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Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Awarded by Nazi Germany
Type Neck order
Eligibility Military personnel
Awarded for Awarded to holders of the Iron Cross to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership
Campaign World War II
Status Obsolete
Statistics
Established 1 September 1939
First awarded 30 September 1939
Last awarded 11 May 1945 / 17 June 1945[a]
Precedence
Next (higher) Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
Next (lower) Iron Cross 1st Class
33divss
Insignia of 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division Charlemagne

The 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French) and Charlemagne Regiment are collective names used for units of French volunteers in the Wehrmacht and later Waffen-SS during World War II. The Charlemagne division was formed in 1944 from an amalgam of troops serving in other French units of the German armed forces, as well as from the paramilitary Franc-Garde of the Milice.[1]

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 [2] 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 [3] of June 3, 1940. In 1941 two higher grades of the Knight's Cross were instituted. The enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613 [4] 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 [5] of December 29, 1944 concluded the variants of the Knight's Cross.

PrerequisitesEdit

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.

GradesEdit

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 CrossEdit

Only four members of the Division were awarded the Knight's Cross, all during the Battle of Berlin

FootnotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • SEEMEN, Gerhard von: Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939-1945. Podzun-Pallas, 1976.
  • SCHERZER, Veit: Knight's Cross Recipients 1939 - 1945 (Paperback) by Enid Blyton, 1999

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