Kempf, Werner, born 09-03-1886 in Königsberg, East Prussia,
Königsberg was at the end defended by General der Infanterie, Otto Lasch
joined the Imperial German Army on 14-03-1905, age 19 and served in the 149th
Infantry Regiment. In World War I he reached the rank of Hauptmann. He then was allowed and served in the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht. At the beginning of World War II he took part in the invasion of Poland as a Generalmajor commanding a Panzer Division. In 1939 and 1940 he led the 6th
in the Battle of France and was promoted to Generalleutnant and awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross for his role in the campaign. From 05-05-1942 he was Commanding General of the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps, he succeeded General der Panzertruppe, Hermann Balck
and lost this command to General der Panzertruppe, Fritz Gräser
on 10-08-1942, when he was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross
. The XXXXVIII. Panzer Corps was originally formed in Germany as the XXXXVIII. Armeekorps (mot) on 15-12-1940. It was then renamed as a Panzerkorps on 22-06-1941, but seems to have used both names until sometime in 1942.In July 1943, he participated in the Battle of Kursk as commander of the ‘Army Detachment Kempf’ on the Eastern Front, with SS Oberführer, Kommandeur der 7th Heeresgruppe
, Hermann Hoth’s
General der Panzertruppe.
Hermann Breith (center) and Generalleutnant der Artillerie, Kommandeur der 23th Infanterie Division, nickname “Grenadierkopf” Walter Chales De Beaulieu (left) during Operation Citadel at Kursk on 21-06-1943
. From May to September 1944 he was commander of the Wehrmacht in the Baltics. The lost of Kursk didn’t brought him much support from Adolf Hitler
(did you know
) and as result he was moved to the leadership reserve, he didn’t get any command anymore, until he was taken into captivity in May 1945.
He was released in 1947 and already suffering of heart problems, retiring in Bad Harzburg, where he at the age of 72 died of heart failure, on 06-01-1964. Werner Kempf is buried on the Stadtfriedhof of Bad Harzburg. A few steps away is the grave of Generalmajor der Artillerie, Kommandeur Feld Material Kommand IV
, Walter Knoblauch.