|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
31 July 1909|
Jena, German Empire
|Died||10 June 1944
|Years of service||1939–44|
|Unit||2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Helmut Kämpfe (1909-1944) was a Sturmbannführer (Major), in the Waffen SS during World War II. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, which was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by Nazi Germany during World War II. He was also one of only 631 men to be awarded the rare Close Combat Clasp in Gold.
Kämpfe, the commander of the III. Battalion, 4th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment Der Führer, 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich, was captured by the French Resistance on 9 June 1944 by a group headed by Jean Canou. Canou then placed him in the custody of Georges Guingouin. The following day Kämpfe was executed on the orders of Guingouin or killed during his attempt to escape.
When it was clear that Kämpfe had been kidnapped, the Germans sent out forces to try to locate him. Among these was a unit under the command of Adolf Diekmann, I. Battalion, 4th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment. On 10 June 1944, Diekmann was given information regarding Kämpfe by two members of the Milice française, a fascist Vichy French-controlled paramilitary force which collaborated with the Germans . Kämpfe was the highest-ranking officer ever to be captured by the Resistance. His execution was to have dire consequences; that same day, Diekmann's battalion went to nearby Oradour-sur-Glane and butchered most of its inhabitants.
- Berger 2004, p. 6.
- Guy Penaud, La Das Reich, p.264
- Berger, Florian (2004). Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold [Knight's Cross Bearers with the Close Combat Clasp in Gold] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-3-7.
- 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.
- Kurowski Franz, Infantry Aces, Stackpole Books, 2005, ISBN 0-8117-3202-9
- Mattson, Gregory SS-The realm. The History of the Second SS division, 1939-45. Staplehurst 2002, ISBN 1-86227-144-5
- Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). Retreat to the Reich : the German defeat in France, 1944. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3384-7.
- Penaud, Guy. Oradour-sur-Glane - Un jour de juin 1944 en enfer, Geste éditions, mars 2014, ISBN 2 367 46171 6.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Photograph of Helmut Kämpfe. http://www.oradour.info/images/kampfe01.htm
- Details of Helmut Kämpfe's awards. http://www.ww2awards.com/person/13552