Ernst Barkmann

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Ernst Barkmann
Born25 August 1919
Died27 June 2009(2009-06-27) (aged 89)
Years of service1936–45
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Ernst Barkmann (25 August 1919 – 27 June 2009) was a German tank commander in the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II. He is known for the actions undertaken at “Barkmann’s Corner", in which it is claimed he halted a major U.S. Army armoured advance in Normandy on 27 July 1944, for which he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.[1]

SS career[edit]

Barkmann joined the Nazi Party on 1 September 1938 and served in the Reich Labour Service from November 1938 to March 1939. After this he joined the SS on 1 April 1939,[2] and served during the occupation of Poland. He was posted for a time as an instructor of SS volunteers in the Netherlands.[3] In winter 1942/43 he was posted to the SS Division Das Reich on the Eastern Front, with which he took part in the Third Battle of Kharkov.[3]

In February 1944, Das Reich was ordered to France to form a part of the 5th Panzer Army, the armoured reserve for the expected Allied invasion. Following Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of June 1944, the division reached the front in early July and fought against the American forces near Saint-Lô. Barkmann was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.[1] Barkmann participated in the Ardennes Offensive in December 1944 and the fighting on the Eastern Front in the spring of 1945.

Barkmann and his crew were credited with the destruction of at least 82 Soviet, British and US tanks, 136 miscellaneous armoured fighting vehicles and 43 anti-tank guns,[4] but Barkmann's reputed actions in Normandy were challenged by the military historian Steven Zaloga, who asserts that he analysed the Allied war records, and was unable to locate the losses claimed by Barkmann. He attributed the narrative of Barkmann's Corner to the "propaganda efforts of the Waffen-SS".[5]

Awards and decorations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 202.
  2. ^ Miller 2015, p. 46.
  3. ^ a b Mattson 2002, p. 177.
  4. ^ a b Miller 2015, p. 48.
  5. ^ Zaloga 2015, pp. 312–313.
  6. ^ a b Wegmann 2004, p. 44.
  7. ^ a b Miller 2015, p. 47.
  8. ^ Miller 2015, pp. 47, 48.


  • Mattson, Gregory L. (2002). SS-Das Reich: The History of the Second SS Division, 1944–45. Amber Books. ISBN 0-7603-1255-9.
  • Miller, Michael (2015). Knight's Cross Holders of the SS and German Police 1940-45. England: Helion & Company. ISBN 978-1-909982-74-1.
  • 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Wegmann, Günter (2004). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil VIIIa: Panzertruppe Band 1: A–E [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part VIIIa: Panzer Force Volume 1: A–E] (in German). Bissendorf, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2322-1.
  • Zaloga, Steven (2015). Armored Champion: The Top Tanks of World War II. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-1437-2.