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Gentleman's Military Interest Club


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About Dietrich

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    Knights Cross, German Cross, Iron Cross

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  1. Mark, the mini is inscribed "For Distinguished Conduct in the Filed" on the reverse. I noticed that this type is listed in the Medal Yearbook 2017 for £ 70-100 which seems to indicate a quite rare item, just as you said. Thanks again, Dietrich
  2. Thanks again for the answers. I bought the bar simply because of the QSA miniature since that is what I mainly was after. When I got it I thought it might be able to trace the owner. However, it is completely unimportant to me. And it could very well be that it is “fabricated”. Thanks again for your help!
  3. Dear friends, I bought this miniature bar a couple of days ago and was wondering whether it is possible to determine the recipient? The ribbons were loosely attached to the bar and I am reasonably sure it is the original combination. Thank you very much for any help, greatly appreciated! Dietrich Maerz
  4. Otto Schickle made KVKs in both classes and with and without swords. They are either unmarked or marked L/15. After mid 1941 Otto Schickle was no longer allowed to produce orders and medals of the period past 1933 by order of the PKZ. The LDO number "L/15" was never reissued. It has been established by research and personal interviews with the person concerned that L 15 marked orders and medals, especially those which use mixed hardware from Vienna manufacturers (Orth, Souval, ..), are post war productions, using left over parts. It has been argued that the use of L 15 (w/o the "/") was an early mix up by Orth with his PKZ number "15". This is not supported by the evidence, especially because there are post war fakes with 100% new parts also marked "L 15". I personally consider everything marked L 15 a post war production. Dietrich
  5. Hi Chris, yes I am sure. (Merkblatt 15/5, Ausgabe 1. Juli 1943, Eisernes Kreuz, Richtlinien und Zusätze des Oberkommando des Heeres, 1.3. 1943, Absatz III Personenkreis Sonderbestimmungen). Dietrich
  6. This is correct, but not quite. It was only an "automatic" EK2 if the Wound Badge in Silver or Gold was awarded for an amputation due to frostbite (while at the front!) or if the Wound Badge in Silver or Gold was awarded for one exceptional single wound. An "automatic" EK2 was not possible if a soldier received the Silver or Gold grade of the Wound Badge due to the accumulation of the required (three resp. five single wounds). Dietrich
  7. I cannot really comment on the earlier versions of the EK only that I think just based on the award numbers of the EK2 in the First World War it lost some of its initial grandeur. This happened again in the Second World War were the EK2 at the end was given to kids. Who doesn't remember the terrible pictures of Hitler awarding the EK2 to HJ boys in the ruins of his chancellery? Despite the other awards Chris mentioned (some of them were proficiency badges and combat award badges, not bravery decorations), the EK1 had still a very high value. One could not be awarded the German Cross in Gold (the second highest bravery award) without the EK1 and EK2 ( or the Spangen thereof). Even the Close Combat Clasp was not tied to individual acts of bravery (like the RK or the GC) but rather to the accumulation of close combat days (which certainly required a lot of bravery, I know that!). The Knights Cross of 1939 is a perfect example of the transition (maybe even degeneration) from an extremely high award to a more common award. The Knights Cross was still a very high award at the end of the war, but one should not forget that it was also a propaganda tool. The addition of the higher grades (which were basically second, third and fourth awards of the Knights Cross itself) is another indication of the inflationary tendency. A simple graph which I included in my book makes clear what I mean. At the end of 1941, after the attack on the SU and after the battle for Moskau only 11% of all Knights Crosses were awarded. One can hardly say that the time frame between the Polish campaign and this date was not filled with fewer deeds of bravery then the timeframe after 1941. Another very telling point is that 50% percentille of all Knights Crosses awarded was December 1943! Meaning that in the last 17 months of the war as much RKs were awarded as in the 52 months before. I think that this is a clear indication of a transition of a highly coveted and rare bravery award to one that was more and more used as a motivational tool - just like the EK2 was awarded in far greater numbers towards the end. It is unfortunate that such a graph cannot be constructed for the EK1 or EK2 due to reliable data. But I am sure it is similar if not more dramatic! (As a side note: the 50 percentile for the Oaks and for the Swords is March 1944 resp. July 1944 - supporting the above data and notion) Certainly I do not think that the German soldier was either less brave in the first 52 months of the war nor was he more audacious in the last 17 month. Fact is, that Hitler himself approved every RK personally and that it was his decision to award more after the Invasion of Normandy and the Battles in the East. He certainly knew the motivational value of a Knights Cross or higher grade and that of an EK2 to a little boy he was shamelessly sending into the lost Battle for Berlin. Dietrich
  8. Which RK maker

    Chris, what you have there is something that happened quite often: the adding of a cross to a group where it was missing. The main type to be found in this case are the post war B-Types from S&L with the typical die flaws of that type (which are not present on the war time A-Type). The company of S&L produced all kinds of models for that market and they were sold and bought with all kinds of COAs up until 2006/2007. Today the topic of the RK is covered with an extremely high level of confidence and buying a fake is really more like a self-inflicted wound. Same applies to the oaks and swords, Diamonds are rarely on the market but are also well documented. The very, very few grey items are more for esoteric discussions and should not influence the average collector. Why take the risk in an unproven RK if one can buy an S&L A-Type or an Juncker nearly every day? Why go for a possible S&L set of oaks for high money? Or an L/12 marked one? The questions right now are in regards to defining the time lines even more accurate and assembling data about the rarity of the pieces. One cannot put the extreme rare crosses like the 3/4 Ring, the L/52 or the extreme rare Godet on the same level as the mass produced L/12 and S&L A-Types. Dietrich
  9. Which RK maker

    Chris, to say something definitive I would need better pictures. Dietrich
  10. Hi Gordon, Herbert Steinkopf was awarded the RK on 15. May 1944 while Chef of the 3./GR 467. As far as I can tell from the not so good picture the maker was Klein & Quenzer. Going by the award date and the established time lines for the use of the PKZ code on Knights Crosses (which was around beginning of 1944, despite the introduction of the code in mid-late 1942) I venture to say that the cross is marked "800" on the reverse and "65" and "800" on the loop. The award date of spring 1944 would also be ok for a K&Q. If you have time, take some better pictures of the obverse and reverse, just to make sure! Dietrich PS: Thanks for the nice article for my magazine! It will be in the next issue.
  11. I have, but you haven't. I admire your talent in making a fool out of yourself, though!

  12. Have you figured out the apostrophe thing yet?

  13. Tom, apart form the 'lawless' times between September 1939 and October 1941 where the private sales of the Knights Cross and the higher grades was allowed, there was from October 1941 on only one source and that was the PKZ. I have partial original records which indicate that - as an example since you brought up the possession of two RK by most of the awardees you met - by end of October 1944 only 599 recipients bought replacement crosses from the PKZ. I would think the number for the Oakleaves is lower - it makes no sense to buy just the oakleaves and not the cross. It is unfortunate in our hobby that a lot goes back to "stories" which are absolutely not reconcilable with reality or original documents. And it must also be clear that the Knights Cross and the higher grades (as well as the German Cross) must be treated differently since they were equipped with different sets of rules. A deduction from your medals or even other German medals, such as the EK1 which is even part of the family, is false and misleading. The argument "It was like that here - so it must be like that there" is one of the worst contributions to our hobby. We have to look at every medal, badge and award on its own! Again, in your case the time to produce and sell the "L/21"-marked oakleaves is 7 month.I have not seen a set of L/21 oakleaves other than the Type 1 marked such. I would thin that during my research I would have found a trail. However, I have found tons of spurious marked RKs, oaks, swords, ... Even running the danger of being called names and getting even lower on the "not too fond" level: my book only deals with the official manufacturers of the RK (7), the oaks (1), the swords (1), the diamonds (1), the golden diamonds (1) and the Grand Cross (1). This in extreme depth with all the variation one might find. There are chapters about the LDO, the PKZ, the regulations and such. It is fairly deep. Have a great weekend! Dietrich