Then and Now
Panzer Ace Otto Carius sits in the cupola of a Tiger tank at a German museum, very similar to this war time photo of him fighting near Leningrad, 1944.
Otto Carius began his wartime career in 1943 after completing training and being assigned to the 502nd Heavy Panzer Battalion which primarily used the formidable Tiger tank. The 502nd was involved in the heavy fighting around Leningrad on the Narva Front where the Germans had dug in during 1944. Life was brutal along the Narva Front, a constant back and forth in the swamps and marshlands. It was during this time Carius knocked out dozens of Soviet tanks including the new JS-1 (IS-1.) In late 1944 Carius was transferred to Panzerjäger (Tank Destroyer) Abteilung 152 which was equipped with primarily the powerful Jagdtigers, which had a 128mm Pak 44/L55 Gun. On March 8th, Carius and his unit were rushed to the frontline along Siegburg. It was here Carius and Abteilung 152 participated in the defense of the Rhine until they surrendered to the Americans on April 15th, 1945. Carius would be released from captivity in late May, returning to Germany and spending the rest of his life as a pharmacist. During the course of the war, Carius and his crew knocked out 150-200 tanks (mainly on the Eastern Front), 1 plane, and participated in several major campaigns on both the Western and Eastern Fronts. He was awarded the Knights Cross, Wound Badge in Gold (1st Class), Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class, Panzer Badge Silver (100), and Oakleaves to his Iron Cross.
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