Otto Carius

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Otto Carius
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1979-064-06, Otto Carius.jpg
Born(1922-05-27)27 May 1922
Zweibrücken, Weimar Republic
Died24 January 2015(2015-01-24) (aged 92)
Herschweiler-Pettersheim, Germany
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Years of service1940–45
RankOberleutnant Epaulette Oberleutnant
Unit502nd Heavy Panzer Battalion
512th Heavy Panzerjäger Battalion
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Other workPharmacist

Otto Carius (27 May 1922 – 24 January 2015) was a German tank commander in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.

World War II[edit]

World War II broke out soon after Carius graduated from school. He enlisted in the army and was only accepted after twice being rejected as unfit for military service for being underweight. He first served in the infantry before volunteering for the Panzer branch; his father referred to tanks as "metal deathtraps."[1][1][2] Carius was transferred to the 502nd Heavy Panzer Battalion in 1943 and fought in the northern sectors of the Eastern Front.

At the beginning of 1945 he was made commander of a Jagdtiger company of the 512th Heavy Anti-tank Battalion, which by that time was engaged in fighting on the Western Front. On 8 March 1945, the 2nd Company was directed to the front line near Siegburg, where it took part in the defense of the Rhine against the American forces crossing the river, with limited success. Eventually, after being trapped in the Ruhr Pocket east of the Rhine, he ordered all his Jagdtigers destroyed to prevent enemy forces from capturing them intact and then surrendered to the US Army on 7 May. He was released from captivity on 21 May, two weeks later.[3]

He is considered a "panzer ace", credited with destroying more than 150 enemy tanks and one plane; most of his kills were on the Eastern Front.[4]

Later life[edit]

After the war, Carius studied pharmacy at Heidelberg University and set up a pharmacy which he named the "Tiger Apotheke" as a tribute to the Tiger tank. He also authored a book about his wartime experiences called "Tigers in the Mud", which was released in 1960. Carius ran his pharmacy until retiring in 2011. He died on 24 January 2015 at age 92.[5]


  • Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-2911-6.


  • Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (15 September 1942) & 1st Class (23 November 1943)[6]
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
    • Knight's Cross on 4 May 1944 as Leutnant of the Reserves and platoon leader in the 2./schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502[7]
    • 535th Oak Leaves on 27 July 1944 as Leutnant of the Reserves and leader of the 2./schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502[7]
  • Panzer Badge in Silver 2nd Grade (15 July 1944) & 3rd Grade (1 September 1944)[8]
  • Wound Badge in Black (8 July 1941), in Silver (15 December 1943) & in Gold (11 September 1944)[2]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Otto Carius". The Times. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b Carius, Otto (2003). Tigers in the Mud. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-2911-6.
  3. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 124.
  4. ^ George Forty "Tiger Tank Battalions in World War II" p. 103.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Thomas 1997, p. 97.
  7. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 257.
  8. ^ Carius 2003, Document 27


  • 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.
  • Stockert, Peter (2012). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 6 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 6] (in German) (3rd ed.). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. OCLC 76072662.
  • 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.