|Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
|Awarded by Nazi Germany|
|Awarded for||Awarded to holders of the Iron Cross to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership|
|Campaign||World War II|
|Established||1 September 1939|
|First awarded||30 September 1939|
|Last awarded||11 May 1945 / 17 June 1945[a]|
|Next (higher)||Grand Cross of the Iron Cross|
|Next (lower)||Iron Cross 1st Class|
Insignia of 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS
The 15th Waffen-Grenadierdivision der SS (lett. Nr. 1) was formed in the Waffen SS's drive for manpower in the wake of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. After a successful recruitment drive in the Reichskommissariat Ostland (Baltic states) for the Nazi anti-partisan brigades, Heinrich Himmler formed Baltic legions by late August 1942, including the Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Legion, the nucleus of the later 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS. The Division fought on the Pomeranian Wall defences at Podgaje, 2 February 1945.
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 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  of June 3, 1940. In 1941 two higher grades of the Knight's Cross were instituted. The enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613  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  of December 29, 1944 concluded the variants of the Knight's Cross.
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.
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
- Adolf Ax, SS-Oberführer, 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian), 9 May 1945
- Nicolaus Heilmann, SS-Oberführer, 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian), 23 August 1944
- Erich Wulff, SS-Sturmbannführer, 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian) 9 May 1945 
Waffen Panzergrenadier Regiment 32
- Kārlis Aperāts, Waffen Obersturmbannführer, 32nd Waffen Panzergrenadier Regiment der SS, 21 September 1944 
- Encyclopædia Britannica
- Majewski, Ryszard: Waffen SS. Mity i rzeczywistość. , Wrocław : Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, 1983, s. 247, ISBN 83-03-00102-7
- Polski czyn zbrojny w II wojnie światowej., Warszawa : Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej, 1988, s.531 (tom 3), ISBN 83-11-07038-5
- Ważniejsze bitwy na Wale Pomorskim podczas II wojny światowej "webpark". http://sente.webpark.pl/walpom.htm Ważniejsze bitwy na Wale Pomorskim podczas II wojny światowej.
- @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 1573; 1 September 1939
- @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 849; 3 June 1940
- @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 613; 28 September 1941
- @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11; 29 December 1944
- "axis.history.factbook". http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=1727.
- 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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