The five top tank commanders of World War II are not listed necessarily because of their number of kills. They are instead remembered for a number of different reasons. The top five commander list is presented in alphabetical order along with a brief description of their noted accomplishment(s).
Step close and get a sense of the strength of the cold metal on AFHMs authentic, fully restored, fully operational battle tanks, which are prominently displayed throughout the museum. Get a sense of the combat they endured throughout their service. Take a moment, put yourself in the turret – feel the power, feel the fear, feel the pride.
Lt. Colonel Creighton Abrams – Top WWII Tank Commander for the United States – Using M4 Sherman tanks, Abrams and his crew are credited with destroying an estimated 50 German armed fighting vehicles. Abrams military career continued on through the Korean War and Vietnam War. The XM1 – a US Army main battle tank was named the M1 Abrams in honor of Creighton Abrams. Abrams reached the rank of Four Star General before retiring in 1974.
General Heinz Guderian – Germany’s father of armored blitzkrieg – Guderian is known for heavily utilizing the blitzkrieg strategy during World War II, a strategy which greatly assisted with Germany’s successful invasion of Poland in 1939.
Sgt. Kurt Knispel – Germany’s WWII Top Tank Ace – Not only was Sgt. Knispel Germany’s top tank ace, he is credited with being the top tank ace in history. He began as a tank loader and eventually became a gunner and then a commander. His official kill record stands at 168. His most remarkable kill was a hit he made on a T-34 tank almost two miles away.
Major General Stanislaw Maczek – Superior Polish armed forces field commander - Maczek led armored units in World War II from its onset in 1939 until it ended in 1945. He played several key roles in the war, including the capturing of Wilhelmshaven in May, 1945.
Captain Michael Wittmann - Led Germany’s most lethal tank attack of WWII – Captain Wittmann’s kill record includes 138 tanks, 132 antitank guns and a countless number of vehicles. He is most famous for an attack in June of 1944, when he devastated as many as 14 tanks, 2 antitank guns and 15 additional vehicles a 15 minute time frame.
World War II saw the rise of many great commanders in all areas of the war. With continual advancements in tank designs, tank commanders were constantly challenged, but many, such as these five top WWII tank commanders listed above, rose to the occasion and left an indelible mark on history.