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88 Kill Rings on the Barrel of an Elite Tiger

War Park 2022-08-16 12:37 Beijing

This tanker is painting his 22nd kill ring on the tank barrel.

Tanks were then said to be the king of land based warfare. As a traditional land power, Germany maximised the effectiveness of tank warfare in World War II, and a number of famous tank aces emerged from within. Each of them displayed their proud achievements and legendary experiences. In order to demonstrate these achievements and convey deterrence, many teams painted their own vehicle kill signs, which is widely used in aircraft, artillery and even warships.

Dragon 1:35 scale Tiger tank model with Wittmann crew, S04 command tank with 88 kill rings

The biggest reason why the S04 Tiger tank is so well-known is due to the availability of a set of promotional propaganda photos of Wittmann and his crew. On January 10th, 1944, Wittmann was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross having destroyed 66 enemy tanks, and on the same day, he was recommended for Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves for destroying 88 enemy tanks. On January 14th, Theodor Wisch, the commander of the SS Division Leibstandarte (LSSAH), personally awarded the Knight's Cross to Wittmann. However, the Oak Leaves decorations was personally awarded in Berlin at the end of the month by Hitler himself. On January 16th, Wittmann’s gunner, Balthasar Woll, was also awarded the Knight's Cross. On the 18th, the SS Division Leibstandarte held a special award ceremony for the Wittmann team, most of what we are seeing here are the photos taken of Wittman’s crew and the S04 Tiger tank at the award ceremony.

On January 18th, 1944, the Wittmann crew drove the Tiger command tank S04 belonging to the company and came to the award site. Wittmann and gunner Woll's Knight's Cross were issued on January 14th and 16th, 1944 respectively. Wittmann’s record at that time (January 13th) had reached 88, so 88 kill ring markers were placed on the barrel. In the pictures, Wittmann’s crew can be seen dismounting from the tank before the award ceremony officially began.

The picture above shows that at the beginning of the award ceremony, Wittmann's unit reported to Lieutenant Colonel Joachim Peiper (back facing), Commander of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte, and that Wittmann saluted Piper on behalf of the crew. From left to right are Lieutenant Colonel Peiper, Second Lieutenant Wittmann, gunner Balthasar Woll, radioman Werner Irrgang, loader Sepp Robner and driver Eugen Schmidt respectively. Lieutenant Colonel Piper congratulated the members of the crew.

In the picture, Pieper was shaking hands with Woll, the gunner who won the Knight's Cross.

Pieper shook hands with other crew members. From this angle, we can see a tank destruction armband badge (Panzerkampfwagen durch Einzelkämpfer) on Pieper. At the same time, we can clearly observe that the kill signs on the barrel consists of eight thick white circles (each lap representing 10 kills) and eight thin white circles (each lap represents 1 kill). There is a white abstract tank pattern in front of the thin circle, indicating that the result of the destruction rim is an enemy tank.

During the award ceremony, Wittmann's crew took many commemorative photos in front of the tank. In this picture, Weitman stood with his comrades-in-arms under the barrel marked with 88 kill. This pose is very consistent with the hobby model kit as presented in Dragon 6730.

Wittmann's crew gathered closely together and took a group photo under the barrel of the Tiger tank marking their great achievements. Wittmann looked up at the barrel, symbolizing great honour.

The whole crew stood side by side, symbolising unity, friendship and the life and death shared between his comrades-in-arms. Wittmann was placed in the center to highlight his leadership position.

The above two pictures depict the crew members proudly displaying the barrel of the S04 Tiger. Wittmann stood in front of the tank, while the rest perched up on the tank, highlighting Wittmann's respected position. Note that Wittmann has changed to wearing a cap at this time. Previously, he was wearing a small brim hat.

Major General Theodor Wisch, the commander of the SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte, also came to congratulate Wittmann and Woll on winning the Knight's Cross. Major General Wisch is seen speaking to Lieutenant Colonel Pieper (right), the commander of the Armoured Regiment, because the weather is cold. Pieper had put on a coat. The Wittmann crew still stood in front of the tank, as if waiting for the leader to speak.

Major General Theodor Wisch (in the middle with coat), the commander of the SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte, shook hands with Wittmann's crew one by one and congratulated them. Lieutenant Colonel Pieper (right), the commander of the armoured regiment, has put on an overcoat. Wearing a white cotton-padded jacket and holding a radio on the left should be a military reporter.

Major General Wisch talked to the Wittmann crew in front of the camera.

After the award ceremony, an officer (seen here in the middle wearing a motorcyclist's protective coat) who had accompanied the division commander Wisch and regiment commander Peiper, is seen talking to the two protagonists of the day, Wittmann on the left and Woll on the right.

In fact, not all the 88 tanks destroyed by Wittmann at that time are registered on this Tiger S04. He had about 10 kills as the commander of Panzer III. And with his 1331 Tiger in July 1943 during the German offensive at the Battle of Kursk, he achieved 30 kills. With the transfer of all the tanks to friendly forces of the 13th Company, it was transferred to Italy in late July, so Tiger 1331 also left Wittmann. In August, his tank was replaced with a brand-new Tiger S21, and his record reached 60 on December 6 after returning to the Eastern Front in October. Wittman began to be the commander of the 13th Company on December 30, 1943, and his tank was replaced by the company Tiger tank S04. According to the official history of the company, Wittmann was awarded the Knight's Cross after obtaining the 66th result on January 10, 1944, so the 66th to 88th results can be determined to have been obtained on S04, but the 61st to 65th results may have belonged to S21. To sum up, Weitman achieved at least 23 enemy tanks on the S04 Tiger tank, but no more than 28 at most.

This month sees the launch of War Park's Pieper review of Wittmann's six-man team and the S04 Tiger tank.

Original Chinese text on War Park weibo follows:


战争公园 2022-08-16 12:37 Posted on 北京

Editor's Note


The following article is from 装甲铲史官 Author 富台山赵子龙





























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