Otto Carius ( German Otto Carius , May 27, 1922 , Zweibrucken - January 24, 2015 ) - German ace tanker from the Second World War . Destroyed more than 150 tanks and self-propelled guns of the enemy - one of the highest results of World War II, along with other German tank battle masters - Michael Wittmann and Kurt Knispel . He fought on tanks LT vz.38 , Pz.VI Tiger , self-propelled guns Yagdtigr . Author of Tigers in the Mud.
|Date of Birth||May 27, 1922|
|Place of Birth||Zweibrucken , Rhineland-Palatinate|
|Date of death||January 24, 2015 (92 years old)|
|Place of death|
|Type of army||tank forces|
|Years of service||1940 - 1945|
|Commanded||21st Tank Regiment |
502th Heavy Tank Battalion
|Battles / wars|
The Second World War
|Awards and prizes|
He began his career as a tanker in the light Czech tank LT vz.38 Skoda (Pz.38), and since 1943 he fought in the heavy tank Pz.VI Tiger on the Eastern Front.
On the Czech tank LT vz.38 (Pz.38) as a loader he participated in an attack on Vilnius , crossing the Neman , Dvina and Berezina rivers , in battles for Vitebsk and Smolensk . In the summer of 1941, in the battles on the territory of Belarus, his tank was hit, and Carius himself received a shrapnel wound, as a result of which he lost a part of his teeth. In 1942 he took part in defensive battles near Gzhatsk , Sychevka and Vyazma , was awarded the Iron Cross of the 2nd class . Since 1943, on the Leningrad Front, as part of the 502nd heavy tank battalion , he distinguished himself in defensive battles at Lake Ladoga , near Gatchina and Nevel , was wounded by a fragment, and was awarded the Iron Cross of the 1st class .
After a defeat near Leningrad in the winter of 1944 , a company of Karius heavy tanks held defense for several months on Narva , and also participated in operations to eliminate Soviet bridgeheads for an offensive in Estonia . Some strong points repeatedly passed from hand to hand. In the battles for the Narva bridgehead, the Tiger heavy tank battalion destroyed dozens of Soviet tanks and anti-tank guns. However, the German tankers themselves suffered significant losses, many vehicles were disabled by Soviet anti-tank guns, were blown up by mines, stuck in mud in a wooded area. Even greater were losses in infantry units. Nevertheless, the Soviet offensive deep into Estonia was frustrated by the vigorous actions of German troops. On May 4, 1944, Otto Carius was awarded the Knight's Cross .
After the crushing defeat of Army Group Center in Belarus in the summer of 1944, the 502nd battalion of heavy tanks was hastily deployed to Latvia and took part in defensive battles. After a serious wound on July 24, 1944 he was evacuated to Germany. July 27, 1944 for the successful actions of a tank company near Daugavpils was awarded oak leaves to the Knight's Cross. The award was personally presented by Heinrich Himmler .
Together with Michael Wittmann became the Wehrmacht 's military legend, and his name was widely used in the propaganda of the Third Reich to raise the morale of the German army during the war.
At the final stage of the war in 1945, he took part in the hostilities on the territory of West Germany on the self-propelled artillery mount Jagdtigr . By this time, the Allies had already crossed the Rhine and surrounded a large group of German troops in the Ruhr area. Otto Carius himself recalled that the Allied aviation dominated the air with impunity, there was an acute shortage of experienced fighters and commanders, the morale of the encircled troops was completely exhausted. By order of the command, he surrendered to the American troops, spent some time in a prisoner of war camp, after which he dressed in barren civilian clothes and pretending to be an assistant to the farmer, was released.
After the war he became a pharmacist , in June 1956 he acquired a pharmacy in the city of Herschweiler-Pettersheim , which he renamed into “Tiger” (Tiger Apotheke). He headed it until February 2011, and later continued to work as a pharmacist on a “part-time” basis  . He died on January 24, 2015 at home  .
According to various estimates, Carius’s crew destroyed 150-200 tanks and self-propelled guns, many guns, one aircraft. From a certain point, Otto Carius stopped counting.
The specific figures of enemy tanks and self-propelled guns destroyed by Carius, cited by German sources, did not always find unambiguous confirmation during verification and they can be considered, at least, controversial. Thus, according to a study conducted by R. A. Marchenko, which compares the data of German and Soviet archival sources, as a result of the fighting on July 22–26, 1944 near the village of Malinovo, the Soviet losses of the first days (July 22–24) of the fighting according to German data are not very strongly diverge from the data of the Soviet side (in this case, however, there is reason to believe that Carius chalked up all the wrecked Soviet tanks, while, most likely, some of them were shot down by self-propelled guns).
- For the 22nd number 23 tanks (17 - T-34-85 and 6 IS-2 ) according to the Germans and 15-18 tanks (10-13 - T-34-85 and M-3-S and 5 - IS-2) according to Soviet reports.
- For the 23rd day, 2 tanks were chalked up by the Germans and 5 tanks were written off by the Soviet side (probably some of them were lost on the 22nd)
- For the 24th, the Germans declared 17 tanks destroyed, which does not contradict Soviet data.
The losses of Soviet troops declared by the Germans on July 25 and 26 as 16 and 12 tanks, respectively, do not find confirmation in Soviet sources (6 and up to 3 tanks, respectively, while the total number of Soviet tanks was less than the number declared destroyed by the Germans), which allowed researchers talk about a possible double and triple recording of wrecked tanks.
For a large number of enemy tanks destroyed, Carius, having been wounded five times, was awarded the following medals:
- 2nd Class Iron Cross ( September 15, 1942 )
- 1st Class Iron Cross ( November 23, 1943 )
- Breastplate “For Injury” black ( July 8, 1941 )
- Silver badge for wound ( December 15, 1943 )
- Gold badge "For Injury" ( September 11, 1944 )
- Medal "For the Winter Campaign in the East 1941/42" (August 20, 1942)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Knight's Cross ( May 4, 1944 )
- Oak Leaves (No. 535) ( July 27, 1944 ), presented by Heinrich Himmler
- For a tank attack (badge) in silver
- 2nd class ( July 15, 1944 )
- 3rd grade ( September 1, 1944 )
Karius published the 1960 book Tigers in the Mud ( German: Tiger im Schlamm , ASIN B0000BH2FP). These are the memoirs of a tank ace about how he, with his crew and front-line friends, went through the entire Second World War. The famous expression “In battle, it is better to deal with thirty Americans than five Russians,” which is often attributed to General Guderian, is actually taken from the book of O. Carius, “Tigers in the Mud . ”
- Biography (German)
- Otto Carius personal page on the pharmacy website (German)
- “The Tigers are in the mud. Memoirs of a German Tankman. ”, Otto Carius, (“ Militer ”- Military Literature on lib.ru)
- Interview with Chief Lieutenant Otto Carius (2 companies of 502 heavy tank battalions). Uwe Feist August 1, 1992.
- A. Drabkin. Carius Otto . I remember. Allies and opponents (July 9, 2014). Date of treatment January 31, 2015.
- R.A. Marchenko Otto Carius. The Tigers. Dvinsky district. 07/22/1944 - study of the most famous battle of Otto Carius
- R. A. Marchenko “Tigers” 502 heavy tank battalion (s.Pz. Abt. 502) in the mud of the Baltic states in the spring-summer of 1944. - a general study of the actions of the battalion in which Carius fought