The Panzer-Division Kempf (also known as the Panzerverband Ostpreußen) was formed in August 1939 from a mix of Heer (including Panzer-Brigade 4) and SS-Verfügungstruppe units in East Prussia, officially to take part in the upcoming Tannenberg celebrations (to celebrate the large German victory there during the First World War).
It took part in the invasion of Poland, fighting at Mlava, Rozan, Lomza, Kliczym and Modlin. It was disbanded following that campaign and the farewell parade was held on 7 October 1939 near Neidenburg.

Known war crimes

Soldiers from the SS-Artillerie-Standarte along with a few Heer soldiers killed 50 Jews in Goworowo, east of Róznan on 9 September,
A soldier from the SS-Artillerie-Standarte was sentenced to three years in prison in 1939 by a military court for taking part in the massacre and a Heer officer to nine-years. The sentences was later overturned in an amnesty. (2)

During the invasion of Poland elements of the division used human shields:

Ca. 50 Polish peasants with spades advanced in front of the attacking enemy infantry, Germans ordered them to dig niches / trenches for them. [...] The line of peasants was moving forward and ca. 300 meters south of Uniszki Zawadzkie forest they started to dig shelters for the enemy. When Germans got into those trenches, peasants started to move further forward. I ordered the commander of artillery battalion to fire with shrapnels, to wound the enemy, and only scare the peasants. The enemy attack was halted. (1)

 

Commanders

Generalmajor Werner Kempf (10 Aug 1939 - 30 Sep 1939)

Operations Officers (Ia)

Oberstleutnant Julius von Bernuth (Aug 1939-Oct 1939)

Area of operations

East Prussia (Aug 1939)
Poland (Sep 1939 - Oct 1939)

Order of battle

7. Panzer Regiment
SS Regiment Deutschland
SS Artillery Regiment
SS Signal Battalion
SS Aufklärungs Battalion
II/47. Heavy Artillery Battalion
2. Co/SS Anti-Aircraft MG Battalion
505. Pionier Battalion
Feldpost
171. Verwaltungsdienste
Kw.Kol.Abt 502
Nachschubdienste
Sanitätsdienste

Footnotes

1. Account of Major Bronislaw Schlichtinger from 80th Infantry Regiment, 20th Infantry Division included in "1 Września 1939 roku w świetle relacji uczestników bitwy granicznej Armii "Modlin"" ("1 September 1939 in the light of accounts of participants of the battle of the border of Army "Modlin"") compiled by Ryszard Juszkiewicz and published in "Rocznik Mazowiecki" ("Mazovian Yearbook"), volume 21, pages 140 - 152, 2009.
2. "Hitler strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology and atrocity" by Alexander B. Rossino, page 105-107.

Sources used

Microfilm Publication A-3356, German Officer Personnel files, NARA
RKT & DKiGT karteikarten, BA/MA
Dermot Bradley, Karl-Friedrich Hildebrand, Markus Rövekamp - Die Generale des Heeres 1921-1945
Ryszard Juszkiewicz - 1 Września 1939 roku w świetle relacji uczestników bitwy granicznej Armii "Modlin" (Rocznik Mazowiecki, volume 21, pages 140 - 152, 2009)
Wolf Keilig - Die Generale des Heeres
Andris Kursietis - Die Wehrmacht at War 1939-1945
Kurt Mehner - Die Deutsche Wehrmacht 1939-1945: Führung und Truppe
Alexander B. Rossino - Hitler strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology and atrocity
Peter Schmitz, Klaus-Jürgen Thies, Günter Wegmann & Christian Zweng - Die deutschen Divisionen 1939-1945 (4 Vol)
Michael Sharpe & Brian L Davis - Das Reich
Jacek Solarz - SS Verfügungstruppen 1939
George H. Stein - The Waffen-SS: Hitler's Elite Guard at War 1939-1945
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945
Günther Wegmann - Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht, Teil VIII a: Panzertruppe, Band 1
Günter Wegmann & Christian Zweng - Formationsgeschichte u. Stellenbesetzung der deutschen Streitkräfte, 1815-1990, Teile IV, Abt. 1:  Die Dienststellen, Kommandobehörden u. Truppenteile des Heeres, Oct.35-May.45
Otto Weidinger - Das Reich, vol I

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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