There was a short and simple question six years ago – well, we think the biggest part of the job is done!
With the six-year anniversary of this thread upon us, Bernd and I wish to take this opportunity to announce the completion of the bulk of the awards project.
This project, which was begun by Marcus on June 26, 2002, and re-started in August 2006, would not have reached fruition without the talents and resources of many dedicated researchers from virtually every corner of the globe who have given freely of their time and expertise.
What began as an attempt to categorize the holders of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross by unit evolved into a massive, worldwide effort to place the holders of ALL the major awards of the Wehrmacht with their higher headquarters unit of record. This process, which led many of us to delve deeply into the historiography of German WWII organizational structure and development, has resulted in the placement of the holders of the following major awards by unit:
Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross (and all higher grades)
Knight’s Cross of the War Merit Cross
German Cross in Gold
German Cross in Silver
Close Combat Clasp in Gold
Honor Roll Clasp
Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (unit-level and personal awards)
Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army for Shooting Down Aircraft (unit-level and personal awards)
Romanian Order of Michael the Brave, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Classes
Finnish Order of the Cross of Liberty, 1st Class with Swords (and all higher grades)
After an immense expenditure of effort over the past six years – with the lion’s share occurring in the last two years – by all concerned, Bernd and I can state with confidence that the placement of virtually all the major award holders of the Heer, Waffen-SS, and Kriegsmarine is complete! While a small number of award holders have yet to be placed (research on these will continue), the vast majority have been properly matched with their unit of record. Therefore what we consider “Phase 1” of the project is finished!
Once all the award lists have been added to their respective unit pages on the Axis History Factbook, we believe the final product will be of great value to researchers and historians alike.
Unfortunately, the primary sources used so far for the holders of the German Cross in Gold and Honor Roll Clasps of the Luftwaffe, Horst Scheibert’s Die Träger des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold (Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe, Waffen-SS) und Deutschen Kreuzes in Silber (Heer, Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe, Waffen-SS and Die Träger der Ehrenblattspange des Heeres und der Waffen-SS/ Die Träger der Ehrentaffelspange der Kriegsmarine/ Die Inhaber des Ehrenpokals für Besondere Leistung im Lukftkrieg, lacks, in almost all cases, an identifiable unit. Thus, the Luftwaffe portion of the project is comprised primarily of the holders of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grades.
As one of the inevitable consequences of a project of this scope, we totally overlooked Veit Scherzer’s Die Träger des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold der Luftwaffe 1941- 1945, 1. Aufl., 1992, Nickel (Zweibrücken). We have access to this work and, combined with the standard, step-by-step re-check procedure, the treatment of this section will be classified as part of “Phase 2” of the project.
Other goals for “Phase 2” include classifying the award holders by unit that are grouped under the heading of “raw data” (see page 105 of this thread) and clearing up the “research points / open questions” found on page 80. Also, any award holders that might have been overlooked will be added in this phase. The inclusion of the holders of the Bandenkampfabzeichen (Anti-Partisan War Badge) in Gold is also on the agenda for this phase.
We would like very much to add the German holders of the top grades of many more foreign awards in “Phase 2”. We welcome the participation by anyone who has access to verified rosters, official orders, etc., documenting the German holders of orders and decorations from Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland, Croatia, and Slovakia.
This project, immense in scope and rich in detail, could not have become a reality without the help of many individuals. We wish to acknowledge the assistance of the following people for their significant contributions to this project:
Mark V. (Marko)
MICHAELM82 (Michael C. Mcabee)
Bjørn from Norway
We also wish to thank other great forums and many members there, especially feldgrau.net and panzer-archiv.de for having granted us the opportunity to take important and interesting information from the sites. “Information not shared is lost” – this certainly sums up the spirit of friendly co-existence and co-operation enjoyed by the AHF / Feldgrau / Panzer-Archive research community!
Shawn & Bernd
We would be remiss if we failed to extend a special thanks to:
Marcus Wendel for providing and maintaining this great forum! Thank you for your great co-operation and providing the possibility to get all this “on track” and to finally have all the stuff listed on the Axis History Factbook.
Jan-Hendrik, dear friend, thank you very much for the time, the knowledge and the material you have put into this project – it is always a pleasure! Thanks for digging out an answer to many an obscure topic from seemingly nowhere!