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Werner Kempf (9 March 1886 – 6 January 1964) was a general in the German Army rising to corps-level command during World War II. Kempf is best known for commanding the Army Detachment Kempf during the Battle of Kursk.
Werner Kempf (right), 21 June 1943
|Born||9 March 1886|
Königsberg, East Prussia, German Empire
|Died||6 January 1964 (aged 77)|
Bad Harzburg, West Germany
|Allegiance|| German Empire (to 1918)|
Weimar Republic (to 1933)
|Years of service||1905–45|
|Rank||General der Panzertruppe|
|Commands held||XXXXVIII Panzer Corps |
Army Detachment Kempf
|Battles/wars||World War I
World War II
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
Kempf joined the Imperial German Army on in 1905; following World War I, he served in the Reichswehr and later the Wehrmacht. In October 1937 Kempf took command of the newly formed 4th Panzer Brigade; in January 1939 he was promoted to Generalmajor. At the beginning of World War II in Europe, he took part in the invasion of Poland as commander of Panzer Division Kempf, which was also known as the Panzerverband Ostpreußen (Panzer Group East Prussia) of the 3rd Army under Georg von Küchler. As divisional commander, he received the capitulation of Fort Zakroczym, which was followed by Massacre in Zakroczym, at the conclusion of the Battle of Modlin. The division returned to East Prussia at the end of the Poland campaign, and Kempf was named commander of the 1st Light Division, renamed 6th Panzer Division, on 18 October 1939.
In 1939 and 1940 Kempf led the 6th Panzer Division in the Battle of France. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 3 June 1940 for his role in the campaign, and was promoted to Generalleutnant on 1 August 1940. On 6 January 1941, he was ordered to form XXXXVIII Army Corps (motorized), and became its commander, along with a promotion to General der Panzertruppe, on 1 April 1941. With this corps Kempf took part in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, starting on 22 June 1941, as part of Panzer Group 1 of Army Group South, where the corps took part in the Battle of Uman and Battle of Kiev (1941), and pushed as far as Kursk.
From 5 May 1942 he was commanding general of the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps and was in this position on 10 August 1942 when he was awarded the Oak leaves to the Knight's Cross. In July 1943, he participated in the Battle of Kursk as commander of the Army Detachment Kempf. From May to September 1944 he was commander of the Wehrmacht in the Baltics. He was then moved to the leadership reserve until he was taken into captivity in May 1945. He was released in 1947.
Awards and decorationsEdit
- Iron Cross (1914) 2nd Class (15 September 1914) & 1st Class (28 February 1916)
- Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (15 September 1939) & 1st Class (28 September 1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Glantz & House 2009, p. 25.
- Thomas 1997, p. 356.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 208.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 54.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [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.
- Glantz, David M.; House, Jonathan (2009). To the Gates of Stalingrad: Soviet-German Combat Operations, April-August 1942. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1630-5.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
- Glantz, David M.; House, Jonathan (2009). To the Gates of Stalingrad: Soviet-German Combat Operations, April-August 1942. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. p. 25. ISBN 9780700616305.