- Second World War (1939-1945)
- SS-Brigadeführer / Generalmajor der Waffen-SS (Brigadier)
- 7.SS-Freiwilligen-Gebirgs-Division "Prinz Eugen" / Heeresgruppe E
- Awarded on:
- March 17th, 1945
Kumm’s Swords recommendation reads as follows…
“During the course of the Balkan withdrawal the 7. SS-Freiwilligen-Gebirgs-Division ‘Prinz Eugen’ managed to withdraw to the Nisch bridgehead as planned following heavy combat with strong enemy forces in the area around Leskovac—Bela-Palanka (against 6 Bulgarian infantry divisions and 1 tank brigade) and Zajecar (against 3 Soviet divisions). The swift evacuation of the wounded (700), supply equipment, and ground facilities (headquarters, airbases and Flak) was necessary. The evacuation route Brigadeführer Kumm intended to use leading northwards via Aleksinac was already blocked by strong Russian forces north of Aleksinac. The only available weak forces (1 Bataillon) were unable to reopen the route on the 12.10.1944. Connection to the Korps no longer existed. Consequently the divisional commander decided to allow these motorized column to escape towards the west via Mramor—Prokuplje.
The Nisch bridgehead had to be held until the 14.10.1944 against hotly pursuing enemy forces, as the destroyed Morava bridge only completed repairs at midday on the 13.10.1944 and the approx. 1000 vehicles could only be fully led through at 09:00 on the 14.10.1944 due to the bad weather. The horse-drawn units were placed behind the motorized columns.
At around 10:45 a Bulgarian division (reinforced by a tank brigade) attacked the retreat route here from the south with their main effort along the left wing in the Merosina area (they started at 08:00 according to the Divisional command post). Gruppe Gabelmann, positioned as security to the south with 3 Luftwaffe-Kompanien, was totally dispersed.
Brigadeführer Kumm immediately assembled all available troops (some 40 men with 3 light MGs), and with them held the southern edge of Merosina. An ordered relief attack by elements of the II./13 from the southern edge of Nisch into the flank of the enemy did not come to fruition, as the Bataillon itself was attacked by strong enemy forces with tank support. The vehicle column was fully shot up by anti-tank guns, tanks and artillery, its drivers and supply troops being totally scattered. However the brave resistance by the divisional commander and his handful of men held off the enemy long enough for the vehicles carrying the wounded as well as other elements of the motorized columns to pull out to the west and later to Pristina.
At around 13:00 the enemy had blocked the road along both sides of Merosina with tanks, and had penetrated into the village itself with infantry. After running out of ammunition the Brigadeführer decided to get out of there. Along with his troops he broke out of the village and reached the command post of the Regiment 13. From here he ordered the Bataillone to pull out of the Nisch bridgehead, and for the assembly of all available elements of the Division at Dudulajce. The retreat and the reassembly went according to plan, with the artillery also being taken along.
Due to a lack of ammunition and heavy weapons the divisional decided to avoid major engagements and instead cross over the ridge of the Jastrebac mountain. He intended to break through the partisan forces along the way and once again make contact with friendly forces in the Ibar valley. After an extremely difficult mountain march with about 4000 men and 1100 horses (in which sufficient food and fodder was unavailable) the Ibar valley was reached on the night of the 20./21.10.1944, and friendly contact was established in the Usce—Bare area. Through this bold undertaking Brigadeführer Kumm managed to extract his troops from the jaws of a far superior enemy, and remain in control of a combat-capable formation.
From the 24.10.-27.11.1944 the Division (along with additional combat elements of the General-Kommando F.W. Müller) held the bridgehead at Karljevo, and in doing so enabled the withdrawal of several divisions as well as large quantities of supplies.
Retreating via Cacak, Brigadeführer Kumm took over the Ljubovija bridgehead on the 05.12.1944. Thereafter he held the bridgehead (and with it the road to Rogacica) open until the 15.12.1944. Starting on the 10.12.1944 the Division found itself all alone on the eastern bank of the river after the destruction of the Drina bridge. On the 22.12.1944 the Division reached Bijeljina following hard combat with partisans, and in doing so made contact with the divisions of the XXXIV. Armee-Korps.
Already in the days afterwards the divisional commander began an operation to clear the Drina—Save triangle. With swift thrusts the partisan forces located there (4-5 of Tito’s divisions, some of which were already there and some of which were in the process of crossing the Drina from the eastern bank) were scattered. They were pushed back either across the Drina or into the mountains towards the west.
During an attack on the 03.01.1945, launched from the Otok area under the command of Brigadeführer Kumm, the 21st Tito Division was engaged in the Komletinci—Nijemci area. With only minimal friendly losses, the enemy division was destroyed following a series of powerful strikes. High losses were inflicted, and numerous light and heavy weapons fell into our hands (see enclosure 1).
During a further attack on the 17.-18.01.1945, following a breakthrough of enemy positions at Sotin, Brigadeführer Kumm and his men succeeded in capturing Opatovac, Lovac, Tovarnik and Sid in a swift advance. Once again heavy losses in men and material were inflicted on the enemy (see enclosure 2).”