Request to award the German Cross in Gold to Lammerding

    The man making out this request was Theodor Eicke, who had earlier on in his career been the Inspector of Concentration Camps before becoming an SS-Gruppenführer and the first Commander of the Totenkopf Division.

    Eicke was a committed Nazi and it is clear from reading both this request and his Assessment of 29 September 1940 that he valued Lammerding and regarded him as being sound, both militarily and politically. It is interesting to read Lammerding's earlier Assessments in the light of what is written below, because they show a rather different picture. In his early days in the SS he comes over as a technically competent, but an uninspiring leader; see for example his Assessment of 1 July 1935. Comments below are in italics.

Short substantiation and comment of the next higher rank.

     Since 1. 11. 40. SS-Obersturmbannführer Lammerding has been a General Staff Officer of the SS Totenkopf Division.

    At the beginning of the war, SS-Obersturmbannführer Lammerding was placed in the pioneer-battalion of the division and always led it under his personal participation into the western campaign.

    During the western campaign, Lammerding already outstanding, distinguished himself with the breakthrough through the extended Maginot line at Sedan. At the head of his pioneers, he destroyed 14 English tanks during the defensive tank battle at Arras, (Ficheux, Simencourt). Particularly, SS-Obersturmbannführer Lammerding has proven himself with the bridge demolitions undertaken in hostile fire over the La Basse Canal (Adolf Diekmann was wounded at the La Basse canal, but I do not know if the two men ever met there at the time) at Hinges, Robecque and La Basse. His exemplary personal readiness too always swept the men of his Battalion to new acts of gallantry. Lammerding was distinguished in the western campaign on the 25. 5. 40. with the Iron Cross 2nd class and on the 22. 6. 40. with the Iron Cross 1st class.

    In the campaign against the Soviet union, Lammerding has proved himself in all circumstances as being a clear and unemotional thinking and acting assistant, that in all critical situations, with iron calmness, worked with his own tenacious energy on the execution of the composed decisions.

    As in a moment, the divisional commander (Theodor Eicke himself. It is common practice for SS officers in their reports and other writings to refer to themselves in the third person.) was badly injured during the night of the 6/7. 7. 41. when the division was in breakthrough through the Stalin-line, SS-Obersturmbannführer Lammerding worked independently prior to the arrival of the acting divisional commander to guarantee the smooth execution of this difficult attack.

    During the heavy fighting of the 8 - 10. 7. 41, which was interconnected with the capture of Sebesh and Opotschka, a difficult situation arose for the division as a result of the Russians, who through a successful breakthrough attempt at another position, cut off the supply route of the division. In this situation, SS-Obersturmbannführer Lammerding has proven himself in high measure through his special coolness and prudence.

    Lammerding distinguished himself again, with the relief of the 8th Panzer Division through swift determined action before Soltzy on the 16. 7. 41. At the difficult defences at the Mschaga section on the 25. 7. - 14. 8. 41, SS-Obersturmbannführer Lammerding was the division commander and through his tenacious and constant working energy, was always a valuable support.

    Especially Lammerding has distinguished himself with the annihilation of the 34th Russian army, between Dno and Staraja-Russa. The operations suffered considerably, especially in the last section through the bad weather, however a swift progression was demanded. Through his rich technical pioneering experiences, Lammerding was never embarrassed at having to invent ways to do the bridge constructions for the difficult route circumstances and river crossings and consequently quite essentially contributed to the successes of the division.

    Solid proficiency, unselfish readiness, great energy and a restless willingness to work are present in high measure in SS-Obersturmbannführer Lammerding. He was in each situation a dependable operational assistant to the divisional commander.

    The recognition has been repeatedly pronounced of SS-Obersturmbannführer Lammerding by the senior departments.

    I ask for the award of the German Cross in Gold to SS-Obersturmbannführer Lammerding in acknowledgement of his many times proven bravery and meritorious leadership.

Eicke… SS-Gruppenführer and Lieutenant General of the Waffen-SS

12 December 1941

Comment of the Commanding General of the X.A.K. (10th Army Corps)

    I warmly approve the suggestion. SS-Obersturmbannführer Lammerding is for the leadership an essential, reliable assistant, with good aptitude and a clear vision. He has had a big share in the successes of the SS-Totenkopf division, all the more so, as the divisional commander was unable to participate for a long time, due to severe wounding.

Hansen… General of the Artillery and Commanding General of the X.A.K. (10th Army Corps)


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© Michael Williams February 2004