This medal/decoration was made to comply with the new German laws of 1957 Without Banned Nazi Swastika, instead showing the history revised Oak Leaf.
Awarded to German WWII combat Veterans' who were entitled to wear this one of Germany's highest Bravery decorations for the highest acts of Gallantry in in the face of the enemy, combat actions on the battlefields of WWII.
This type of German Order was re-awarded without the Swastika to those who served in WWII and then continued their military careers in the newly formed post WWII German (Bundeswehr) Federal Defense Force which was formed in the 1950's, now again proudly wearing these German Gallantry Orders on their military tunics, serving with allied NATO forces in the Cold War against the then Soviet Union. Also worn by veterans' to their once yearly unit Kriegs Kameraden reunions.
AWARD HISTORY: The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, often simply Ritterkreuz) was a grade of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was the highest award of Germany to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership during World War II. It was the second highest military Order of the Third Reich, second only to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross, which was awarded to victorious generals and only awarded once to Herman Goering.
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. Also, U-boat commanders could qualify for sinking 100,000 tons of shipping, and Luftwaffe pilots could qualify for accumulating 30 "points" [with one point being awarded for shooting down a single-engine plane, two points for a twin-engine plane, and three for a four-engine plane, with all points being doubled at night]. It was issued from 1939-45, with the requirements being gradually raised as the war went on, some 7,318 Knights Crosses were awarded during WWII.