List of Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves recipients (1940–1941)

List of Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves recipients (1940–1941)

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and its variants were the highest awards in the military of the Third Reich during World War II. This military decoration was awarded for a wide range of reasons and across all ranks, from a senior commander for skilled leadership of his troops in battle to a low-ranking soldier for a single act of extreme gallantry. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) was introduced on 3 June 1940 to further distinguish those who had already received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and who continued to show merit in combat bravery or military success. A total of 7 awards were made in 1940; 50 in 1941; 111 in 1942; 192 in 1943; 328 in 1944, and 194 in 1945, giving a total of 882 recipients—excluding the 8 foreign recipients of the award.

The number of 882 Oak Leaves recipients is based on the analysis and acceptance of the order commission of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR).[1] However, author and historian Veit Scherzer has challenged the validity of 27 of these listings.[2] With the exception of Hermann Fegelein, all of the disputed recipients had received the award in 1945, when the deteriorating situation of the Third Reich during the final days of World War II left a number of nominations incomplete and pending in various stages of the approval process. Hermann Fegelein received the Oak Leaves in 1942, but was sentenced to death by Adolf Hitler and executed by SS-Gruppenführer Johann Rattenhuber's Reichssicherheitsdienst (RSD) on 28 April 1945 after a court-martial led by SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS Wilhelm Mohnke. The sentence was carried out the same day. The death sentence, according to German law, resulted in the loss of all orders and honorary signs.[3]


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) and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.[4] 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 3 June 1940.[5] 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).[6] At the end of 1944 the final grade, 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, concluded the variants of the Knight's Cross.[7]


The Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW—Supreme Command of the Armed Forces) 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.[8] The recipients are ordered chronologically and numbered by the official sequential number assigned by the OKW. The rank listed is the recipient's rank at the time the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves was awarded.

      This along with the * (asterisk), indicates that the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves was awarded posthumously.

Recipients of 1940

Number Name Service Rank Role and unit[Note 1] Date of award Notes Image
1 Dietl, EduardEduard Dietl Heer 19-HGeneralleutnant[9] Commanding general of Gebirgskorps Norwegen[9][10] 19 July 1940[9] Awarded 72nd Swords 1 July 1944.[9]
At the same time promoted to General der Infanterie, later General der Gebirgstruppen[11]
2 Molders, WernerWerner Mölders Luftwaffe 15-LMajor[12] Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 51[10][12] 21 September 1940[12] Awarded 2nd Swords 22 June 1941
1st Diamonds 15 July 1941[Note 2]
3 Galland, AdolfAdolf Galland Luftwaffe 15-LMajor[13] Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter"[10][13] 24 September 1940[13] Awarded 1st Swords 21 June 1941
2nd Diamonds 28 January 1942[13]
4 Wick, HelmutHelmut Wick Luftwaffe 14-LHauptmann[14] Gruppenkommandeur of the I./Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen"[10][14] 6 October 1940[Note 3]
5 Prien, GüntherGünther Prien Kriegsmarine 14-MKapitänleutnant[15] Commander of U-47[10][15] 20 October 1940[15]
6 Kretschmer, OttoOtto Kretschmer Kriegsmarine 14-MKapitänleutnant[16] Commander of U-99[10][16] 4 November 1940[16] Awarded 5th Swords 26 December 1941[16]
7 Schepke, JoachimJoachim Schepke Kriegsmarine 14-MKapitänleutnant[17] Commander of U-100[10][17] 1 December 1940[17]

Recipients of 1941

Number Name Service Rank Role and unit[Note 1] Date of award Notes Image
8 Harlinghausen, MartinMartin Harlinghausen Luftwaffe 16-LOberstleutnant[18] Chief of the general staff of the X. Fliegerkorps[18][19] 30 January 1941[18]
9 Oesau, WalterWalter Oesau Luftwaffe 14-LHauptmann[20] Gruppenkommandeur of the III./Jagdgeschwader 3[19][20] 6 February 1941[20] Awarded 3rd Swords 15 July 1941[Note 4]
10 Rommel, ErwinErwin Rommel Heer 19-HGeneralleutnant[19][Note 5] Commander of the 7. Panzer-Division[19][21] 20 March 1941[21] Awarded 6th Swords 20 January 1942
6th Diamonds 11 March 1943[21]
11 Joppien, Hermann-FriedrichHermann-Friedrich Joppien Luftwaffe 14-LHauptmann[22] Gruppenkommandeur of the I./Jagdgeschwader 51[19][22] 23 April 1941[22]
12 Muncheberg, JoachimJoachim Müncheberg Luftwaffe 13-LOberleutnant[23] Staffelkapitän of the 7./Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter"[19][23] 7 May 1941[23] Awarded 19th Swords 9 September 1942[23]
13 Liebe, HeinrichHeinrich Liebe Kriegsmarine 14-MKapitänleutnant[24] Commander of U-38[19][24] 10 June 1941[24] At the same time promoted to Korvettenkapitän[19]
14 Endrass, EngelbertEngelbert Endrass Kriegsmarine 13-MOberleutnant zur See[19][Note 6] Commander of U-46[19][25] 10 June 1941[25]
15 Schultze, HerbertHerbert Schultze Kriegsmarine 14-MKapitänleutnant[26] Commander of U-48[19][26] 12 June 1941[26]
16 Ihlefeld, HerbertHerbert Ihlefeld Luftwaffe 14-LHauptmann[27] Gruppenkommandeur of the I./Jagdgeschwader 77[19][27] 27 June 1941[27] Awarded 9th Swords 24 April 1942[27] 100px
17 Balthasar, WilhelmWilhelm Balthasar Luftwaffe 14-LHauptmann[28] Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen"[19][28] 2 July 1941[28]
18 Schnell, SiegfriedSiegfried Schnell Luftwaffe 12-LLeutnant of the Reserves[29] Pilot in the 9./Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen"[19][Note 7] 9 July 1941[29]
19 Schmidt, RudolfRudolf Schmidt Heer 20-HGeneral der Panzertruppe[30] Commanding general of the XXXIX. Armeekorps (motorized)[19][30] 10 July 1941[30]
20 Baumbach, WernerWerner Baumbach Luftwaffe 13-LOberleutnant[31] Pilot in the 4./Kampfgeschwader 30[19][31] 14 July 1941[31] Awarded 16th Swords 17 August 1942[19][Note 8]
21 Dinort, OskarOskar Dinort Luftwaffe 16-LOberstleutnant[32] Geschwaderkommodore of Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 "Immelmann"[19][32] 14 July 1941[32]
22 Storp, WalterWalter Storp Luftwaffe 15-LMajor[33] Geschwaderkommodore of Schnellkampfgeschwader 210[33][34] 14 July 1941[33]
23 Schutze, ViktorViktor Schütze Kriegsmarine 15-MKorvettenkapitän[35] Commander of U-103[34][35] 14 July 1941[35]
24 Guderian, HeinzHeinz Guderian Heer 21-HGeneraloberst[36] Commander-in-chief of Panzergruppe 2[34][36] 17 July 1941[36]
25 Hoth, HermannHermann Hoth Heer 21-HGeneraloberst[37] Commander-in-chief of Panzergruppe 3[34][37] 17 July 1941[37] Awarded 35th Swords 15 September 1943[37]
26 Richthofen, Dipl.-Ing. Wolfram Freiherr vonDipl.-Ing. Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen Luftwaffe 20-LGeneral der Flieger[38] Commanding general of the VIII. Fliegerkorps[34][38] 17 July 1941[38]
27 Lutzow, GüntherGünther Lützow Luftwaffe 15-LMajor[39] Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 3[34][39] 20 July 1941[39] Awarded 4th Swords 11 October 1941[39]
28 Priller, JosefJosef Priller Luftwaffe 13-LOberleutnant[40] Staffelkapitän of the 1./Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter"[34][40] 20 July 1941[40] Awarded 73rd Swords 2 July 1944[40]
29 Maltzahn, Günther Freiherr vonGünther Freiherr von Maltzahn Luftwaffe 15-LMajor[41] Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 53[34][41] 24 July 1941[41]
30 Niemack, HorstHorst Niemack Heer 14-HRittmeister[42] Commander of Divisions-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5[34][42] 10 August 1941[42] Awarded 69th Swords 4 June 1944[42]
31 Bar, HeinrichHeinrich Bär Luftwaffe 12-LLeutnant[Note 9] Pilot in the 1./Jagdgeschwader 51[34][43] 14 August 1941[43] Awarded 7th Swords 16 February 1942[43]
32 Hahn, HansHans Hahn Luftwaffe 14-LHauptmann[44] Gruppenkommandeur of the III./Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen"[34][44] 14 August 1941[44]
33 Philipp, HansHans Philipp Luftwaffe 13-LOberleutnant[45] Staffelkapitän of the 4./Jagdgeschwader 54[34][45] 24 August 1941[45] Awarded 8th Swords 12 March 1942[45]
34 Cruwell, LudwigLudwig Crüwell Heer 19-HGeneralleutnant[46] Commander of the 11. Panzer-Division[34][46] 1 September 1941[46]
35 Nordmann, Karl-GottfriedKarl-Gottfried Nordmann Luftwaffe 13-LOberleutnant[47] Staffelkapitän of the 12./Jagdgeschwader 51[34][47] 16 September 1941[47]
36 Hoffmann, HeinrichHeinrich Hoffmann Luftwaffe 10-LOberfeldwebel[48] Pilot in the 12./Jagdgeschwader 51[34][48] 19 October 1941*[48] Killed in action 3 October 1941[34]
37 Lutzow, Kurt-Jürgen Freiherr vonKurt-Jürgen Freiherr von Lützow Heer 17-HOberst[39] Commander of Infanterie-Regiment 89[34][39] 21 October 1941[39]
38 Gollob, GordonGordon Gollob Luftwaffe 14-LHauptmann[49] Gruppenkommandeur of the II./Jagdgeschwader 3[34][49] 26 October 1941[49] Awarded 13th Swords 23 June 1942
3rd Diamonds 30 August 1942[Note 10]
39 Kageneck, Erbo Graf vonErbo Graf von Kageneck Luftwaffe 13-LOberleutnant[50] Staffelkapitän of the 9./Jagdgeschwader 27[34][50] 26 October 1941[50]
40 Kruder, Ernst-FelixErnst-Felix Krüder Kriegsmarine 17-MKapitän zur See[51] Commander of Hilfskreuzer Pinguin (HSK-5)[51][52] 15 November 1941*[51] Killed in action 8 May 1941[52]
41 Dietrich, JosefJosef Dietrich Waffen-SS 20-WSS-Obergruppenführer and General of the Waffen-SS[9] Commander of SS-Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler" (motorized)[9][52] 31 December 1941[9] Awarded 26th Swords 14 March 1943
16th Diamonds 6 August 1944[9]
42 Eberbach, HeinrichHeinrich Eberbach Heer 17-HOberst[53] Commander of the 5. Panzer-Brigade[52][53] 31 December 1941[53]
43 Scheidies, FranzFranz Scheidies Heer 17-HOberst[54] Commander of Infanterie-Regiment 22[52][54] 31 December 1941[54]
44 Buchterkirch, Ernst-GeorgErnst-Georg Buchterkirch Heer 13-HOberleutnant[55] Chief of the 2./Panzer-Regiment 6[52][55] 31 December 1941[55]
45 Rogge, BernhardBernhard Rogge Kriegsmarine 17-MKapitän zur See[56] Commander of Hilfskreuzer Atlantis (HSK-2)[52][56] 31 December 1941[56]
46 Peltz, DietrichDietrich Peltz Luftwaffe 14-LHauptmann[57] Gruppenkommandeur of the II./Kampfgeschwader 77[52][57] 31 December 1941[57] Awarded 31st Swords 23 July 1943[57]
47 Schulz, AdelbertAdelbert Schulz Heer 14-HHauptmann[26] Commander of the I./Panzer-Regiment 25[26][52] 31 December 1941[26] Awarded 33rd Swords 6 August 1943
9th Diamonds 14 December 1943[26]
48 Eckinger, Dr. Josef-FranzDr. Josef-Franz Eckinger Heer 15-HMajor[58] Commander of the I./Schützen-Regiment 113[52][58] 31 December 1941*[58] Killed in action 17 October 1941[52]
49 Hoffmann-Schönborn, GüntherGünther Hoffmann-Schönborn Heer 15-HMajor[59] Commander of Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 191[52][59] 31 December 1941[59]
50 Eibl, KarlKarl Eibl Heer 17-HOberst[60] Commander of Infanterie-Regiment 132[52][60] 31 December 1941[60] Awarded 21st Swords 19 December 1942[60]
51 Lehmann-Willenbrock, HeinrichHeinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock Kriegsmarine 14-MKapitänleutnant[61] Commander of U-96[52][61] 31 December 1941[61]
52 Weiß, OttoOtto Weiß Luftwaffe 15-LMajor[62] Gruppenkommandeur of the II.(Schlacht)/Lehrgeschwader 2[52][62] 31 December 1941[62]
53 Boeselager, Georg Freiherr vonGeorg Freiherr von Boeselager Heer 14-HRittmeister[63] Chief of the 1./Divisions-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 6[52][63] 31 December 1941[63] Awarded 114th Swords 28 November 1944[63]
54 Seydlitz-Kurzbach, Walther vonWalther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach Heer 18-HGeneralmajor[64] Commander of the 12. Infanterie-Division[52][64] 31 December 1941[64]
55 Harpe, JosefJosef Harpe Heer 18-HGeneralmajor[65] Commander of the 12. Panzer-Division[65][66] 31 December 1941[65] Awarded 36th Swords 15 September 1943[65]
56 Suhren, ReinhardReinhard Suhren Kriegsmarine 13-MOberleutnant zur See[67] Commander of U-564[66][67] 31 December 1941[67] Awarded 18th Swords 1 September 1942[67]
57 Hitschhold, HubertusHubertus Hitschhold Luftwaffe 15-LMajor[68] Gruppenkommandeur of the I./Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 "Immelmann"[66][68] 31 December 1941[68]



Further reading

External links

de:Liste der Träger des Eichenlaubs zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes