List of Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recipients (U)

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The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and its variants were the highest awards in the military of the Third Reich during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded for a wide range of reasons and across all ranks, from a senior commander for skilled leadership of his troops in battle to a low-ranking soldier for a single act of extreme gallantry.[1] A total of 7,321 awards were made between its first presentation on 30 September 1939 and its last bestowal on 17 June 1945.[Note 1] This number is based on the analysis and acceptance of the order commission of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR). Presentations were made to members of the three military branches of the Wehrmacht—the Heer (Army), Kriegsmarine (Navy) and Luftwaffe (Air Force)—as well as the Waffen-SS, the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD—Reich Labour Service) and the Volkssturm (German national militia). There were also 43 recipients in the military forces of allies of the Third Reich.[3]

These recipients are listed in the 1986 edition of Walther-Peer Fellgiebel's book, Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller WehrmachtsteileThe Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches. Fellgiebel was the former chairman and head of the order commission of the AKCR. In 1996 a second edition of this book was published with an addendum delisting 11 of these original recipients. Author and historian Veit Scherzer has cast doubt on a further 193 of these listings. The majority of the disputed recipients had received the award in 1945, when the deteriorating situation of the Third Reich during the final days of World War II left a number of nominations incomplete and pending in various stages of the approval process.[4] Scherzer wrote his book in cooperation with the German Federal Archives. The book was chosen by Prof. Dr. Franz W. Seidler for the library of the Bundeswehr University Munich and Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt) and is considered an accepted reference there.[5][6] For many years Fellgiebel's book was considered the main reference work on this topic, and it has now been succeeded by Scherzer's work.

Listed here are the 32 Knight's Cross recipients whose last name starts with "U".[7] Author and historian Veit Scherzer has challenged the validity of Heinz Unrau's listing.[8] The recipients are ordered alphabetically by last name. The rank listed is the recipient's rank at the time the Knight's Cross was awarded.

Background[edit]

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grades were based on four separate enactments. The first enactment, Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 1573 of 1 September 1939 instituted the Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz), the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). Article 2 of the enactment mandated that the award of a higher class be preceded by the award of all preceding classes.[9] As the war progressed, some of the recipients of the Knight's Cross distinguished themselves further and a higher grade, the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, was instituted. The Oak Leaves, as they were commonly referred to, were based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 849 of 3 June 1940.[10] In 1941, two higher grades of the Knight's Cross were instituted. The enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613 of 28 September 1941 introduced the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern) and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten).[11] At the end of 1944 the final grade, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit goldenem Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten), based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11 of 29 December 1944, became the final variant of the Knight's Cross authorized.[12]

Recipients[edit]

Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (U)
Service   Number of presentations Posthumous presentations
Heer
23
1
Kriegsmarine
0
0
Luftwaffe
7
0
Waffen-SS
2
0

The Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (Supreme Command of the Armed Forces) kept separate Knight's Cross lists for the Heer (Army), Kriegsmarine (Navy), Luftwaffe (Air Force) and Waffen-SS. Within each of these lists a unique sequential number was assigned to each recipient. The same numbering paradigm was applied to the higher grades of the Knight's Cross, one list per grade.[13] Of the 32 awards made to servicemen whose last name starts with "U", four were later awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and one presentation was made posthumously. Heer members received 23 of the medals, none went to the Kriegsmarine, seven to the Luftwaffe, and two to the Waffen-SS.[7]

      This along with the + (plus) indicates that a higher grade of Knight's Cross was awarded as well.
      This along with the * (asterisk) indicates that the Knight's Cross was awarded posthumously.
      This along with the ? (question mark) indicates that historian Veit Scherzer has expressed doubt regarding the veracity and formal correctness of the listing.

Name Service Rank Role and unit[Note 2] Date of award Notes Image
Ubben, KurtKurt Ubben+ Luftwaffe 13-LOberleutnant[14] Staffelkapitän of the 8./Jagdgeschwader 77[14][15] 4 September 1941[14] Awarded 80th Oak Leaves 12 March 1942[14]
Ude, OttoOtto Ude Heer 10-HOberwachtmeister[14] Platoon leader in the 1./Radfahr-Abteilung 30[14][15] 15 January 1943[14]
Udet, Dr.-Ing. h.c. ErnstDr.-Ing. h.c. Ernst Udet Luftwaffe 20-LGeneral der Flieger[14] Generalluftzeugmeister im OKL[15][Note 3] 4 July 1940[14]
The head and upper body of a man wearing a military uniform, peaked cap and various military decorations.
Uebe, KlausKlaus Uebe Luftwaffe 18-LGeneralmajor[14] Chief of the general staff of Luftflotte 2[15][Note 4] 9 June 1944[14]
Ueberschaar, FriedrichFriedrich Überschaar Heer 14-HHauptmann[14] Leader of the III./Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 91[14][15] 9 December 1944[14]
Ueltzhöfer, EugenEugen Ueltzhöfer Heer 03-HGefreiter[14] Driver in the 3./Artillerie-Lehr-Regiment 5 (motorized) in the fortress Schneidemühl[14][15] 12 February 1945[14]
Uhde, HansHans Uhde Heer 13-HOberleutnant of the Reserves[14] Leader of the 11./Grenadier-Regiment 424[14][16] 15 January 1943[14]
Uhl, [Dr.] Hans[Dr.] Hans Uhl[Note 5] Heer 14-HHauptmann[14] Leader of the II./Grenadier-Regiment 430[14][16] 22 January 1943[14]
Uhl, RudolfRudolf Uhl Heer 12-HLeutnant[14] Adjudant of the II./Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 141[14][16] 5 November 1944[14]
Uhlig, AlexanderAlexander Uhlig Luftwaffe 10-LOberfeldwebel of the Reserves[17] Platoon leader in the 16./Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 6[16][17] 29 October 1944[17]
Uhlig, [Dr.] Gottfried[Dr.] Gottfried Uhlig[Note 5] Heer 14-HHauptmann[17] Commander of the II./Grenadier-Regiment 43[16][17] 26 November 1944[17]
Uhlig, MartinMartin Uhlig Heer 14-HHauptmann[17] Commander of schwere Panzer-Jäger-Abteilung 88[16][17] 11 March 1945[17]
Uhren, FranzFranz Uhren Heer 09-HFeldwebel[17] Platoon leader in the 13./Grenadier-Regiment 366[16][17] 28 October 1944[17]
Ulich, MaxMax Ulich Heer 17-HOberst[17] Commander of Grenadier-Regiment 15 (motorized)[16][17] 2 November 1943[17]
Ullrich, KarlKarl Ullrich+ Waffen-SS 15-WSS-Sturmbannführer[17] Commander of SS-Pionier-Bataillon 3 "Totenkopf"[16][17] 19 February 1942[17] Awarded 480th Oak Leaves 14 May 1944[17]
Ulms, UlrichUlrich Ulms Heer 16-HOberstleutnant im Generalstab (in the General Staff)[17] Chief of the general staff Korpsgruppe "von Gottberg" (XII. SS-Armeekorps)[16][17] 12 August 1944[17]
Ulrich, EmilEmil Ulrich Heer 06-HUnteroffizier[17] Group leader in the 5./Grenadier-Regiment "Feldherrnhalle"[16][17] 7 February 1945[17]
Unfried, WillibaldWillibald Unfried Heer 03-HGefreiter[17] 1st machine gunner in the 9./Grenadier-Regiment 213[16][17] 4 March 1942[17]
Unger, HeinzHeinz Unger Heer 14-HHauptmann[17] Chief of the 1./Schützen-Regiment 10[16][17] 4 September 1941[17]
Unger, WillyWilly Unger Luftwaffe 09-LFahnenjunker-Feldwebel[17] Pilot in the IV.(Sturm)/Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet"[16][Note 6] 23 October 1944[17]
Unold, Georg vonGeorg von Unold Heer 17-HOberst im Generalstab (in the General Staff)[17] Deputy leader of the 227. Infanterie-Division[16][17] 20 March 1945[17]
Unrau, HeinzHeinz Unrau?[Note 7] Luftwaffe 15-LMajor Gruppenkommandeur of the I./Kampfgeschwader 51[18] 1 May 1945
Unrein, MartinMartin Unrein+ Heer 17-HOberst[19] Commander of Panzergrenadier-Regiment 4[16][19] 10 September 1943[19] Awarded 515th Oak Leaves 26 June 1944[19]
Unruh, KurtKurt Unruh Luftwaffe 13-LOberleutnant[19] Pilot in the 2./Kampfgeschwader 53 "Legion Condor"[16][19] 29 February 1944[19]
Unruhe, JohannesJohannes Unruhe Heer 10-HOberfeldwebel[19] Platoon leader in the 2./Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 12[16][19] 28 March 1945[19]
Usedom, Horst vonHorst von Usedom+ Heer 15-HMajor[19] Commander of Kradschützen-Bataillon 61[16][19] 31 December 1941[19] Awarded 809th Oak Leaves 28 March 1945[19]
Usinger, ChristianChristian Usinger Heer 18-HGeneralmajor[19] Leader of the 81. Infanterie-Division[16][19] 15 September 1944[19]
Uslar-Gleichen, Horst Freiherr vonHorst Freiherr von Uslar-Gleichen Heer 15-HMajor[19] Commander of Panzer-Abteilung 190[16][19] 11 July 1944[19]
Utgenannt, RichardRichard Utgenannt Waffen-SS 10-WSS-Hauptscharführer[19] Chief of the 3./SS-Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 4[19][20] 16 November 1944[19]
Uthe, KonradKonrad Uthe Heer 15-HMajor[19] Commander of Panzergrenadier-Lehr-Regiment 901[19][20] 12 August 1944*[19] Killed in action 25 June 1944[19]
Utta, EwaldEwald Utta Heer 12-HLeutnant of the Reserves[19] Leader of the 5./Grenadier-Regiment 944[19][20] 23 October 1944[19]
Utz, WillibaldWillibald Utz Heer 17-HOberst[19] Commander of Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 100[19][20] 21 June 1941[19]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Großadmiral and President of Germany Karl Dönitz, Hitler's successor as Head of State (Staatsoberhaupt) and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, had ordered the cessation of all promotions and awards as of 11 May 1945 (Dönitz-decree). Consequently the last Knight's Cross awarded to Oberleutnant zur See of the Reserves Georg-Wolfgang Feller on 17 June 1945 must therefore be considered a de facto but not de jure hand-out.[2]
  2. ^ For an explanation of the various naming schemes used by the Luftwaffe, Heer, Kriegsmarine and Waffen-SS refer to nomenclature used by the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS.
  3. ^ According to Scherzer as Generalluftzeugmeister and chief of the planning office of the Luftwaffe/Reichsluftfahrtministerium, at the same time general Inspector of Fighters.[14]
  4. ^ According to Scherzer as chief of the general staff of Luftflotte 1.[14]
  5. ^ a b The brackets around the doctor title [Dr.] denotes that the academic title was attained after the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded.
  6. ^ According to Scherzer in the 15.(Sturm)/Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet".[17]
  7. ^ No evidence of the award can be found in the German Federal Archives. Ernst Obermaier wrote to Walther-Peer Fellgiebel on 16 April 1983: "Mr. Unrau was definitely nominated and had been informally told that he had received the award by the end of the war. He himself does not hold any written evidence. I still list him under the "nominated" recipients." The date is an assumption of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR).[8]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Williamson and Bujeiro 2004, pp. 3–4.
  2. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 4.
  3. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 113–460, 483, 485–487, 492, 494, 498–499, 501, 503, 509.
  4. ^ Scherzer 2007, pp. 117–186.
  5. ^ "Stimmen zum Buch "Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945" von Veit Scherzer" (PDF). Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag (in German). Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Scherzer 2007, cover.
  7. ^ a b Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 427–429.
  8. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 180.
  9. ^ "Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 1573; 1 September 1939" (PDF). ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (in German). Reichsministerium des Inneren (Ministry of the Interior). Retrieved 21 February 2008. 
  10. ^ "Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 849; 3 June 1940" (PDF). ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (in German). Reichsministerium des Inneren (Ministry of the Interior). Retrieved 21 February 2008. 
  11. ^ "Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 613; 28 September 1941" (PDF). ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (in German). Reichsministerium des Inneren (Ministry of the Interior). Retrieved 21 February 2008. 
  12. ^ "Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11; 29 December 1944" (PDF). ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (in German). Reichsministerium des Inneren (Ministry of the Interior). Retrieved 21 February 2008. 
  13. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 112.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Scherzer 2007, p. 753.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Fellgiebel 2000, p. 427.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Fellgiebel 2000, p. 428.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak Scherzer 2007, p. 754.
  18. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 428, 507.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Scherzer 2007, p. 755.
  20. ^ a b c d Fellgiebel 2000, p. 429.
Bibliography
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Williamson, Gordon; Bujeiro, Ramiro (2004). Knight's Cross and Oak Leaves Recipients 1939–40. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-641-6. 
Further reading
  • Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6. 
  • Fraschka, Günther (1994). Knights of the Reich. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military/Aviation History. ISBN 978-0-88740-580-8. 

External links[edit]