Jump to content

Was Whittman killed by ...?


Recommended Posts

I read recently that inspection of the actual tank suggests a strike on the tanks horizontal plane being consistent w/ aircraft as a source

------------------

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"

-- King Henry VI, Part II, Act 4, sc.2, l.86

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“It was now 12:55 hours, and the British tank crews were once again all ready to start firing at the next wave of German panzers, which were now at a range of 1200 yards due south. A number of the German machines were able to take immediate cover. However, Trooper Ekins, swung his 17pdr main gun onto the nearest Tiger I (Wittman) and fired one shot that ripped into the right side track pannier of the enemy Tiger I. A great flash and explosion was the direct result and the huge German panzer burst into flames. Suddenly, there was a secondary explosion which resulted in the turret of this vehicle being blown from its superstructure, and hurled about fifty feet behind the machine after the on-board ammunition had ignited.” Tiger Ace: The life story of panzer commander Michael Wittman” by Gary L Simpson. Wittman was also not in his normal Tiger, he was forced to use Tiger number 007

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"When the tigers were about 1000 yards from us and broadside on to us, I told 3 troop (and my gunner) to fire. The firefly did the damage, but our 75s helped and must have taken the track off one which started to circle out of control. They shot back at us, put the Firefly out temporarily as its commader was hit on the head. However, at the end of a very few minutes there were three killed Tigers and as nobody was seen to bale out presumably the crews were killed. despite claims by the RAF and the Canadians, i can assure you - and anyone else - that those three Tigers, and we know now, Micheal Wittmann, were the victims of No 3 Troop, A sqn, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry"

Col Tom Boardman, 2IC A sqn, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry.

In Tank Aces, from Blitzkrieg to the gulf war, (1997) by George Forty

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Give the Tiger I its props. That tank in WWII had a better reign than any other. Its frontal and side armor allowed it to make its main weapon known and feared more than any other. Having great cross country performance and mostly elite crews, it served from 1942-1944 with distinction.

The crews should be given the utmost in respect as warriors. On the edge of frontal assault and as fire brigades against vast numbers and unending missions, they laid waste. Im sure Whittman's sense of the urgency of the situation clouded a veterans mind. Much like Lee at gettysburg. He took a bad chance to fill another gap/turn an opportunity/push his luck and Luck had its way with him.

Lewis

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Germanboy

Ken Tout in either 'Tank'! or 'A fine night for tanks' also claims Wittmann for the 2nd Northants Yeo. Reynolds in 'Steel Inferno' is not so sure and just states that the only thing certain is that Wittmann died fighting Canadians, British and Poles. A fitting epitaph, together with Lewis' remark, I should think.

------------------

Andreas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is Joe Elkins' (the Firefly gunner)story (from The Armourer Magazine):

"During the dark night of 7th August 1944 tanks of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry supported by infantry of the 51st Highland Division led the left hand column of the Canadian Army through four miles of heavily defended territory on Operation Totalize. By first light the village of St Algan de Cramesnil was taken and after some confusion and delay my 3 troop of 75mm Shermans with 1 Firefly and with other troops of A Squadron 1st NY were established in the orchards south of the village. At this time on the morning of the 8th August 1944 the Germans of 12th SS Panzer Division supported by 2 Kompanie SS Panzer Abteilung 101 were preparing to counterattack the Allied advanced troops who were in exposed positions following the night march.

Michael Wittmann and his troop of three Tiger tanks advanced in line ahead along the east side of the N158 Falaise to Caen road as part of the force engaged in attack. At the time no one knew this was the famous Tiger troop of Wittmann. Someone on lookout from the cover of the orchards reported seeing tanks moving into view crossing our front. We mounted and pulled forward and I saw the Tigers advancing slowly at about 1200 yards. The Tigers moved closer and at 800 yards Sgt Gordon commanding the Firefly broke from cover and ordered: "Target the rear Tiger. Fire when ready." I fired two shots. I had two hits. On my second shot the Tiger caught fire.

Sgt Gordon ordered: "Reverse under cover," and I could see the German tank (probably Wittmann's) traversing round onto us. The Tiger fired and missed as we were already reversing into cover. Something caused injury to Sgt Gordon, probably the turret lid or a branch. I imagine he was probably dazed as he climbed out and I later heard he was wounded. Lt. James, our troop leader, took command of our Firefly and moved out of cover into a new position. I traversed onto the second tank, fired one shot and he exploded in a sheet of flame. The first in line of the three Tigers was now milling about trying to get into cover. I fired twice and he too started to burn. This all happened in about 12 minutes and we now reloaded, sorted ourselves out and sat back waiting.

A short time later a number of tanks and infantry were reported moving up the valley from the left and onto out positions. Lt. James immediately moved us into a fire position and we saw a target at 1200 yards. I fired one shot and the tank blew up. Things quietened down now for some time. We then saw infantry coming up the slope towards us. We engaged with machine gun fire and they went to cover. We continued waiting and watching. Suddenly there was a loud bang and sparks flew all around the turret. The order came:"We are hit.All out." We were lucky everyone was okay. We all scrambled out and ran back out of the orchard. A quick glance back showed our tank burning. Bullets were flying around so we ran back to where we thought HQ was. I later heard Lt. James was wounded on the way to report to the Squadron commander.

The next day I was drafted into a new crew as a wireless operator and have never fired again fired a gun."

During the battle the Northamptonshire Yeomanry claimed 15 tanks and five SP guns destroyed agianst losses of 20 tanks.

[This message has been edited by Gary T (edited 07-14-2000).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Germanboy

Gary, sure it should not be the 2nd Northants? Or is my memory failing me again?

------------------

Andreas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There seems to be a consensus forming about the Northamptonshire Yeomanry being responsible. However, the following is from "Six Armies in Normandy" by John Keegan, page 253, where he talks about the Canadians in Operation Totalize, the effort to close the Falaise Gap:

"The most notable, if unperceived, success achieved by the Canadians was to bring to an end the career of Hauptsturmfuhrer Wittmann, whose Tiger fell to a co-ordinated salvo fired by five Shermans on which he was making a single-handed attack. It was a fitting end for the leading tank ace of the Second World War."

Just adding grist to the mill.

OGSF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alright, you want the truth? We killed him! That's right, us, the Cows of Normandy!!

Do you realize how many of us died in your senseless battles? Hundreds...thousands!!

I killed him, yes I, a cow! And I'm glad!! He never even saw it coming! Who would suspect? He was so fixated on those damned allied tanks. Finally the story can be told, because I am old, and near death now. I, a humble Holstein from Normandy, killed Panzer Ace Wittman! Think of that, the next time you're at McDonalds, you bloody ingrates...

[This message has been edited by Seanachai (edited 07-15-2000).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gotta love Wittman. He's my hero. One of my grandfathers served in a company in Wittman's division for a short while (he was on leave in the area from another unit and pressed into combat for the emergency)

My grandfather said the men were very saddened at his death and though to themselves "The war is truly lost now"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Madmatt

Dead!?! eek.gif

You guys obviously don't read National Enquierer as it clearly discovered that Wittmann along with Jim Morrison and Elvis are all retired on small Southern Pacific island in a scientologiest missionary encampment.

Just ask Tom Cruise, he will tell you!

Madmatt

------------------

If it's in Combat Mission, it's on Combat Mission HQ!

CMHQ-Annex, The Alternative side of Combat Mission

Combat Mission HQ

CMHQ-Annex

Proud members of the Combat Mission WebRing

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Likely not. As someone who is going through all the old threads, I can say that the same questions come up with surprising frequency.

I'm not talking the same 10 questions, either. It's more like a core of 50+ questions that get asked over and over again.

Some questions get asked weekly while a queston like this comes up maybe once every three or four months.

Jason

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting web site, Fivetide. From it is the following quote:

Mr.Varin was interested in this tank because its turret was teared away from the hull. Mr.Varin examined Wittmann's Tiger and noticed that it was not penetrated by any shells fired at it during the fighting. The only damage to the hull was a big hole in the rear, near the engine deck.

I don't know as to how reliable a source this "Serge Varin" is, but the above statement gets to the crux of the matter. If, indeed, there were no other penetrations into the Tiger hull or turret, that pretty much refutes the claims of various Allied tankers in "getting" Wittman. It may well be possible that in the "heat of battle", an RAF aircraft that swooped in to attack the German tanks could have been missed being sighted by the Allied tank crews (as most of those tank crews would have riveted their vision and attention to the Tigers in front of them instead). And if Wittman's tank exploded while being fired on by Allied tanks, it's quite easy for the Allied tank crews to assume that one of their shots (instead of the aircraft attack) hit home.

But again, all of this rides on the assertion of Varin that he saw no other damage points on the destroyed Tiger tank, other than the rear upper deck (which could just as well been caused by the internal ammo explosion instead of a bomb/rocket penetration). Has anyone else correlated this?

And have any squadron reports from RAF 2nd TAF been submitted to indicate that any of their planes operated in or near that region at the time of Wittman's demise?

[This message has been edited by Spook (edited 07-18-2000).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Spook:

Interesting web site, Fivetide. From it is the following quote:

And have any squadron reports from RAF 2nd TAF been submitted to indicate that any of their planes operated in or near that region at the time of Wittman's demise?

Vau was the source Culver & Fiest used in their Tiger book.

As for the Aircraft theory, from all I have read no TAF or TAC air were operating within 40 miles of the battlefeild, thats been 1 reason why later books om Wittmann Ie, Simpson's book etc, ruled out the aircraft theory.

Regards, John Waters

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...