Panzer Aces Wittmann and Staudegger at Kursk – part 2

My previous post on this subject looked at the claims of two panzer aces made on the 5th of July 1943. Let me address a couple of more claims credited to Michael Wittmann (1914-1944) and Franz Staudegger (1923-1991).

  1. It is claimed that Wittmann killed two T-34s, two SU-122s and 3 T-60s/T-70s on 7 and 8 July 1943.
    1. Sources of these claims:
      1. http://www.solargeneral.org/wp-content/uploads/library/michael-wittmann.pdf
      2. http://ww2live.com/en/content/world-war-2-when-fierce-soviet-resistance-wasnt-trouble-michael-wittmann-panzer-ace-black
      3. https://www.sofmag.com/tiger-tank-ace-michael-wittmann-destroying-30-soviet-tanks-in-battle-of-kursk-july-1943/
      4. http://panzervor.com/index/wittm.html
      5. and there are others.
    2. These claims are not mentioned in Agte’s book on Wittmann.

The challenge here is finding where those SU-122s were. They were:

  1. The 1440th SP Artillery Rgt that was attached to the 67th GRD, opposite the German 48th Panzer Corps and probably lost most of its armor on the 5th.
    1. The Germans report that the Gross Deutschland Panzer Rgt encountered Su-122s on 7 July (see my Kursk book, page 510).
    2. On the 11th of July the XXXII Guards Rifle Corps had the 1440th SP Artillery Rgt attached to it, which had 2 SU-76s and 7 SU-122s ready for action (14 Su-76s and 8 SU-122s total).
    3. An unscathed Su-122 was found around Tolstoye Woods and handed over the 3rd Panzer Division for its use (see Kursk, page 1078).
  2. The 1438th SP Artillery Rgt that was part of the Seventh Guards Army and clearly never faced the SS. It has 9 Su-76s and 12 Su-122s.
  3. The 1447th SP Artillery Rgt which was part of the V Guards Mechanized Corps and still had 9 Su-75s and 12 Su-122 as of 11 July.
  4. The 1461st SP Artillery Rgt attached to the First Tank Army and was part of VI Tank Corps. It was far from the SS Panzer Corps.
  5. The XXIX Tank Corps has 12 Su-122s. But the corps did not see battle until 12th of July. They lost nine of them on 12 July (see Kursk, page 951).

Therefore, by default, the 1438th, 1447th, 1461 SP Art Rgts and XXIX Tank Corps Su-122 would have never encountered the SS. The 1440th may have, but the 67th Guards Rifle Division and XXXII Guards Rifle Corps was primarily opposite the 11th Panzer Division. As the LSSAH was to the east of the 11th Panzer Division, it is possible that it could have been engaged by the LSSAH and Michael Wittmann. Overall, the claims for 7 and 8 July were possible. Do not know how probable they are.

Will address the claims for Staudegger in a subsequent post.

P.S. The first picture is of from Kubinka Tank Museum in Moscow Oblast. Not sure where the second picture of a German Su-122 came from, it was in an image gallery. Also see these links:

  1.  http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/soviet/soviet_SU-122.php
  2. http://russian-tanks.com/su-122.php
  3. https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/ussr/spg/su-122/
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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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