The Ritterkreuz was the highest German award of World War II, it was actually a continuation of the Iron Cross (first class) and was awarded in four stages, it was worn on a black, white and red ribbon around the neck and was awarded for bravery in action and for outstanding leadership. One act of bravery was not enough though the Rittrkreuz would only be awarded if the recipient continued to show bravery and leadership. The Ritterkreuz was awarded 7,500 times during the War. Once the Ritterkreuz was awarded and another presentation was in order the Eichenlaub was presented followed by the Schwerten and Brillanten. Walter Nowotny was one of only 12 to be awarded the Brillanten to his Knights Cross.