Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

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headwest
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Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 16 Apr 2019 18:57

Hi Everyone

I am pretty familiar with his final battle on Aug 8th 1944, what i haven't been able to find out is where he actually started from that day when he advanced north into the field where he was hit.

Is there any info on what happened that morning, who and where he met with, and where the tanks where stationed before starting out.

i was trying to trace the routes of the tigers that were hit and finding out where they started from would be interesting

thanks much

eindhoven
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by eindhoven » 16 Apr 2019 21:32

As you said you are familiar with everything else here are some specifics.

Who, where, why?

SS-Hauptsturmführer Michael Wittmann has at his disposal only seven to eight Tiger: some tanks of the staff company, including turret number 007, that of Signals Officer Helmut Dollinger and Presiding Officer Hans Höflinger and those of 3. Kompanie; Franz Heurich, Wili Iriohn, Rolf von Westernhagen, and Peter Kisters.

At 1100, these tanks are grouped behind a hedge East of Cintheaux, away from allied observation. This is where Wittmann meets with SS-Standartenführer Kurt Meyer, who commands 12th SS-Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend", together Wittmann and Kurt Meyer agree on a plan of attack.

Meyer's unit has spotted important formations of enemy armor that for the moment is immobile. The only chance for the Germans is to seize the initiative, to "prevent the enemy from attacking towards Falaise and to upset his plans". At worst, this will allow time to rebuild a front line set back from the Laison; at best, the enemy attack will have been nipped in the bud.

Hans Höflinger remembers that Wittmann hesitates about the number of tanks to order into the engagement: "All of a sudden, Michael says to me, 'I have to go, Heurich will not be able to lead "[Heurich was a relatively new commander of the 3. Kompanie]. I was not initially supposed
accompany the attack, but suddenly it is different. It makes me nervous because I notice that Michael is undecided in his decisions."

How did they move out?

Four Tigers - those of Kisters, Iriohn, Dollinger and that of Michael Wittmann- drive North to the right of Route National 158 on the Falaise-Caen road through wheat fields, while two others on the left - the Tigers of Hoflinger and von Westernhagen, move North along Route National 158 approaching Gaumesnil. Heurich in his Tiger is behind schedule which will end up saving his life. The Tigers paralleling and on this great road, then must get around Saint-Aignan de Cramesnil to hopefully get to Garcelles.
Karte 8 August 1944 kopie.jpg
Sources: Agte; Batailles & Blindes No59 Mars 2014; Pallud, After the Battle.
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headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 17 Apr 2019 13:53

Thank you so much! I am sure its changed much since then but looking at google earth now there seems to be some tree or shrub line across the road and to the east of Cintheaux. I also wondered if there are pictures from that conversation. I know some claim to be MW and Meyer.

I know many have an interest in Villers Bocage but I am very interested in the last battle for some reason. The Youtube Doc I watched seemed to make a strong case it was a canadian to Wittmann's back left that hit him at Gausmel

I also found some aerial photo's from Aug 9 1944 which show the 4 Tigers, and wittmann's in the fields.

Just a very interesting story for me. thanks again! I am hoping to pinpoint the spot where they started out as it is today

Michael Kenny
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Apr 2019 14:44

headwest wrote:
17 Apr 2019 13:53
Thank you so much! I am sure its changed much since then....................
1947 air view/modern IGN Map here:

https://remonterletemps.ign.fr/comparer ... =doubleMap

You can change the comparison views by clicking on the two dialog boxes at the left just above the map/air view and change (for example) the current IGN Map on the left to a modern colour air view like this

https://remonterletemps.ign.fr/comparer ... =doubleMap

The icons to the far right can also change it to different viewing styles for example continuous 1947 view (icon right at the bottom)


https://remonterletemps.ign.fr/comparer ... ode=normal

or window only (third icon down the circle)

https://remonterletemps.ign.fr/comparer ... mode=scope

Play about and you soon get the hang of it.

headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 17 Apr 2019 14:56

wow, that is ONE COOL SITE! thanks for that!

interesting, in the 47 shot I don't see a wood or hedgerow that would have given much cover for the tigers. Do we know where Wittmann started from exactly? or at least very approx?

I also had found some posts with aerials from aug 9, 44. are those part of this site or do they need to be found elsewhere?

sorry, this is so cool,, one last question, in this link is wittmanns tank still there? i heard they were moved in 48 but looking here its hard to make out

thanks again!

ps - in a post on the Youtube vid, some said they had visited the field and found the spot where the tiger was and posted this coordinate. does this look correct ? 49°04'00.25"N 000°17'31.05"W

Michael Kenny
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Location: Teesside

Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Apr 2019 15:06

Click on the yellow dot for a 1955 downloadable air view

https://remonterletemps.ign.fr/telechar ... ns.4969874

or yellow dot centre below for detailed 1983 view.

https://remonterletemps.ign.fr/telechar ... ns.4984602

All are free to download with a click on TÉLÉCHARGER GRATUITEMENT at top RH corner.
If you do not give your downloads clear names you will never be able to sort and recognise them later by looking at the thumbnails. Its very difficult with the full size images as well and be aware north is not always at the top of the images you download. They all look the same so save yourself a lot of searching by giving the frames clear names as you first download them.

headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 17 Apr 2019 15:16

thank you! that site is so interesting! one thing that stood out to me is that some have asked, well why didn't the tanks to the left of the road get taken out by the Canadians and it looks to me that there was a wall of trees and possibly a wall blocking their southern view? and that they were focused thru the original wall on the road facing east which is how they spotted and got wittmann?

The battle and who eventually got him i know has been played out for years, but I am interested in more mundane and day to day things about MW.

For instance, in Villers Bocage, their is so much debate about what happened and how many tanks etc, but for me I would like to find where his CP (someone posted it was s small farm house still there) was, and the Chateuax he made it back to after

things like that in his life

one interesting thing I found is with google maps (not google earth) if you put his birthplace and hometown in there are pins for Wittmann's there, a tire shop and a farm, and I have wondered if that is the farm he was born on with relatives still there. i have been trying to find out about his siblings, i think he had a brother and sister?

eindhoven
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by eindhoven » 17 Apr 2019 16:29

headwest wrote:
17 Apr 2019 15:16
one interesting thing I found is with google maps (not google earth) if you put his birthplace and hometown in there are pins for Wittmann's there, a tire shop and a farm, and I have wondered if that is the farm he was born on with relatives still there. i have been trying to find out about his siblings, i think he had a brother and sister?
I grew up very near to his hometown in Bayern where I was also born. In my hometown his nachname is not unfamiliar and is on our Gedenkmal. (Bottom right)
SD534404.JPG
I hope you are not talking about that ridiculous documentary that called him 'The Black Baron'? Or showed the CGI turret being blown off behind the tank? Pure BS and quasi-psuedoscience.

1. The turret was displaced by the 1st internal explosion not blown into the air and behind the Tiger. Reference direct eyewitness statements from Rabe and Dollinger. The subsequent internal pressure from the cookoff caused the turret to roll over the side off the turret. In the RAF reconnaissance photo it is seen laying beside the hull. The hull was moved forward and the tracks were stripped.

2. Michael Wittmann was NEVER known as the Black Baron during the war. I guess the producers needed a 'bite'.

Here is the RAF reconnaissance photo showing the turret clearly beside the hull from a bookplate I made for my own self-published work I abandoned. (please note the image is rotated, North, his direction of travel, is at the bottom of this image)
Wittmanns Tiger knocked out turret next to hull copy.jpg
The spot where Wittmann and his crew perished is well known. It's surprising how little has changed. Knocked out Tigers circled followed by the overlay of the area today with the old photo.
wittman.jpg
Gaumesnil then and now final.jpg
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headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 17 Apr 2019 16:37

Hi

Very cool info as well, and the fact you grew up close to his hometown! I have read and watched quite a bit on MW and especially the last battle, but like I said I am more interested in the um down moments? not so much the battles. Like where was his original family farm, where did he start from on Aug 8, where did he talk to Meyer, his command post house in VB. Things like that.

I am sort of a then and now person, more than a lets prove historically how many tanks, or who killed MW. Certainly interesting and I enjoy reading, but since I wasn't there I know I will never knwo for sure. But things I can do today, are find the places he stood, or was and see them as they are now.

hope this makes sense. i never heard of the Black Baron and I did see that one, and thought, thats kind of ridiculous actually, and if it was true I bet MW hated it since I am sure they all knew the Red Baron. From what I gather he seemed pretty down to earth and was embarrassed by the publicity and stated numerous times many others did what he did. that draws me to him as well.

Always wondered what happened to his wife as well. I found some pics of her signing pictures of MW. also the farmer where he died said she visited and saw his remnants of 007 etc.

I also find things like where he was married, where the Chateaux was he and Hilde stayed at and am now interested in if Albert Wittmann (farm, which is pinpointed in google maps so he must have done it) is his original farm.

one thing that interested e so much form the Aug 9 44 pics were if i could get some to go back to where he started and find his actual tracks.

everyone here is such a wealth of info, i appreciate it!

eindhoven
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by eindhoven » 17 Apr 2019 17:01

A few more bookplates from my abandoned book.
Wittmann Normandie Gaumensil totesplatz.jpg
gefallen 8.8.44 .jpg
Wittmann on the Eastern Front -> from left to right: SS-Oberscharführer Otto Augst, SS-Untersturmführer Michael Wittmann, SS-Unterscharführer Ewald Mölly and SS-Oberscharführer Jürgen Brandt
Wittmann russia.jpg
Another Michael Wittmann who coincidentally was also in the Panzerkorps and who was killed in action in 1943 in Novgorod.
Sterbebild Michael Wittmann 1943-Nowgorod.JPG
In any case there so much myth to Michael Wittmann. I applaud you for wanting to know more about his family and general areas of movement versus who fired the fatal shot which is a null argument.

SS-Ustuf. Georg Isecke, iA SS-Panzer Regiment 12 wrote in a letter that next to Heinz Guderian he admired Michael Wittmann greatly for his skill. He was 'of the earth'. I have always found this German description of him interesting "He was not a youthful daredevil, rather a deliberate, quiet type of man to which heroic posturing was repugnant and he seemed excited only by a bold advance. He did not possess a superior kind of intellect compared to his other comrades" The Waffen-SS afforded a farmer's son the opportunity to become an officer.
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headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 17 Apr 2019 17:12

excellent post! i am very interested in your book? why did you decide to abandon it? it seems you have gathered some amazing info!

Yes, i am much more interested in trying to pinpoint sites then and now, and to try and find the small things that make up a great tale. I am still not sure where they started from, i have looked at the excellent old photos form the site MK provided and I dont see much cover. Interesting that Michael seemed unsure what to do that day, but went ahead to help a newer commander, sad to.




in this video, do we know who the person riding with MW is, at 1:21-24 ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFtFfHGmgJA

Thank you ! great great reads here!
Last edited by headwest on 17 Apr 2019 18:47, edited 1 time in total.

eindhoven
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by eindhoven » 17 Apr 2019 18:07

headwest wrote:
17 Apr 2019 17:12
excellent post! i am very interested in your book? why did you decide to abandon it? it seems you have gathered some amazing info!

Yes, i am much more interested in trying to pinpoint sites then and now, and to try and find the small things that make up a great tale. I am still not sure where they started from, i have looked at the excellent old photos form the site MK provided and I dont see much cover. Interesting that Michael seemed unsure what to do that day, but went ahead to help a newer commander, sad to.

If you do open google maps and put vogelthal in and sroll down to the town you will see 2 marked points for wittmann's, one is a farm and one a tire shop. often wondered if those are his great nephews?

https://goo.gl/maps/CjYxNHpkx7CFcuJv5


in this video, do we know who the person riding with MW is, at 1:21-24 ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFtFfHGmgJA

Thank you ! great great reads here!
Thank you headwest. I had a mini-stroke just before my 45th birthday. I often have to edit my posts a result. 'Normandy Battles' went on the backburner along with my work on Max Wünsche. Isecke by the way also said the best tank in WW2 was the Tiger.

Regarding Michael Wittmann's family I prefer not to advertise them for good reasons.
in this video, do we know who the person riding with MW is, at 1:21-24 ?
Yes, that is SS-Sturmann Günther Boldt who was KIA 20 July 1944.
SS-Sturmann Günter Boldt KIA 20 July 1944 II.jpg
SS-Sturmann Günter Boldt KIA 20 July 1944.jpg
Also seen are SS-Usch. Walter Müller-driver, SS-Strm Günther Jonas-Radio, SS-Strm Günther Boldt-loader, and Wittmann, commander.
Clipboard08.jpg
Boldt green arrow - Wittmann yellow arrow-- Heinz von Westernhagen red arrow during after an awarding ceremony in which the crew received their iron crosses.
Boldt - Wittmann - von Westernhagen 2.jpg
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headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 17 Apr 2019 18:50

Ah

thank you so much, I am very sorry to hear that and hope you are doing better.

I also edited my post, I hadn't thought about that and understand.

I just want to compliment you and MK etc on the great research you have all done! much better than, as you say, all the myths out there. I have always wondered more about the men themselves and what made them tick, or things they liked to do, hobby's etc?

Do you have info on Boldt's KIA? and where or if we know where he is buried?

thank you!

eindhoven
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by eindhoven » 17 Apr 2019 20:02

headwest wrote:
17 Apr 2019 18:50
Ah

thank you so much, I am very sorry to hear that and hope you are doing better.

I also edited my post, I hadn't thought about that and understand.

I just want to compliment you and MK etc on the great research you have all done! much better than, as you say, all the myths out there. I have always wondered more about the men themselves and what made them tick, or things they liked to do, hobby's etc?

Do you have info on Boldt's KIA? and where or if we know where he is buried?

thank you!
Thank you and yes, finally getting the help I need. Given the amount of time researching material in German, French, English, and Russian I appreciate being able to pass it on and that the time was worth it.

Boldt lost a foot after the Tiger he was in was knocked out defending the line at La Houge-Tilly-la-Campagne along with elements of 12th SS. He escaped from the burning tank and made it several meters to a field but died the same day due to his injury. Boldt was also with Wittmann at VB and was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class.

Boldt is buried in La Cambe

headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 17 Apr 2019 20:43

I am very glad to hear it, you have been an incredible source of info and fact in all of this, along with the pictures and the then and now perspective its amazing all you have done! you should be proud! I hope for your continued success and well being to, and getting better with the help you have.

thank you for the info on Boldt, that video to me is haunting to see, especially the youth of Boldt. I remember me being 19 and coudn't imagine doing what he did. plus being the gunner at VB with Wittmann!

I am sure this is a long shot but is there info on what tank Boldt was in on the 20th? and maybe close to the real spot where his action took place?

thanks again!

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