27 May 1922 |
Zweibrücken, Weimar Germany
|Years of service||1940 – 1945|
|Rank||Oberleutnant of the Reserves|
|Unit||21st Panzer Regiment
Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502
Schwere Panzerjägerabteilung 512
|Awards||Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub|
Otto Carius (born 27 May 1922) is a former German tank ace within the German Army who fought during World War II and is credited with destroying more than 150 tanks. He is a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves were awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
World War II
Carius had been drafted twice before, but sent home as "Not fit for service at present underweight!". But in May 1940, Carius was finally drafted into the 104th Infantry Replacement Battalion. Following training, he volunteered for the Panzer Corps. Carius learned the fundamentals of tank warfare at Putlos in Holstein as a member of the 7th Panzer Replacement Battalion.
His unit was integrated into the newly formed 21st Panzer Regiment and in June 1941 was sent to East Prussia. He experienced his first battle as a loader in a Panzer 38(t) during Operation Barbarossa in late June 1941. It was during this operation that Carius suffered wounds from a round that struck his tank.
In 1943, Carius transferred to the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502 (502 heavy tank battalion). This unit fought at the Leningrad front and then in the area of Narva, Estonia (Battle of Narva) and was subordinated to Strachwitz Battle Group, under the command of Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz. Carius was severely wounded on 24 July 1944 while reconnoitering a village on a motorcycle ahead of his tanks. Until that day, he was unofficially running the 2nd company of 502nd; however, he officially became the commander of 2nd company on the same day he was shot through the leg, arm, 4 bullets in the back and one through the neck. He subsequently became the commander of a Jagdtiger company of the 512th Heavy Antitank Battalion (schwere Panzerjägerabteilung) in the West at the beginning of 1945. On 8 March 1945, without finishing its training, 2nd company was directed to the front line near Siegburg. It then took part in the defense of the River Rhine and eventually surrendered to the US Army on 15 April 1945.
After the war he started a pharmacy shop called Tiger Apotheke in Herschweiler-Pettersheim, Rhineland-Palatinate, named after the Tiger tank, and still works there to this day. He also wrote a book about his own experience in the war, entitled Tigers in the Mud.
Awards and achievements
- Wound Badge in Black (8 July 1941)
- Eastern Front Medal (20 August 1941)
- Iron Cross 2nd Class (15 September 1942)
- Iron Cross 1st Class (23 November 1943)
- Wound Badge in Silver (15 December 1943)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Panzer Badge in Silver
- Wound Badge in Gold (11 September 1944)
Total victories (kills):
- 150+ tanks, similar number of antitank guns (100-110 tanks following another source,) majority on the Eastern Front.
Famed director and manga artist Hayao Miyazaki wrote a watercolour manga based on Otto's Tigers in the Mud called "Otto Carius: Doromamire no tora (Tigers Covered With Mud)". It was serialized in Model Graphix magazine and ran from December 1998 to May 1999. Originally this manga was planned to consist of three episodes but being unable to complete the story in three episodes it was expanded to six episodes.
Otto has also been depicted in a Tamiya model kit of him and his crew with a Tiger I tank Mid version (Item #35202, now discontinued) and Jagdtiger Mid version (Item #35307). In April 2013, Unimax released a 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer bearing the '201' markings of Otto Carius, Panzerjager stationed in Germany during the winter and spring of 1945.
The online game World of Tanks names a gunnery award after him.
The tabletop miniature wargame Flames of War features Otto Carius as a special character. The first is an addendum to the list book "Grey Wolf" in which he and his fire-team partner Albert Kerscher command Tiger VI E tanks. Their characters allow the tanks to have special benefits, which include the ability to ignore the adverse effects of firing at long range, as well as to re-roll any missed shots. The second version of his special character appears in the list book "Desperate Measures" in which he is featured with similar attributes, but is commanding a Jagdtiger.
- Tiger Apotheke
- Carius 2003, Document 7
- Carius 2003, Document 8
- Carius 2003, Document 9
- Carius 2003, Document 10
- Carius 2003, Document 11
- Scherzer 2007, p. 257.
- Carius 2003, Document 12
- Carius 2003, Document 27
- Carius 2003, Document 26
- Ashley Hart, p. 41
- Nausicaa.net entry for Otto Carius: Doromamire no tora
- Alman, Karl (2008). Panzer vor - Die dramatische Geschichte der deutschen Panzerwaffe und ihre tapferen Soldaten. Würzburg, Germany: Flechsig Verlag. ISBN 978-3-88189-638-2.
- Carius, Otto (2003). Tigers in the Mud - The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-2911-6.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Hart, Stephen A (2007). Sherman Firefly vs Tiger: Normandy 1944. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84603-150-8.
- Kleine, Egon & Kühn, Volkmar (1999). Tiger - Die Geschichte einer legendären Waffe 1942-45. Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuchbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-87943-414-X.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
- Media related to Otto Carius at Wikimedia Commons
- Otto Carius in the German National Library catalogue