49th Contemporary History Auction

Bidding on 1919 lots has ended on 15th May 2022. 83% of all lots sold

1323 |

Africa campaign German Cross in Gold grouping to Lt. Deiss

Africa campaign German Cross in Gold grouping to Lt. Deiss

LOT 59-1323
Auction ended        15th May 2022  |  04:52 pm CEST

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PERIOD 1918 — 1945
COUNTRY Germany 1918 - 1945
LOT 59-1323
EAN 2000000663319
LOT 59-1323
PERIOD 1918 — 1945
COUNTRY Germany 1918 - 1945
EAN 2000000663319
PERIOD 1918 — 1945
COUNTRY Germany 1918 - 1945
LOT 59-1323
EAN 2000000663319
Germany 1918 - 1945
Africa campaign German Cross in Gold grouping to Lt. Deiss


A grouping of great historical importance to Leutnant Erwin Deiss, born on 18.5.1913. Deiss has not only served in Africa. He achieved 238 sorties serving in France, Russia and Africa. He served from 1933 until 3.5.1945. His grouping contains over 1300 original photographs including two photos of Hans-Joachim Marseille. Erwin Deiss was a recipient of the Luftwaffe Honor Goblet and the German Cross in gold.

His grouping came straight of the grandson and is available on the market for the first time!

Certificate to the German Cross in gold. Luftwaffe type issued on 26.7.1944. Folded once. Wrinkles, small rips. Signs of age.
It comes with a 20.8. dated telegram of appreciation congratulating to the German Cross in gold award.

Certificate to the Squadron Clasp for Aufklärer in bronze. Folded once. 29.6.1941. Signed by "Der Kommendeur der Luftwaffe bei der Panzer-Gruppe 3". Rarely stamped. "Der Kommendeur der Luftwaffe bei der Panzer-Gruppe 3"

Certificate to the Squadron Clasp for Aufklärer in silver. Folded once. 1.8.1942. Signed by Major and Gruppenkommandeur. 

There is an "Antrag" application for the award of the Squadron Clasp in gold stating 200 sorties. 

Certificate to the Observer Badge. 27.7.1937 issued. Original ink signature of Ritter von Greim. Not folded. 

Certificate to the 4th Class Long Service Award issued on 1.7.1937 serving with Aufklärungsgruppe 114.
Ink signature of a Generalmajor. Not folded.

A rare color printed certificate to the German-Italian Commemorative Campaign Medal signed by his Staffelkapitän. Folded once.
Very nice condition. A rare example only issued to members of Aufklärungsstaffel 4.H)12.

Color printed certificate to the cuffband AFRIKA. Signed by a Major. Ink. 20.6.43 dated. Folded once.

Certificate of appreciation presented for the 100th sorty! Original signature of his commander. Issued by "Nah-Aufklärungs-Gruppe 4 (Eins.)
Not folded. Agfa-Lupex paper. 

Oberfeldwebel promotion certificate dated 1940. Signed by the Staffelkapitän of Aufklärungsstaffel 4./H)/12. Folded once.

A color Feldwebel promotion certificate issued by Aufklärungsgruppe 14- Original ink signature of the Gruppenkommandeur.

There are two loose pages of his Soldbuch confirming all awards he was presented. In addition to the citations part of this grouping, the list confirms the award of the Honor Goblet and the Squadron Clasp in gold with hanger "200". 

German Cross in gold by Zimmermann. "20" maker marked to the reverse of the pin. Rarely engraved with the owner's details to the back-plate:
"U. Er. Deiß L05503 LgPa Wien,12a Nürtingen a.N. Neuffenerstr.102"
Nice patina. Worn. No damage. 
Inside its original case of issue opening and closing correctly. Including a 14.9.44 dated piece of the local newspaper announcing that Deiß was awarded the German Cross. 

Squadron Clasp for Auflkärer in gold with hanger "200". No damage. Great patina. Zinc. Unmarked.
Squadron Clasp for Aufklärer in silver. Nice patina. Tombak. Unmarked.
Squadron Clasp for Aufklärer in bronze. Nice patina. Tombak. Unmarked.
Observer Badge. Zinc. Made by Meybauer. "P.M" maker marked.
1939 Iron Cross 1st Class. L/11 maker marked. "Deiss" named to the reverse as well as engraved with his address details.
1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class with ribbon. Unmarked.
4 years Long Service Award on bar
Bronze Italian-German Campaign Medal
Wound Badge in black 1st pattern.
Sudetenland Medal with ribon
A 4 place ribbon bar identifying Deiss as an Africa veteran.

A rare Afrika related Squadron unit pin (2.(H) 14) with intact set-up!

Several postwar pins.
A matching set of collar tabs and shoulder boards as well as an excellent aluminum breast eagle (assmann) for the summer tunic and his personal ID tag. 

Single photos, photo booklet:
Three large size unit photos including interesting information regarding names and dates. Deiss is also shown.
A rare unit internal photo booklet "Von der Meml zum Wop" commemorating his service time in the East.
23 photo pages in total.

Lot of 10 interesting photos including photos of Deiss being celebrating his 500th mission in Africa. He is shown with his crew on the airfield.
A small lot of postwar replica photos related to him.

Photo albums:

There are five albums/folders in total whereas the most interesting photos are kept in the black folder. Part of this folder are original photos of Hans-Joachim Marseille as well as many other taken in Africa.

Black folder (mainly on Afrika campaign)
The folder starts with photos taken on 13.10.1940 showing Deiss and his compared in tropical uniforms about to leave for Africa. The arrived in Derna in October 1940. The following pages document his time in Africa from 1941-1942. A few pictures were taken during the celebrations of his crew's 500th mission on the airfield Bir el Abd on 4.8.1942. His Me 110 in shown in the background. 
There are also photos taken in Athens, Kreta and Italy but the main photos were taken in Africa. The photos taken in Africa contain two original photos of Hans-Joachim Marseille. Please see close-ups. 

Later photos are also including. Some show the awarding of the German Cross in gold and the Squadron Clasp with hanger "200" to Deiss!

At the end of the folder, Deiss kept newspaper articles (period time and postwar) which were important to him. There is one "Adler" magazine telling the story of his 500th mission for axample.
217 photos in total

Orange folder with note "alte Erinnerungen (lustiges) aus dem II. Weltkrieg 1939-1945"
Starting in 1939. Photos taken during the France Campaign. Photos taken from 1939-1944. At the half of the album, photos of his service time with 2./ /11 starting. Very interesting photographs including photos of his aircraft shot down by a Russian tank during his 199th sortie in Poland. Rare 1944 dated photos. Some showing Deiss with his German Cross. The last photos were taken in January 1945. A fantastic album!
218 photos in total.

Orange folder without notes on the cover
Mainly an album containing portraits of his closest friends, photo of his family and Luftwaffe service time photos to the end.
Some photos are clearly Afrika related and contain additional information on the soldiers and what happend to them.
Towards the end, there are postwar newspaper articles on Rudel's funeral. 
192 photos in total

Prewar album 1933 - 1937 (cloth cover)
Large size album with 279 photos in total documenting his service time with the Reichswehr as a Pionier (from 1933) and Luftwaffe (from 1936). Ending in 1937. A few 1940s photographs towards the end.
279 photos in total.

France and Eastern campaigns (large size brown leather cover with crest)
77 pictures documenting the France campaign in 1940.
119 photos documenting the Eastern campaign starting on 22.6.1941. Stunning Luftwaffe aircraft and crew related photos. Photos of his own aircraft over Russian territory. His crew survived. 
41 photos of crew members with names!
More pages on the Western Campaign with 165 photos.
402 photos in total

A 1941 dated sport contest card issued to Deiß serving with 4.(H)12
A color drawing of his "Staffelabzeichen" unit crest of 3./N.A.G.4 (Eins). DIN A4 size
A handwritten poem dedicated to his 32th birthday issued on 18.5.1945.
Mein Kampf book named to Deiß.

Flight book dated 8.5.1936 mentioning all units he served from 1936 until 1945 to the first page. On page 39, he added all sorties up:
1-19 France
29-31 Russia
32-72 Afrika (HS126 and Bf110)
73-138 Russia
139- 238 Russia

The flightbook however ends on 31.3.1944. His second flight book lost as he states on page 39.
There are 741 missions listed.

One envelope full of period time bank notes.
Propaganda book "Balkenkreuz über Wüstensand" on the Afrika campaign. With an ink 1943 dedication.

A wooden plate listing all his awards dated "Heilbronn 1945". Hand-engraved. It lists all awards from 1939 until 1944 including the German Cross in gold and the Honor Goblet. Unique! 


Historical information


German Cross in Gold


28. September 1941 as a military order in two grades. A special grade, the German Cross in Gold with Diamonds was planned and prototypes were made.


The golden grade was awarded for multiple exceptional deeds of bravery or leadership and the silver grade for exceptional deeds in troop leadership. The award of the Iron Cross 1. Class, the Spange 1. Class , or the War Merit Cross 1. Class was a pre-requisite for the awarding of the German Cross. The German Cross was located above the Iron Cross 1. Class and War Merit Cross 1. Class but below the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, respectively the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross.


The German Cross was awarded by the decision of the supreme commanders of the three army branches.

The German Cross was produced by five known manufacturers and maybe one or two not yet known companies. The known manufacturers are Deschler & Sohn, who designed the cross, Gebrüder Godet, C.E. Juncker, C.F. Zimmermann, and Otto Klein.

Early crosses are unmarked and from the end of 1942/early 1943 onwards, the crosses were marked with the Präsidialkanzlei numbers of the companies.

Due to the heavy and slightly bulky nature of the award, a cloth version was authorized in June 1942. The cloth version can be found with eight different cloth backing colors: field gray (army), dark blue (navy), blue-gray (LW), black (tank forces), stone gray (assault gun), olive (Africa Heer), light khaki (Africa LW), and white (summer uniform).


Accurate numbers are not known but the closest estimation based on surviving documents are 25,964 for the gold grade and 2,471 for the silver grade. A known total of eleven soldiers were awarded both grades.

The crosses were mainly stored and registered at the Präsidalkanzlei and were given out by this office. It is possible that smaller numbers were stored at the personnel offices of the three army branches.


The Heer issued preliminary award documents in the format A5, followed by a larger (356 mm x 254 mm) formal document. The Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine never issued any preliminary documents, only the formal ones in the same size as the formal document of the Heer.


The German Cross was worn at the right side of the uniform on the breast pocket.