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Michael Wittmann - Ace or Arrse???

#1
Right, it seems reasonable to suppose that people find and original tank ace of interest so let the argument begin. This is the guy we're talking about, an image from my print of the man.....and yes those are his 'Accredited' stats......................let the battle commence.
Yours Aye!!
 
#2
I am sad I have his wedding photos
 
#3
tropper66 said:
I am sad I have his wedding photos
Do you reckon that's sad then do you?? We all have heroes mate......all of us!!!
 
#4
Arthur3bums said:
tropper66 said:
I am sad I have his wedding photos
Do you reckon that's sad then do you?? We all have heroes mate......all of us!!!
I don't it was Bobby Woll I liked, Mr & mrs Wittman
 

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#7
Gravelbelly said:
...didn't he get taken out by the TA? For him, ze humiliation vould be unbearable...
"C" Sqn, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry.

My grandad served with them through Normandy & beyond. He wasn't TA. He wasn't from Northants either. :D

Rgds,

Steiner
 
#8
The Sherbrooke Fusiliers have a better claim. Some 4 Tigers were k/o'd that day - 3 by the Northants, but Wittmans by the Canadians. Recent air photo interpretation shows that the angles weren't right for Wittman to have been taken out by our boys. I take nothing away from the Northants - didn't Trooper Ekins knock out 3 Tigers in minutes few?

Dave
 
#9
Sgt_Steiner said:
Gravelbelly said:
...didn't he get taken out by the TA? For him, ze humiliation vould be unbearable...
"C" Sqn, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry.

My grandad served with them through Normandy & beyond. He wasn't TA. He wasn't from Northants either. :D

Rgds,

Steiner
'Who exactly was responsible for his demise' is one of the most hotly contested arguments on the internet. All sorts of people believed they were the eagle eyed gunner with a tiger in their graticule pattern!!!
 
#10
Correct, Joe Edkins , Northants Yeo, who had previously only fired five rounds in practice, got three Tigers in 12 minutes; one of which was Wittmann.
He got another tank same day before his Firefly was knocked out, Joe joined a new crew as radio op!!
As I've written before, we didn't have 'ACES'..............only in the RAF!
Bloody Hell, I don't really want to go down this road again!
 
#11
BenghaziBandit said:
Correct, Joe Edkins , Northants Yeo, who had previously only fired five rounds in practice, got three Tigers in 12 minutes; one of which was Wittmann.
He got another tank same day before his Firefly was knocked out, Joe joined a new crew as radio op!!
Have a read of Brian A Reids "No Holding Back", a history of Op Totalize. He presents a very convincing case for the Sherbrookes. A really excellent book.
 
#12
DavetheApe said:
The Sherbrooke Fusiliers have a better claim. Some 4 Tigers were k/o'd that day - 3 by the Northants, but Wittmans by the Canadians. Recent air photo interpretation shows that the angles weren't right for Wittman to have been taken out by our boys. I take nothing away from the Northants - didn't Trooper Ekins knock out 3 Tigers in minutes few?

Dave
Cheers Dave.

20+ years since the old lad told me the story but I do remember him talking about the Canadians that day. Unfortunately, the details have faded but I do recall him saying that at the time of the battle there was some debate as to who got the kill.

Don't suppose you could point me towards the air phot interpretation / recent evidence? I'd like to look into it.

RIP 3863196 LCpl J Crickett

Rgds,

Steiner
 
#13
We must not lose sight of the question here, was Wittmann 'ACE' or 'ARRSE'?, not who got him.
My own opinion is this, He had bloody good tank, brilliant gun and gunner, bags of 'spin' from the various german propaganda media and a lot of luck.
I ask again would he have been so 'Good' in a matilda or sherman?
 
#14
At the end of the day, all tank men irregardless of skills and abilities, I'm sure, rely on a certain amount of good fortune and readily available 'opportunity' for escalating a tally. Undoubtedly Wittmann was, an ace of some sort and even if, initially, he wasn't..................Goebbels' propaganda machine ensured that, mainly at a time when National Socialist Germany was somewhat 'twitchy' about a definate lack of success on all fronts, he would become a hero! But like all good tank commanders, I firmly believe that you make do with what you've got and become accustomed to it's capabilities. Given a Matilda? Ooooops...................few heroes are made with something that could barely penetrate a compo can at 500 metres. Sherman?.................Firefly? Undoubtedly he'd have left a mark in tank history in the same way as 'Buck' Kite of 3RTR or other allied notables. Given the right tools.....................such as the Tiger tank........................a commander can leave a fossilized paw print in the sand for all to see!! But, was he an arrse???
 
#15
I believe that he was pretty good earlier on in his career in a StuG III with a flowerpot gun, which can't have been the best thing in the world for taking on T-34s.

There is no doubt that he "won the debrief" after Villers-Bocage -- lovely write-up in "Signal" magazine, and Dr. Schmidt, sorry, Carrell making sure that his deeds on that day were for ever immortalised in a bad paperback. I recommend a read of "Villers-Bocage through the lens" for a more sensible account of that battle.

So overall I'd say he was very good, just not as good as the SS spin-doctors made him out to be.

I made sure I dropped by to say hello to him when I visited La Cambe cemetery, anyway.

All the best,

John.
 
#16
BenghaziBandit said:
We must not lose sight of the question here, was Wittmann 'ACE' or 'ARRSE'?, not who got him.
My own opinion is this, He had bloody good tank, brilliant gun and gunner, bags of 'spin' from the various german propaganda media and a lot of luck.
I ask again would he have been so 'Good' in a matilda or sherman?
Not being a tankie old fella but I think he would have, he was one of those Germanic types who were good at warfare like Peiper, Student, Dietrich et al. They just had a way about them that inspired the blokes.
 
#17
John_D said:
I believe that he was pretty good earlier on in his career in a StuG III with a flowerpot gun, which can't have been the best thing in the world for taking on T-34s.

There is no doubt that he "won the debrief" after Villers-Bocage -- lovely write-up in "Signal" magazine, and Dr. Schmidt, sorry, Carrell making sure that his deeds on that day were for ever immortalised in a bad paperback. I recommend a read of "Villers-Bocage through the lens" for a more sensible account of that battle.

So overall I'd say he was very good, just not as good as the SS spin-doctors made him out to be.

I made sure I dropped by to say hello to him when I visited La Cambe cemetery, anyway.

All the best,

John.

I went on a battlefield tour last year, and at the time we had no guides booked so I volunteered to be a guide at Villers Bocage. Eventually we got guides and never covered it anyway.

I spent some time reading and researching the action and put this clip together.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUtFll1AVVk


I also bought a DVD which covers the action.

Oh also visited his grave at La Cambe.
 
#18
Great slide show, Taff. Thanks for posting the link.

Do we know much about the experience of his crew and others in his unit? It seems to me that he was a good, aggressive junior commander with a switched on team around him. Definitely not an Arrse but perhaps suffered from "government spin" in the end....
 
#19
He was an Ace no question about it. And don't forget he had more anti-tank gun kills than tanks.
 

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