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Fritz

Kurt Knispel, almost unknown Panzer Ace

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It was the incident with the SS man which stopped his promotions otherwise he would have been up there with Michael Wittmann.   Interestingly a similar scene is portrayed by Michael Caine as German officer Kurt Steiner in the film The Eagle has Landed written by British writer Ken Follet and loosely based on a real German plot to assassinate Churchill in 1943. At the beginning of the Eagle has Landed Steiner hits an SS man who is maltreating prisoners. This I read was inspired by Kurt Knispel's famous intervention, not sure where or how Follet heard about it though. 

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Kurt Knispel  on the right with his tank commander Hans Fendsack. Fendsack fell in Normandy. In this picture Knispel has the same rank and awards as my uncle. It is quite possible their paths may have crossed especially in Minsk. 

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That's very interesting, I hadn't heard of him before. Shame that such heroes have almost been forgotten. There is also a similar episode in the Stalingrad film, where the young infantry (or Pionier ?) officer protests against the treatment of Russian prisoners by the Feldgendarmerie, the reaction of one Feldgendarm, despite being only of nco rank was abrupt and brutal. There must been a lot of isolated incidents like this.

There was also another Unteroffizier Graf von Posadowski-Wehner of a Panzer Regiment (more details later), who never made it higher than Uffz. He also had the EKI and Panzersturmabzeichen. Graf von Posadowski-Wehner was from the higher Silesian land nobility, but had a Jewish grandmother. He later died of wound infection in Russian captivity. The book in question was "Ich kam durch" by Armin Böttger and has been republished several times.
One of the units he served in was 14./Panzer-Jäger-Ersatz Regiment 205, as can been seen on his id tag, illustrated in his book, which he commented was marked with the wrong blood group!
Böttger also mentions the various uniforms and clothing worn. When they arrived in Italy, they were issued with captured Italian Summer dress, as well as the typical "Afrika uniform", they also wore the popular Italian fascist blackshirt in Russia.

Böttger was one of the lucky few "who made it", as suggested in the title of his book.

The book was published last by Weltbild Verlag, Augsburg, this copy from 2009. Photos show cover and some selected pages, full of black and white and colour photos, very well written. Top left is Graf v. Posadowski and below to the right, is Armin Böttger (with bottle).

Very much recommended, as far as I remember the price was under 10 Euros.

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That looks like an excellent book Fritz, I'll keep an eye out for it :thumbsup:  here's the scene from "The Eagle has landed" which was apparently inspired by Kurt Knispel's famous intervention with the SS soldier.     

 

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