- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Oberleutnant der Reserve (1st Lieutenant of Reserves)
- Chef 4. / Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 3
- Awarded on:
- May 14th, 1944
Oberleutnant Kleffel was a company commander in the reconnaissance battalion of the 3rd Panzer Division during early 1944. During the division’s defense of Orhei, on the 13.04.1944, the Soviets succeeded in reaching a defile in regimental strength just short of a patch of woods to the east of Orhei. From where his company was positioned Kleffel determined if the Russians made it to the woods they would be in a position to compromise the division’s entire defensive position. He launched a counterattack with his eight APCs, and despite fire from Russian AT guns he was able to reach the defile and opened fire, scattering the Russian infantry that were gathered there. He continued to pursue the Russian regiment across the bridge where it had come from, inflicting heavy losses, and pulled back across before the Russians were able to take countermeasures. For his successful spoiling attack Kleffel was awarded the Knight’s Cross.