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Albert Kerscher (deceased)
|German Army - Knights Cross with Oak Leaves. Oberfeldwebel Albert Kerscher was, like Otto Carius, a panzer ace from schwere Panzer Abteilung 502. He achieved his 100th kill in defending the Neuhauser Forest near Pillau, East Prussia in April 1945. On 22nd July 1944, 1st Lieutenant Otto Carius with his company of eight Tigers advanced towards the village on Malinava (northern suburb of Dunaburg) in order to halt the Russian advance. Carius and Kerscher took a Kubelwagen in order to check if the village was already in Russian hands. They discovered that Malinava had already been taken by the enemy. Carius recognised that the Russian tanks in the village were only advance troops waiting for the main force to arrive. He decided to recapture the village before the arrival of more Russian tanks. Carius returned to his company for briefing and explained his plan to take the village. He decided to attack the village with only two Tigers because there was only one road leading to the village and it meant very risky business. Six Tigers remained in the reserve while the Tigers of Carius and Kerscher moved towards the village of Malinava. Speed was the essence of the plan to take the Russians by surprise and immobilise their tanks. When they were about to enter the village, they could see two T-34/85 tanks rotating their turrets in their direction. Immediately Kerscher, following Carius at about 150 metres, fired two shots in rapid succession, and destroyed the two enemy tanks. This was the first time that Carius had encountered one of the latest JS-1 heavy tanks. The silhouette of the new heavy Russian tank was somewhat similar to that of the Tiger II, and Carius got confused at first but after a little hesitation, ordered his crew to fire at once, and the JS-1 burst into flames. Afterwards they realised that the entire battle was over in about twenty minutes. In such a short time, the two Tigers of Carius and Kerscher had knocked out 17 Russian tanks including the new JS-1. The Russians were taken by surprise and their quick and accurate perception of the situation were the main factors that led the two Tigers to victory. The achievement of Carius and Kerscher at Malinava is on the same level as the famous action of Michael Wittmann at Villers Bocage. He ended the war with a total score of 107. Albert Kerscher passed away on 12th June 2011.|
Otto Carius (deceased)
|German Army - Knights Cross with Oak Leaves. Otto Carius was born on May 27th of 1922 in Zweibrucken, Rheinland-Pfalz in Southwest Germany. Carius volunteered for 104th Infantry Placement Battalion in May of 1940 and was assigned to the 21st Panzer Regiment when he graduated. During the Invasion of Russia, Operation Barbarossa, in June 1941, Carius was a loader Panzer 38 and experienced his first battle as a loader on a Panzer III, light tank In 1941 after serving 11 months in Russia Carius went to Officer training and when commissioned he went to 502nd heavy tank battalion in April 1943. He was assigned as a tank commander in the 2nd battalion 502. The battlion had the new Tiger Tank. Otto Carius and the 2nd Company 502 were stationed in Russia on the Leningrad Front. At the narva bridgehead Carius engaged Russian SU85 tanks destroying 4 of them. In June 1944 carius was sent to Daugavpils in Latvia where he was part of the city. On the 22nd of July 1944 Carius with his company of 8 tigers advanced to Malinava, where his job was to halt the Russian advance. 1st Lieutenant Otto Carius commanding 2nd Company of the 502nd heavy tank Battalion, with eight Tigers, advanced towards the village of Malinava (a northern suburb of Dunaburg) to halt the Russian advance. Following a reconnaissance Lieutenant Otto Carius explained his plan to take the village. He decided to attack using only two tanks because there was only one narrow road leading to the village. Six Tigers therefore remained in the reserve while Lt Carius and Lt. Albert Kerschers (one of the most decorated commanders of sPzAbt 502) tanks moved towards the village. Speed was the essence and afterwards, Otto Carius recalls that the entire battle did not last more than 20 minutes. in this short time, Carius and Kerscher knocked out 17 of the new JS-1 Stalin and 5 T-34 tanks. Following this he deployed 6 of his tanks in an ambush against the remainder of the Soviet tank battalion advancing toward him, unaware of their lead companies demise. Surprise was complete and a further 28 tanks were destroyed along with their supporting trucks and vehicles, the complete battalion had been wiped out for no loss. In November of 1943, Otto Carius destroyed 10 Russian T34s at short range and in August 1944 he was transferred to the newly formed Schwere panzerjager Abteilung 512 equipped with the New Jagdtiger. Carius was stationed at Paderborn and Dollersheim. The 2nd Company which he commanded was ordered to Siegburg as part of the defence of the Rhine, and it was here he eventually surrendered to the US forces on April 15th 1945. Awarded the Knights Cross on 4th May 1944 and Oak Leaves on 27th July 1944. Died 24th January 2015.|
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