German Cross in Gold

Discussions on Axis awards and decorations. Hosted by John G & William Kramer.
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German Cross in Gold

Post by Cult Icon » 24 Jan 2019 05:53

Was this award primarily given to infantrymen in combat units rather than armor?

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Re: German Cross in Gold

Post by John G. » 24 Jan 2019 13:22

The German Cross in gold could be awarded to anyone in the military (including Police & RAD who served in combat)... all branches, etc. It was a bridge between the Iron Cross 1st Cl. and the Knights Cross. Also awarded for leadership to higher ranking officers, etc.
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Re: German Cross in Gold

Post by freddiefro » 24 Jan 2019 15:14

John G. wrote:
24 Jan 2019 13:22
The German Cross in gold could be awarded to anyone in the military (including Police & RAD who served in combat)... all branches, etc. It was a bridge between the Iron Cross 1st Cl. and the Knights Cross.
I'm not sure that is totally accurate. Below is from Mark C. Yerger's "German Cross in Gold, Vol. 1":

"The German Cross in Gold was awarded for bravery in the field or combat leadership. Unlike the Knights Cross, multiple instances of bravery or leadership were required to be related in the recommendation form. The minimum found is three or four acts of bravery and most are of a higher number. The German Cross in Gold is a separate and unique award, not a progression from the Iron Cross 1st Class to the Knights Cross. This is a common misconception."

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Re: German Cross in Gold

Post by Cult Icon » 24 Jan 2019 15:36

^
Yes, I ask this question while I am reading Yerger's Totenkopf II. The overwhelming majority of GCG's in Totenkopf II are awarded to infantry or support arms, and not armor related units.

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Re: German Cross in Gold

Post by John G. » 24 Jan 2019 18:14

I didn't say it was a progression of the Iron Cross.... But filled the need for an award bridging the gap between the EK and the Knights Cross...
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Re: German Cross in Gold

Post by HPL2008 » 27 Jan 2019 11:46

John G. wrote:
24 Jan 2019 18:14
I didn't say it was a progression of the Iron Cross.... But filled the need for an award bridging the gap between the EK and the Knights Cross...

Exaxctly, and that is, in fact, the very reason it was created.

In the autumn of 1941, the war entered its third year, and it was clear that it wouldn't be over anytime soon. A high number of servicemen had already been awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class or the War Merit Cross 1st Class early in the war and continued to distinguish themselves in a way that would have long qualified them for those decorations several times over, but not in such an exceptional way that they qualified for the respective Knight's Cross.

Creating the possibility to make multiple awards of the same grade was out of the question, as it would have been a complete breach of time-honored traditions and practices. Lowering the criteria for the Knight's Cross grade of these decorations was not desirable, either, as it would have inflated their award numbers and diminished their value and status.

Thus, creating a new decoration for those who had already been awarded the EK I or the KVK I and were deserving of additional honors was the logical choice and that new decoration was the German Cross in Gold and Silver. The GC in Gold was awarded for multiple acts of bravery or multiple instances of command achievements after the award of the EK I; the GC in Silver was awarded for multiple exceptional achievements in military warfare after the award of the KVK I.

Note that in both cases, the previous award of the 1st Class cross was a necessary prerequisite for the award of the German Cross. (However, an award of the German Cross was not necessary for an award of the respective Knight's Cross, and the German Cross could even be awarded after the Knight's Cross, too.)

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Re: German Cross in Gold

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Jan 2019 03:02

Between the Knight's Cross and the German Cross, the latter comes across as a better measure of consistent, high performance that is less influenced by interests of propaganda, promoting the achievements of a division or is an extreme outlier (like a lot of tank kills in one day with PAK or an exceptional day of military performance, which may never happen again). RK comes across as mostly legitimately awarded but with significant awards that are of an ephemeral nature.

Other measures of consistency (close combat clasp, panzer assault badge ) are good too although they are not about "quality" of performance like the German Cross.

I kind of answered my question by referring to Axishistory threads that compile panzer aces. The ones that have RK (extreme performance), German Cross in Gold, and Panzer Assault Badge 50, 75, or 100 comes across as more credible than the one-day wonders.

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Re: German Cross in Gold

Post by offizier1916 » 28 Jan 2019 14:35

you also have to emphasize the difference between front officers (or NCOS, Soldiers) and Officers in staff positions. The staff officer is (way) behind the frontline in the warm bunker/shelter, studying Maps or playing war games in a french Castle, whereas the front officer (or soldier) has to distinguish himself in a way more dangerous manner, often sacrificing himself.
I remember reading a book about a resistence member who was a staff officer. As the Ostfront was collapsing in Summer 44, he criticized that the staff members were always evacuated with a train, consuming great food, alcohol and cigars, while the "simple" front solider/officer was doomed. I mean we are not talking about a staff position in occupied France. We are talking about a staff position whilst the Ostfront was collapsing like a house of cards
Last edited by offizier1916 on 28 Jan 2019 19:01, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: German Cross in Gold

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Jan 2019 16:26

I've been reading Mooney's and Yerger's RK/GCG materials and it looks like the GCG is more of a "front" award than the RK with more NCOs winning it compared to the RK (vast majority of RK's given to officers).

The rationale for awarding the RK for ground troops appears to be wide ranging- from a NCO knocking out 15 tanks with a Pak or AFV in one day to a regiment- Army Group commander with a significantly long track record of high results. It is frequently awarded for a combat action that had regimental or divisional level-impact on the field- the fortunes of war have much to do with it, too. So many field officers won the award.

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Re: German Cross in Gold

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Jan 2019 20:17

I went to the "Awardholders" thread and did a compilation for a few elite divisions-

-1/4th of GCG went to Pz, Stug, PzJ units in SSLAH
-1/5th of GCG went to Pz, Stug, PzJ units of DR
-1/10th of GCG went to Pz, Stug, PzJ units of TK
-1/7th of GCG went to Pz, PzJ units of Wiking
-1/6th of GCG went to Pz, Stug, PzJ units of G.D.

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