|Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
|Awarded by Nazi Germany|
|Awarded for||Awarded to holders of the Iron Cross to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership|
|Campaign||World War II|
|Established||1 September 1939|
|First awarded||30 September 1939|
|Last awarded||11 May 1945 / 17 June 1945[a]|
|Next (higher)||Grand Cross of the Iron Cross|
|Next (lower)||Iron Cross 1st Class|
Insignia of 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division Reichsführer-SS
It was formed in November 1943 when Volksdeutsche recruits were added to the Sturmbrigade Reichsführer SS, which was then upgraded to divisional status. The majority of the recruits were from Norway.
A Kampfgruppe ("combat group") from the division fought at the Anzio beachhead, while the rest of the division took part in the occupation of Hungary. It fought in Italy as a unit from May 1944 until being transferred to Hungary in February 1945. In late summer 1944, while retreating towards the Gothic Line positions in the Appennini mountains, some units of this division committed several major atrocities against civilians in Sant'Anna di Stazzema and Marzabotto.
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grades were based on four separate enactments. The first enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 1573 of September 1, 1939 instituted the Iron Cross and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. As the war progressed some of the recipients distinguished themselves further and a higher grade, the Oak Leaves to Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was instituted. The Oak Leaves, as they were commonly referred to, were based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 849 of June 3, 1940. In 1941 two higher grades of the Knight's Cross were instituted. The enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613 of September 28, 1941 introduced the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. At the end of 1944 the last and final grade, the Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds, based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11 of December 29, 1944 concluded the variants of the Knight's Cross.
To qualify for the Knight's Cross, a soldier had to already hold the 1939 Iron Cross First Class, though the Iron Cross I Class was awarded concurrently with the Knight's Cross in rare cases. Unit commanders could also be awarded the medal for exemplary conduct by the unit as a whole.
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was divided into five grades, excluding the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross:
- Knights Cross
- Knights Cross with Oak Leaves
- Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knights Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
- Knights Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
Knight's Cross with OakleavesEdit
- Max Simon, 28.10.1944 SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der W-SS Commander 16th SS Panzer Gren Div RFSS
- ↑ Marcus Wendel. "Waffen SS units (16th SS Panzergrenadier Division Reichsführer-SS)". Axis History Factbook. http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=1943. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
- ↑ Encyclopædia Britannica
- ↑ @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 1573; 1 September 1939
- ↑ @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 849; 3 June 1940
- ↑ @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 613; 28 September 1941
- ↑ @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11; 29 December 1944
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "axishistory". http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=1943.
- SEEMEN, Gerhard von: Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939-1945. Podzun-Pallas, 1976.
- SCHERZER, Veit: Knight's Cross Recipients 1939 - 1945 (Paperback) by Enid Blyton, 1999