Waffen-SSJoseph DietrichOB 6.SS-Panzer-Armee8.6.44
17.GeneralfeldmarschallWalter ModelOB Heeresgruppe B8.17.44
18.OberstErich HartmannKommodore Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen"8.25.44
19.General der PanzertruppenHermann BalckOB Heeresgruppe G8.31.44
20.General der FallschirmtruppenHermann-Bernhard RamckeKommandant Festung Brest9.20.44
21.MajorWolfgang SchnauferKommodore Nachtjagdgeschwader 410.16.44
22.FregattenkapitänAlbercht BrandiChef der Kleinkampfverbände Holland11.24.44
23.GeneralfeldmarschallFerdinand SchörnerOB Heeresgruppe Mitte1.1.45
24.General der PanzertruppenHasso von ManteuffelOB 3.Panzer-Armee2.18.45
25.GeneralleutnantTheodor TolsdorfKommandierender General des LXXXII. Armee-Korps3.18.45
26.General der PanzertruppenDr.Karl MaussKommandeur 7.Panzer-Division4.15.45
27.General der PanzertruppenDietrich von SauckenOB Armeegruppe Ostpreussen5.8.45

* Dates are listed as month.date.year