The award recipients in this section are representative of the most prominent type of awardee in the opening years of the war. They comprise high-ranking commanders decorated for their leadership during the highly successful opening phases; the fighter pilot and submarine aces who ran up enormous scores of enemy aircraft and ships destroyed; and the individual soldiers who displayed supreme bravery in combat. As the war progressed, the number of awards to senior officers for successful prosecution of a campaign dwindled, whilst those for acts of gallantry increased. Due to the restriction of space, the text (at least for senior commanders) concentrates on the point of award of the Knight's Cross. Many went on to receive further military honours, and the fortunes of some of those featured here will also appear in the subsequent volumes of this sequence of books. Generalfeldmarschall Hermann Goring Born in Marienbad on 1 December 1893, Hermann Wilhelm Goring served in the Imperial German Army with some distinction during World War I. He initially served in the infantry but transferred to the flying branch with the rank of Leutnant in 1914. Hermann Goring as Relchsmarachall and Commander-In-Chief of the Luftwaffe. The large upper cross around his neck Is the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. Below that is his Blue Max and under this Is the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross awarded for his command of the Luftwaffe during the Polish campaign. He saw considerable action on the Western Front, first as an observer and then as a fighter pilot, earning himself the coveted Tour le Merite' (popularly known as the 'Blue Max') in 1917. Goring served as commander of the famous Jagdstaffel Richthofen (Baron Manfred von Richthofen's 'Flying Circus') after the Red Baron's death. Though he became something of a figure of fun in later life there is no doubt that during his military service in World War I, he was a skilled, successful and gallant soldier. Like many former professional soldiers during the inter-war period, Goring drifted into the Freikorps movement and was drawn to the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party), which he joined in 1922. Hitler was delighted to have a highly decorated war hero in his entourage and Goring rose swiftly through the Nazi ranks, being appointed as commander of the SA Stormtroopers within months of being accepted into the Party. In the 1940 campaigns, which brought about the fall of France and the Low Countries and the defeat of the British Expeditionary Force, the Luftwaffe once more played a crucial role. Goring was singularly honoured with promotion to the rank of Reichsmarschall, and on 19 July 1940 was awarded the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross - the only one to be awarded in World War II.