© 2017 by Treasures of the Panzertruppe

First Lieutenant Otto Carius

Born on May 27, 1922 in Zweibrücken, departed January 14 2015 in Herschweiler-Pettersheim.

He was one of THE tank commanders of World War II.

 

 

Both, father and brother of Otto Carius were officers of the Wehrmacht. With 18 years, Carius announced as voluntere in May 1940, for the Wehrmacht to do service in a anti tank unit. Because there was no need for personnel, he was assigned to the 104th Infantry Battalion replacement (Posen). From there, he volunteered for the armored forces and became a member of the Panzer Replacement Battalion 7, set in Vaihingen an der Enz.

 

As on June 22, 1941, the attack on the Soviet Union begun, Carius was loader on a Panzer 38 (t) of the Panzer Regiment 21, which was part of the 20th Panzer Division. In August 1941, he was proposed as an officer candidate.

After completion of the officer course, Lieutenant Carius came as a platoon commander of the 3rd Division Panzer Regiment 21 back to the front. In June 1943 he took command as a platoon leader of 2nd Company of the Heavy Panzer Battalion 502 in Leningrad fitted out as one of the first with the new main battle tank Tiger. As of July 1944, he was appointed company commander of the unit, which was continuously in use. In the Battle of Narva – the now promoted to first lieutenant Carius – destroyed four SU-85. In the village Malinava at Daugavpils he destroyed together with the tank commander Sergeant Albert Kerscher on July 22, 1944 a total of 17 Soviet tanks.

 

A severe injury in July 1944 made a long hospital stay required. After recovering, his transfer was performed on the Western Front. He was appointed to lead the 2nd Company of a tank chase unit equipped with 512 Jagdtiger. In April 1945, he was into the Ruhr pocket. During the fighting there he destroyed in a battle at the Friedrich-Wilhelm-height in the Bismarck-tower between Unna and Langschede on 11 April 1945 about 15 Allied tanks.

On April 15, ordered Lieutenant General Fritz Bayerlein, that Carius was assumed to, the cessation of all hostilities. Carius capitulated arround Iserlohn-Letmathe / Ergste. Until 1946 Carius was in American captivity.

 

After the war, Carius opened the Tiger Pharmacy in Herschweiler-Pettersheim.

 

As one of the few tank commanders he carried the highest level (100) Tank Assault Badge and the Golden Wound Badge. Carius is considered one of the most successful tank commander of World War II.

 

Carius shot from a total of more than 160 enemy tanks and was wounded five times, for which he was honored with the following awards:

 

– Iron Cross second and fist class (23 November 1943)

– Wound Badge in Gold (11 September 1944)

– Panzer Assault Badge in Silver grade I, II, III and both IV

– Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

    • Knight's Cross (4 May 1944)

    • Oak Leaves (July 27, 1944, awarded by Heinrich Himmler)

 

 

 

References:

– Tigers in the Mud

– Taskforce Strachwitz (D)

Original Awards from Otto Carius:

EC I, EC II, Panzer Assault Badge grade I, III and IV. It is worth mentioning that he once sold the grade IV (75) and the grade IV (100) is a postwar copy. Far right: Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Wound Badge in Black and Gold, East Medal, breast eagle from his uniform and the Lieutenant-shoulder boards.