Karl Kempf

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Karl-Heinz Kempf
Born (1920-02-02)2 February 1920
Niederwihl/Waldshut (district), Germany
Died 3 September 1944(1944-09-03) (aged 24)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1939–44
Rank Leutnant
Unit JG 54, JG 26

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Karl-Heinz Kempf (2 February 1920 – 3 September 1944) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Serving with JG 21 (later JG 54) Gefreiter Kempf gained his first two victories during the Battle of France when he shot down a Hurricane on 12 May 1940, and on 26 May a French Morane. In the Battle of Britain he achieved three additional kills, two Hurricanes and one Spitfire.

During the fighting on the Eastern Front, Kempf gradually accumulated a further 48 victories. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross as an Oberfeldwebel with 7./JG 54 in February 1942. After returning to the Western Front, with JG 26 from August 1943 to September 1944 Kempf claimed twelve kills, including four four-engined bombers and three P-47 fighters.

He was shot down and wounded on 22 December 1943 and on recovery was posted to 9./JG 26 with which he claimed five victories over the Invasion Front in June and July 1944.

Leutnant Kempf was killed on 3 September 1944, near Bael in Belgium. He was shot down by a P-51 fighter as he was taking off in Fw 190 A-8 "Black 9".

Karl-Heinz Kempf was credited with 65 kills in 445 missions, 48 of them over the Eastern Front.




  1. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 224.
  2. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 253.


  • 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. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • 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.