Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

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Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Grouping to Afrikakorps Knight's Cross recipient Oberst Knabe

Grouping to Afrikakorps Knight's Cross recipient Oberst Knabe

LOT 63-1072
Sold through our auction in November 2022
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PERIOD 1918 — 1945
COUNTRY Germany 1918 - 1945
MAKER view maker
LOT 63-1072
EAN 2000000705682
LOT 63-1072
PERIOD 1918 — 1945
COUNTRY Germany 1918 - 1945
EAN 2000000705682
MAKER view maker
PERIOD 1918 — 1945
COUNTRY Germany 1918 - 1945
LOT 63-1072
EAN 2000000705682
MAKER view maker
Germany 1918 - 1945
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross


Untouched grouping to Oberst Gustav Georg Knabe. Knabe was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 1.6.1941 in Africa serving as commander of Kradschützen-Batallion 15. Our consignor states he purchased the grouping directly of the family and confirms it was never available on the market before! Knabe also served as commander of Schützen-Regiment 104. After his service in Africa, Knabe later served in Landau as commander of Panzer-Truppen XII taking care of new units sent to support the Afrikakorps.

His son published a book wartime memories in 2008. "Fahnenflucht" mit Marschbefehl by Hubertus Knabe.

Knabe was born on 8.7.1897 and died on 13.12.1972.

Our consignor set up this comprehensive grouping in a very accurate way spending many hours with research. We decided to present the grouping inside his folders. 
A high-quality brown folder with case was used to keep the most important document such as his award documents. The documents were sorted chronologically.

Brown folder:
Certificate to the Knight's Cross issued on 4.6.1941. Original ink signature of Generalfeldmarschall von Brauchitsch. "Oberkommando des Heeres - Heerespersonalamt" stamped. Issued to "Oberstleutnant Knabe, Kdr. Kradschtz.Btl.15" on 1.6.1941.
Not folded! Excellent condition!

30.5.1941 dated letter of approval by "Der Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres" von Brauchitsch to Knabe stating that Rommel has reported his outstanding achivements during the battles of Capuzzo and Sollum. This letter was shipped with the actual "Anerkennungsurkunde". Ink signature of von Brauchitsch.

Actual certificate of approval "besondere Anerkennung für seine hervorragende Leistungen auf dem Schlachtfeld in Nordafrika am 27. April 1941". Damaged to the bottom. Not folded. 1.5.1941 daed. Issued to Knabe serving as commander of Kradschützenbataillon 15. Knabe referrs to his Knight's Cross awarding!


A period time photo postcard with original ink signature of Knabe. He wears his tropical tunic with Knight's Cross. 

"Geheim" marked document on the commander of 15. Schützen-Brigade Oberst Menny" classified as "too critical". Adresse to Knabe and sent by the commander of 15. Panzer-Division in Africa Walter Neumann-Silkow was died on 9.12.1941 in a military hospital in Derna, only three month later. Including the original envelope.

Certificate to the Tank Assault Badge in bronze issued to Knabe serving with Schützen-Regiment 104. "Afrika, den 1.10.1941" dated. Ink signature of Johann von Ravenstein, commander of 21. Panzer-Division in Africa. Folded once. Damage to the left.
It comes with a "Afrika, den 23.8.42" dated letter shipped with the award document the Assault Badge and an Italian-German Campaign medal as it says. Original pencil signature Knight's Cross recipient Herbert Ewert.

Another 1.10.41 dated certificate to the Tank Assault Badge in bronze stamped by "Kdo. 21. Panz.Div." Dated "Afrika, den 1.10.41" and signed by Generalmajor Georg von Bismarck. Not folded. Two holes.

A 29.12.42 dated letter signed by "Der Chef des SS-Personalhauptamtes" Generalleutnant von Herff who served with Knabe earlier in Afrika commander "Kampfgruppe Herff". To the reverse, there is the reply of Knabe which he wrote with pencil as a sample. Folded twice. Some damage. 

Excellent certificate to the cuffband "Afrika" issued on 13.10.1943 in Landau. Original ink signature Generalleuntnant Friedrich-Karl von Wachter. Issued to Oberst Gustav Knabe serving with "Stab/Kdr. d. Panzer-Truppen XII". Filled out by hand. Not folded. 

Original aerial photos taken in Africa. Notes on the back. Original letters sent and received from Italian auxiliaries. 

"In Afrika, den 28.4.1941" dated "Bataillons-Tagesbefehl" of Kradschützen-Bataillon 15 with original signature of Knabe. Another one with printed signature dated 11.11.1940. A third "Tagesbefehl" dated "Afrika, 7.6.1941" with original signature of Knabe. 

A "Sollum , den 6.7.1941" dated menu along with two hand-painted seat reservation cards named to Oberstleutnant Knabe. 

16.7.1941 dated "Bataillons-Tagesbefehl" with original signature of Knabe reporting about leaving Kradschützen-Bataillon 15 and becoming the new commander of Schützen-Regiment 104. 

Original letter "Afrika, den 16.7.1941" letter sent from Kabe to Curt Ehle (commander of Kradschützen-Btl. 15 after Knabe), sending best wished about the awarding of his Knight's Cross. 

A rare hand-written document "Geleitzug des Kradschützenbtl. 15" on the transfer from Neapel to Africa.

A "Afrika, den 7.6.1941" dated "Btl.-Tagesbefehl" signed by Knabe informing his batallion about this Knight's Cross awarding!

Several other very interesting document with original signatures of Ehlert and Ehle. 

A hand-painted picture of Northafrica given to Knabe by the officers of Kraschützen-Batl. 15 presented to him on 12.7.1941. Folded once. 

Large size black folder:
An impressive collection of 19 original drawings. Most were painted at Sollum or Capuzzo and are signed by "Kurt Caesar", a well known German-Italian artist and war interpreter for Erwin Rommel. Furthermore, one 1942 leaflet.

Knabe's personal copy of "Marsch und Kampf des D.A.K. 1941". Good condition with signs of use. 
An unworn AFRIKAKORPS cufftitle wrapped in paper. Full size. Minor corrosion.
German-Italian Campaign Medal with ribbon and original bag.

Black folder "Nachlass Oberstleutnant Knabe Flugblätter & Zeitungen":
An extensive collection of documents, newspapers, Africa maps and "enemy propaganda leftleats" collected by Knabe. He set up an inventory list you can find at the beginning of the folder. Too much to show all on the photos. Many things are Kradschützen Btl. 15 related.

Black folder "Nachlass Oberstleutnant Knabe Kradschützenbataillon 15 Schützenregiment 104 Afrika":
A very interesting document collection with nearly all documents related to the African Campaign. Set up by Knabe who did a detailed inventory list at the beginning of the folder.
A treasure trove on both of his units proving never published information on his soldiers, commanders and the units themselves. Too much to show on the pictures! Including hundreds of pages of war diaries. See his inventory list. 

Black folder "Nachlass Oberstleutnant Knabe Kommandeur der XII. Panzertruppen"
Hundreds of documents, receipts, letters and other documents to Knabe. Many interesting signatures and information on Knabe and his service time after the Africa Campaign. 

See description
Historical information


Knights Cross of the Order of the Iron Cross


1. September 1939 as the third and new grade of the re-instituted Order of the Iron Cross


The Knights Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded for exceptional bravery in the face of the enemy and for outstanding merit in troop leadership. The awarding required the previous awarding of the two lower grades. The Knights Cross was solely awarded by the Führer upon the proposal of the soldiers unit and issued by the Heerespersonalamt. The Knights Crosses were stored at the Ordenskanzlei in Berlin, to be sent to the awardee after approval. There were no Knights Crosses stored at any level of the Wehrmacht before the end of April 1945.


The Knights Cross of the Iron Cross was produced by seven manufacturers, not including variations amongst the individual companies. The Knights Crosses can be found either unmarked (early Juncker and 3/4 Ring), with a silver content mark, with an LDO number (L/12 and L/52), and later on with the company’s Präsidialkanzlei number (2, 20, 65, and 4). Private sales were forbidden after October 1941.


Accurate numbers are not known but the closest estimation is around 7,200, and most likely another couple of hundred on stock at the Präsidialkanzlei.


The awardee received a preliminary document in A5 format and issued in the name of the Führer by the responsible personnel offices of the three branches of the Wehrmacht. The formal document (Große Mappe) was issued later and only until date of late 1942 / early 1943 due to the huge backlog.


The Knights Cross was worn around the neck on a wider red white and black ribbon which came within the black award case of the Knights Cross.