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The End of Michael Wittmann

Article about: Visited here last week as part of my Villers-Bocage visit.....

  1. #31

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    Quote by Composite View Post
    I’m always intrigued in the almost fanatic interest in the great Bren Carrier-killer......and why there doesn’t appear to be such interest in the other German “Aces”...some of whom lasted longer, killed more tanks, served in more vehicle types, took out more proper tanks and survived the conflict.

    I understand that ol’ Witters was in the iconic Tiger...and that he was probably most famous for his post D-Day activity against convoys of Brit soft skins and tanks....and he looked “cool”....and his demise remains a mystery....can I ask here, what is YOUR (open to all) reason for Wittman v Carius or Knispel or other.....

    ..apologies if this seems like a Thread-Hijack....that is not the intention.....
    I have often thought the same thing and I think the best answer is simply propaganda and that Wittman had the misfortune to be chosen as a kind of "poster boy" and ended up with what we call today a "media profile".
    As you say, he was not the top scoring ace but he was a "face" and of course the allied troops on the ground at the time had no idea who he was. Even Joe Ekins who has been made a central character in the story was unaware of him until all the fanfare started after the war.

    Not many people seem to have heard of Carius who I believe was of similar type and I think I am right in saying he lived after the war as a pharmacist in a relatively quiet town until he died a few years ago with no ringing of bells at all.

    Just my opinion as you asked for. Now standing by for the outraged howls from Wittman acolytes

    Still it is good book fodder eh?

    Regards

    Mark
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

  2. #32

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    Quote by Paul D View Post
    Forgot to mention , nice to see you have a signed photo by Joe Ekins
    Yeah , thought it would be a nice touch to take it back to where it all went on

  3. #33

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    ......anyone who out-Tanks Wittman, survives the War AND calls his Chemist “Tiger Apocathary” out-Top Trumps any Bren Carrier/half Track hater in my book...but what do I know......

  4. #34
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    Quote by Composite View Post
    I’m always intrigued in the almost fanatic interest in the great Bren Carrier-killer......and why there doesn’t appear to be such interest in the other German “Aces”...some of whom lasted longer, killed more tanks, served in more vehicle types, took out more proper tanks and survived the conflict.

    I understand that ol’ Witters was in the iconic Tiger...and that he was probably most famous for his post D-Day activity against convoys of Brit soft skins and tanks....and he looked “cool”....and his demise remains a mystery....can I ask here, what is YOUR (open to all) reason for Wittman v Carius or Knispel or other.....

    ..apologies if this seems like a Thread-Hijack....that is not the intention.....
    Not a thread hijack at all mate the question of Tank Aces , Kill counts and propoganda are very relevant to this thread and in many ways is a furtherance of questions on this subject . Wittmann albeit a brave and highly skilled and respected ( amongst his contempories ) young soldier it must be remembered was a Poster boy of the Waffen SS Panzer arm and a member of the party . The Propoganda of Nazi Germany wanted to promote the heros of the party and of course as the Waffen SS was a purely Nazi arm of the Wehrmacht he was the ideal man along with others to show the power of Nazi Germany above all their enemies or even other arms of the Wehrmacht including those of the Heer Panzer Arm.

    Regarding kill counts the problem is when you make the awarding of high awards a numerical thing ( Same with Pilots ) then of course the system can be abused by both the individual for their own gain and by the state to again show the superiority of Germany above all their enemies.

    Interestingly Otto Carius even stated himself that his Kills were overstated by the Propaganda machine ( i'm not saying Carius or Wittmann didn't deserve their high awards ) , but what is most interesting is that in July 1943 the OKW and OKH , despite what the Propoganda Ministry and individuals said were cutting Tank Kill claims as a result false claims , multiple claims , double claiming etc by 50 % to reflect a true picture of enemy forces on the Battlefield so they could plan accordingly .

    In short all German Tank claims need to be taken with a pinch of salt as they are almost certainly not accurate.
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  5. #35

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    ...and don’t get me started on the Barkman Bypass...or was that Barkman Corner........either way, I guess we’ll never know...and perhaps that’s part of the attraction....

  6. #36
    TWS
    TWS is offline
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    I respect Otto Carius and Kurt Knispel a lot. Tigers in the Mud is a good read and was translated by my good friend Bob Edwards. Knispel did not get the glory treatment because he was a bit of a non-conformist and therefore not a great National Socialist. In this thread I see some denigration of Wittmann's "work" in Normandy but would add as a counter point that he did see hard combat on the Ost Front prior. Not a Wittmann fanatic by any means, but I did visit his grave when I was in Normandy - before some wankers stole the headstone.
    Todd
    Former U.S. Army Tanker.
    "Best job I ever had."

  7. #37

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    I wrote to Otto a while ago and he was kind enough to send me this
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture The End of Michael Wittmann  

  8. #38
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    I interviewed Otto via correspondance and in person in particular about the combat in Estonia with the Strachwitz KG Operations , a very genuine and helpful man . I am back in Normandy this week with a Tour and will visit Wittmanns grave as i have done on many occasions as no Panzers / Tanks in Normandy Tour is complete without the story of Wittmanns actions .

    Most of the Tank Aces experienced much Heavy combat in both east and west , Knispel also fought in Normandy with s Panzer Abt 503 and their skill levels and courage are not in doubt , only the numbers !!
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  9. #39

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    Quote by Paul D View Post
    I interviewed Otto via correspondance and in person in particular about the combat in Estonia with the Strachwitz KG Operations , a very genuine and helpful man . I am back in Normandy this week with a Tour and will visit Wittmanns grave as i have done on many occasions as no Panzers / Tanks in Normandy Tour is complete without the story of Wittmanns actions .

    Most of the Tank Aces experienced much Heavy combat in both east and west , Knispel also fought in Normandy with s Panzer Abt 503 and their skill levels and courage are not in doubt , only the numbers !!
    I am yet to visit his grave, didn’t have time on the last trip unfortunately. My father wasn’t keen also

  10. #40
    TWS
    TWS is offline
    ?

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    Quote by HistoryMan View Post
    I wrote to Otto a while ago and he was kind enough to send me this
    I've heard nothing but good things about his graciousness towards military history buffs/admirers. I lived a mere hour and 20 minute drive away when I lived in Schwetzingen and regret I never made the time to call on him.
    Todd
    Former U.S. Army Tanker.
    "Best job I ever had."

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