His Career in the Tiger
On the 29th July his company formed part of the new 101st SS Schwere-Panzer Abeitlungen attatched to the LSSAH. In August the division was transferred to Italy for refitting. In October the Divsion returned to Russia to repel the Soviet Summer offensive, he also changed his Tiger previously numbered 1331 for Tiger S21. On the 13th of that month he destroyed 20 T-34's & 23 guns. He carried on his success into December.
On the 13th January 1944 he was awarded the Knight's
Cross for his outstanding service after destroying 19 T-34's & three super
heavy tanks. His total now stood at 88 tanks & SP's. On the 16th Jan his
gunner SS Rottenfuhrer Bobby Woll also received the Knight's Cross unheard of
for an enlisted man.
On the 20th January 20th Wittmann was promoted to the rank of SS-Obersturmfuhrer & ten days later he was awarded the Oakleaves to the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross & was presented them by Hitler personally on the 2nd Feb 1944 at the "Wolfs Lair". He had the 88 white victory rings painted on his Tiger for the occassion. Between 29th Feb - 2nd March he was transferred to Mons in Belgium during which he was placed in command of in command of the 2nd company 101st battalion & on the 1st March he married Hildegarde Burmester.
la valentia (Wounded badge).
He was now a national hero after German propoganda & visited the Henschel plant. He rejoined the 101st in May & was stationed in Lisieux in Normandy. At this time his gunner Bobby Woll was given his own Tiger command. Wittman transferred to a late edition Tiger number 205 & during the invasion moved towards the Normandy coast. Wittmans 2nd company was reduced to just 6 tanks after repeated Allied air attacks.. On June the 13th they reached the Bayeuax area near the village of Villers-Bocage........
Villers-Bocage to the End
At 0800 hrs 13th June 1944
the 4th County of London Yeomanry made their way up a sunken road outside the
village. In the woods like the predator from which his Panzer got it's name
Wittman waited . He struck just as the British Cromwells reached a range of
100meters. Quickly he destroyed the lead & tail vehicles before blowing up
the rest of the once proud column. Minutes later 25 cromwells & firefly
tanks along with 28 other vehicles lay as a burning pile of scrap. By now he had
been joined by two other Tigers & a single panzer
IVH from Panzer Lehr &
moved into the village causing more carnage before his tank was disabled by an
anti-tank round which blew his right track. He abandoned his tank & on foot
made his way back to the HQ of Panzer Lehr. He was promoted again recieving the
Swords to his Knights Cross.
On the evening of the 8th August 1944 he met his death. There is some debate as to how he met his end. One report states he destroyed a number of Canadian Sherman Firefly's before being surrounded by the remaining 8 & being shot to pieces, however after seeing the photo of his turret accross it is more likely he fell victim to a rocket firing Hawker Typhoon. Germany would mourn it's favourite son. He was buried along with his crew in a communual grave in the hamlet of Gaumesnil.
Foto 1: Michael Wittman
Foto 2: Wittman after of another award
Foto 3: With the famous Tiger
Foto 4: The Crew; Wittmann, Bobby Woll (gunner),
Henreich Reimers(driver), Rudi Hirschel(radioman), Gunther
Foto 5: Wittman with the Stug III A
Foto 6: Wittman discuss the next ofensive
Foto 7: Wittman and the turref of the Tiger 007, the last photo
Bibliography: German Ace's
Thanks to The Tiger Tank for make possible this article
RTV / Modelismo Militar
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