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Villiers bocage cromwell tank

Villiers bocage cromwell tank Image
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D-Day +7. The British are advancing toward Caen and are coming to a grinding halt by the elite German Panzer-Lehr Division at a town called Tilly-sur-Seulles. The British 7th Armored Division is ordered to flank southeast around the Germans through the town of Villers-Bocage and capture the high ground beyond, called Point 213. The British advancing through the area are being opposed by Michael Wittmann, commander of the 2nd Company in the 101st SS Heavy Panzer Battalion. Wittmanns orders are to position his unit behind the Panzer-Lehr-Division to cover their open left flank. At approximately 0900 hours, Wittmann's Tiger emerges from cover to the surprise of the entire advancing British column thus opening the battle for Villers-Bocage.

Losses after the battle are as follows

The British losses:

8th King's Royal Irish Hussars:
A number of Stuarts

4th County of London Yeomanry:
8 Cromwells, 4 Sherman Fireflies, 3 Stuarts, 1 Half-track vehicle, 3 Scout cars.

Rifle Brigade:
9 half-track vehicles, 2 Bren gun-carriers, 4 Carden-Loyd Carriers.

5th Royal Horse Artillery:
2 Cromwell, 1 Sherman.



The German losses:

Within Wittmann's Unit, only 6 Tiger tanks and 5 Panzer IVs were put out of action, of the damaged Tiger tanks, 3 were later repaired.


German propaganda throughout the War honoured individual fighters as Hero's. The battle at Villers-Bocage took Michael Wittmann to that status; he was given credit for 27 of the 30 destroyed British tanks.
It must be stated that Wittmann's Tiger tanks greatly outclassed the British vehicles in both firepower and armour. That said, the British 17 pounder gun could penetrate the armour on the Tiger tank and so could the towed 6 pounder gun along with the 75 mm guns on both the Cromwell and Sherman tanks under ideal conditions.

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