Otto Carius

Otto Carius (1922- ) was a World War II German tank ace, having destroyed 150 enemy tanks in five years of service. He fought on the Eastern Front, taking part of Operation Barbarossa and the Battle of Narva. Carius is the second highest scoring tank ace in military history, Kurt Knispel being the first. During his military career, he was awarded the Knight Cross of the Iron Cross, with Oak Leaves and Swords.

Otto Carius was born on May 27, 1922, in Zweibrücken, Germany. Although he had been rejected twice before by the German Army as not fit for service when he volunteered, Carius was finally accepted in the 104th Infantry Replacement Battalion in May 1940. After intensive tank training in the Panzer Corps he had volunteered for, he was transferred to the 21st Panzer Regiment. By the end of June 1941, during Operation Barbarossa, Carius had his baptism of fire as a gunner in a Panzer 38 light tank, suffering wounds from spalling.

In 1943, Carius was assigned, as a tiger tank commander,  to Panzer Abteilung 502, which was a heavy tank battalion. Fighting in the Leningrad Front, he was seriously wounded when he was reconnoitering the village of Malinava in norther Russia in a Kübelwagen (a four-wheeled German utility vehicle). In March 1945, he was commander of a Jagdtiger when he was transferred along with his unit to the Western Front, taking part of the defense of the Rhine River. In April, 1945, Carius and what remained of his unit surrendered to the US forces. During the post war period, he owned a drug store called the Tiger Apotheke.

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