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Johannes Kümmel
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Johannes Kümmel

Johannes Kümmel was born in Coswig, Saxony on the 21st July 1909. He started his military career as an infantryman in the 12th Infantry Regiment in the Reichswehr in 1928. In 1938, after the establishment of the Wehrmacht, he was transferred to the 8th Panzer Regiment as a Panzer III commander. A year later, at the rank of Oberfeldwebel (Staff Sergeant in English terminology), he was given command of his own Panzer platoon which took part in the Polish campaign. During the course of the campaign Kümmel managed to destroy several Polish tankettes, as well as a few tanks in the later stages of the campaign. For his achievements, he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class. However, that was not to be the end of his efforts.

After briefly taking part in the campaigns for France and the Lowlands, Kümmel was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann (Captain). After a short period of recovery due to an injury sustained during the campaign he was transferred, with his regiment, to the North African front to assist with Germany’s Italian allies. While they were on the ship to Tripoli, Kümmel recalls having a frightening incident with a British submarine. Luckily, the escorts that were assigned to the convoy managed to chase it away with several depth charges, and the convoy reached its destination safely.

Kümmel’s regiment then became part of the Deutsches Afrika Korps (German Africa Corps), commanded by the famed Erwin Rommel. Their main objective was to push back the British from North Africa. A turning point in this campaign was the battle for Halfaya Pass. This pass was located on the border of Libya and Egypt, and was practically the only direct route to and from the countries which was able to support a large amount of tanks and armoured vehicles.

Panzer III in North Africa 

With the Italian contingent of Capuzzo setting up camp in the nearby town of Sollum, the Germans had to hold the pass. There were three battles for Halfaya Pass, one of which Kümmel participated in. This one was dubbed “Operation Battleaxe” by the British, in which the British led a frontal attack on the fortified Halfaya Pass. In the chaos of the battle Kümmel destroyed 10 enemy tanks, forcing the British to retreat. This endeavour earned him the nickname ‘The Lion of Capuzzo’. After being involved in a another operation in Cyrenaica he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Only 882 people have ever received this medal) and was subsequently promoted to Major.

Afterwards, Kümmel was transferred to Southern Italy and was promoted to the rank of Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel), where he fought several battles. He was killed in a car crash in Cisterna, Italy, and was posthumously promoted to the rank of Oberst (Colonel).


Author: Sergej "NuclearFoot" Hrustić


In one of the upcoming updates, we will introduce emblem of the 10th Panzer Division:

Decal made by Branislav 'InkaL' Mirkov


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