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Thread: Evolution of the Iron Cross Variants

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    Lightbulb Evolution of the Iron Cross Variants

    This thread is obviously based on the origins & evolution of the Iron Cross. Firstly the origins of Iron Cross stem from Royal Prussia, first introduced during the campaigns that lead to Napoloen's defeat. Most not worthy it was introduced the very year Napoloen faced defeat at the battle of Leipzig in 1813.

    During the course of this thread the Iron Cross will be briefly discussed & examples shown for the various classes of the award available depending on the period.

    Firstly it should be noted that the Iron Cross itself is linked to the Crusades in it's use of symbolism. Such examples are shown here in the form of Teutonic Order's display of what is also known as the Crusader's Cross.


    Here is pictorial example of the Crusader's cross on the shield of an Order Knight.




    Next is an example of the Order's Insignia very similiar in presentation to later Iron Crosses.







    Next we have a chart showing the Iron Cross in it's various Classes reflective of each period of conflict.


    Last edited by Prussian; Monday, February 28th, 2005 at 05:25 PM.
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    Post AW: Evolution of the Iron Cross variants.

    An overview of a rather good example of a 1939 Knight's cross of the Iron Cross.


    ....awarded with Oakleaves, Swords & Diamonds


    .....a rather worn example of the above as the variant awarded with Golden Oak leaves, Swords & Diamonds.


    An example of how the Knight's cross was worn.

    Last edited by Prussian; Tuesday, September 14th, 2004 at 04:54 PM.
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    Post AW: Evolution of the Iron Cross variants.

    Examples of the 1957 re-issues of Second world war Iron Cross decorations....

    1957 Iron Cross 2nd Class re-issue



    1957 Iron Cross 1st Class re-issue




    1957 Knight's Cross re-issue




    1957 Spange to the 1914 Iron Cross 1st class.



    Examples of the 1957 re-issues

    Last edited by Prussian; Tuesday, September 14th, 2004 at 03:47 PM.
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    Post AW: Evolution of the Iron Cross variants.

    Prussian Iron crosses from 1813 originating during the campaigns against Napoleon.....


    Iron Cross 2nd Class 1813




    Iron Cross 1st Class 1813




    Grand Cross of the Iron Cross 1813




    Star of the Grand Cross to the Iron Cross 1813
    (aka The Blücher Star)


    Last edited by Prussian; Tuesday, September 14th, 2004 at 05:49 PM.
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    Post AW: Evolution of the Iron Cross variants.

    Prussian Iron crosses from the Franco-Prussian war of 1870

    Iron cross 2nd class w/clasp 1870


    Iron cross 2nd class w/clasp of 25yrs service 1870


    Iron cross 2nd class w/non-combatents ribbon 1870


    Iron cross 1st class 1870


    Grand cross of the Knights cross 1870

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    Post AW: Evolution of the Iron Cross variants.

    Iron crosses of the first world war 1914-18

    Iron cross 2nd Class 1914


    Iron cross 1st class 1914


    Grand cross of the Iron Cross 1914


    Star of the Grand cross to the Iron Cross
    (aka the Hindenburg cross)


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    Post AW: Evolution of the Iron Cross variants.

    For men of whom were awarded the Iron cross it was common practice for them to wear a ring indicating the fact, here are examples.


    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
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    Post AW: Evolution of the Iron Cross variants.

    I gave examples of the 1939 Knights cross earlier on, now I will give a few examples of the 1939 1st & 2nd class Iron Crosses

    1939 Iron Cross 2nd class


    1939 Clasp to the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd class


    1939 Iron cross 1st class


    1939 Clasp to the 1914 Iron cross 1st class

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    Post AW: Evolution of the Iron Cross variants.

    The Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Grosskreuz des Eidernen Kreuzes), which existed since the inception of the Iron Cross, was re-instituted on September 1, 1939. It had the same characteristics as the Knights Cross, but was much larger measuring 63mm. It was originally designed with the frames’ outer edges in gold, but this was changed before the award was ever presented. The Grand Cross was worn at the neck with a 57mm wide ribbon bearing the same colors as the Knights Cross and 2nd Class ribbons.

    The Grand Cross was not a bravery award and was reserved solely for General Staff officers. It was to be presented by Hitler only for the most outstanding strategic decisions affecting the course of the war. There was only one Grand Cross recipient; Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe Hermann Goring received the Grand Cross at the Reichstag on July 19, 1940 at the same time as he was promoted to Reich Marshall of the Third Reich. The award was presented in recognition of the Luftwaffe successes and contributions to the 1940 blitzkrieg campaigns in France and the Low Countries.



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    Post AW: Evolution of the Iron Cross variants.

    Ok at first I hestitated in posting the following, they are honour role clasps reflective of the service in which one served, these were worn on the ribbon of the Iron cross but these are not considered of the overall Iron cross family as they are a completely seperate award, but I post them for interests sake.


    Role of honour clasps reflective of the services.
    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
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