Military history

- Chapter 19 -

Tiger Aces

The Tiger is particularly associated with SS-Hauptsturmführer Michael Wittmann of schwere SS-Panzerabteilung 101. He worked his way up, commanding various vehicles and finally a Tiger I. In the Battle of Villers-Bocage, his platoon destroyed over two dozen Allied vehicles, including several tanks.

Astonishingly given his enduring reputation Wittmann was not the highest scoring tank commander. Over ten Tiger tank commanders claimed over 100 vehicle kills each, including Kurt Knispel with 168, Walter Schroif with 161, Otto Carius with 150+, Johannes Bölter with 139+, and Michael Wittmann with 138.

Tiger tank ace Michael Wittmann. Despite all of the reports, it comes as a surprise to many to discover that the highest scoring Tiger I ace was actually Kurt Knispel who survived the war with 168 tank kills to his credit.

The Tiger I has been estimated to have an overall ratio of 5.74 kills to each loss, with 9,850 enemy tanks destroyed for a loss of 1,715 Tigers. It is important to note that the number of Tiger Is lost is higher than those produced (1,347), as the Wehrmacht included tanks that had undergone heavy repair and brought back into combat in the total of new machines.

The following chart demonstrates the estimated Tiger I kills to losses ratio:

A Tiger I engages in action during the battle of Kursk.

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