Ernst Barkmann

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Ernst Barkmann
Born 25 August 1919
Died 27 June 2009(2009-06-27) (aged 89)
Allegiance Germany
Service/branch Waffen-SS
Years of service 1936–45
Rank Oberscharführer
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Ernst Barkmann (later Ernst Schmuck-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 was claimed he halted a major U.S. Army armoured advance in Normandy on 27 July 1944, for which action he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.[1]

SS career[edit]

Barkmann joined a unit of the SS-Verfügungstruppe in 1939, and served during the occupation of Poland. He was posted for a time as an instructor of SS volunteers in the Netherlands.[2] 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.[2]

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.

Disputed actions[edit]

Barkmann's reputed actions in Normandy were challenged by the military historian Steven Zaloga in his 2015 work Armored Champion: The Top Tanks of World War II. 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".[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 202.
  2. ^ a b Mattson 2002, p. 177.
  3. ^ Zaloga 2015, pp. 312–313.
  4. ^ a b Wegmann 2004, p. 44.


  • Mattson, Gregory L. (2002). SS-Das Reich: The History of the Second SS Division, 1944–45. Amber Books. ISBN 0-7603-1255-9. 
  • 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.