Born on 22 April 1914 in Bavaria, Michael Wittmann became perhaps the best recognised, even legendary, tank ace of World War II. His military career started in 1934 when he joined the army as an infantry soldier. This early training sparked Wittmanns interest in tanks.
In 1936 at the end of his enlistment, he joined the Allgemeine-SS and began his career in the SS-Verfügungstruppe, the military branch of the SS. When the war began, Wittmann was still in training as an armoured car commander. After only a short combat stint in Poland commanding an armoured car with just a 2cm, he found himself transferred to a Sturmgeschütz assault gun with a 7.5cm gun. While his performance in the subsequent Balkan campaign was good, it would be in Russia that his talents became obvious.
In his first summer in Russia, Wittmann was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class, soon followed by the Iron Cross First Class. In the spring of 1943, he joined the Liebstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Divisions 13th Panzer Company as a Tiger tank commander. By 1944, he had the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves for his gallant service in combat.
Villers-Bocage would be his heyday. In a single day he stopped, almost single-handedly, an entire British Armoured Division and saved the flank of the Panzer Lehr Division from being trapped and destroyed, earning the Swords for his Knights Cross in the process.
He died a soldiers death on 8 August at Gaumesnil, south of Caen, leading his Tiger tanks into battle one last time.
The German Whittmann contains:
- 1 x Whittmann mounted and dismounted
- 1 x Tiger Ie
- 1 x Schwimmwagen
- 1 x Panzer Lehr officer
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