- Second World War (1939-1945)
- General der Panzertruppen (Lieutenant-General of Armoured Forces)
- Kommandierender General XXXXI.Panzerkorps
- Awarded on:
- September 15th, 1943
The following press article describes why Harpe was decorated with the Swords to his Knight’s Cross…
“At the start of July 1943, as the commanding General of a Panzerkorps south of Orel in both attack and defense, General der Panzertruppe Harpe achieved a considerable success through the smashing of the enemy assembly areas for their offensive. This was possible thanks to his skillful and decisive leadership. When the Soviets then commenced their attack, he was able to reposition his troops swiftly and effectively for defense. They were able to repel the incoming Soviet divisions while inflicting heavy losses in men and especially in tanks.
Within a short time he was moved to the combat sector north of Orel. Here he was to rally the German units that had been forced to retreat in several locations (due to the enemy superiority) for defense. With only a young officer as an escort, he rushed from one hotspot of the fighting to the other and organized a cohesive resistance.
A major enemy penetration took place northwest of Orel on one of the last days of July. After General der Panzertruppe Harpe had ordered the necessary countermeasures, he rushed to the command posts of the impacted divisions. After a few hours the danger had been resolved thanks to his decisive intervention. The defensive front was successfully reformed and the onslaught of numerous enemy rifle divisions and tank brigades bloodily repulsed.”