27 May 1922|
Zweibrücken, Weimar Republic
|Died||24 January 2015
Herschweiler-Pettersheim, Federal Republic of Germany
|Years of service||1940–45|
|Rank||Oberleutnant of the Reserves|
|Unit||21st Panzer Regiment
Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502
Schwere Panzerjägerabteilung 512
|Awards||Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub|
Otto Carius (27 May 1922 – 24 January 2015) was a German tank ace within the German Army who fought during World War II and was credited with destroying more than 150 tanks. He was 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!". In May 1940, however, Carius was 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 reconnoitring a village on a motorcycle ahead of his tanks. Until that day, he was unofficially running the 2nd company of 502nd. He officially became the commander of 2nd company; on the same day he was shot through the leg and arm, received four 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 United States Army on 15 April 1945.
After the war he studied pharmacy at Heidelberg University. In 1956 he started his own pharmacy shop called Tiger Apotheke in Herschweiler-Pettersheim, Rhineland-Palatinate, named after the Tiger tank, which he ran until 2011. He also wrote a book about his own experience in the war, entitled Tigers in the Mud. Carius died on 24 January 2015 at the age of 92.
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.
- Tiger Apotheke
- Stackpole Books, 2014 ISBN ISBN 978-0-8117-2911-6
- "In Memoriam Otto Carius". Tiger Apotheke – Herschweiler-Pettersheim. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- 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
- 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 Wehrmachtteile [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