- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Oberleutnant der Reserve (1st Lieutenant of Reserves)
- Chef 2. / Pionier-Bataillon 20 (motorisiert) / 20.Panzer-Grenadier-Division / XXXXVI.Panzer-Korps / 4.Panzer-Armee / Heeresgruppe A
- Awarded on:
- October 20th, 1944
After strong Soviet forces had broken through NE of Lemberg, Oberleutnant Keese received the order to create and secure a bridgehead encompassing two key road bridges. He was to hold it at all costs against any Soviet forces that broke through to allow German formations further east to retreat across the bridges if necessary.
Following its construction, the bridgehead suddenly came under attack in the middle of the night by hostile tanks. Soon no less than 21 enemy tanks had penetrated into the small bridgehead with mounted infantry. In this critical situation Oberleutnant Keese went from Pionier to Pionier in order to inspire his men to fight. They engaged the opposing armour with hand grenades and Panzerfausts, crushed the escorting infantry and inflicted heavy losses on the Soviets.
When the Soviet infantry were preparing for a new attack later on, Oberleutnant Keese conducted his own spoiling attacks that inflicted great losses on them and disordered the Soviets to such a degree that they fled to a nearby forest.
Keese would be awarded the Knight’s Cross for his role in securing this small bridgehead despite the great forces set against him.