Copies of the telegraph message sent for the attention SS-Obergruppenführer Sepp Dietrich and the original recommendation for Michael Wittmann’s Knight’s Cross (Ritterkreuz) signed by Divisional Commander SS-Oberführer Theodor Wisch. The telegram provides a detailed summary of Wittmann’s career up to that date, including his destroying 56 enemy tanks. The telex is dated 10th January, and was noted as received four days later.
Handwritten sections, apart from German terms in translation notes, are indicted using italics.
Telegram, Section 1
Telegraph Name: NHOF
Running Number: 447
Received or Recorded:
Date: 14/1 (19)44
Via: Baumann (?)
Telegram, Section 2
Notes: Courier Entry
HZSXM FU 3288 10/1 0030.
To SS-Hauptsturmführer Pfeiffer[Note 1], Führer Headquarters, requesting delivery to SS-Obergruppenführer Dietrich.
Subject: Awarding the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross to SS-Untersturmführer Wittmann, Michael, Platoon Commander 13th (Heavy) SS-Panzer Regiment 1 LSSAH
On 8. and 9.1.44 Outstanding bravery during the breakthrough by Russian tank brigade at Sherepki. (See Daily Report).
Since July 1943 to 7.1.44 as Platoon Leader he has destroyed 56 tanks himself, several KV I, KV II, General Shermans, and the remainder T34s.
On 8.1.44 following breakthrough of Russian tank brigade he and his platoon halted the attack, himself destroying 3 T34s and 1 assault gun. On 9.1.44 following a new tank attack he destroyed another 6 T34s, making 10 by him alone and now 66 tanks destroyed.
SS-Untersturmführer Wittmann, Michael, occupation: SS Leader, single.
Born 22.4.14 in Vogelt(h)al-Oberpfalz.
Johann Wittmann, Ingolstadt/Donau, Baselstr. 34.
Iron Cross 1st Class, Iron Cross 2nd Class, Wound Badge in Black, Panzer Assault Badge in Silver,.
Signed. Wisch, SS-Oberführer and Divisional Commander 1st SS Panzer Division LSSAH
Letter of Recommendation
The typewritten letter of recommendation for Michael Wittmann’s award, dated 10th January 1944 and signed by Divisional Commander SS-Oberführer Wisch. The basis of this letter was sent as the telegram which was received four days later.
Wittmann, Michael, Vogelt(h)al / Oberpfalz, 22.4.1914
SS-Untersturmführer, 13th (Heavy) SS Panzer Regiment 1.
(yes) 12.7.41[Note 2]
(yes) 8.9.41[Note 3]
1st SS Panzer Division LSSAH, Divisional Command Post[Note 4], 10.1.1944
SS-Untersturmführer Wittmann, platoon commander 13.(s)/SS-Pz.Rgt. 1 LSSAH, has himself destroyed 56 tanks in the period July 1943 to 7.1.1944, including several KVI, KVII, General “Sherman”, the rest were T34s.
During a penetration near Sherepki by a Russian tank brigade on 8.1.1944 he and his platoon succeeded in stopping the attack and he himself knocked out 3 T34s and 1 assault gun.
On 9.1.1944 he destroyed another 6 T34s during a penetration by enemy tanks and raised his total of tanks destroyed to 66. He once again demonstrated exceptional bravery in meeting and smashing the Russian tank attack.
Signed Wisch, SS-Oberführer and Divisional Commander
Note 1. SS-Hauptsturmführer Hans Pfeiffer, Hitler’s personal adjutant. Pfeiffer was later replaced as adjutant by Otto Günsche, moving to the front to command a company of Panther V tanks. According to Kurt Meyer in his postwar memoir Grenadiere, Pfeiffer was later killed in battle on 11th June 1944 after receiving fatal shrapnel wounds.
Note 2. Date of award of Iron Cross 2nd Class
Note 3. Date of award of Iron Cross 1st Class
Note 4. Divisionsgefechtsstand