Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

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eindhoven
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by eindhoven » 23 Apr 2019 20:39

DC North West wrote:
23 Apr 2019 17:54
Given your knowledge, do you any information on what ammunition the Firefly was using that day?
Paraphrasing the Northamptonshire war diary for a clue

Meanwhile, the 3rd Tiger was circling in a panic trying to find a way out. To add to the confusion, Captain Boardman ordered Lt. James to have the shells replaced with armor-piercing shells. These shells would immobilize a Tiger without setting it on fire.

You can effectively conclude that they were firing Armour Piercing, Capped, Ballistic Capped (APCBC) and Armour-piercing discarding sabot (APDS) and of course they would've also had an amount of High Explosive (HE) for soft targets in the loadout. By the time of this engagement early August 1944 they would've had both APDS and APCBC available and tellingly Capt Boardman ordered a switch in ammunition during the engagement.

Hope this helps.

eindhoven
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by eindhoven » 23 Apr 2019 21:35

Michael Kenny wrote:
23 Apr 2019 20:15
eindhoven wrote:
23 Apr 2019 19:23

MK, are you sure about that regarding Serge's sister?
Yann Jouault told me about the sister and he knew Serge personally.
Ah familiar names in this all now including the graphic that was posted. Thanks Michael. I went in a different direction which I largely have not shared.

Juha
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by Juha » 23 Apr 2019 22:31

I doubt that 1 Northants Yeo used APDS ammo at that time and normal Shermans definitely not, because there were APDS ammo available only for 6-pdr and 17-pdr guns in 1944. And first lots of 17-pdr APDS which were distriputed to troops were manufactured in August so 17 pdr APDS first became available in small quantities in September 1944 and always remained far less accurate than APCBC. Anti-tank units would have had priority in supplies over tanks, but scrounging and barter probably took place.
And above all because the Tigers were appr. 800 ys from the Firefly, there was no need to use less accurate APDS because both more accurate APC and APCBC shots were able to penetrate Tiger's side side armour from that distance.

DC North West
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by DC North West » 23 Apr 2019 22:56

Eindhoven and Michael
Thank you both, for your time and patience much appreciated.

I noted from the photograph of 314 it was rather beaten up, with track and road wheels gone. Given the number of holes on the left side of turret has it been used subsequently has a target after the battle, has they are on the wrong side for the Firefly. Eindhoven you referred to photographs of the others, are they in a similar state?

eindhoven
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by eindhoven » 24 Apr 2019 03:04

DC North West wrote:
23 Apr 2019 22:56
Eindhoven and Michael
Thank you both, for your time and patience much appreciated.

I noted from the photograph of 314 it was rather beaten up, with track and road wheels gone. Given the number of holes on the left side of turret has it been used subsequently has a target after the battle, has they are on the wrong side for the Firefly. Eindhoven you referred to photographs of the others, are they in a similar state?
You are welcome and Michael has been at the game far longer than I. All the Tigers had their tracks removed and most anything external as well. The turret pistol port is missing in the back of 314 near the bin which might be a result of the cookoff but there is a clear hole near the lifting lug and as you have observed not on the side where Ekins would have been firing from but which might have been post 8 Aug 44. Again I wont wade into the 'who got who' debate as it's rightly what my dear wife calls a weiner measuring contest, only she uses Navy terms. Varin photographed 314 and only took the one image of 007.

Here is an additional two images showing the state of wrecks at Gaumesnil and remember these were sitting there until 1948.
314 Gaumesnil.jpg
Nord Gaumesnil nachkriegszeit.jpg
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Michael Kenny
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 24 Apr 2019 04:06

This is an interesting Tiger.
Tiger-1-8th-august.jpg
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headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 24 Apr 2019 15:48

Again, i just have to say wow to Eindhoven and MK! these little details make this fascinating. This whole battle leads me back to my initial interest of the morning of

Again, I am not at all well versed in this and can only go by what I have read, and that was around 11 Kurt Meyer and Wittmann meet and Meyer says they have to attack to gain some time, but also that he had spotted alot of tanks forward. My question is if they had spotted all of this why in the world would they just drive out in an open field like that or up a road?

you can see the woods to the right, which again I read, concerned MW. but did they not see the long walls of the estate and think there could be hidden troops there as well to the left of the road? i measure the length of the drive for MW to be about 1.5 km from start to finish, i mean were they all really that close and had no idea?

now of course monday morning quarterbacking is all I can do, but from the 47 maps could they not have looped east up and around thoe woods and stood a better chance at not being discovered? ah well.

also can one of you confirm if Gunter Boldt was the gunner for MW at Villers? I have ascertained that it def was not Woll but there seems to be some back and forth on this as well. I am assuming ha, that the video of MW and GB and the crew are the Villers crew?

thank you!

headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 24 Apr 2019 15:49

MK, the last 2 photos, are those from this last battle?

DC North West
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by DC North West » 24 Apr 2019 17:21

headwest

I concur Eindhoven and Michael are both very knowledgeable in this detail. Whilst, I understood the photographs of the destroyed Tiger’s was taken sometime after the engagement, I failed to appreciate it was two years after, that has they say allows a lot of water to flow under the bridge. Michael’s RAF reconnaissance photography puts everything in context.
headwest wrote:
24 Apr 2019 15:48

Again, I am not at all well versed in this and can only go by what I have read, and that was around 11 Kurt Meyer and Wittmann meet and Meyer says they have to attack to gain some time, but also that he had spotted alot of tanks forward. My question is if they had spotted all of this why in the world would they just drive out in an open field like that or up a road?
Both, headwest, has captured the key question, which for many could be considered the Elephant in the room. Why did they consider it essential to counter attack? and why using that formation whilst consistent with earlier tactical doctrine arguably was replaced by OKW document issued June 1944,
To paraphrase “Now the Tiger, for a long time regarded as a life insurance policy is relegated to the ranks of simply Heavy Tank. No longer can the Tiger prance around oblivious of the laws of tank tactics. They must abbey the laws just as every other tank must” page 210, Tiger! The Tiger Tank: A British View, David Fletcher 1986.
Also, Hilary Doyle has referred on a number of occasions to a German Army document highly critical of Michael Wittmann’s tactical abilities, are you aware of this document and was it produced after the 8th June 1944?

So simply is it the case they had no idea what they were facing until it was too late?
Last edited by DC North West on 24 Apr 2019 17:41, edited 1 time in total.

MarkN
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by MarkN » 24 Apr 2019 17:41

DC North West wrote:
24 Apr 2019 17:21
Both, headwest, has captured the key question, which for many could be considered the Elephant in the room. Why did they consider it essential to counter attack? and why using that formation whilst consistent with earlier tactical doctrine arguably was replaced by OKW document issued June 1944,
Obsessions with 'the Wittman story', 'the SS' or 'the Tiger', have clouded the understanding of the day's events. The counterattack was not by eight foolish Tigers, but by everything remaining available in the 2.SS-Pz.Korps. It was an attempt to block the advance of a force that, if left unchecked, could well have encircled the majority of two complete German Armies: 7.Armee and 5.Pz.Armee.

Juha
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by Juha » 24 Apr 2019 17:44

headwest wrote:
24 Apr 2019 15:48
...now of course monday morning quarterbacking is all I can do, but from the 47 maps could they not have looped east up and around thoe woods and stood a better chance at not being discovered? ah well...
On should remember that Wittmann's Tigers did not attacked alone, KG Waldmüller (Pz IVs and Pzgrenadiers) attacked E of them along Robertmesnil ridge and hit 1 Northants Yeo hard with some help from JgPz IVs of 1./SS-PzJgAbt 12. 1 NY lost 15 Shermans knocked out or damaged in that engagement, and the JgPz IVs of 1./SS-PzJgAbt 12 were instrumental in stopping the attack of the 1st Polish ArmDiv just east of St Aignan de Cramesnil in the afternoon.

Pz IVs of the II./SS-PzRegt 12 also suffered heavily during their engagement with 1 NY but it is interesting to notice how much more effective were the cleverly used Pz IVs than the Tigers driving in odd formation in open to the ambush.
Last edited by Juha on 24 Apr 2019 17:52, edited 1 time in total.

DC North West
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by DC North West » 24 Apr 2019 17:45

MarKN

Thank you, I was aware they were joined by Mark IV, but not it was everything available, further reading required.

headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 24 Apr 2019 18:54

@DC - Hi, no I was not at all aware there was criticism of Wittmann for VB? or in general, thats interesting to me. I had read there has been alot of debate since the war and more particularly much more recent that have 2 sides for him, one being he was daring and a very good tactician and the other he was foolish. Personally i cannot imagine having to make those split second decisions in those conditions, which is why i concern myself more with the small parts of the story, locations today etc

@Mark N and Juha - ah, that makes alot more sense, throwing everything they had to stop an advance and save large amounts of forces makes a much more complete picture. Although If these other formations did go east, and did do well, again monday morning quarterbacking here, if they had the additional 8 tigers with them they may have done more damage and gained more. I am assuming again though that Wittmann and the other tigers were providing a protection for the left flank then as well.

another very amateur observation from me is looking at the formation that day, wittmann was not leading the advance at all, like some have written. it seems more to me he was holding back to observe and possibly thought HIS left flank was covered with the ones behind him and on the road. thus IF the fatal shot came from his left he possibly thought he was protected there and thus looking front and right?

on the small stuff a question I have is, would Wittmann be the only one in the tank with the neck com? in the youtube video the farmer had that and said it was wittmann's from the grave they found. just wondering if all members of the tank had that though?

thanks all!

DC North West
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by DC North West » 24 Apr 2019 19:16

headwest,

A valid point, I understood like you, Michael Wittmann went along to provide support. I have attached No 3 of a series of videos from WOT, with a number of recognised Tank historians, this does cover Hilary Doyle’s statement. The full series is worth watching. Hence my question when was the document written.
https://youtu.be/XXH02YX7gxY

https://youtu.be/Jw_gutZZXnc This is a discussion with the Director of the Panzer Museum Ralf Raths he explains the logic behind the Tiger and Panther development and issues.

http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/blog/2018 ... sk-part-1/ This may also be of interest from Christopher Lawrence, blog on Kursk claims. However, in the same way for Anglo, Canadian and American troops every Panzer tank was a Tiger ( just reading the Canadian official History on Totalize, and there is references to the destruction of 20 Tigers in a single engagement, I think not, has the total claim by the Canadian’s for Panzer Mark VI was 10) it is fair to say for German tankers, every Soviet Tank was a T34 which may explain the blog.


May I suggest considering reading Panzer Ace: The Memoirs of an Iron Cross Panzer Commander from Barbarossa to Normandy
Book by Richard Freiherr von Rosen. He lead 3 Company 503 heavy tank battalion, becoming a Major General in the West German Bundeswehr.

headwest
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Re: Michael Wittmann starting Point Aug8 1944

Post by headwest » 24 Apr 2019 20:11

huh, that is very interesting to hear. I can't imagine that MW wasn't a very good tank commander though, he came up thru the Stug, and ll the other training and had been in many battles. Some of it sounds a little sour grapes to me from the army's point of view, although some of it may be true about the SS

i watched that 3rd part and found the 2nd but not 1 or if there is more than 3. is MW mentioned in those with the museum person?

thanks

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