Author(s): Gordon Williamson
On 1 September 1939, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was created by Hitler. It could be distributed to all ranks within any branch of the Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS or the auxiliary services, and it was the highest award that the Third Reich could offer. During the war, new grades of Knight's Cross were added. The Diamonds were introduced on 28 September 1941, and were the next highest grade above the Oakleaves and Swords. Only 27 awards of Diamonds were made during the war creating an elite echelon of war heroes and many of the awards were made for acts of extreme bravery which are detailed in this volume.