I've seen the tanks Murphy fought in this action described both as "heavy tanks" and as jagdpanzers/panzerjagers, which I understand to be a type of light tank destroyer, not so different from the M10 Wolverine. So, I'm kind of confused.
I also saw somewhere, and like an idiot forgot to make note of, a reference that actually named the German companies/units involved. Does that ring any bells for people?
Edit: Sgt Brawley's eye witness account of the Holtzwihr action describes the tank as Mark VIs-would that be the dreaded, but high-maintenance Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I?
Christie and All:
After exhausting and painstaking research over the past couple of years I have identified not only the type of armor Audie encountered at Holtzwihr, but have been able to almost to a certainty identify the numbers of KIA (great difference from his MoH citation), the names and burial locations of some of them, the hull (vehicle) numbers of the armor involved, dates of manufacture, when they were attached to their units, tank losses, the names of the vehicle commanders, the unit (infantry) commanders, and much, much more to include photos of some of the actual German tanks involved and the tank commanders, all verifiable.
I will say that most of the historical information regarding the identification of the German units was inaccurate, so stand by for some surprises. The lead German tank commander survived the war. He was very heavily decorated during the war and had served as early on as 1939 with most of his time having been on the Eastern Front. He passed away about 15 years ago. Not sure if he ever realized after the war, that he was up against Audie Murphy at Holtzwihr that day, although I am trying to locate a spouse or a child to find out.
Also, last German soldier ( a tank Commander) from the Holtzwihr action (that I know of) passed away in 2010. Interestingly he married a French woman and lived only a few miles from Holtzwihr. He was a frequent guest at the Holtzwihr rememberance celebrations there.
Of course, Don Eckman, the last American soldier from Audie's Platoon that day at Holtzwihr is still alive and doing relatively well for the age of 88. nI speak to Don frequently.
I actually have several pics of the German tank commander standing with his tank that afternoon following Audie's MoH action. You can readily see the damage that Audie inflicted that day with his Artillery direction. In addition; the Driver of that vehicle, a Private, was killed when Audie got off a rather lucky shot (even for Audie) and put a .50 round through the drivers viewing slit and direct into the opitcal sight. The Driver took the round through his head and the loss of the optical sight rendered that tank useless.
On a side-note another interesting fact is that while Audie earned the Medal of Honor that day, the tank commander of whom I was speaking held Germany's equivalent of the MoH. It was called the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross (a neck decoration) and he earned it just prior to the engagement at Holtzwihr, so here we had two unit commanders facing off against each other and both were holders of their countries highest awards for valor.
Sort of a neat side-note. I have a beautiful color photo of that unit commander in my collection.
So, perhaps we should stand-by for a book on the facts of the engagement at Holtzwihr. What say you?