Heidkämper, Otto

Date of birth:
March 13th, 1901 (Lauenhagen/Schaumburg-Lippe)
Date of death:
February 17th, 1969 (Bückeburg/Lower Saxony, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
Generalstabsoffizier Ia 2. leichte Division
Awarded on:
September 25th, 1939
1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 2er Klasse 1914
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
Generalstabsoffizier Ia 2. leichte Division
Awarded on:
October 4th, 1339
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberstleutnant im Generalstab (Lieutenant-colonel)
Unit:
Generalstabsoffizier Ia 4. Panzer-Division
Awarded on:
March 7th, 1942
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberst im Generalstab (Colonel)
Unit:
Chef des Generalstabes XXIV. Panzerkorps / Heeresgruppe B
Awarded on:
February 8th, 1943
Heidkämper’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“After his commanding general had fallen and his staff had been dispersed by a Soviet tank attack, Oberst i.G. Heidkämper went to the fighting troops on the 15.01.1943, among which were the 385. and 387. Infanterie-Divisionen. Along with the Italian Alpine Corps, this group was encircled by the enemy.

After the death of the commanding general, Eibl, Oberst i.G. Heidkämper took over command of the group in place of the several Italian and one German generals that were present.

With 9000 Germans and 11000 Italians, Oberst Heidkämper fought his way backwards for a period of 14 days, all while being cut off from all friendly contact and surrounded by an enemy that attacked from all sides. He was the soul of the will to break through. His freshness, confidence, energy and leadership were alone responsible for that fact that almost 20000 soldiers were able to escape destruction. In the daily combat, during which most German officers and NCOs became casualties, Oberst Heidkämper repeatedly distinguished himself through personal bravery.

On the 31.01.1943 he and his group were able to reach German territory, and thereafter the German and Italian troops could once again be reinserted into the main defensive front.

The commanding general of the Generalkommando z.B.V., Generalleutnant Cramer, submitted Oberst i.G. Heidkämper for the award of the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources

  • - WEGMANN, GÜNTER, Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939-1945, Biblio-Verlag, 2009.
    - Die Ordensträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht
    - Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer, Elite of the Third Reich - The Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-45: A Reference, Helion & Company Limited, England, 2003
    - Mitcham Jr., S.W. Rommel’s Lieutenants – The Men Who Served the Dessert Fox, France, 1940, Praeger Security International, Westport, U.S.A., 2006
    - Federl, C., Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Panzerdivisionen 1939-1945, VDM Heinz Nickel, Zweibrücken, Germany, 2000
    - Axis Biographical Research