German Armour in Normandy - Yves Buffetaut

German Armour in Normandy - Yves Buffetaut

smeg-head

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smeg-head submitted a new resource:

German Armour in Normandy - Yves Buffetaut - The rush to get support to a beleaguered Panzer Division in Normandy

German Armour in Normandy - Yves Buffetaut,
published by. Casemate ISBN: 978-1-61200-6437

Only one panzer division was stationed on the Normandy coastline on D-Day, and reinforcements were rushed to the area, thrown piecemeal into battle against the allies, plugging gaps and conducting frantic counter-attacks. Many of the panzer divisions sent in were "1944-type" divisions - including 12th SS Panzer Division, Hitlerjugend and the 2nd SS Panzer Division, Das Reich...
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I only know of Yves Buffetaut through the Militaria Magazine. But it is obvious he sure knows his subject. This one sounds interesting, I might just have to add it to my bookshelf.:D

I could well be wrong here, but I thought it was a Canadian unit that took out Wittman?
 

daz

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I only know of Yves Buffetaut through the Militaria Magazine. But it is obvious he sure knows his subject. This one sounds interesting, I might just have to add it to my bookshelf.:D

I could well be wrong here, but I thought it was a Canadian unit that took out Wittman?
More than one unit has made that claim
 
A bit like who killed von richthofen at the time.
 

offog

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smeg-head submitted a new resource:

German Armour in Normandy - Yves Buffetaut - The rush to get support to a beleaguered Panzer Division in Normandy



Read more about this resource...
From the review "eventually resulted in the destruction of the 7th Armoured Division by German Tigers, with British losses of twenty-seven tanks " If this is your reading of the book then you have misunderstood what happend or they are swallowing the propaganda of the Germans following the action.

7th armoured was not destroyed at Villers-Bocage. It lost a number of armoured vehicles not all of them tanks. The Germans also lost a lot of tanks mostly Mk4 but also Tigers to Infantry AT teams. Although the CLY and Queen's were badly cut up and needed reorganising, to say that 7thAD was destroyed would be a complete miss reading of the action. Some of the Div was still landing in France.
 
Wittman was lucky. Pat Dyas had the tiger by the tail but for some reason his Cromwell rounds failed to penetrate. If they had it would have been game over.
 
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smeg-head

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I only know of Yves Buffetaut through the Militaria Magazine. But it is obvious he sure knows his subject. This one sounds interesting, I might just have to add it to my bookshelf.:D

I could well be wrong here, but I thought it was a Canadian unit that took out Wittman?
Various claims have been made as to who destroyed Tiger 007. It has always been claimed that the 3 Tp, A Sqn, NHY
fired the killing shot. This article has been gleaned from Warfare History network:
The Death of Wittmann
The troop commander, Lieutenant James, decided to take command of Gordon’s tank and continue the fight. It was a prudent move since the Firefly was the only tank able to take on the remaining Tigers. He dashed to it from his own Sherman, running through the German fire and climbing up the vehicle and into the hatch. Once there he ordered the driver to move to an alternate firing site, something a well-trained crew would have picked out whenever they occupied a new defensive position. It took a few minutes, but at 12:47 the Firefly was ready for another go at Wittmann’s tanks.

James told the driver to pull forward so they could fire. He did so, exposing the tank but giving Ekins a chance to engage the Tiger that had fired at them a few minutes earlier. Once again the crew braced for the shock of firing the main gun as Ekins aligned his sights on the second Tiger. Whether he noticed the number 007 painted on the turret sides is unknown, though he was likely concentrating on the side of the hull, where the armor was thinner and there would be more of the tank in the gunsight surrounding his exact aiming point. Ekins received the order to fire and again pushed down his right foot, the sole of his boot depressing the firing button.

The muzzle flash was blinding, and for a second or two Ekins and his fellow crewman did not know if he hit the target. Any fears were allayed, however, when the air in front of the Firefly cleared, showing smoke coming from the Tiger. Even better, within a few seconds a large explosion filled the air with flame and smoke. The Tiger’s ammunition had cooked off, throwing the tank’s turret high into the air. Though the Firefly crew could not have known it, they had just ended the career—and life—of one of Germany’s most famous panzer aces.


On June 30, 1944, two weeks after Wittmann’s astounding feat of gunnery, his Tiger I tank lies disabled and abandoned in Villers-Bocage following an Allied bombing attack.
Despite Wittmann’s death, the battle was not over. James ordered the Firefly to back into the orchard again, away from any fire the remaining Tiger could send their way. According to British accounts, a few Shermans with 75mm guns now tried to engage the last Tiger (these accounts never mention any other Tigers present though it is fairly certain there were more). They moved to close the range so their slower-moving rounds might knock out the Tiger. Numerous rounds pelted the German vehicle like hail. This appeared to rattle the driver as the tank began to move around, changing direction rapidly even though none of the rounds penetrated the armor. One British observer recalled the Tiger seemed to be “milling around wondering how he could escape.”

Even Captain Boardman ordered his tank forward to engage the remaining Tiger, and Lt. James soon had the Firefly come back out to shoot at it. At this point the accounts differ; Boardman claims his tank fired a round that stopped the panzer, but Ekins remembers differently. He recalled the Tiger was still in motion when he put two 17-pounder rounds into it. This caused the tank to burst into flame. Ekins did not see any of the crew get out. The time now was 12:52. In less than 15 minutes a single Firefly had destroyed three Tigers with only five rounds of ammunition. Even better, a few minutes later a different Firefly destroyed two Mark IV panzers with only two shots at the extreme range of 1,645 meters. The action ended with the British scoring a lopsided victory while Germany lost one of its war heroes and at least five precious tanks, three of them irreplaceable Tigers.

This short but sharp battle showed the grim reality of tank warfare. While volumes can be written on the technical specifications of various tanks or the training and experience of their crews, warfare is more than just lining up a given number of tanks on each side and having them go at each other. Air and artillery support each had their effect on this fight. When German tank units were fighting defensively they caused damage out of proportion to their numbers. When they were attacking, which became increasingly rare in the West as the war continued, their losses grew significantly.

In combat between tanks, the crew that spotted the enemy first and fired first generally had a significant edge over their opponent, technical details or previous crew experience notwithstanding. The skilled use of cover and concealment also factor into battlefield victory along with aggressiveness, terrain, and pure luck. All of these things combined on August 8, 1944, and resulted in the death of one of Germany’s greatest tank officers in a few minutes of fighting. Despite their nominally superior tanks and likely greater experience, the Tiger force failed to knock out or even damage a single Sherman. In this instance the German advantages were negated by a skillfully conducted ambush.

Who Killed Michael Wittmann? A Debate to This Day…
The details of the battle as they are conveyed here are contested by some, though this is largely accepted as the most likely version of events. When Joe Ekins opened fire on the rearmost Tiger he could see, there were other tanks firing at them from the Sherbrooke Fusiliers (Canadian) at a range of about 1,100 meters. When he engaged Tiger 007 a few minutes later, those Canadian tanks were still nearby and may have been firing at Wittmann’s panzers. Some claim a shot from one of their Fireflies ended the panzer ace’s days. Some have even claimed a Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber destroyed Wittmann’s tank with a rocket, though a study of the 2nd Tactical Air Force’s logs largely disproved this theory.

The confusion inherent to any battlefield renders difficult any conclusive answer to the question of who killed Michael Wittmann. While it could have been someone else, postwar research and the consistency of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry’s war diary when it is compared to what is known from the German side make a convincing case that Wittmann met his death at their hands. German accounts denote only one Tiger, Number 007, had its turret blown off when it was destroyed that day.

So, draw your own conclusions chaps. The majority of the available evidence points towards the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, and I am quite happy to leave it at that.
 

AlienFTM

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The Tiger’s ammunition had cooked off, throwing the tank’s turret high into the air. Though the Firefly crew could not have known it, they had just ended the career—and life—of one of Germany’s most famous panzer aces.


On June 30, 1944, two weeks after Wittmann’s astounding feat of gunnery, his Tiger I tank lies disabled and abandoned in Villers-Bocage following an Allied bombing attack.
I hate to say this, but above and below the picture contradict one-another.

Either the explosion blew Wittmann's turret off, or the tank in the picture isn't Wittmann's. Both cannot realistically be true.
 
I hate to say this, but above and below the picture contradict one-another.

Either the explosion blew Wittmann's turret off, or the tank in the picture isn't Wittmann's. Both cannot realistically be true.
Different vehicle. That picture shows the Tiger he was using at Villers Bocage, which was disabled by a 6 Pdr from the Queen's Anti-tank platoon.
 

offog

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There is a number of contradiction in that photo.

On June 30, 1944, two weeks after Wittmann’s astounding feat of gunnery, his Tiger I tank lies disabled and abandoned in Villers-Bocage following an Allied bombing attack.
The village may have been bombed but that tiger was not a casualty of that bombing. As @brewmeister said it probably is his tank (although he was commanding another tank as his was U/S and he took another one into the village) knocked out from the counter attack by 6/7 Queen's, with Mk4s in the background possibly as result of the very experienced 6/7 Queen's PIAT teams. I'm not sure you could call the initial stages of the attack on CLY as outstanding gunnery as the shots were all at relatively close range (under 200m).

I am always sceptical of articles which regurgitate poor facts from other books who just follow the party line.

And although the Germans put numbers on to indicate who the leader was we have already said that it was common for the officers to switch tanks as needed, so it is possible that just because it had 007 on the side it does not mean he was commanding it. If the crew of the tank he was commanding and switched out of got it going they would have joined the fight in his tank and now had the wrong number on the side.
 

smeg-head

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Different vehicle. That picture shows the Tiger he was using at Villers Bocage, which was disabled by a 6 Pdr from the Queen's Anti-tank platoon.
Absolutely correct and also the reason why Wittmann was using 007 instead of his usual 205.

From the review "eventually resulted in the destruction of the 7th Armoured Division by German Tigers, with British losses of twenty-seven tanks " If this is your reading of the book then you have misunderstood what happend or they are swallowing the propaganda of the Germans following the action.

7th armoured was not destroyed at Villers-Bocage. It lost a number of armoured vehicles not all of them tanks. The Germans also lost a lot of tanks mostly Mk4 but also Tigers to Infantry AT teams. Although the CLY and Queen's were badly cut up and needed reorganising, to say that 7thAD was destroyed would be a complete miss reading of the action. Some of the Div was still landing in France.
On 30th June the Division (7th Armoured Division) withdrew to an area near Jerusalem to a rest and re-fit, as casualties had had exceeded 1,000 men. There were comments at the time that the Division did not function well and that it had lost it's flair, but it should be remembered that most of the men had now been fighting for over 3 years and they had become cautious old soldiers. Additionally, the bocage country was alien to everything they had experienced in the past, including their time in Italy. Also most of the other Divisions in Normandy then were fresh from training and "eager to the fray", unlike the veterans of 7th Armoured, 50th (Northumbrian) and 51st (Highland) Divisions, plus 4th and 8th Armoured Brigades, all of whom had long since realised that war held no glamour, but was a nasty bloody, business instead. Some even considered the 7th Armoured and 51st (Highland) Divisions a law unto themselves due to their apparent lack of discipline. However, the Division would soon be able to show what it was made of again. NB. There are occasions when the old 8th Army, then in Italy, is referred to as D-Day dodgers, but Montgomery had brought the old 30th Corps to fight in Normandy as they were some of the most experienced troops in the British Army at that time.

The Division did not take part in 'Operation Epsom' - the next attempt to take Caen - which fell to the three newly, arrived armoured divisions of 8th Corps. The offensive lasted from 26th June to 1st July and although it did succeed in pushing the beachhead as far south as the River Odon, it cost over 4,000 men. So having tried twice to attack Caen from the west, Montgomery decided the next assault would be on the east of the city. This was to be called Operation Goodwood and was to start on 18th July 1944.
www.desertrats.org.uk/battles1944.htm
 
Its generally accepted that 007 was the mount that Wittman used when he was killed. But I read somewhere that the Sherbrookes had a flank shot at close range.

But at the end of the day the Germans took a pasting and does it really matter who killed who? It shows that a well trained Firefly crew was something to be feared.
 

smeg-head

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Its generally accepted that 007 was the mount that Wittman used when he was killed. But I read somewhere that the Sherbrookes had a flank shot at close range.

But at the end of the day the Germans took a pasting and does it really matter who killed who? It shows that a well trained Firefly crew was something to be feared.
The Sherbrooke Fusiliers were seen firing on Wittmann's Tiger, but no reliable evidence exists as to whether they fired the fatal shot or not. As you say, it doesn't really matter who killed who.
 
The Sherbrooke Fusiliers were seen firing on Wittmann's Tiger, but no reliable evidence exists as to whether they fired the fatal shot or not. As you say, it doesn't really matter who killed who.
Plus it really upsets the Fanbois when you remind them that Wittman left Villers Bocage on foot after his invincible Tiger was knocked out by a puny 6 Pdr, and then that he was killed a few weeks later by, of all things, a Sherman. Which, as every fanboi knows, were barely a match for a Mark IV. Ho hum. All's fair in love and war.
 
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smeg-head

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Plus it really upsets the Fanbois when you remind them that Wittman left Villers Bocage on foot after his invincible Tiger was knocked out by a puny 6 Pdr, and then that he was killed a few weeks later by, of all things, a Sherman. Which, as everone knows, were barely a match for a Mark IV. Ho hum. All's fair in love and war.
However, the Sherman Firefly with the 17 pounder gun were definitely the equal of the Tiger. With better armour, a thing Patton was vehemently against, the Sherman would have been world class.
 
Slightly off topic: Hauptsturmfuhrer Michael Wittman, whereas I do not doubt he was brave, a good leader and tactician, without a good driver, gunner, and, loader, his only awards would have been a wooden cross with wreath.

Same can be said for bomber pilots, ships captains, sub-unit commanders, etc etc on both sides of the conflict.

The exception is Gen. Douglas 'Bloater' MacArthur, of course, who won more gallantry medals for personal heroism under fire, as a general, than any front line combatant since Pontius Pilate was a corporal.
 
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Bollox

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Slightly off topic: Hauptsturmfuhrer Michael Wittman, whereas I do not doubt he was brave, a good leader and tactician, without a good driver, gunner, and, loader, his only awards would have been a wooden cross with wreath.

Same can be said for bomber pilots, ships captains, sub-unit commanders, etc etc on both sides of the conflict.

The exception is Gen. Douglas 'Bloater' MacArthur, of course, who won more gallantry medals for personal heroism under fire, as a general, than any front line combatant since Pontius Pilate was a corporal.
Whitman did put his gunner Balthasar (Bobby) Woll forward for his own awards. By the time of Wittmans death Bobby had received the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class and the Knights Cross. These were awarded in recognition of his superb skills as a gunner.
 
Whitman did put his gunner Balthasar (Bobby) Woll forward for his own awards. By the time of Wittmans death Bobby had received the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class and the Knights Cross. These were awarded in recognition of his superb skills as a gunner.
Thank you for that, @Bollox ,
 
However, the Sherman Firefly with the 17 pounder gun were definitely the equal of the Tiger. With better armour, a thing Patton was vehemently against, the Sherman would have been world class.
I've never read that about the Sherman/Patton/armour thing. Was it to do with the doctrine of manouverability/speed over armour/weight? Like the M10?

I do know he hated the halftrack. A bit ironic really as his coffin was carried by one.
 

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I've never read that about the Sherman/Patton/armour thing. Was it to do with the doctrine of manouverability/speed over armour/weight? Like the M10?

I do know he hated the halftrack. A bit ironic really as his coffin was carried by one.
There is a photo of Patton bollocking some hapless Tank Commander for adding sand bags to the front of his tank. Apparently he thought it "cowardly" and was an insult to "American engineering". I shall endeavour to dig it out.
 

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