List of Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords or Diamonds recipients of the Luftwaffe fighter force

The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and its variants were the highest award in the military of the Third Reich. Recipients are grouped by grades of the Knight’s Cross. During World War II, 453 German day and bomber destroyer (Zerstörer) pilots, 85 night fighter pilots, including 14 crew members, were awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Among them, 130 pilots received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub), 34 the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern), and nine won the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten).

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 1 September 1939 instituted the Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz), the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes)

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. Article 2 of the enactment mandated that the award of a higher class be preceded by the award of all preceding classes. As the war progressed glass water bottles wholesale, some of the recipients of the Knight’s Cross distinguished themselves further and a higher grade, the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub), was instituted. The Oak Leaves, as they were commonly referred to, were based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 849 of 3 June 1940. In 1941, two higher grades of the Knight’s Cross were instituted. The enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613 of 28 September 1941 introduced the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern) and the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten). At the end of 1944 the final grade running belt bag, the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit goldenem Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten), based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11 of 29 December 1944, became the final variant of the Knight’s Cross authorized.

The Oberkommando der Wehrmacht kept separate Knight’s Cross lists, one for each of the three military branches, Heer (Army), Kriegsmarine (Navy), Luftwaffe (Air force) and for the Waffen-SS. Within each of these lists a unique sequential number was assigned to each recipient. The same numbering paradigm was applied to the higher grades of the Knight’s Cross, one list per grade.

The Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds is based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613 of 28 September 1941 to reward those servicemen who had already been awarded the Oak Leaves with Swords to the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Ultimately, it would be awarded to twenty-seven German soldiers, sailors and airmen, ranging from young fighter pilots to field marshals. Nine recipients were fighter pilots.

The Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords is also based on the enactment (Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613) of 28 September 1941 to reward those servicemen who had already been awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. The list is initially sorted by the chronological number assigned to the recipient.

The Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves was based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 849 of 3 June 1940. The last officially announced number for the Oak Leaves was 843.

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