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Who really killed the famous Tiger ace Michael Wittmann?


Cybermat47
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Cybermat47

There is no doubt that SS-Hauptmsturmfuhrer Michael Wittmann is the most famous tank commander of all time. Even to this day, flowers are laid at his grave. Tank historian Stephen Zaloga has described him as "the hero of all Nazi fanboys", and his actions at the Battle of Villers-Bocage continue to be lauded and criticised in equal measure by enthusiasts and historians. After serving as one of Adolf Hitler's bodyguards, taking part in the invasions of Czechoslovakia and the USSR, fighting with distinction at the Battle of Prokhorovka, and cementing his legacy at Villers-Bocage, the Nazi war hero was killed on August 8th, 1944.

 

But who actually killed him?

 

The widely accepted version of events is that a gunner with the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry, Trooper Joe Ekins, destroyed Wittmann's Tiger 007, as well as two others, while serving as the gunner in a Sherman Firefly. However, this version of events has been challenged by claims that Wittmann was not one of Ekins' victims. Instead, they credit the destruction of Tiger 007 to an anonymous gunner of A Squadron, 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment. This claim does actually seem to be backed up by the facts at hand. Aerial photos show that five Tigers were destroyed by Commonwealth forces in the combat area, while the 1st Northhamptonshire Yeomanry only reported seeing three Tigers, all of which were destroyed "rather like Practice No. 5 on the ranges at Linney Head". The 27th Canadian's records were destroyed on the same day of Wittmann's death by a stray bomb from a B-17, but Major Sydney Radley-Walters, commander of the 27th's A Squadron, recalls in detail that he saw all five Tigers that day. Lying in wait behind the wall of a chateau, the 27th destroyed a Tiger from 500 yards (457.2 metres) away. This Tiger was the closest to the chateau and the nearby road, and corresponds to photographs taken of Tiger 007's wreckage after the war (at which time it was still in situ). 

 

Of course, eyewitness testimonies do have to be examined beyond face value due to the impacts of adrenaline, stress, trauma, time, and age on memory, as well as the confusing nature of combat. But when cross-referenced with other available information, Radley-Walters' account holds water, and it seems likely that Wittmann's end came at the hands of an unknown Canadian gunner.

 

This article goes more in-depth about Wittmann's death, what I've written above is more of a short summary.

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cardboard_killer
42 minutes ago, Cybermat47 said:

But who actually killed him?

 

The good guys :)

 

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Cybermat47
12 hours ago, cardboard_killer said:

 

The good guys :)

 


Can’t argue with that 😄

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  • 2 weeks later...
PatrickAWlson

The same guy who shot the Red Baron :) 

 

Much like MvR, Wittmann's death seems to be the result of a very good soldier making a very bad mistake - or possibly obeying very bad orders.  His Tigers were hanging out to dry and somebody duly obliged.  So maybe Canadians, maybe Ekins crew.  Can't read the article because they want money and I don't want to pay :) 

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