This is a scarce German Cross in silver grouping consisting of the award and its miniature stick pin; heavy version with four rivets on the reverse; in silvered tombac and extremely well preserved black enamels; with a double-overlaid sunburst pattern with eight points; the center with a black enameled mobile swastika (Hakenkreuz); within a stamped circular wreath impressed with oak leaves, ribbons, and the introduction year (1941); inner and outer sides of the wreath feature a thin red painted lined with a silver core in the middle; broad vertical pinback with functional sheet metal hinge and flat wire catch; marked “1” for “Deschler & Sohn, München 9” on the reverse; measuring 63.10 mm x 63.29 mm; weighing 70.8 grams, mint. Accompanied by its miniature stick pin; 40 mm long knurled pin; maker marked “L/55” for “Wächtler & Lange, Mittweida” on the reverse; measuring 16.27 mm x 16.22 mm; with the German Cross’ original case of issue; constructed of heavy pressed paper with a black textured faux leather (leatherette) exterior; a fine silver line running along all four sides of the lid; satin lined interior lid with a slightly domed medal bed; functional spring catch with stud release; intact interior fabric hinge cover; fully functional exterior metal hinge; measuring 106 mm x 106 mm; extremely fine condition. With a basic information sheet filled out by the recipient, Hauck, presumably in 1974. It is signed by Hauck in blue ink, measuring 203 mm x 267 mm. Attached is a handwritten, two-page long, detailed account of how Hauck earned the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross; measuring 153 mm x 228 mm; of particular note, this cross was given by the recipient to the well-known and highly regarded collector, John R. Angolia; documentation in near mint condition.
Footnote: Friedrich-Wilhelm Hauck (1897–1979) was born in Breslau (modern day Wrocław, southwest Poland). He had planned to study law, but when the First War began, he joined the army as a volunteer. Hauck was stationed at the Western Front, where on November 5, 1915 he was promoted to NCO, on August 22, 1916 to Vizefeldwebel (Senior NCO), and on June 12, 1917 to Lieutenant of the Reserve. He was awarded both classes of the Iron Cross during the First War, an achievement he would accomplish once more during the Second War. After the end of the First War, Hauck was taken over into the Reichswehr, the army of the Weimar Republic, where he served in several artillery regiments. After the rise to power of the NSDAP, he was assigned to the General Staff of the Army in the Wehrmacht in the rank of Major. The outbreak of the Second War saw Hauck serve in Poland and later France with the 5th Army Corps. On June 1, 1940, he was promoted to Colonel and made Chief of the General Staff of the Supreme Command for special use XXXVII. In February of 1941, Hauck became the Senior Quartermaster of the 11th Army, stationed in Romania. As the year progressed, the 11th Army fought its way into the heart of southern Russia, advancing on the Crimea. Hauck received the German Cross in Silver for exceptionally outstanding performance of duty on July 6, 1942, presumably for actions during the taking of Sevastopol, which coincides with the date. On June 1, 1943, now in the rank of Major General, Hauck was made Commander of the 305th Infantry Division, which had originally been destroyed in the Battle of Stalingrad, but was re-established and deployed to Italy. There, Hauck was awarded the Knight’s Cross in the rank of Lieutenant General on June 11, 1944 in Falvaterra for defending a position during a retreating battle during the Allied offensive that had started in May. The 26th Panzer Division and Hauck’s 305th Infantry Division were defending the town of San Giovanni on May 22 and 23. However, Allied forces broke through the lines of the 305th, which threatened the retreating route of the 26th Panzer Division. Hauck managed to prevent any ill outcome, repelling the Allied army on May 24. Awarding Hauck the Knight’s Cross was officially recommended by the Commanding General of the 14th Panzer Korps, General der Panzertruppen Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin (1891–1963), himself a recipient of the Oak Leaves. The Knight’s Cross was awarded to Hauck by General Traugott Herr (1890–1976), a recipient of the Oak Leaves and Swords. Hauck was promoted to the highest rank he would hold during the war on April 20, 1945 when he became a General of the Artillery. He took over command of the 51st Mountain Army Corps, with which he surrendered to British forces. Hauck became a POW, first in Italy, later in Wales. He was released in 1948. In his later years, he became a valued military historian, working for the US Army. He died in Überlingen on Lake Constance in 1979.