|Born||1 September 1915|
|Died||6 June 1996(aged 80)|
|Place of birth||Hohenberg, Lower Austria|
|Place of death||Vienna|
First Austrian Republic (to 1938)|
|Years of service||1936–1945|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
|Other work||Austrian Armed Forces|
Josef Wilhelm Brandner (1 September 1915 – 6 June 1996) was a highly decorated panzer ace in the Wehrmacht during World War II who was one of only 882 recipients who were awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Awards and decorations
- Sudetenland Medal with Prague Castle Bar (1 October 1938)
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class (14 October 1941)
- 1st Class (16 January 1942)
- Eastern Front Medal (August 1, 1942)
- Wound Badge (1939)
- in Black (23 March 1942)
- in Silver (21 August 1943)
- Infantry Assault Badge in Silver (4 April 1942)
- German Cross in Gold (14 September 1943)
- Honour Roll Clasp of the Army (7 September 1944)
- General Assault Badge (100) (20 October 1944)
- Armband Courland (4 May 1945)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Close Combat Clasp
- in Bronze (11 April 1945)
- No evidence of the award can be found in the German National Archives. According to Josef Brandner's own account he received the Oak Leaves from the commanding general of the XXXVIII. Armeekorps, General der Artillerie Kurt Herzog in the Courland Pocket. He didn't mention a date for the presentation. Presumably pictures showing him with Oak Leaves exist. The Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR) assumes a direct presentation from Berlin. The presentation date is also an assumption by the AKCR. A presentation of the Oak Leaves only four to five weeks after the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross is very unlikely. The German National Archives holds numerous records of nominations which have been rejected on the grounds that a high-ranking military award had just been presented. Brandner was a member of the AKCR.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. "Elite of the Third Reich:The Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-1945: A Reference", Helion and Company Limited 2003 p 121.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. "Elite of the Third Reich:The Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-1945: A Reference", Helion and Company Limited 2003 p 84.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 123.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- Kurowski, Franz. (2004). Panzer Aces II:Battle Stories of German Tank Commanders of WWII. Mechanicsburg PA, USA.StackPole Books. ISBN 0-8117-3175-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.