Knights Cross Grouping, Rudolf Sigmund Night Fighter #6915
Leutnant Rudolf Sigmund was posted to 1./NJG 1 (Nachtjaeger Gruppe=Night Fighter Group) in the spring of 1941. His first aerial victory, an RAF Whitley 2-engined bomber, occurred during the night of 24-25. August 1941. In the spring of 1942, as an Oberleutnant, he was appointed adjutant of II./NJG 2. By the end of 1942 he had 7 victories. On 1. October 1942, he was appointed Staffelkapitaen of 10./NJG 1 and during the day of 26. February 1943 he shot down a USAAF B-24 4-engine bomber, which gave him a score of 10 victories. His 13th, another daytime victory, was a USAAF B-17 4-engine bomber, shot down on 17. April 1943. On 21-22. June and 25-26. June he shot down 4 aircraft each night. Hauptmann Sigmund was awarded the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross on 2. August 1943 with a total of 26 aerial victories. He and his radio-man were wounded in aerial combat on the evening of 25-26 July. After recovering from his wounds, he was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./NJG 3. During the night of 3-4. October, Hauptmann Sigmund was shot down and killed by “friendly fire” along with his crew southwest of Goettingen. At the time he was piloting Messerschmidt Bf 110 G-4, Werk Nr. 5560 with the markings “D5+AD”. Hauptmann Sigmund was credited with 28 victories in 150 missions, with 26 being night victories and 2 daytime. He was awarded the Honor Goblet on 29. March 1943, the German Cross in Gold on 22. July 1943, and the Knights Cross.
This historically important and impressive group consists of:
Vorlaeufiges Besitzzeugnis (Preliminary Certificate) for the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. Standard printed document for Hauptmann Sigmund with award date of 2. August 1943. It’s signed by an Oberstleutnant of the office of the “Chef des Luftwaffenpersonalamts” on 3. August 1943. The document shows foxing and age.
Knights Cross of the Iron Cross- made by S&L (Steinhauer & Lueck) and is the “A” type with “800” marked frame and magnetic center. The core shows some browning due to wear and use; the silver frame appears to have been polished but is starting to tone again. The “800” marked ring also shows use and toning. The cross retains its ribbon with hook and eye straps, which show wear and use.
German Cross in Gold-made by Zimmermann with the correct flaws and hollow rivets. The piece shows wear to the finish from being worn by Hauptmann Sigmund. PK maker marking “20” is correctly found on the underside of the tapered pin.
Pilot Badge Document dated 1938.
Pilots Badge-reverse maker marked by BSW (Gebrueder Schneider, Wien). The badge was added to the group by the collector from whom the collection came and I’m somewhat skeptical as to its originality. The eagle, wreath, and hinge don’t seem to match those of any known BSW Pilots badge I’ve found, so it’s being sold with the grouping as a place holder.
Award documents for the Luftwaffe Flight Clasps in Bronze (1941), Silver (1942), and Gold (1943). They exhibit only normal age and some foxing.
Night Fighter Flight Clasp in Gold-The zinc alloy clasp was made by Steinhauer & Lueck and features an upward pointing winged arrow, black wreath, and somewhat faded gold oakleaves. The fluted pin, hinge and catch are typical of S&L as is the circle marking on the reverse.
1939 Iron Cross I. Class-made by Klein & Quenzer A.G.. The cross shows use and toning but no damage. The tapered pin is PK marked “65” for K&Q.
1939 Iron Cross II. Class.
Black Wound Badge-shows wear and some minor surface rusting. The pin, hinge, and catch are intact.
Presentation Luftwaffe 2nd Model Officer Dagger-made by Eickhorn, The dagger was presented to Leutnant Sigmund upon his graduation from Luftwaffe flying school.The blade is inscribed “Ltn. Sigmund Flugzeugfuehrerschule B12 2.1.37”. It bears the correct Eickhorn etched trademark that was used between 1935-1941. The blade shows greying, pitting, and scratching. The grey finished metal fittings are undamaged with traces of the gilt finish still visible on the swastikas. Officers knot is still wrapped around the creamy white handle with wear and fraying to the cording. Grey finished scabbard shows wear and is undamaged.
Leather flight helmet–the helmet is the winter model which has had its electronics removed. The helmet is otherwise in fine condition.
Luftwaffe Radio Room/Communications Center Clock, Presentation-a standard Wehrmacht issue clock intended for a Signals center. This example is still housed in its original oak case which could be mounted on the wall or used on a shelf or table with metal supports. The case has an attached plaque noting that the clock had been presented to Leutnant Sigmund upon his posting to N.J.G.1. The piece shows normal handling and age.
Night Fighter Watch- a Swiss made wristwatch with the insignia of N.J.G. 1 on its face. The crystal shows yellowing and overall the watch shows use. It’s complete with a leather watch band that shows considerable age and use.
Two engraved “kill cups”- one reads “Oblt. Sigmund 3.3.43 Short-Stirling” and the other “Oblt. Sigmund 20.2.43 Wellington”
Two engraved “kill cups?- one reads “Oblt. Sigmund 3.3.43 Short-Stirling” and the other “Oblt. Sigmund 20.2.43 Wellington”
29 (!) RAF original period secret combat reports mentioning Sigmund?s exploits. These provide an UNHEARD OF amount of information and details of his actual combat actions.
Photos of many of the RAF aircrews that were shot down by Sigmund.
Pages of his training notes.
Many pieces of correspondence from the Bundesarchive.
An outstanding grouping detailing the wartime exploits of one of the most successful Night Fighter pilots of the war, this will make an impressive centerpiece to a Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot collection.