Talk:Michael Wittmann

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Wasn't Wittmann's last unit schwere SS-Panzerabteilung 101 rather than Leibstandarte? LV 20:36, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Wittmann was not the top scoring German tank ace[edit]

Am afraid people that all the WW2 propaganda is not true, Kurt Knispel nailed over 160 tanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by EnigmaMcmxc (talkcontribs) 22:01, 8 October 2007 (UTC)


Ummmm, sorry to point out but the implication is that his tank was hit with a rocket in the rear hull not the rear turret like the caption says for the picture. And this Canadian guy who has a vested interest(or at least bias) in a tank to tank kill figured out that it was a firefly and that there were absolutely no air attacks in the area? Give me a break. The guy who took the picture said there was an unexploded rocket right beside the tank. I will have to get that book to see how that is explained away.

I have seen a lot of pictures and read a lot of books and it is rare to see a Tiger with its turret blown off like that. A destroyed tiger usually means a tiger that caught fire. A large rocket penetrating the weakest armor(top rear deck) and setting off all the ammo in the rack is a likely scenario. I also would think that someone in the unit would sort of noticed the massive explosion of their target.

Reminds me of the Iraqi farmer who 'shot down' an AH-64, but the rotors were shredded all to high heck from cannon fire. Possible, but the physical evidence is not consistent.

There are references. Then there is simple common sense.

Jvman 2 November 2007 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:04, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I have finished editing the section covering Wittmann's death, it no contains links to all referances used. Referances include via other sources (i.e. No Holding Back): British Radio chatter during the fighting, British, Canadian and German eye wittnesses statements Research done by several historians 2nd Tactical Airforce records 83 Group records 84 Group records

All point to the fact there was no fighter bombers over the area when the fighting took place, no fighter bombers engaged let along destroyed any of the Tigers fighting in the battle, that all Tiger tanks destroyed on the field of battle during this fight was from Allied tanks.

Air records place no fighter bombers or other planes at the scene during the fight, British, Canadian and German eye wittness accounts vouch for the destruction of the Tigers by Allied tanks and German eye wittness who watched Wittmanns tank explode who noted the lack of planes.

The only claim that a plane did destroy the tank was made by German progaganda and latter by a civillian who took a photo several months to a year after the fight took place.

Who is more reliable, a French civillian or people who were near and records proving planes were not there.

The Tiger tank was not impossible to kill and the high veloclity gun which could penetrate the frontal armour is not going to have problems with the weaker side armour or the deck armour.

The matter has not been in disbute by any serious historians, bar which units actually killed Wittmann and his crew for decades. The myth contuines to stay here because of the internet and un informed people.

Any attempt to alter the article to state that Wittmanns tank was destroyed because of rocket fired from a plane or any other reason - i.e. one of the units outside of the zone of operations (e.g. 1st Polish armoured division) will be delelted.

All in all either British or Canadian tanks killed off Germants most famous tank commander, face facts. --EnigmaMcmxc 22:46, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Incidentally, Brian Reid (author of No Holding Back and the "Canadian guy" who says there were no planes flying) is a retired lieutenant colonel and a solid researcher. The flight logs of all units in operation over Normandy that day fail to reveal a tank kill claim or even suggest that any Typhoons were in the area on that day. The rocket may be incorrectly identified by the civilian who saw it, or may have been deposited there in the days before or after the Wittman engagement. 04:41, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
So let me get this straight. In France during WWII, with good weather there was absolutely no use of air cover/no tanks killed in the area(which is it?). Do you guys have any idea of the kind of air supremacy the allies had and how many attacks and air support missions were flown by thunderbolts and typhoons? What a load. The victors write the history. That is why I stopped my minor is history. I am happy it is mentioned though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:54, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

I can't see if your attempting to be positive or negative here about this, your too confusing.

On one hand your saying its a load of BS that with air supremacy they couldnt destroy one tank yet in the next breath your saying your glad its mentioned but history is written by the victors?

If that was the case the Typhoon myth would still presist since no one would have done anything to debunk it or highlight the massive ammount of information available to conrdict said myth. One would also note that the history of the war is not as bais as you make out, if your not going to make an effort to dig a little to find the truth i can see why you dropped history.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 07:49, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

What?? I was not implying they MUST have destroyed the tank because they had air supremacy(see below). I am glad the typhoon possibility is mentioned even if NPOV is nowhere to be found. Huh? Typhoon 'myth' is maligned by most because of the bias and indoctrination from all the history books and education, due to the victors writing the history. As long as we are disparaging others and whipping out dicks for comparison, MINE IS BIGGER THAN YOURS. I didn't 'drop' history, I have a minor in it(I meant to say stopped the degree, which I only need 3 credits for by the way) and a degree in Biology, Chemistry and am getting my pH.D in Molecular Biology(also including computational Chemistry and Biophysics work) this December and have published 4 peer reviewed articles in my field in highly respected journals. Perhaps you should take a reading comprehension class? I intimated that I find it hard to believe one can completely eliminate the possibility of an air attack on the tank from reports of air action in a specific area. I feel this way because I looked at the sources and found no specific criteria(as in actual area size) for the 'area', plus it would be hard for pilots of the time to know exactly where they are within a few kilometers because it is not like they had GPS so the size of the area is rather important; if the area is so big it doesn't matter then why was there no air cover? It is well known that on the western front at this time there was massive air strikes and air supremacy, so much so that German forces could not even move unless at night in many cases. I also have doubts about the record keeping because it si a war and because a pilot could have attacked th tank and been shot down and killed for instance and no one would ever know. The chief reason that I bring up these caveats is because the EYE WITNESS(even if he is a civilian) saw a rocket laying beside the tank and because the turret was blown clean off. I have a problem with physical evidence and eyewitness accounts being discounted because MR.BIGMAN with a fancy title says that it is impossible that there was an air attack due to records of air activity in the area. I also have a problem with the tank to tank kill because it would imply that both sides left the area, because the witness found the tank pretty much untouched. You would expect the Germans to recover the bodies, strip the tank for parts or try and repair it. The allies would have probably taken it as well. It is possible for there to have been a meeting engagement but it is more likely that he was just driving around alone(as he did sometimes) and got popped by a typhoon. The witness also stated that the rear deck had a penetration, which would make sense with a rocket from the air and blowing the magazine taking the turret off. I guess my point is that that none of the possibilities can be discounted outright and that the air attack has physical evidence to support it. Simple. The truth is not subject to democracy or who can find the guy with the biggest title to support their claim, the article should reflect this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

The article should reflect truth, facts and not hypothesis. You show great ignorance to what happened that day as well. You are also suggesting that all credible historians who have researched the matter are simply wrong because they have ruled out an event because there is no evidence to support it?

One would expect the Germans to recover the bodies and tank if possible? They were driven from the battlefield how would they be able to recover it? At any rate the remains from the inside of the tank were recovered and buried. One should note that the Allies didn’t collect every tank they knocked out on top of that this one was burned out and had its turret blown off.

"It is possible for there to have been a meeting engagement but it is more likely that he was just driving around alone(as he did sometimes) and got popped by a typhoon."

But that would be ignoring all the evidence. He was taking part in a counterattack, a view supported by men from his unit and Meyer the man who ordered the counterattack, to retake the Cramesnil area from Anglo-Canadians. The Tigers were caught in a crossfire, as supported by allied and German accounts which resulted in the destruction of several Tigers (not to mention all the other tanks and the Panzergrenadier losses). USAAF were conducting bombing runs to the south with fighter support, with no evidence to suggest these Mustangs were armed with any ATG weapons and the RAF and CRAF were also conducting missions to the south of the area. None of whom recorded any tank kills in the Cramesnil area.

If you want to consider a theory that the tank was and the plane was then shot down – why did no one of the ground report so and why didn’t the wingman report so, why didn’t the pilot before being shot down report so? With absolute no evidence to suggest he was killed from the air other then the opinion of one man who looked at the tank months/up to a year later cannot overrule all of the above. To do so is bad history.

"It is well known that on the western front at this time there was massive air strikes and air supremacy"

And it accounts for little unless you have evidence to support they made the kill, you also have to factor in the well known over exaggeration of kill claims and the surveys conducted post battle which show that most tanks were knocked out subject to tank to tank or anti tank to tank kills.

"plus it would be hard for pilots of the time to know exactly where they are within a few kilometers because it is not like they had GPS so the size of the area is rather important;" They were apparently able to fly all over Europe and slap there bombs within the general area of there objective without GPS.

"even if NPOV is nowhere to be found" All areas are covered in an equal manner, with the evidence shown which disproves each claim in some cases from several sources, the controversy is shown to who actually killed Wittmann - the Brits or Canadians. Unless you have evidence to suggest otherwise to all this, stating there is bias within the article in regards to his death because of the “bias and indoctrination from all the history books and education, due to the victors writing the history” is groundless.

For a student of history as you claim to be (and I doubt from your attitude) I find you extremely ignorant, if the victors write the history we wouldn’t have the wealth of information from all sides available. I think you would have learned to dig around or have noticed the tiers of historians since the war have generally become more accurate and less bias (for a simple example, Tout updating his opinion on what happened as the years have gone on and more information became available). I think you would have also been made aware of the tremendous amounts of information available from the official documents, which have been kept and survived the war. Just to top that off, not ever the best source of information, but there is also memoirs and dairies available from both sides to also gain insight to what happened.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:29, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

That was an above average song and dance there bud, and let me tell you I see a lot of them. Let me make it simple for you so you can understand: you can't discount the EYEWITNESS account and pictures. I just looked you up, I see you are a retrograde allied(UK) cheerleader and have quite the slant to your edits and articles. YOU are who I am talking about! I'm done talking with you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:19, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Other then the fact if think your just trolling, one should note i havent discounted the eyewitness accounts in this article - there all there - German, Canadian and British. They all support that there was no air attacks and the entire event was down to a tank on tank fight. Call me what you want but it doesnt matter if my main intrest lays in the British and CW forces fight agaisnt the Germans and Italians - i look for the truth and facts of what happened, i don't post myths.

The ones who claim to post truth, are mostly the one posting myths... Looking the photo, i would personally say: it was knocked be an aircraft. But, yes, it could have been an or several tankgun shoots. Aircraft logs tend to have a "relative" accuracy, but it doesn't mean they are fully reliable or are totally unreliable. The article tend to downgrade the french civilian witness and, in my eyes, this is wrong. The best would put the different version available and the reader should make their own opinion about them. But this is nearly impossible on Wikipedia seems. - PHWeberbauer —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:26, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

I'd assume thats because there is practicaly no support amongst serious historians, some of whom the people that have wrote the article have used, to support that French guys claims.
Btw you would feel it was knocked out by aircraft based on the photo alone as you have just said - do you have some sort of expertise in this area otherwise thats just personel conjectire which also doesnt belong at the wiki. Nick —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:34, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
At sometime, 99% of Uboat historians believed U-47 was destroyed be the HMS Wolverine... and it comes out that, "in truth", it vanished without official records (instead, it came out it was the U-A destroyed be the HMS Wolverine). So, how do you explain such mistake? People need to understand that, even the most respected historian, can make errors. And the work of an Encyclopedia on a "controversial" fact, is to offer ALL versions, with PROS and CONS, letting the reader take his choice in what to believe. Also, you should have read my entire argument. I don't deny it could have been a gun, but also, i wouldn't just wind away the aircraft version (and, i was honestly expressing MY OPINION about a REAL PHOTO, since it is the first time i see a tiger without it's "hat" caused be another tank gun). Serious work is showing all versions without bias and let the reader choice in which to believe. And NONE here on wikipedia has ANY MORE KNOWLEDGE here to just EXCLUDE other version, saying them as "lies" (not to mention, most part need a citation for the claims on the article) --- PHWEBERBAUER. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:47, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

There was no civilian witness. Serge took the photos after the war. He did not see anything. As for Rockets well they were fired in pairs so if one struck then there would be a big explosion/hole nearby where the other hit the ground. To even call the Typhoon theory a claim is a gross distortion. It is put forward as a possibility. A possibility without a scrap of supporting evidence. It is contradicted by the testimony of several of Wittmann's comrades who saw his Tiger being hit. They were there on the day and saw no aircraft attack or rocket explosions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mjkenny (talkcontribs) 03:18, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

If there was any evidence for a rocket, it'd be impossible to tell if the rocket had come from an aircraft or from the Firefly, which mounted the same 60lb rocket. And this "maybe there was an aircraft in the area which wasn't flying a mission, which was by itself, destroyed the Tiger, and was destroyed without being able to report it" theory... does it even need to be said that it's implausible? They didn't just jump into the sky and cruise around looking for targets. They flew sweeps at specific times in specific areas, scheduled and plotted and briefed well in advance, usually with specific targets. Even if an aircraft had destroyed the Tiger and then been shot down, there would be a mission log, X number of aircraft flew to this location at this time to engage these targets, X-1 aircraft returned, send condolences to the family of the pilot, get one of our spare aircraft from dispersal, send to HQ that we need a new pilot, post a new flight roster. Air superiority simply means the ability to carry out operations without a cogent enemy air presence to resist. It's the same air superiority that was present when Wittmann wreaked havok at Villiers-Bocage, and there were no strikes there either. Why? Because it's a huge amount of country to cover, because there were a lot of targets, because CAS was still rudimentary and intel was patchy. (talk) 05:50, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

POV ?[edit]

"Together with Johannes Bölter, Otto Carius and Kurt Knispel (the top scoring German panzer ace of the war with 168 confirmed tank kills) he is considered to be one of the greatest tank commanders in history. " Considered by whom? Who says these three are the greatest, and what would it mean to say "greatest" anyway? DMorpheus (talk) 19:23, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

What exactlly is the problem and what is the issue with the point of view? Other people who wrote the articles on the other tank commanders used that phrasing and it seems approiate to carry it on in this article.

These four men, in order ranking:
Kurt Knispel: 168 confirmed victories, may be as high as 190+
Otto Carius: In the 150 area
Johannes Bolter: 139 confirmed victories, may be as high as the 140s
Michael Wittmann: 138 confirmed victories (although one questions if that is excluding the 27 tanks the propaganda states he destroyed at Villers-Bocage

Are the top scoring tankers from all sides during World War Two and there socres have since been rivled, in all likelyhood they will never be. So what makes them the "greatest" i would assume achieving that type of score in the worlds worst conflict.

I honestly dont see the problem here, when other writers stated simlar in there articles for the other tankers no one brought up any issues and i think this is nitpicking tbh. —Preceding unsigned comment added by EnigmaMcmxc (talkcontribs) 20:40, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

The problem is that this sentence expresses a judgment without citing a source. We don't know, from the information given, who considers these guys to be the greatest tank commanders ever or what it means to be the "greatest". It is easy to envision many possible criteria. Without some published source cited here this is mere opinion/original research. I can post that Corporal Joe Tentpeg was the greatest tank commander of all time and it would be no less weak a statement. The fact that similar text appears in other articles is all the more reason to fix it. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 20:58, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Did Corporal Joe Tentpeg ever achieve as many tank kills as these guys though? Joe Ekins destroyed between 2-3 Tigers in 15 minutes, Spit Harris knocked out a bunch of Panthers in one action, a Challenger 2 made the longest ever tank to tank kill during the Iraq war, all great achievements but pale somewhat when theres a guy with nearly 200 tank kills to his name --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:37, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Those are interesting opinions - but that is all. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a soapbox. Find a published source that provides a ranking of tank commanders and we're all set. Without that all you have is OR. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 19:47, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

I find that very intresting coming from you .... a person so bias and litters articles with no referances what so ever.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:57, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

They where the greatest tank commanders of WW2. Facing a numeric (far) superior enemy, killing tons of equipment and, some, coming out alive give them this right. Joe Ekins destroyed 2-3 Tigers, but it is far easier to make it when heavily outnumbering the enemy (in ALL sense). Not to mention, that some of those commanders faced this situation in the Eastern front, against the best Soviet tanks. So, if these guys weren't the BEST, them who would be?- PHWeberbauer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:04, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Tag & Assess 2008[edit]

Article reassessed and graded as start class. --dashiellx (talk) 01:26, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Top scoring Panzer ace[edit]

I have requested page protection due to the ongoing edit war regarding this statement. I've examined the referenced material and see no reason to call it into question, and therefore no reason to delete the statement. Alan (talk) 23:33, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

The material is referenced to a notorious Nazi apologist, try reading up on the subject matter, and the glorification of these SS scum in these multiple Wikipedia entries is nothing more than Nazi fanboys using this site to play up the moral superiority of these soldiers of destruction. Finally, the deletion of this imformation impacts in no way on the substantive narrative of the text, however subtly pro-Nazi that is (talk) 23:44, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

If you have a better reference that disputes the entry, feel free to cite it to support your position. Based on the available reference material, as well as your comment above and in your edit summaries, the original material should remain intact. You are also advised to review WP:NPOV; Wikipedia does not alter articles based on political viewpoints, as you appear to wish it. Alan (talk) 23:49, 3 October 2009 (UTC), in war there is no right or wrong, if some people perform their duty especially well then they are worthy of note, as happens with tank aces, snipers, or air aces of any nation.Brutal Deluxe (talk) 23:56, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
"In war there is no right or wrong"? That's absurd. In war, as in everything else in life, there can be courage, honor, cruelty and monstrosity. I'll let you guess where I think a member of the Waffen-SS belongs. (talk) 21:53, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

You don't get it ... by allowing this type of Nazi glorification to be posted on wikipedia you are taking a political stand. By allowing Nazi worshipers space to vent their bile, as if it is a meaningful contribution to civilized discussion, you allow them to spread lies and misinformation. Who the hell cares who these SS tanker killers were, other than, I'm sure, the families of all the soldiers that died at the hands of their villainy. My point is why post it in the first place ... other that, as it it obvious, to glorify Nazis and Nazism, and trust me, if this is your task, there are more than a score of very professional seeming historians (remember David Irving, no better than Kurowski) who you can use to support the lies.

You want non-political, them start clean wikipedia of its latent Nazi worship. (talk) 00:01, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

History, contrary to popular belief, is NOT only written by the winners. It is also written by the bystanders. If you're going to insist that Wikipedia remove all reference to Wittman's success rate as a tank commander, Wikipedia would then also have to remove all reference to the success rates of Eddie Rickenbacker, Charles "Pappy" Boyington, and other notable war veterans with high "kill" rates. Is that your wish? Alan (talk) 00:05, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
What the anon account seems to want is to not mention the facts.. The facts are what they are. Regardless of the source. We are not going to whitewash an article just because someone doesn't like what the facts say.--Jojhutton (talk) 00:41, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
One should note that there are several articles covering Allied soldiers who are notable; it is not "Nazi-Worshipping" to have articles covering notable German combatants or political leaders. Wittmann has an article dedicated to him due to the extensive material available due to his actions on the Eastern Front, at Villers-Bocage and the events surrounding his death not to mention due to the tank tally he accumulated. It is not glorifying anyone by pointing out the facts if they are presented in a neutral manner, which i believe they are thus far.
The argument "can someone give me a GOOD REASON why the exploits of NAZIS (killing Allied soldiers) should be defended on Wikipedia?)" is essentially a straw man argument that hides a hidden motive - what of the articles covering Allied soldiers who killed Germans, Italians and Japanese etc? War is a two sided event and we must not only just cover one side censoring anything providing information from the “other side of the hill”.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:07, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Well said gentlemen. The fact is, like it or not Wikipedia is (in part) for articles on people of history: the good, the bad and the ugly. Edits are not to support political viewpoints either way, nor NPOV as much as reasonably possible as to any article. Footnote: It should be remembered that most all of these authors (whether its Beevor, Wolfgang Schneider, etc.) are all "secondary sources" as to World War II events covered. Further none are going to be perfect or all agree as to events or motives, nor totally be without some commentary, surmise or their own POV (to some degree) at times. Kierzek (talk) 01:52, 5 October 2009 (UTC)


I fail to understand what the footnote "2" is trying to tell me. MisterBee1966 (talk) 19:25, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

I would suggest it may have been vandalised. Checking out the pages history and checking out the last result on page 1 (October sometime) the following is displayed in that section:


  1. ^ a b 5 Cromwell tanks, 1 Sherman Firefly, 3 M5 Stuarts, 1 Sherman OP tank (OP tanks had a dummy gun in place of the main cannon) and, 1 Cromwell OP[4]
  2. ^ a b While Taylor also claims 3 M5 Stuarts destroyed the photographs he provides as evidence contradicts this statement.[5]
  3. ^ a b Taylor states that the 3rd Stuart "may not have been taken precisely where I originally thought" thus could not have been destroyed by Wittmann[6]
  4. ^ a b c Lord Boardman letter to Radley-Walters, June 13, 1999[9]
  5. ^ a b Quoting Wittmann's verbal account[16]
regards--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:52, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable. Should we fix it ? MisterBee1966 (talk) 07:56, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Joe Ekins Testimony[edit]

The one thing that seems to be missing from the section on the discussion of Michael Wittmann's death is detailed testemony from Joe Ekins. The Canadians filmed him briefly two years ago but he feels that as his testemony did not suit the editiorial line of their programme, by Canadians for a pedominantly North American market, it was ignored (sorry chaps!). As a result, he has given a 3 hour plus interview on film to Battlefield History TV and has worked with us to clear up a number of issues; not least where his fire position was, what he shot at and where it was.

This will all come out in a programme shortly but here are just a few of the facts he revealed:

Joe was in the southern tip of the Orchard where the track left the Orchard (very clear on a contermpoary map) making the range much less than the 1200 yards quoted. The first tank to his left brewed. His second target, in the centre of his arc, was swinging towards him and exploded - there is only one wreck meets that description. His third target was to his right and was either Tiger 312 or 009. These pair were within range of the remainder of A Sqn 1 NY and 144 Regt RAC which was to the north (they originally claimed a Tiger).

The air engagement has I believe been comprehensively debagged, as double checking reveals no sorties being recorded or reported over the area as an air control measure was in place to prevent air blue on blue contacts and if you think about it which fighter bomber pilot is going to fly into a USAF heavy bomber strike!!? The bombers afterall managed to hit the Canadians RHQ north of Jalousie. How do we account for the rockets? Even though the front moved on the air effort continued to be applied with a big hand and it is by no means unusual for wrecks to be engaed by one and all. Even in these modern times I recall an 'excitement' in Iraq in 2003 when the British Paras clained to have knocked out an Iraq tank in an area that was thought to have been cleared. after much 'concerned rushing around' it was discovered that it had been knocked out three days earlier by the UK Army Air Corps! Also a quick look at the picture shows that the wound in the Tiger is an exit wound and was most likely th result of something coming from insde the tank not penetrative.

The position of the tanks as we know them is not exact as the tracks sections were scavenged for use as aplique armour. Thiswould involve moving the tanks upto 20 metres.

Tim Saunders —Preceding unsigned comment added by Battlefield History TV (talkcontribs) 00:59, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

I think the shooting location of his tank as been known for quite some time, both Stephen Ashley Hart (supporting Ekins as the killer) and Brian Reid (supporting the Canadian Regiment) have published maps identifying his location - so its not really a secret ;) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Article Lead Picture[edit]

Why is that particular picture being used as the lead or header photo? There is the much more attractive one that is recognized around the world, that is the group taken by a professional photographer a month before his death. Which just happens to be in the Wikicommons copyright free. Just because your vanquished doesn't mean you have to be remembered ugly! (Could someone do the honors please?)--Oracleofottawa (talk) 03:18, 24 August 2010 (UTC)


Iv'e noticed in parts the date is ordered mm/dd/yy I know this is popular in America but should it be used here? the order dd/mm/yy is by far the most popular (source wikipedia) especialy in Europe where these events took place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Owain meurig (talkcontribs) 22:35, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Please see WP:DATESNO guideline. --ElComandanteChe (talk) 17:07, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Date of death[edit]

Mostly in the article it says 8 August. However, in the Schneider quotation (which appears just before the Death section header) it says 9 August. Is this just a mistake, or is it wrong in the source (and so maybe needs a "sic" here?) or is it disputed, or what? Or maybe I am just confused - it wouldn't be the first time. :) Best wishes DBaK (talk) 08:48, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Nice fix, thank you. DBaK (talk) 14:55, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Article order[edit]

Because we have some personal stuff, then his military career in chronological order with some discussion, then a bit more personal stuff, poor Wittmann seems to get married after he's been buried, reinterred etc. It might just be me but I find that this reads a little oddly. Whilst I can see exactly how it got like this - it all makes perfect sense from one view - I am not sure if it can/should elegantly be fixed to avoid the awkwardness. Or maybe it doesn't matter too much? ... what do you think? Cheers DBaK (talk) 08:52, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Historian Schneider Villers-Bocage Action Criticism[edit]

The criticism of Wittman's actions at Villers-Bocage by Schneider is petty. A quick read of Wittman's war record dispels the comment that his actions were not those of an experiecned tank commander: he had been in ever major German armored campaign since 1939. Schneider almost seems to have some agenda.

Wittman used tactics and an aggressive style that had served him well. At Villers-Bocage he had an emergency situation that required action, and so he saw, decided, and attacked. He likely knew that he had them on the run, it would be something he could perceive (if you have experienced this you know what is meant), and so he immediately pushed his advantage to the fullest extent against a vastly superior enemy force that had, incompetently it can be argued, put itself in a very poor position: such situations are often fleeting, and delay can result in a lost opportunity.

Maybe he should have entered the village alone, maybe he shouldn't have. He destroyed more tanks and vehicles in the village before his tank was disabled. The village was where the targets were for him, the rest of his company engaged the British on the hill to the east.

The later German attack upon Villers-Bocage that day did not involve Wittman as he had no tank. Orders for a tank attack without adequate infantry support was made at a level far above Wittman.

When Wittman was killed during operation Totalize it was against vastly superior enemy forces. Orders for the attack zone of the Tigers would have been made at a level far above Wittman. In battle sometimes units are ambushed, and sometimes they are caught in a crossfire, be it two dimensional or three dimensional. Luck is always a factor, and eventually the odds catch up. Once again Schneider's criticism seems petty and vindictive. I wonder is he was ever a tank commander?

Stackpole has a couple of books about German Panzer Aces. They are useful and interesting in that they provide many personal level accounts of combat actions by successful tank commanders, including Wittman.

For an excellent personal British account of many tank actions in one North Africa battle over a couple weeks, read "Brazen Chariots." This tank commander had much in common with the German commanders in Panzer Aces. His aggressiveness is similar to Wittman's. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Azeh (talkcontribs) 20:38, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

Schneider is a tank commander and was/is an instructor at the German tank school. He is also a historian. You do not have to agree with his opinion, but we cannot just exclude it because you do not agree with it.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:35, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Schneider was a tank commander who never fought a single fight. And as a historian, he is not as accomplished as e. g. Beevor. Yet his negative opinion makes for 90% of the article's conclusion of the Villers Bocage battle, where the overwhelmingly positive opinions of other more well-known are summed up in a single sentence. If that is not agenda, what is? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:22, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
So, problems with balance and perhaps a single author is given more weight than what is merited. Are you suggesting a re-write? If so then some of us are going to have to track down the sources that would support the re-write, that is we would have to read through the sources listed here and find new additional sources and read through those. Gunbirddriver (talk) 21:16, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
The fighting at Villers-Bocage has seen a lot of commentary, so yes - at the moment - there is a single sentence essentially summing up a lot of repetitive positive comments. Although, more balance could be added by inserting additional specific - more positive - comments. With that said, I believe Stephen Badsey's comment is the most astute.
You have spoken of agenda twice, that would also including attempting to downplay or removed negative comments made by a historian because you do not agree with them. The criticism leveled, here, at Schneider is mostly opinion and irrelevant (seeing combat is not a qualification needed to be either a historian or to be able to level criticism at someone, he is a historian of the German panzer arm - a subject that he has wrote extensively on - and cannot be compared to more popular historians like Beevor.).EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 03:29, 18 January 2014 (UTC)


For an article on one of the more successful German tank commanders of the war, there is a lot of time spent on trying to figure out who killed him and how. The article has 10.4 kilobytes of prose on his death, in contrast to 10.5 kilobytes of text on his career, of which 1.5 kilobytes is devoted to Wolfgang Schneider claiming Wittmann was a dunce of a company commander. Is there such tripping over one another if the person killed fought for the Allies? Maurice Rose was a divisional commander who got into an area occupied by the Germans and managed to get himself shot while trying to escape. Okay. So is there paragraphs spent trying to figure out who was the actual trigger man in the killing of the highest ranking officer killed by enemy fire in the ETO? No. His article explains what happened and moves on. Perhaps this article should endeavor to do the same, and edit down the section on "Who gets the credit for the killing of Michael Wittmann?" As it stands it seems rather unseemly. Also a lot happened with Wittmann while fighting in the east. The article doesn't say much about it - just numbers and so forth. This portion could be expanded. Just a couple of thoughts.Gunbirddriver (talk) 22:03, 9 July 2013 (UTC)


According to this source: Patrick Agte, Michael Wittmann and the Waffen SS Tiger commanders of the Leibstandarte in World War II, Volume 1, Stackpole Books, 2006, he was a Nazi Party member. Ergo, I am adding the Category:Nazis killed in action to the article. Weight has nothing to do with it, the fact is that he was a Nazi. Hoops gza (talk) 17:22, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

It would be better if what one adds to the article is something that is meaningful. Wittmann has no history of being a party loyalist or being politically active. He was a soldier. The Nazi Party is a political party. Himmler, Goring, Goebbels, if they had been killed in action, that would make sense for the category. Wittmann does not. Furthermore, the category itself does not appear to be a valuable information point. Is there a category "Republicans killed in action", or "Democrats killed in action"? Why not, one wonders. Certainly it has to be an equally valuable reference point. The fact that these do not exist suggest a bias being present, which is not preferred for the content of an encyclopedia.
In general, adding things in that have been reverted by another editor is poor form. I have repeatedly requested you start a discussion here on the talk page rather than just continuing to add back in your material. The process preferred is Bold Edit, Revert, Discuss. There may be reasons why another editor may not agree with what you added, and it is better to check with them rather than just press on. I would prefer you to remove the addition until the value of it and its meaning to the article is at least discussed.Gunbirddriver (talk) 17:16, 16 May 2014 (UTC)


Agte is not a WP:RS source, as has been discussed on Jochen Peiper's article. Please see that article's Talk page. I will remove the material that would not be considered compliant with WP:MILMOS. K.e.coffman (talk) 04:25, 15 February 2016 (UTC)


Kurowski is not a WP:RS source for military stats per WP:MILMOS, as he's not a reputable historian (see below).

  • Franz Kurowski, a veteran of the Eastern front, saw his two major works released in the U.S. in 1992 (Panzer Aces) and 1994 (Infantry Aces). Smelser & Davis write: "Kurowski gives the readers an almost heroic version of the German soldier, guiltless of any war crimes, actually incapable of such behavior... Sacrifice and humility are his hallmarks. Their actions win them medals, badges and promotions, yet they remain indifferent to these awards." Kurowski's accounts are "laudatory texts that cast the German soldier in an extraordinarily favorable light", they conclude.[1]


  1. ^ * Smelser, Ronald; Davies, Edward J. (2008). The myth of the Eastern Front: The Nazi-Soviet War in American Popular Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83365-3. , pp=173–178, 251

Further, WP:Extraordinary applies to this statement:

  • [Wittmann] was credited with the destruction of 138 tanks and 132 anti-tank guns, along with an unknown number of other armoured vehicles, making him one of Germany's top scoring panzer aces, together with Johannes Bölter, Ernst Barkmann, Otto Carius and Kurt Knispel (the top scoring ace of the war with 168 tank kills).

I plan to remove this statement; please let me know if there are any concerns. K.e.coffman (talk) 04:55, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Do RS support the essence of what is there?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:43, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
WP:RS support that Wittmann was highly decorated. K.e.coffman (talk) 04:41, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
Then, I do not think anyone (considering the support you have already gathered elsewhere) would object to your amending the article: removing the less reliable material, and replacing it with better quality sources.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 13:06, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you. I will amend the article. K.e.coffman (talk) 01:13, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
I would object. If you want to edit the article you would do well to read something on the subject first. Then you would have an idea whether a statement is true or false. I have found you repeatedly remove things from articles elsewhere that were factually correct, but you have removed them stating the item was not adequately cited. If a statement is not adequately citated we should attempt to cite it. Failing that you could leave a citation needed tag or improve references tag, not simply remove the material. I do not see you going through articles for English speaking figures in this manner, nor French or Russian. Only Germans. And it is the same whether it be people, equipment or units. I do not find this to be helpful. If you would take the time to attempt to cite material that would be one thing. It would at least convey that you have an interest in the subject. I do not find you doing that. Gunbirddriver (talk) 17:47, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
@K.e.coffman:, Pinging Coffman per the above comments.
In addition, I note that both edits to the article did not match what was agreed on the talkpage; rather than improving the referencing, material was removed. Was that material, despite the poor source choices, accurate or not? A quick glance qround Google Booke seems to indicate that the material was not inaccurate nor exceptional (pushing on the fringe theory of WP: Ver linked to up top). I should note that i am not back peddling on the source used, and still agree a better source should have been used for the article.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:14, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There are many ways to improve Wikipedia -- my way is to cut down on dubious or non-notable material, that is either unsourced (from way back as 2008) or unreliably sourced. I've kept a collection for a while, if anyone is interested: WWII and Waffen-SS content issues (I've stopped updating due to volume of such material).

As the result of seeing this phenomenon, I rewrote the HIAG article, discussing the post-war lobbying and apologia by former Waffen-SS officers. There's where a lot of my research comes from, including the Revisionist tradition outside of HIAG.

Specific to this article, the material is still there in the article history -- if other editors would like to restore it with WP:RS cites, then I would not object. IMO, MilHist articles should not be sourced to "Neo-nazi neo-pagan sources" (Agte) or "gurus", that is "authors popular among the readers who romanticize the German army and, in particular, the Waffen-SS" (Kurowski).[1]


K.e.coffman (talk) 18:36, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

I am not disputing your points or your position, however you agreed to improve the sources not just remove the material cited to poor sources.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:17, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
I said "I plan to remove this statement" and that the fact that he was highly decorated is supported by WP:RS sources. This is already reliably cited in the article, in the section "Notable decorations".
I do not have access to a WP:RS source on Wittmann. Are there WP:RS sources that list him as a 2nd most successful panzer commander? My general point is that MilHist should be cited to better sources per WP:MILMOS, and if Kurowski is the only source that states that, then that's questionable. Have these tank kills been cross checked against Russian or U.S. / British (or German) archival sources by a reputable historian? The battlefield records may be incorrect, as in the heat of the battle the commanders may make mistakes as to the type of vehicle was destroyed (i.e. the German records may indicate that KV tanks were destroyed, while these were T-34), or during retreats it's simply impossible to verify what targets were hit (if at all), as the enemy overtakes you. Etc.
Given the propensity of Kurowski to heroicize his subjects, I'm concerned about giving that much weight to this source for this WP:Extraordinary statement. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:14, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
To note, you may have said "I plan to remove", but you were seeking consensus to avoid objections. No objections were raised on the basis "amending the article: removing the less reliable material, and replacing it with better quality sources".
In that regards, George Forty (British military historian, ex-military, ex-curator/director at Bovington, and has written extensively on tank related subjects although I do not know if he was actually trained as a historian) provides a list of the top German tank aces, and provides his source as Wolfgang Schneider (a German ex-soldier and military historian, who has also written extensively. As far as I am aware is well respected for his work, although I do not know if he is an academically trained historian.): Tiger Tank Battalions in World War II.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:09, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
It's an interesting source but it sounds more like a popular history, with "Wittmann leaping on board...".
Kurowski has a German Wikipedia article. I had it google translated and, while it's somewhat difficult to read, statements like "historical revisionist tendencies", "right-wing publisher", "far-right", "journalism of gray and brown zone"; "inspired by British Holocaust denier David Irving", etc, appear prominently. ''The Myth of the Eastern Front" is also mentioned. The article is well sourced to various historians.
Have any reputable historians written on Wittmann? K.e.coffman (talk) 06:33, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
I've located two WP:RS sources on Wittmann:
  • One is from German wiki: "Der Historiker Sönke Neitzel bezeichnet Wittmann als den „angeblich erfolgreichsten Panzerkommandanten des Zweiten Weltkrieges“ und konstatiert einen „Heldenkult um Wittmann“, der in kaum einem populären Buch über die Waffen-SS fehle. Laut Neitzel sind „Erfolgszahlen von hochdekorierten Panzerkommandanten […] mit einer gewissen Vorsicht zu behandeln“, da es sich im „Kampfgetümmel“ kaum zuverlässig ermitteln lasse, wer wie viele Panzer abgeschossen habe."
  • Another one is Steven Zaloga. Thank you to EnigmaMcmxc for pointing this source out to me, although it was on a different subject.
I will add these sources over the weekend. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:39, 25 February 2016 (UTC)


The section "Speculation surrounding death" is cited to one source. Are there additional, WP:RS sources that cover this topic? K.e.coffman (talk) 04:24, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

Ken Tout's early works are, iirc, were you find the info on the initial claim for Ekins (as well as After the Battle magazine). The works by Meyer and Agate are he ones that, iirc, bring up the Poles and the claims for Tyhoon fired AP rockets.
Reid pretty much summarizes all the views before concluding it was the Canadians. Stephen Hart does the same, but siding with the Brits, in Sherman Firefly Vs Tiger: Normandy 1944.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:50, 27 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm am curious where the "speculation" is coming from -- is this something debated between historians? Meyer is WP:primary, while Agte has been discredited. I did find some amount of speculation on (I was searching for something else, I swear :-) ): "Now [Wikipedia] is just garbage, it is full of dogma and propaganda.... The thing that really has me going is the page on Michael Wittmann. The thing is they say the guy was killed by tankers and that he was not killed by a rocket from a plane but by Shermans....] etc
If Reid trying to refute these speculations, then I say we should not bother. If there's indeed debate among historians as to which unit was responsible for Wittmann's demise, then additional sources should be introduced, specifically discussing the controversy.
In contrast, Zaloga simply states that Hittman was hit by a Sherman Firefly, and does not allude to any uncertainty about it. However, he only devotes a few paragraphs to Wittmann, so I'm curious if there's indeed a historical debate.
If it's just a difference of opinions, that we could state that Reid analysed the battlefield records and attributes the kill to Canadians, while other historians credit the British troops.
Would that work? K.e.coffman (talk) 20:09, 27 February 2016 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it is exactly a difference of opinion between if the Brits or Canadians can take credit, prior to that the common perception was that Wittmann was killed by RP rockets or swarmed by Polish Shermans. It is quite vested in his folklore. It seems before anyone really examined the records, these two versions of events were what held sway. For example, see the following not exactly reliable source that notes it was not until 2006 that the matter was laid to rest (although RS made the British firefly claim, over RP rockets or Poles at least two decades earlier):
A quick search notes plenty of sources, although they are mostly from the likes of Agate etc. that repeat the claims of rockets or Poles. For example, one Mr Kurowski claims Wittmann went down guns blazing halting the Polish armour division before he perished ... despite them being miles to his north. I would say that they can all probably be summed up by the comments you entered from Sönke Neitzel, quite apt. The rocket version goes back to just after the war, when a French civilian by the name of Varin stated his opinion that the holes in the tank's upper deck were caused by rockets and he allegedly found un-exploded ones thereby.
The above is the "controversy" (perhaps too strong a choice of words), and is by no means made up by Reid. The only difference of opinion now, would be with the above versions discredited who got the kill: the Brits or the Canadians, and iirc while Reid sides with the Canadians and makes his case, he states something to the effect of we probably will never know for certain. I can dig by copy out and see where he sources the Poles and rocket claims to.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:44, 28 February 2016 (UTC)
Note: one of the contributors to the following thread provides an outline and timeline of the competing theories, with sources mentioned: EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:48, 28 February 2016 (UTC)
Reid notes in the opening of his appendix on the subject: "The death of a junior officer in itself would have been of little note had not Wittmann been the top-scoring German tank ace of the war", and follows that up with "In recent years Wittmann has become a cult figure and the subject of more than one book and several websites" (p. 410). The latter statement ties in with of the material you have added: the guy is notable for pretty much being a propaganda posterboy. The former, Reid published in 2005 and doing his research in the early 2000s, links back to our earlier conversations; while you may not like Forty's book for being more popular history than academic and while you have made several arguments (mostly on other talkpages) over the propaganda nature of the term panzer ace, a source is needed to show that the persistent myth among published source and in popular culture is wrong - other people are credited with destroying more, propaganda driven or not (i.e. a note needed about Knispel).
To the subject of speculation around his death, Reid provides extensive footnotes so more sources can be utilized if needed: Carlos D'Este (Decision in Normandy, p. 459) states "During the battle at Cintheaux [Wittmann] attacked a group of Sherman tanks head on and had smashed two of them. The remaining five opened fire upon him and at point blank range." D'Este sources this version of events to the 1978 book The Killing Ground by James Lucas and James Barker. It is not available on Google Books, except for snippet view so I am unable to see where they sourced the story from although I note that D'Este quoted them word for word (without quotation marks I may add).
While on the whole, Agte's info on Wittmann is full of embellishment, grandiose, and about very other comment you have already made, he does provide the following small snippet in a balanced way: "Numerous legends surround Wittmann's death, all the possible and impossible versions course through the relevant literature. Various versions are offered: he was killed when his tank was knocked out by Canadian tanks, or by the Shermans of the 1st Polish Armored Division, another states that he fell victim to rockets fired by a Typhoon fighter-bomber." (Agte, p. 430) He does, however, follow that up with the suggestion that "the English" could have possibly placed a bounty on him; something Reid refutes (p.412) noting that his name does not appear in any of the relevant documents and only crops up post-war, with some members involved in the fighting not hearing of him until the 80s. In regards to your comment as to why Agte is not simply dismissed, see the following: Google Book search in regards to Typhoons; it is an often repeated claim.
Reid comments that it is only "recent years" that he claim that Wittmann was killed via a member of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry gained ground, although he credits this to Max Hasting's Overlord - published in the 80s. At any rate, these show that since at least the late 1970s various historians and writers have been repeating multiple versions of events without really double checking the sources. That is what Reid did, he examined the sources and dismissed the claims revolving around aircraft, swarming Shermans, or the Poles. The rest of the appendix is him making the case that it was a Canadian tank crew that fired the fatal rounds. Other historians, such as Stephen Hart (see here) applaud Reid's work, but note the difference of opinion that exists now with more weight given to Joe Ekins being the one who killed Wittmann (as Hart comments, "a woefully inexperienced" gunner. Hart also comments "the Wittmann legend [has] become well-established" and "continues to stimulate huge public interest."
In conclusion, there is enough material to warrant at least an explanation of the various versions of events, the dismissal of most, and the explanation of the current difference of opinion; i.e. a better sourced and refined version of what was in the article without completely gutting it.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 02:17, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
Thank you, this is very helpful, and an interesting narrative can be constructed with the focus on the use in WWII-era propaganda and the post-war mythology; both are highlighted by Reid. The way it is/was phrased ("Controversy" etc) read more like "who killed JFK?" I will have a look over the weekend and will propose a revised version here on the Talk page.
BTW, James R. Lucas appears on the list of authors that carry on the Waffen-SS revisionism tradition, by the military historian S.P. MacKenzie. According to MacKenzie, he is one of the "popular historians 'partially or wholly seduced by the [Waffen-SS] mystique'". Apparently, it's not possible to have a discussion on WWII/Waffen-SS without running into one of them. :-) K.e.coffman (talk) 03:44, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
Interesting stuff! Totally agree that the wording should have been improved before now, and I look forward to your revision.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 03:55, 9 March 2016 (UTC)



@EnigmaMcmxc: finally got around to it. How about below?

Speculation surrounding death

Grave of Michael Wittmann with the crew of Tiger 007, La Cambe Cemetery, France.

The historian Stephen Hart comments "the Wittmann legend [has] become well-established" and "continues to stimulate huge public interest."[1] Thus, an unusual amount of speculation, for such a junior officer, has surrounded his death, both as to its cause and the party responsible. Wittmann became a cult figure after the war, with several websites and books dedicated to him, such as by authours Patrick Agte and Franz Kurowski.[2][3] Agte states that "the English" could have possibly placed a bounty on Wittmann, which is contradicted by the Allied records and the fact that, according to the testimony of the Allied troops involved, he was not singled out during the battle.[4]

Contemporaneous Nazi propaganda reports contended that Allied aircraft struck Witmann's tank, stating that he had fallen in combat to the "dreaded fighter-bombers". In a post-war account, the French civilian Serge Varin, who took the only known photograph of the destroyed tank, claimed that he found an unexploded rocket nearby and that that he saw no other penetration holes in the tank. The historian Brian Reid dismisses this contention as the relevant RAF logs make no claim of engaging tanks in the area at that time.[5] This position is supported by the men of Wittmann’s unit who stated they did not come under air attack, and British and Canadian tank crews who also dismiss that aircraft helped halt the German attack.[Note 1][6]

Following the war, claims were made by or for the following units as being the ones responsible: 1st Polish Armoured Division, the 4th Canadian Armoured Division, the 144th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps and the RAF Second Tactical Air Force. Reid has examined these various claims and dismissed them based on the war diaries of these units.[7]

In a 1985 issue of After the Battle Magazine, Les Taylor – a member of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry during the war – claimed that fellow yeoman Joe Ekins was responsible for the destruction of Wittmann's tank. Veteran and historian Ken Tout, a member of the same unit, published a similar account crediting Ekins.[8] Historians have supported this position, and it became the widely accepted version of events.[9] Hart provides additional details stating that Ekin's unit was positioned in a wood on the right flank of the advancing Tiger tanks. At approximately 12:47, they engaged them halting the attack and killing Wittmann.[10]

Reid discusses the possibility that the A Squadron of the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, positioned on left flank of the advancing German tanks, was responsible instead. Situated on the grounds of a chateau at Gaumesnil, the unit had created firing holes in the property’s walls and, based on verbal testimony, engaged the advancing German tanks, including Tigers. The British tanks were between 1,000 metres (1,100 yd) and 1,200 metres (1,300 yd) away from the German line of advance, whereas the Canadian squadron was around 500 metres (550 yd) away. Reid argues that due to the latter's proximity to the Germans and the firing angle, the Canadian troops more than likely can be credited with the destruction of Wittmann's tank.[11]

I will go ahead and implement these changes. Improvements welcome. K.e.coffman (talk) 23:21, 21 April 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ The Allied tank crew: Captain Boardman, Trooper Ekins and Major Radley-Walters


  1. ^ Hart 2007, p. needed.
  2. ^ Reid 2005, pp. 410–412.
  3. ^ Smelser & Davies 2008, p. tbd.
  4. ^ Reid 2005, pp. 410.
  5. ^ Reid 2005, pp. 426–429.
  6. ^ Reid 2005, pp. 415, 421–423, 425–426: the page list may need to be trimmed as I condensed the content.
  7. ^ Reid 2005, p. 418–420.
  8. ^ Reid 2005, pp. 423–424.
  9. ^ Reid 2005, p. 414.
  10. ^ Hart 2007, pp. 60, 65.
  11. ^ Reid 2005, pp. 410–430.

K.e.coffman (talk) 21:16, 16 April 2016 (UTC)

Looking mainly at Hart, Tpr Ekins' three claims have the merit of contemporary documentation, since the Northants' war diary, maintained in the HQ tank at the time, records that Ekins' Firefly, No.12, commanded by Sgt Gordon and then by Lt James after Gordon was injured, did engage and destroy three Tigers at 12.40, 12.47 and 12.52. Ekins said that the second one exploded, and the only Tiger that exploded according to German witnesses was Wittmann's. Against that, German accounts suggest seven Tigers were present and four were destroyed, and French battlefield historians say four Tigers were destroyed, which leaves one unaccounted for. Seemingly Ekins' troop observed only three. Ekins said the engagement range was about 800 yards. Three of the Tiger wrecks identified by French historians would have been 800 yards from Ekins' position, but Wittmann's Tiger 007 would have been more like 1,000 yards. (That is quite feasible for a Firefly -- according to the tables in Ellis, Victory in the West vol. I, pp548-9, the Firefly's gun could breach the Tiger's 100mm frontal armour at 2,000 yards, never mind the thinner 80mm side armour at 1,000. But Ekins said 800.)

Maj Radley-Walter's retrospective claim on behalf of his Sherbrooke Fusiliers is questionable since the Sherbrookes' war diary was destroyed along with their HQ tank that same day. In addition, while Reid said the Sherbrookes were 500 yards west of Wittmann's 007, the actual distance from Radley-Walter's claimed position to the wreck site of 007 is barely 100 yards. As Wittmann's Tigers had earlier engaged the Sherbrookes from over 1,000 yards, killing several of their Shermans, it seems mildly unlikely that a skilled tank commander like Wittmann, keeping his head out to maintain situational awareness, would have allowed known enemy tanks to approach to just 100 yards without doing anything about it. In addition, Radley-Walter does not seem to assign the destruction of Tiger 007 to a specific crew. But Tigers were rare beasts and it was a considerable distinction for an Allied tank crew to kill one. And the Sherbrookes certainly didn't kill more than one that day, let alone at a slightly comical 100 yards. So Radley-Walter, as the unit commander, should have known exactly who did it, but apparently he didn't, and that does not stack up very well. And Allied troops had an unfortunate tendency to identify Panzer IVs as Tigers, and there was a lot of action shortly afterwards involving Panzer IVs, and with the loss of the Sherbrookes' war diary we don't know exactly when their tanks were in what position.

So, Joe Ekins killed three Tigers, and somebody, perhaps the Sherbrookes (they aren't the only candidates) killed a fourth one, which the Northants hadn't seen. But we don't know which of the wrecks that fourth one was. Khamba Tendal (talk) 18:35, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

I've restored prior material, which was subsequently edited/removed. The material included was reliably cited, if you have objections -- please discuss here. When the edits were made to citations, it changed the meaning of what these sources said. Please do not alter citations.

If there's a disagreement about the neutrality of the sources, please introduce other WP:RS sources the criticize them, or present a counter-balancing point of view here on the Talk page.

Also, per WP:BRD, after a revert, editors are expected to discuss on the talk page, not re-implement their contested changes. K.e.coffman (talk) 16:13, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

I restored the text, again. I included more info on Kurowski's status as a guru, and made a correction in Zaloga's cite by adding page 221, where Wittmann and the German documents are discussed.
If you have objections to this material, please discuss them here per WP:BRD, rather than re-introducing your contested edits into the article. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:46, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
The full paragraph of "Some historians are impressed [..]" clearly belongs to the assessment. Milhosz (talk) 14:44, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't see any issue with that. K.e.coffman (talk) 16:51, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

"The Black Baron"[edit]

The article states that Wittmann's nickname was "The Black Baron". There are even a redirect and a disambiguation. That nickname seems extremely unlikely to me, to say the least. First, Wittmann was not a baron. Second, it seems to be an allusion to Manfred von Richthofen, whom the British, but only the British, had nicknamed "Red Baron". As Joachim Castan noted in his recent biography of Richthofen, the French called him "Rouge diable" (Red devil) or "le petit rouge" (the small red), while the Germans spoke of Richthofen as "der rote Kampfflieger" (the red fighting pilot). It was only after 1945 that "roter Baron" became common in Germany as well. So it does not make sense to assume, that Wittmann was nicknamed "schwarzer Baron" by the Germans. Brian Reid, however, who is referenced for the nickname, observes that the Allies knew virtually nothing about Wittmann and his celebrity status, that Wittmann had not acquired the status of Manfred von Richthofen and that his Tiger tank was not to be distinguished from other Tigers. I haven't accessed the 2005 edition of Reid's work, but so far I have seen nothing which supports the existence of such a nickname, save a somewhat careless image caption by Reid. --Assayer (talk) 17:07, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

This seems dubious to me; I will remove. K.e.coffman (talk) 06:31, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Google does not have anything of substance and this is what Google books shows: "The Black Baron: The Strange Life of Gilles de Rais". Kierzek (talk) 21:59, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

@Assayer, K.e.coffman, and Kierzek: Just a heads up: check out "Panzer ace" in popular culture. I know absolutely zip about the subject, but I was cleaning up the dab page and ran across that mention, which has several references. — Gorthian (talk) 06:35, 13 November 2016 (UTC)