Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves and Swords
|September 28th, 1941
|Officers and men of all ranks within any branch of the Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS, or the auxiliary service organizations.
For the Luftwaffe:
For the Kriegsmarine:
*Criteria often changed throughout the war
|June 21st, 1941 – to Adolf Galland
|159 to Germans, 1 to a foreigner = 160 total
Distribution Statistics of the Knights Cross with Oakleaves and Swords
* These stats are only for the distribution of the Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves and Swords, and not the many other grades of the RK
|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 Oakleaves and Swords was worn in the same manner as the Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves, the only difference being in the addition of a set of crossed swords to the oakleaves above the Knight’s Cross itself.
|The Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves and Swords was the next higher grade of the Knight’s Cross above the Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves, and as such, was an even more highly regarded award than all those previous. This grade of the RK was actually instituted after the first award of it was presented! The number awarded during WWII, 160, is a testament to the even greater honor attached to this award. Like the Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves, the RK with Oakleaves and Swords could also be awarded to foreigners and was also awarded to commanders in recognition of the valor of the unit they commanded. Of the 160 holders of the RK with Oakleaves and Swords, 14 are known to be alive in 1999 and of the 159 German holders, 38 (24%) are known to have been killed in action or are listed as missing in action during WWII.