Otto Carius

Otto Carius

Otto Carius

Otto Carius (27 May 1922 in Deux-Ponts (Zweibrücken, Rheinland-Pfalz)) was a military German during World War II where he was a tank commander (Panzer).

He is known to have been credited by the Wehrmacht in the destruction of more than 150 tanks, making it the second destroyer tank Panzerwaffe after Kurt Knispel. His record was mainly acquired on the Eastern Front in the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502.

Before the war

He first dreamed of becoming a musician before turning to study engineering.

War period


At age 18, after several unsuccessful requests due to underweight, Otto Carius follows an infantry training in the 104th infantry battalion Posen. But he would serve in the Panzerwaffe, and manages to be paid within the 7.Panzer Ersatz-Abteilung in Vaihingen where it is charger in a Panzer 38 (t).He learned the basics of armored warfare to military training base Putlos.

Eastern Front

The Panzer-Regiment 21

At the outbreak of Operation Barbarossa, he served in the Panzer-Regiment 21 which has been formed and attached to the 20.Panzer Division fighting in Belarus. He participated in the Battle of Smolensk. On 1 August 1941, Carius became a sergeant. In the following days, he left the front to take a driver training tank in Germany, then he studied to become an officer. However, he does not get his commission and returned Gjatsk in February 1942, still in the Panzer-Regiment 21, then in dire since the majority of tanks were lost against the Soviet thrust of winter. Throughout the year, the unit will be under pressure from enemy attacks and heavy losses.

Integration with schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502

Early 1943, he was selected to join a unit of Tiger, new heavy tank in which the Germans put some of their hopes to improve their uncomfortable situation on all fronts. Having trained at Ploërmel (UK), he won in July 1943 the Leningrad front in the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502.Tiger, after their initial disappointment, and although still limited in number this time, occupy an important place in the German defense system in Leningrad, very proven by the constant onslaught of the Red Army. Otto Carius, on his arrival, immediately took command of a section of the two. Kompanie (2./schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502).

On 6 October 1943, while Tiger Carius suffered a mechanical failure, a dozen T-34 approach him. Follows a close fight, in which the Tiger Carius destroyed 10 enemy tanks. He was wounded slightly in the temple on December 2.Meanwhile, the pointer of his crew, Clajus is replaced by one that is probably the best pointer Panzerwaffe, namely Heinz Kramer, not lacking to demonstrate his talents as a reconnaissance aircraft destroyed enemy December 16.On February 4 SU-85 are destroyed by Carius, and continues to accumulate victories, as on March 17 where he destroyed 12 T-34 and a heavy tank KV-1 in the area of Lembitu, west of Narva, as the Red Army seeks to shake the Wehrmacht in this area to resume Estonia. April 21, Otto Carius escapes death when he leaned over to Kramer that he lights a cigarette, a bomb pulverized the cupola. May 4, when he is in the hospital for an asthma attack, Carius received the Knight’s Cross and became a Leutnant. In July, he took command of the 2./schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502.


On 22 July 1944, Carius and his sidekick Albert Kerscher are a recognition of the village Malinava in the northern suburb of Daugavpils, as an attack must take place. They find the village already occupied by a Soviet assault column. Carius and Kerscher decided to resume immediately the village and back up their Tigers to lead the attack alone while leutnant Nienstedt to lead six other Tigers remain behind to cover the attack as there is only one road leading to the village, it is not necessary to hire more Panzern. The attack is successful and the Tiger claim 17 tanks including new heavy tank IS. Carius and his crew attribute the destruction of 10 enemy tanks. Not only do they come to remove a serious threat to breach the front Vitebsk, but they discovered the wreckage of the column objectives thereof.

Last days is

On the evening of July 24, 1944, while performing recognition on a sidecar on a road between Riga and Daugavpils, Otto Carius is attacked by Soviet soldiers. With his driver, he tried to escape on foot in the woods, but Otto was hit several times. However, his company tanks are warned by the fire and approach, which does not prevent Otto take one last shot in the neck before the Soviets did drop the lawsuit. Otto lost consciousness, hit by no less than six bullets, the latter having miraculously not kill that man, however feeble.

He received the Oak Leaves on 27 July, but his injuries are so severe that he can not return to duty in January 1945.

Defense of the Reich

Otto Carius became head of the 3.Kompanie schwere Panzer-Abteilung 512 equipped with a thirty Jagdtiger. The battalion was sent to defend the Rhine, the Americans had crossed Remagen. Despite the power provided by their Jagdtiger August 12 cm Pak44, able to defeat any Allied tank without any trouble is how far the situation is very difficult, Carius can only note the lack of staff and inexperienced crews under his command: “With two or three captains and crews of my company in Russia, we could welcome the enemy with a nice fireworks Five Russians were at least as dangerous as thirty Americans.”.No doubt he exaggerated but it gives an idea of ​​the lower level in the units because of losses.

This is even more embarrassing than the Jagdtiger are very massive, difficult to maneuver and mechanically very fragile.

April 11, Otto Carius destroyed 15 Allied tanks in a skirmish near Unna.

In April, the Wehrmacht’s defeat. Having ordered surrender of Lieutenant General Fritz Bayerlein, the company Carius, already reduced to six tanks, sabotage and goes to the Americans who put in captivity.

After the war

Carius fell ill and was released a few months later.

He began studying medicine at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau in 1951 and became a pharmacist in Rhineland-Palatinate, first Zweibrücken, then Herschweiler-Pettersheim where its brand is called “Tiger-Apotheke” (Pharmacy tiger). He worked full-time until January 31, 2011, then part-time.

He also wrote a book “Tiger im Schlamm” (Tigers in the mud).Beyond the description of some battles, there shared the experiences of soldiers basic Wehrmacht.This book has been translated into several languages and inspired a manga of Hayao Miyazaki “Otto Carius: Doromamire no tora (Tigers Covered With Mud)”


Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, received on 27 July 1944.

Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, received on 4 May 1944.

Silver badge in memory of 100 battles with armored

Iron Cross first class, received on 23 November 1943.

Iron Cross Second Class, received on 15 September 1942.

Badge injured in gold, received 11 September 1944.

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