Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds
|December 29th, 1944
|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.
|Awarded December 29th, 1944
Presented January 1st, 1945
|During the time of the Third Reich, the range of categories of the Iron Cross were as follows:
The Iron Cross
The various grades of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross specifically are discussed within separate entries due to the great importance of each grade. The grades of the Knight’s Cross were as follows:
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.
|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.