Press note for the award of Lammerding's Knight's Cross
There is no date attached to this file, but it would have been around 1st May 1944. What the Press Note does indicate is that Lammerding was a brave and resourceful soldier who could lead his troops in difficult and dangerous conditions. This is rather at odds with the view of some other authors, for example Max Hastings in, "Das Reich: The march of the 2nd SS-Panzer Division through France". Hastings has described him as being rather colourless and over-promoted, owing his position to a close relationship with Himmler rather than any personal ability. It is quite possible that Lammerding was over-promoted, but he seems to have been typical of Waffen-SS officers, in that he led from the front.
The Knight's Cross has been conferred on SS-Oberführer Heinz (his first name was actually Heinrich) Lammerding from Dortmund, the leader of a Divisional Fighting Group.
The SS-Panzer Division "Das Reich" Fighting Group, led by SS-Oberführer Lammerding was employed in the closure of a gap in the front, to the west of Shepetowka. Through nimble and mobile fighting leadership SS-Oberführer Lammerding sought to prevent an advance of the daily attacking opponent until the beginning of the main hostile assault southward. On this occasion Lammerding personally had to constantly destroy far superior enemy sections with his own weak forces in counterattacks from rear and flank. 53 tanks, 32 Guns and many other arms were destroyed. The consequences of the fighting had great importance for the leadership of the defence.
SS-Oberführer Lammerding was born on the 28-8-1905 in Dortmund and was a certified civil engineer in civilian life. After participation in the Western and Eastern Fronts with the SS-Totenkopf Division, he was awarded the German Cross in Gold in 1942.
© Michael Williams: revised July 2009