Michael Wittmann (April 22, 1914 – August 8, 1944) was a German Waffen-SS tank commander during the Second World War. Wittmann would rise to the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain) and was a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross holder.
He 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 who was the top scoring ace of the war with 168 tank kills.
Wittmann was killed on 8 August 1944 while taking part in a counterattack ordered by Kurt Meyer, of the 12th SS Panzer Division to retake tactically important high ground near the town of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil.
A group of seven Tiger tanks from the Heavy SS-Panzer Battalion 101, supported by several other tanks, were ambushed by tanks from A Squadron, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry, A Squadron, the Sherbrooke Fuisilier Regiment, and B Squadron, The 144 Royal Armoured Corps.
The killing shots have long been thought to have come from a Sherman Firefly of ‘3 Troop’, A Squadron, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry (commander - Sergeant Gordon; gunner - Trooper Joe Ekins), which was positioned in a wood called Delle de la Roque on the advancing Tigers' right flankat approximately 12:47.
It appears the shells penetrated the upper hull of the tank and ignited the Tiger's own ammunition, causing a fire which engulfed the tank and then blew off the turret.
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