Wednesday, February 16, 2005

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Panzer - Well, mostly we deal with the equipment here at the Panzer postings but this time it's a picture of the highest scoring "panzer ace" of WW II (or any mechanized war for that matter) Kurt Knispel who served with SchwPzAbt 503 and destroyed no less than 168 enemy tanks.

Unlike the other panzer aces like Otto Carius, Ernst Barkmann and Michael Witmann, who all destroyed fewer tanks than Knispel, he was never awarded Germanys highest award das Ritterkreutz. He did receive The German Cross in Gold, and after his 101'st tank kill he was mentioned in the Wehrmacht dispatch, the only non-commissioned officer to receive this honour in WWII.

Judging from the photo and accounts from veterans who knew him he was known as a bit of a "wild one" who did not always behave in a "soldierly manner" and perhaps this excluded him from the honors he deserved. Another explanation could be that he never performed any spectacular acts of bravery but merely destroyed enemy tanks at a steady pace.

Unfortunately Kurt Knispel did not survive into peacetime but was mortally wounded and died after fighting near Strondorf in northern Austria on April 29'th 1945, only a few days before the war ended.

Playemate™ - Nice bangs.
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