Thursday, October 10, 2019
Operation Totalize & Michael Wittmann
Having previously blogged about two guides about all of Normandy it is time to look at a new book focusing on an area of particular interest to armour buffs, the area covered by Operation Totalize, during which German tank ace Michael Wittmann was killed.
The new book Operation Totalize by Tim Saunders is filled with both the information, photos and maps that you need to get a good idea of this offensive launched by Allied troops to break through the German defences south of Caen. If you are mostly interested in US forces this book is not for you, because Totalize is the story of Canadian, British and Polish troops fighting against Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS units.
Tim Saunders is of the opinion that it was most likely Sherman Trooper Joe Ekins who took out Michael Wittmann´s Tiger. Ekins belonged to the British 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry. Saunders presents a plausible scenario but does not exclude another Sherman due to the nature of armoured warfare. Well, thanks to the relevant text, air photograph and map in Operation Totalize one has the tools necessary to visit the battleground in question and oneself judge what is more likely, Joe Ekins or a tank from the Canadian Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment.
Speaking of tanks, during Totalize the Germans used also some radio-controlled tanks of the type Borgward B IV, operated by the Funklenk-Abteilung 301. This part of the book was a surprise for me, and Saunders has also found a Borgward photo I had not seen before.
If you are an AFV buff, wargamer or intend to do a battlefield tour of the Operation Totalize battlegrounds, you will find this book very helpful and you will want to bring it with you to Normandy.
Let me finally say that the author, Tim Saunders, has found many great photos I had never seen before and I also like how he uses maps and unit insignia.