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villers bocage normandy

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11oz dishwasher safe mug

June of 1944 Wittmann was in command of a company of tanks of the 101st Heavy Tank Battalion of the 1st SS Panzer Division. Already highly experienced and decorated, Michael Wittman was credited with over 100 tank kills before he arrived in Normandy, most on the eastern front. The 101st Heavy Tank Battalion had been in Belgium on June 6th, but was one of the first tank units moved into Normandy by the direct order of Hitler. Owing to Allied air attack on the German transport system and mechanical problems with their tanks they had taken until the previous evening to arrive and only 6 Tiger tanks had got there, with the rest strung out along the road from Paris behind. These few lead tanks had encamped at Villers-Bocage, 6 miles (10km) behind the lines held by the Panzer Lehr Division, to do maintenance on the tanks before moving into action. However, upon arriving in Villers-Bocage on June 12th Wittmann had realised the importance of holding both the road junction in the town and the high ground of Pt 213 in the event of an enemy attack and had positioned his tanks to cover any attacks on there positions. The British had now pulled up and stopped right under his nose, and they didn't even know he was there.