The Wittmann mythology

Quite an interesting look into some fact checking instead of listening to regurgitated tales posted again and again.

Would love to hear the counter points to this one.

Well, He sarcastically states the known story is rubbish but has difficulty in establishing what happened and in what order. He should have followed a timeline with maps and detail. His style leaves me unsure of the sequence of events and timelines. He hops back and forth and in doing so muddies his story.

Watching the first few moments of this was painful. Couldn’t even make it to the point of the video.

I talk about this with other history and armament nerds on my group. The video has many non sense arguments and shouldn’t be taken seriously. Unfortunately, many people new to history as hobby and not having enough knowledge believe and praised the guy. Most of these are really rookie mistakes for new people, but it could be live and death for the tank commanders back then.

Here is some of the points my guys and I listed, specially at the 27min portion of the video:

– The guy says that the QF 75mm it marginally more powerful than M3* 75mm, he specifically said on the Sherman.

  • This is not correct, the 2 guns used the same ammunition with the only difference that the UK M61 shell doesn’t have fuse and explosive charge. No fuse and explosive charge don’t make it more powerful, it was done to get the production faster and cheaper.
  • In fact, the barrel of the QF 75mm is slightly shorter than M3 75mm (2.7m vs 3m), so if anything by physic, it should be slightly weaker.

– The QF 75mm could penetrate the front of a Tiger under at 100m as in “split the Tiger in half”.

  • The QF 75mm M61 APCBC has about exactly 100mm penetration at 100m, but the method the allies used was 50% success rate criteria, which we know that it was not enough to be considered “reliable” and 100m is a very critical range for armoured combat, because if a tank get to 100m of you, smaller yet as dangerous things can get close as well.

– Using the argument that all of the Tigers in Africa was destroyed while the British had smaller guns, which I assume he meant less effective by the way he said it.

  • As a matter of fact, the QF 57mm 6pdr has more piercing power than the 75mm, with over 110mm at 100m, and was still in use as the main AT weapon. The 75mm was adopted because it has more powerful HE ammunition, which is more critical to overall combat effectiveness. The actual up-gun to fight the Tiger was the QF 76.2mm 17pdr used on the Sherman Firefly, M10 Achilles and Mk VIII Challenger.
  • Also, he says it as if all of the Tigers were destroy in tank to tank frontal attacks, while it is well known that most of of the Tiger were destroyed by mines, artillery, CAS, AT guns, flanking maneuvers and ambush. Many resources had to be committed to score on Tigers, which is why the “myth” started in the first place.

–He insisted that the ballistic mechanic is more complex than just the penetration table, then he argues that the 75mm shell failed to defeat the Tiger because it was in the “minimal range”, where the shell too hot, assuming being shooting out of the barrel, leading to the penetrating tip to be blunt and therefore the shell is deflect, assuming bounce of, the armor. He think of it with a lot of with a lot confidence.

  • Utter non sense, delusional to even think like that. At 620m/s velocity, temperature of the shell would remain almost the same for a long distance, I don’t think any metal shell can cool down fast enough to affect the state of the matter to have the so called “minimal range”, that metal is otherwise very unstable.
  • About the anatomy of a tank shell, the actual penetrating tip (armour-piercing cap, shorted to cap or C) is actually more blunt than people think. It is made so so the shell can normalize into the sloped armour. Pointy tip has more penetration on vertical surface, but has much higher chance to be defected by angled surface.
    The pointy tip is the “ballistic cap” (BC), it reduces drag to counter the blunt tip of the shell, made of soft material so it doesn’t affect the normalization into the armour. This is why many ammunition are AP-BC and AP-C-BC. The 75mm M61, is APCBC.
    Armour-piercing, capped, ballistic capped shell - Wikipedia You can look for diagram of any WW2 shell and you will find the same deal.

– The dude talks on how the Crowmwell, because it was one of the faster tank during WW2, could had run around the town instead of letting Wittmann fighting back the whole time. He borderline insult the Cromwell with the commander “driving [the Cromwell] at a pace slower than walking” chasing the Tiger and how the Commander memory is wrong or following propaganda.

  • Top speed and acceleration are 2 difference things. Cromwell does not have the acceleration we see on tanks today. Cromwell is fast, but driving tank with mechanical computer in a town is not easy, tank back then doesn’t have stabilizer and electronic aiming assist neither.
    – He mentioned that another Cromwell commander ordered his tank to “hard reverse” after getting stuck in the street and spotted by the Wittmann’s Tiger. Yet somehow, Wittmann driven pass it before shooting that Cromwell…
  • UK tank during WW2 are known for very slow reverse speed, with the Cromwell has only about 3km/h reverse speed in ideal condition. So if the Tiger spotted the Cromwell for it to reverse, the tank commander clearly know that his enemy was there. Maybe he was simply looking for an angle to shoot, and maybe Wittmann already spotted the crews abandoning the tank so he did a confirmation shot, which is a practice the military still do to day.

With all of the basic knowledge like those wrong, and secondary source with even more abysmal accuracy than what both side of the battle reported, the dude talks with such authority of someone known it all.
His lasted video, at 24:45 even has “So I’m not going to list my sources because if they want to critique me on what I found, If you want to critique me on what I found, I want both you and them to go through the same level of research and pain that I and my friends went through.” That’s just so damn dull. That’s video is about him insisting that the Russian T-14 uses a modified WW2 German prototype tank engine.
His T-34 video was also full of incomplete information presented as facts, but it is for another time.

I’m not doing models recently nor posting here because I was focusing on my infantry course, which I just done it last month. I joined the army to learn what it really is, even though it is just the reserve, but still better than back sitting with bullshit information like that guy. And I can source most of my information if anyone want to ask.


To some it up … I thought it was complete dross.


One could just read this book-

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Here is the author on a YouTube video-

Rubish. As with so many amateurs, he gets tangled in the superficial and trivial and overlooks the fundamental issues.

The bottom line is that Wittmann seized the initiative and exploited the tactical mistakes of the British to execute what was essentially a very successful “hasty ambush” on the temporarily halted column.

For whatever reasons (likely never to be fully understood now, three quarters of a century later), the British failed to properly conduct effective reconnaissance along their route of advance past Villers-Bocage, and they also failed to conduct the essential task of providing local security once the column halted. Wittmann simply took advantage of both of these mistakes.

The first British mistake presented him with the element of surprise and ceded the initiative to him, the second enabled him to successfully conduct his own attack using the overwhelming firepower and speed his single Tiger possessed over the British column composed largely of unsuspecting, lightly armored carriers and halftracks. In the tank vs. tank fights that took place, at point-blank ranges, the battle is won by the tank that acquires its target and fires first - both conditions that Wittmann had by virtue of his surprise and speed against unprepared, sitting targets.

Wittmann’s victory was not the result of technology, but rather it was the result of the correct application of tactics used by an experienced commander who got “into the decision-making cycle” of his counterpart to exploit his opponent’s mistakes and the opportunities those mistakes created to the fullest extent at that particular moment and place.

The ultimate British victory at Villers-Bocage suggest a number of possible operational flaws in Wittmann’s course of action. For example, it might have been more advantageous from the operational point of view if Wittmann had taken some time to organize a more deliberate defense of the area and husbanded his precious Tiger tanks rather than allowing the hasty attack into the confined streets of the town which followed his own single-tank ambush. One might argue that Wittmann squandered the core of his entire Tiger tank company in the defense of the town rather than later using it to its full effectiveness in denying the continued British advance past the town. There are other possibilities, that one could argue, that Wittmann squandered by choosing his hasty attack course of action rather than making a more comprehensive assessment of the larger, operational level situation.

Here is where the real criticism of Wittmann lies. Had he been a single-tank commander or a platoon leader acting on his own initiative, his hasty attack would be much more admirable. However, he was a company commander responsible for one third of a very valuable corps-level support asset which arguably could have been put to much, much more effective use than the defense of a relatively insignificant bit of geography (the town, itself). Wittmann’s thinking, planning and execution should have been at a much higher level.

(The British understood the value of the terrain much better than Wittmann and the subsequent German’s responsible - Hill 213 was the key terrain.)

However, at the tactical level, there is no rational argument that denies his initial success and victory. He certainly caught the British with their knickers down and their tea kettles bubbling…


I have to watch it again and try and read between some lines implied by him in some points.

I did take the time again today to watch on Amazon the History channels version of what played out plus his earlier engagements.

  1. First want to understand how hearing about Rex Ingram has never been part of this story. Zero mention in the History channel version.

  2. The History channel version is almost comical also. There are about 10 plus statements made by experts that are open ended and allow for them to worm out of the statement depending on how you want to listen to it. Fanboy or not talk.

  3. Curious as to the amount of times in his time at commanding that he is running around by himself during encounters. witness anyone?

  4. Curious as to why he is plowing into Bocage and leaving 4 other Tigers behind. Why such a strong history of him having “initiative” yet going so strong against normal unit tactics.

  5. How the following days Tigers and Panthers follow up days after and get wiped out in Bocage.

  6. Why he would let the initial group of British tanks drive by and not go gung ho like he supposedly did on the Russians in the History channel version.

  7. Very curious how in the History channel version he blasts the first and last tank in the column and for some reason the Russians cant drive off the road at him yet he can drive in the same terrain and blast all of them.

Man I have many questions, and yes how the German made kill counts is not the first time I have heard this.
Actually his behavior is the same type made fun of that so many Russian tanks try doing by themselves and we see how that plays out.

I am amazed at how many times his initiative is seen a heroic when tactically is just silly choices.

Just for the record, his videos on how the A10 sucks, also brought up some interesting facts that I have never heard anyone also talk about.

But again, the history channels bio show on him is kinda crazy talk.

Why he would let the initial group of British tanks drive by and not go gung ho like he supposedly did on the Russians in the History channel version.

yes, it takes a bit for him to get spun up in most of his videos.

link if you have Amazon. Season 3 episode 2.

From what I remember, not having read about it in years, the Germans were not ready for combat either. When they discovered the British advancing people started running for their tanks. They did not have time to get the company into the fight. He took his section and went. Then he had to drive to the combat site. I suspect if the English column was led by a company of tanks, they could have passed before the Germans got there, meaning the log train met the tigers.

Yes, you’re right. The unit was performing maintenance having only just arrived after a prolonged road march (see period photos of sPzAbt 101 moving up). In fact his own tank was u/s temporarily and the first tank he jumped into had a duff gearbox, so basically he used what he had.

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He was a company CO then. His tank broke down and he had to jump ship.
The After the Battle book goes into great detail on what actually happened.
The whole story is propaganda spin.

I admittedly had not heard of wittman before seeing this post, but after doing some research and reading on him (not the video linked above, I think you guys did a good job pointing out it’s not good haha), I don’t see why there’s so much hype around him. It seems universally accepted by historians that his incredible one man stand was greatly exaggerated, and he certainly wasn’t the “deadliest” tanker in ww2 or even within the German army. So why all the hype?


Modeler’s, Fanboi’s, and fat “historians” that live in their mother’s basements have built up a mythos about him based solely on their own lies over the years. Wittman was at Kursk and at Villers Bocage and that’s enough for this group to create a legend. Exaggeration based on myth added to rumor gets you a Panzer Ace and tabloid fame is hard to refute.

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So… Whitman was only a propaganda ploy? Probably not. Was he good? Most likely. Lets say only half of his 140 ish kills were real. That would be 70 kills. Nothing to scoff at. Propaganda works best if you start with truth, then embellish.


By the time Wittmann was made aware of the British column and had time to react, the column had already passed his position and was halted along the N175 with its head on top of Hill 213.

(Here we see a failure of the German reconnaissance and communication. Wittmann’s company was a corps-level asset and was likely unaware of the British attack from the day before or its continuation that morning because the frontline German division were not communicating directly with him or his battalion (Abt.) HQ. In other words, it wasn’t until Wittmann’s own local security observed the British was he even aware of them. Note how Wittmann, himself, had to move cross country by foot to the nearest German division HQ to report his own actions. This was the period when his own company was without his personal leadership and direction and was fighting the more important battle for control of the key terrain, Hill 213.)

The top of the hill (which was the key terrain objective of the British) was to the NE of Wittmann’s location that morning. The main body of the column was, however, stretched out to his front, north, and northwest back along the N175 to Villers-Bocage.

Wittmann’s shortest and most direct route of advance and attack against the column was due north along the military crest on the SW edge of the hill. This exposed him the least amount of time and was also likely not visible to the British on the geographic crest of the hill to his NE.

It is noteworthy that the rest of his company did, in fact, attack the head of the British column after Wittmann had cut it off from the main body of the regiment (in Villers-Bocage). Also noteworthy is that the head of the column was eliminated and destroyed, denying the British their main objective and the key terrain. (Hill 213 provided observation to the east-northeast all the way to Caen while controlling the main east-west lateral LOC behind the German front lines, the very definition of key terrain.)

An argument against Wittmann’s course of action that morning is that he could have achieved the same tactical success using a more deliberately planned and executed attack against the hilltop and west along the column using his entire force (the principles of main effort and unity of action). Rather than splitting his unit, losing his own Tiger, and leaving his company without his leadership during the more important attack on the hilltop, Wittmann should have led the attack against the hilltop, himself, and pushed part of his unit west down N175. The tactical success would likely have been as great or nearly so, but the operational success would have been much better.

The sequel to this course of action might have been controlling and denying Villers-Bocage by way of possession of the hilltop while conserving his Tigers (later squandered in attacks inside the town, itself). This would have still prevented the British advance south out of Villers-Bocage (controlling the village with fires) while retaining the combat power of a company of Tiger tanks for later, perhaps more important battles.

In the end, though, the battles progressed as history has recorded them. For the professional soldier, though, there are lessons to be learned from the failures on both sides that morning.

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He wasn’t in the Heer, he was in the SS, and very much their poster boy. He was an outstanding tank commander but the hype back-fired in that it got him promoted out of his zone of competence. His record on the Eastern Front had already made him famous in Germany, and the heavily-propagandised German account of his actions at Villers-Bocage gave him world-wide exposure which has been the basis for his post-war reputation. This version has been widely accepted, especially by those groups particularly sympathetic to Nazi ideas and (while there have been more balance analyses since) Wittman’s fame has also lead to confusion in Allied descriptions due to various individuals being put forward as the hero who slew the beast…



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