After Michael Wittmann’s Demolition Derby!
Arriving on 12th July 1944, Wittmann’s Tigers positioned themselves south of Point 213 on the Villers-Bocage ridge close to the Vire-Caen road in support of both Panzer-Lehr and another Waffen-SS Panzer division, the 12th SS Hitlerjugend.
On the morning of 13th June while at his command post located some 150 metres from Hill 213, Wittmann encountered an Army sergeant who informed him of the presence of a number of unfamiliar vehicles in the vicinity. It transpired that these vehicles were the lead element of a highly-trained British unit, the 4th County of London Yeomanry (4CLY, “Sharpshooters”), part of the 22nd Armoured Brigade of the 7th Armoured Division – the renowned “Desert Rats”.
Wittmann went to look for himself and spotted what looked like a never-ending convoy of British and American type vehicles casually rolling along the road heading out of Villers-Bocage… he then made his mind up!
Michael Wittmann spoke of his decision to strike the British column…
“…the decision was a very, very difficult one. Never before had I been so impressed by the strength of the enemy as I was by those tanks rolling by; but I knew it absolutely had to be and I decided to strike out into the enemy.”
Had it been anyone other than Wittmann, and more crucially had he been commanding any vehicle other than the powerful Tiger I, the attack would have been seen as bordering on the suicidal. But Wittmann was both faster and more wily than the enemy…read more at Panzer Ace
(Text Source: Panzer Ace, with some minor changes by LB)