Knights Cross Signatures

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Military Knight's Cross Signatures.

This page gives brief biographies of those Knight's Cross winners who have signed our prints.  We aim to provide some detail on the service history of the signatory - perhaps details of tanks served in or battles fought, and can occasionally provide a photograph too.

Gerhard Fischer (deceased)

German Army Panzer Tank Ace - Knights Cross. Awarded the Knights Cross.

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Erwin Kressmann (deceased)

Oberleutnant, schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 519. Awarded the Knights Cross in 1944. Erwinn Kressmann died on 19th March 2017.

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Oberstleutnant Alfred Rubbel (deceased)

Alfred Rubbel was born in Tilsit on June 28, 1921, and volunteered for the Wehrmacht at the age of eighteen. After his basic training in the infantry replacement regiment 21 and his transfer to the armoured weapon, Alfred Rubbel began the Russian campaign on 22nd June 1942 in the 9th Panzer Regiment 29 of the 12th Panzer Division. First as a charge guard in the chief battalion, then as a guardsman, he experienced the rapid advance of the Army Group to the east. In the fighting around Leningrad on September 3rd, 1941, wounded by grenade splinters, he was transferred to the homeland. In January 1942 he returned to his unit, he took part in the fighting at the Volkhov. After refreshing and rebuilding his company in Silesia, he returned to Panzer Regiment 4 with the long-handled cannon to the Eastern Front. As an unofficial and tank commander, his path led him on a long Panzer raid to the West Caucasus, where the battles in Eastern Caucasus were connected between September and December 1942. In December 1942, he and his comrades in Putlos and Paderborn began the conversion to Panzer VI Tiger. Went to 503th Panzer Division 503, and set in the railway transport in the direction of Rostov, he took part in the retreat to the Dnieper and the battle for the Kessel of Cherkassy as a Panzer commander at Operation Zitadelle, the largest tank battle of the Second World War. After officers' training courses in Ohrdruf and Krampnitz in December 1944, he moved to the 3rd Panzer Division 503, he fought in the King (Tiger II) in Hungary and Austria. At the end of the war, lieutenant of the reserve Alfred Rubbel can look back on a total balance of 57 tank victories in 79 Panzer battles on 81 deployments in the tank and 41 months on the front. He was awarded the Iron Cross I and II. Rubbel was a close friend of Kurt Knispel, a fellow tank commander of Pz Abt 503 and top-scoring Panzer Ace.

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Norbert Kujacinski (deceased)

Born 11th July 1920 in Berlin. Called up to the army in August 1939, he served in the Fench campaign before joining the 23rd Panzer Division on the eastern front. Fighting in the southern area of the eastern front, his unit avoided involvement at Stalingrad, but was used to relieve the forces involved there. His unit had just 20 tanks left by January 1943 - Kujacinski himself had earned the Iron Cross I and II. The rest of the year saw the unit re-equip before fighting at Dnieper towards the end of 1943. At this time, he was awarded the German Cross in Gold. The panzer division broke out of the fighting at Dnieper, reduced by losses to a Kampfgruppe instead of a Division. Towards the latter part of 1944, the unit had considerable success against the Russians in Poland and Hungary - during the attack on Nyiregyhaza in 7 days in October 1944, 600 Russian armoured vehicles were destroyed or captured. It was for his part in this success that Kujacinski was awarded the Knights Cross on 18th November 1944. His unit were still actively fighting in Austria by the time the war ended, and he was taken into US captivity until July 1945. He rejoined the army after the war and retired as an Oberstleutnant. He died on 2nd May 2009.

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Unteroffizier Dr Franz-Wilhelm Lochmann

Franz-Wilhelm Lochmann joined up in 1941, and trained and served as a tank radio operator and machine gunner in I./503 Heavy Tank Division. He fought in 95 tank engagements and finished the war as a Company Commander. He was awarded the Iron Cross I and II.

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Albert Kerscher (deceased)

German Army - Knights Cross with Oak Leaves. Oberfeldwebel Albert Kerscher was, like Otto Carius, a panzer ace from schwere Panzer Abteilung 502. He achieved his 100th kill in defending the Neuhauser Forest near Pillau, East Prussia in April 1945. On 22nd July 1944, 1st Lieutenant Otto Carius with his company of eight Tigers advanced towards the village on Malinava (northern suburb of Dunaburg) in order to halt the Russian advance. Carius and Kerscher took a Kubelwagen in order to check if the village was already in Russian hands. They discovered that Malinava had already been taken by the enemy. Carius recognised that the Russian tanks in the village were only advance troops waiting for the main force to arrive. He decided to recapture the village before the arrival of more Russian tanks. Carius returned to his company for briefing and explained his plan to take the village. He decided to attack the village with only two Tigers because there was only one road leading to the village and it meant very risky business. Six Tigers remained in the reserve while the Tigers of Carius and Kerscher moved towards the village of Malinava. Speed was the essence of the plan to take the Russians by surprise and immobilise their tanks. When they were about to enter the village, they could see two T-34/85 tanks rotating their turrets in their direction. Immediately Kerscher, following Carius at about 150 metres, fired two shots in rapid succession, and destroyed the two enemy tanks. This was the first time that Carius had encountered one of the latest JS-1 heavy tanks. The silhouette of the new heavy Russian tank was somewhat similar to that of the Tiger II, and Carius got confused at first but after a little hesitation, ordered his crew to fire at once, and the JS-1 burst into flames. Afterwards they realised that the entire battle was over in about twenty minutes. In such a short time, the two Tigers of Carius and Kerscher had knocked out 17 Russian tanks including the new JS-1. The Russians were taken by surprise and their quick and accurate perception of the situation were the main factors that led the two Tigers to victory. The achievement of Carius and Kerscher at Malinava is on the same level as the famous action of Michael Wittmann at Villers Bocage. He ended the war with a total score of 107. Albert Kerscher passed away on 12th June 2011.

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Paul Egger (deceased)

Knights Cross winning tank commander, SS Panzer Abteilung 502. Received Knights Cross 28th April 1945. 7th highest scoring Panzer Ace with a score of 113. Paul Egger was born in Mautern , Austria on the 23rd November 1916 and after finnishing high school in June 1935 he worked as a clerk until joining the Luftwaffe in late 1938. paul Egger was already a Glider Pilot and was trained as a bomber Pilot joining Kampfgeschader 51., Flying the Diver Bomber Junkers JU 87 Stuka. Paul Egger took part in the Invassion of Poland. he was then transferred tp Jagdeschwader 27 becoming a fighter Pilot flying the Messerschmitt BF 109 taking part in the Battle of france and the Battle of Britain, flying a total of 112 misions and was shot down three times. He had 2 kills. In his last mission he was shot down over the English Channel and had severe head wounds which stopped him flying and he was eventually transferred to staff duties. Paul Egger voluntered for the Waffen SS in May 1941 and was trained as aanti tank gunner. After traingin ghe moved to the Motorcycle Battalion of the Das reich division and transferred later to the 8th Compnay SS Panzer Regiment 2. As a tank commander he soon hsowed skill as a commander during the battle of Kieve he destroyed 28 tanks, 14 anti tank guns, 8 artillery batteries and 40 various Russian vehicles. In February 1943 durign the Thrid battle of Kharkov he recorded his 65th tank victory but his company was all but wiped out apart form his tank and one other. Paul Egger transferred to the 102 SS Heavy Panzer battalion commanding a Tiger tank in October 1943. After the D - Day landings. Paul Egger battalion was deployed to Normandy where he fought at point 122 destroying 14 allied tanks and 4 anti tank guns. His commander reccomended him for a knights cross for this action but received a German cross in Gold instead. Egger's battalion was almost completely destroyed during the fighting and in September 1944, and reformed in Sennelager Germany and renamed the 502 SS Heavy Panzer Battalion. In 1945 Egger was promoted to Untersturmfuhrer. 502 SS Heavy Panzer Battalion was sent to the Eatsern Front and fought around Stettin. paul Egger destroyed another 19 tanks during the fighting. In April 1945 Egger was promoted to Obersturmfuhrer took over command of the 1st Company. Egger recieved the Knight's Cross by Felix Steiner the commander of the XI SS Panzer Army Commander On the 3 May 1945, Paul Egger became the seventh top panzer ace recording his 113th tank destroyed. Paul Egger escaped from berlin and the Russian but surrendered to the American forces at the River Elbe after being shoot in the arm. he became a prisoner of war for 30 months and released in November 1947. Egger became a sports reporter. In civilian life he became a sports reporter. He died on 12 July 2007.

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Hugo Eichorn (deceased)

Panzer Ace who won the Knights Cross. Waffen SS, 5th SS Viking Division. 8 single-handed tank kills. Died 27th May 1992.

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Hans Hossfelder

2nd Waffen SS Division. Was part of the small group of less than ten troops who captured Belgrade along with 1300 troops in April 1941. Awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. Hans Hossfelder was born on 29 April 1920 in Tarnowitz, a small town north of Breslau in Silesia.He had two Brothers, Hannes, Hugo, and one sister, Klara. His father was a leather tanner and merchant by trade, and had worked for the Imperial stables of the Kaiser during the First World War. The Capture of Belgrade was a interesting event in the war. As partof a Motor Cycle unit Hans Hossfelder had been sent forward to look for any method of crossing the Danube. If any bridges were intact they were to report this back and try to hold it, keeping it from being blown. But all bridges ha dbeen destriyed Aftrer managing to ferry men across the Danube in a motor boat. But the boat sank onm the third crossing whihc left Hossfelder and 6 others on the other bank of the Danube completly cut of from the rest of the unit . We had a radio, four rifles, two MP-38’s, one pistol, and about twenty rounds of ammunition each. The Officer in charge Klingenberg ordered the remainder of the unit to split in two; one group would continue up river looking for a place to cross and the other would establish a security line to prevent any Yugoslav forces from attacking the units rear. Hossfleders small group was to move forward and report back on any enemy movements to our battalion commander, Obersturmbannfuehrer (SS Lieutenant Colonel) Hannes Eckhold. The small unit captures some civilians and used them as a shield as they neared Belgrade. In various captures vehicles they had passed a numbe rof Yougaslavian check points without difficulty, Just outside the city the unit were fired upon when one of the prisoners yelled out and warned his comrades. He was shot, and a 2 hour fire fight begane using up most of the units ammunition Hossfelder and his comrades managed to drive through the soldiers and entered the city where we drove to the city plaza. This was where Klingenberg showed his brilliance. He ordered Hossfelder to raise the German ensign up the flagpole. Soon the mayor arrived and began discussing the terms of surrender, thinking that they were a much larger group. Klingenberg told him that if they did not check in by radio regularly there would be a massive retaliatory bombing. Then, at that moment, German Fiesler ‘Storch’ flew overhead, and thinking quickly, Klingenberg told the mayor that the clock was ticking. What the mayor did not know was that the radio had taken a bullet; it could receive but not transmit. I faked radio traffic for hours, keeping up the illusion. The city agreed that that 1,300 soldiers and militia would surrender their weapons, and Klingenberg ordered the prisoners to quarter themselves in the various hotels and placed a curfew on the city. . The small unit fo 7 men collected every map and document at the mayor’s office and police stations. They also had every doctor and nurse report to them, and also had the chief of police disclose all criminal records for future intelligence work. They also inventoried and stockpiled all the gasoline, oil, and vehicles, and waited. The They used POW’s to repair the runway and we had the locations of all the anti-aircraft positions and mine fields. They had arrived in Belgrade on 12 April, secured the city, and the rest of our division and the headquarters of XLV Corps entered on the evening of the 13th. When the first group entered the city Hossfelder quickly explained the situation to them and had them play along. They had written them off as missing in action when the rest of the unit had not heard from us due to the radio being broken. There was a rumour that we had been captured and tortured for information. . They also found out that the High Command did not believe that Belgrade had been taken, since the force projection was for a siege, not a rapid capture, and Hausser was ordered to inspect for himself. Hossfelder and the entire unit were all decorated with the Iron Cross, and Klingenberg was presented with the Knight’s Cross. Hossfelder was offered a commission and attended the academy at Bad Toelz and was able to attend the following year. The invasion of Russia interrupted the training. Hossfelder fought at Kharkov in 1942 serving under Otto Kumm, then went to the academy, where He finishedhis Offcier trainign in August 1942. and became a platoon leader, and was wounded during an artillery barrage. Hans Hossfelder spent several months recuperating and received the Iron Cross First Class, Wound Badge, and he already had the Infantry Assault and General Assault Badges. He later was assigned to the anti-tank company of ‘Der Fuehrer’ Regiment, and stayed all through the battle of Kursk. After the war he became a schoolteacher and retired in Munich.

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Otto Kumm (deceased)

Born October 1909. SS Tank Commander, commanding 4th Panzer Regiment and also later the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen with the rank of SS Brigadefuhrer and Generalmajor of the Waffen SS. Awarded the Knights Cross 16th February 1942, with Oak Leaves added 6th April 1943 and Swords added 17th March 1945. Died 23rd March 2004.

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Leon Degrelle (deceased)

Leon Degrelle was born in 1906 in the Belgian Ardennes. He studied law and was interested in political science, art, archaeology, and Tomistic philosophy. At the outbreak of the war he was arrested for sympathising with Hitler and was eventually released when Germany took over Belgium. He volunteered for the German Army in 1941 and encouraged some 1,000 Walloons to join him. Degrelle was involved in numerous battles with considerable success capturing one objective after another. It was not long before he came to the attention of officers of the Waffen SS. Himmler incorporated Degrelles Walloons into the Waffen SS and they were sent to various SS training camps. The most famous foreign volunteer in the entire German army, Degrelle worked his way up through the ranks from private to general and became a close friend of Hitler. In 1944 he received the Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross, becoming Germanys most highly decorated foreign volunteer. As Berlin was falling, Degrelle had his final meeting with Hitler. They shared a last supper together and Hitler served him, cut his bread and poured him a glass of wine. Degrelle escaped from Germany to Norway, where he boarded a single-engine plane and flew over Allied occupied Europe to crash land on the Spanish border as his craft ran out of fuel. He suffered multiple injuries in the landing, including several broken bones. He spent a year in hospital recuperating. The Belgian government condemned Degrelle to death in absentia on charges of treason, but General Francisco refused to extradite him. The Catholic Church and the Belgian government spread his children across Europe and gave them new identities. He spent ten years looking for them and finally found all of them. He settled in Madrid and lived openly and in prosperity until his death in 1994. A visiting Belgian journalist once interviewed him and asked if he had any regrets about the war. His quick reply was – Only that Germany lost! Died 1st April 1994.

A scarce signature, all of the signatures we have were signed during an interview in the early 1980s.

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