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November 7th, 1935

Ich schwre bei Gott diesen heiligen Eid, da ich dem Fhrer des Deutschen Reiches und
Volkes Adolf Hitler, dem Oberbefehlshaber der Wehrmacht, unbedingten Gehorsam leisten und
als tapferer Soldat bereit sein will, jederzeit fr diesen Eid mein Leben einzusetzen
8 Years Later, July 9th, 1943
Ruskie infantry and tanks, coming over the ridge! I yelled, Get to your tanks, were moving
We clambered into our tanks, mine of which was a Panther. I was the commander and so I was
seated in the back of the turret, behind everybody else. I gave the order to start the engine and
my gunner instinctively trained the gun onto the first Russian tank, a T-34. The loader then
loaded an armor piercing round into the breach. Because my gunner, Michael, knew how I
thought, there was very little pause between target acquisition and the firing of the gun.
BOOM; the breach recoiled backwards. This shot hit the T-34 right in the side of the turret,
blowing it right off!
Driver, left! I hollered.
The tank jolted left and I spotted another T-34 approaching me from about 800 yards from the
ten o clock position.
Gunner, traverse left!
Michael traversed the turret left and fired the gun, the shell hit the T-34, but bounced and
deflected up into the air, but most importantly, the tank was still approaching me.
Darn! Target still approaching
Michael fired again, but this time the shell penetrated the Russian tanks armor and caused it to
explode. I retreated approximately 200 yards so that I could regroup with the rest of my platoon,
of which there were only four of us left. There were still two Russian tanks approaching me, but
Michael made quick work of them. We were almost back to the rallying point when, out of the
blue a Russian attack aircraft, the Sturmovik, swooped down over us for a strafing run.
RATATATATATA Bullets ricocheted off my Panther, causing only scratches to the paint. I
regrouped with the rest of the tanks in my platoon and the four of us fell back behind our lines to
reorganize ourselves, and to also resupply and get repairs if necessary. We passed a group of
Tiger tanks and a few Panzer Mk. IVs. They were going to replace us in that mess. Finally after
fighting off a Russian assault, and a long, slow drive, we reached the maintenance area. My tank
was unscathed and so I continued another fifty yards and parked my tank behind a small
embankment. All five of us jumped out and we ran to the mess tent to grab some grub. Only
problem is that some of the food they serve gives me stomach pains! As we passed the company
commander, he informed us that we were being sent back to Germany to refit because most of
the battalions men and equipment had been lost in the fierce fighting.

1.5 Years Later: 14. February, 1945

The past year and a half were not extraordinary. We fought fiercely all over the Eastern
Front as a fire-brigade, taking severe casualties, and being refitted multiple times. We had lost all
the territory we had gained in the sweeping campaigns of 41 and were now losing territory of
the fatherland itself. Most of the men that complimented my original unit, were either dead, or
crippled from combat wounds. Fortunately, my crew remained intact. The deaths of my fellow
men, however, have left me with questions regarding the validity of this war. Why was it
necessary to put the lives of so many brave young men at risk?
Company, attention! shouted the battalion commander. The distinct sound of hundreds of pairs
of boots smacking together filled the courtyard. Several seconds of silence followed.
Men, you are now part of the elite schwere Panzer-Abteilung Feldherrnhalle. You men are the
best of the best and most of you are now being assigned to either the Tiger I or the King Tiger,
based upon past performance. Joachim, you and your crew step forward.
My gunner, Michael, my driver, Erwin, my loader Heinz, my radio operator Otto, and of course
myself, stepped forward to receive our assignment.
You men, because you have an outstanding service record, are being assigned to the latest
German industry has to offer, the new heavy panzer, Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. B or
Knigstiger. It is the latest and greatest weapon our industries have provided us with. the
battalion commander told us. We stepped back into formation, waiting for the rest of the men of
the battalion to receive their assignments.
After giving us men of the battalion our new assignments, the battalion commander gave us a
short speech:
Comrades, our Leader has called upon us once more to take the fight to the enemy! From our
lines, to theirs, we shall not stop! We, the Panzertruppe, are the vanguard of the army, and our
unbreakable spirit has brought us to victory many times in the last four years, has led us to faraway lands, and that will lead us to an inevitable victory in the East! Gott mit uns!
The speech to many of the impressionable young men, was very motivating, as seen in their
expressions. To me, a battle-hardened veteran of the Eastern Front, and a witness to the atrocities
of the SS, it was a sign of desperation. I had been disillusioned with the Nazis when I witnessed
the execution of Ukrainian Jews in late 1943. We were going to lose this war, I knew it, and so
did my crew... We had seen combat since the outbreak of war, when our Leader sent us against
Poland, then France, and then Russia. We, at first, thought the war in the East would be swift, but
the winter of 41 left the mighty Wehrmacht in disarray. We quickly regrouped in the spring, and
we even launched a new offensive in the southern reaches of the Soviet Union. And then
Stalingrad happened Hitler, our beloved leader, and supreme commander of the Wehrmacht,
left the 6th Army out to die. He used Stalingrad as a propaganda tool by manipulating the German
people into joining his total war. We never recuperated from that defeat. We have been on the
retreat for nearly two years and we have been nearly pushed back into our own capital, Berlin
and yet the man still preaches words of victory. Deep down inside, however, I wanted to believe
that the German people would pull through this struggle, and survive the endless waves of Allied
men and material. I feared what the Russians would do to the German women and children if
they ever reached Berlin. I never vocalized my opinions, however, because I knew Id be shot for

defeatism. I had sworn an oath to Hitler, and I by no means wanted to dishonor that oath, and so I
decided I would fight on. Fight on until either death, or until the war was over, no matter what
the result.
After the battalion commanders speech, we were dismissed and sent to our newly arrived tanks.
They smelled of fresh paint, and because of their size, I imagined them to be very cumbersome.
What really drew my attention, though, was the sheer length of the gun barrel!
Its eighty-eight millimeters. Seventy-one calibers in length and can destroy Soviet armor at
ranges far beyond the capabilities of their pitiful weapons! exclaimed the mechanic beside the
tank, chuckling at the word weapon.
I clambered onto the turret, and into the commanders cupola, posing myself as if I were a king
receiving a crown. I placed my black panzer cap onto my head, and placed my headset over my
ears. Lets hit the road! I shouted through the intercom.
0900 hours 18. February, 1945
Hostile tanks and infantry, to the right! my platoon leader, Gnter, yelled out, Return fire!
Gunner, traverse right! I hollered over the intercom.
Yes sir! he replied as he quickly turned the traversing wheel. Target acquired!
FIRE! I shouted. The shot from the 88mm gun struck the Russian T-34 and blew it of the
embankment which it was on.
Driver, get us off this dike!
The driver pulled the tank off the dike so that we could avoid being hit by Russian artillery,
which would soon be on its way. The platoon commander gave us the order to head over to the
other side of the field which we had driven into. As we were doing so, artillery was landing all
around us, which made it quite clear that we may not make it without sustaining damage.
Crack! Boom! A shell hit the side of the turret and deflected into the earth beside us. We were
ok, though. We kept on going across the field until we reached a farm.
Hold here, said the platoon leader.
We took up positions around the farm to set up an ambush, mine of which was behind a barn.
The Russian tanks were closing in on our position, and we had been ordered not to fire until the
tanks had passed. Minutes passed, the Russians passed slowly through the farm, thinking we had
advanced farther to the ridgeline, probably another 500 yards away.
Fire! The guns of our three Tigers opened up, and one by one, the Russian tanks were
destroyed. One of the Russian tanks was able to train its gun on my comrade, Alfreds tank. My
gunner, Michael, noticed this and quickly dispatched of the enemy threat. Our position was now
compromised and so we then pulled back to the ridge, the one which the Russians had been
looking for us before to set up a defensive position to wait for reinforcements. We moved to the
ridge and I opened the hatch above me to get a better view of the area. I took note to myself that
on our left, there was a bank of trees, in front of us, there was the field we were just in, and to the
right there was a canal. As I glanced back towards the bank of trees, I just happened to see an
object that looked like a tank coming out of the woods. I pulled up my binoculars and looked at
the object more closely. It was a tank! It was about 800 or 900 yards away. I ordered my gunner
to swing the barrel to the left to engage him, and I told my driver to turn the tank 90 degrees to

the left, so that we could face him with our frontal armor, which was 6 inches of solid steel plate.
I told my loader to load an armor-piercing shell.
Wait, Michael, wait till he gets closer! I said. A few seconds passed. Fire! I hollered when
the tank was about 600 yards away. The shell struck the tank in the lower part of the front glacis
plate. The tank slowed to a stop, the crew jumped out, one of them was on fire. Smoke began to
billow out and after about three or four seconds, the Russian tank exploded.
Add one to our count! I said, and my loader, Heinz drew a slash mark on the turret wall.
We were sitting in this one position for over four hours when friendly infantry reached us. The
infantry platoons sergeant climbed onto my tank and said that the tanks assigned to their unit
were stuck in combat and that they had to take a crossroads in order to ease the pressure of them
and they needed our help. We, because of fuel shortages, were not allowed to make any
unnecessary movements without official authorization from the battalion level.
Otto, radio command and ask if we can give these guys a little bit of support on grid-section
13, I ordered.
Yes sir, he replied.
I was talking to the infantry units commander about the fighting his tanks were engaged in. He
said there were about twenty-five Russian tanks attacking his assault guns from a position which
he pointed out on a map. The tanks were on a well-positioned ridge with a good view of the land
below it. As we were talking Otto informed me that the company CO had given us permission to
assault the crossroads.
We are able to support you, but you must be sure to keep us covered from infantry assaults!
Ill make sure my men do their job! the sergeant said.
Good, its a long drive, so tell your men to jump on.
We reached the crossroads without any opposition, but I knew that an ambush was approaching,
so I jumped out of my tank and told the sergeant to tell his men to set up a defensive ring around
the location. Finally, at about 0400 hours, a group of three friendly assault guns reached the area
of the crossroads. One of them pulled off the road and beside my tank.
The Russians are going to counter-attack soon, we need to dig in! the assault gun commander
informed me.
Ok, then. Tell your unit to take up positions in the tree line adjacent to the road, and Ill move
my tank behind the dike. I replied.
My driver put the tank into gear and slowly, we moved into position. The barrel of the gun just
barely stuck over the top of the dike. I stood up in the cupola scanning the horizon with my
binoculars. Hours passed with no sighting of the enemy. I began to doze, when my gunner
elbowed me in the leg.
Michael, Russian tanks approaching from the southwest! he told me.
Ok, wait until the assault guns begin to fire, then you can open fire.
The Russians were driving completely exposed and unaware of our presence, along a dike
approximately 2000 yards away. I was waiting for the tanks to be at most 1500 yards away
before I would give the order to fire. I was beginning to get nervous. I didnt want to risk the

lives of the men in the assault guns by waiting too long so I gave the order to fire. Michael fired
the gun, and the shell landed about five yards in front of the T-34.
Quick, adjust your fire, shell missed! I hollered over the intercom, Driver pull up onto the
The tank rolled up onto the road and the Russians began to scatter. The assault guns pulled out of
their positions to attack the scattered and obviously confused Russian armor. One by one the
Russian tanks burst into flames, but several managed to fire of shots at the assault guns. One of
the assault guns was hit in the forward front corner in the wheel, immobilizing it. I was now sure
that next to come was attack by the air or the agonizing horror presented to us by an artillery
strike. I was right, within moments of the engagement, Russian Sturmoviks appeared in the sky.
One by one, the swooped down for strafing and bomb runs of our positions. The assault guns
were provided with the luxury of retreating back into the woods, but the only thing around me
was open fields. I told my driver to try to drive the tank across the field and into the woods. The
Sturmoviks made five or six passes over me, each time raking my tank with hundreds of bullets.
I looked through one of my periscopes only to see about thirty T-34s rolling through the field to
my right!
Driver reverse left! I hollered. I had to retreat because the Soviets had vastly superior forces that
I could not hold off!
Michael, fire at will!
Michael had fired fifteen shots, knocking out eleven tanks in the process before the Russians
were able to effectively return fire. My tank was hammered by the fire from the enemy tanks, but
I took no damage! Michael was still knocking out the enemys vehicles, but they didnt even turn
back! We were now only 400 yards away from the Russians, which only eight of them remained,
when we ran out of ammo for our 88mm gun. We were now sitting ducks and left alone, miles
from our lines, without ammo. I thought for sure we were condemned to die, but within an
instant, the Russian tanks began to take fire, and then I remembered, the assault guns were still
with me! The enemy then turned to engage the assault guns, allowing me to escape. I never saw
the men from the assault gun battery return. I reached a friendly command post after driving west
about 4 miles. I was ordered to head back to link up with the rest of my platoon, which had also
come under heavy assault. My platoon was situated in a small village on the outskirts of a
heavily wooded area, and that is where I found the rest of them. They congratulated me and my
gunner on our success and my platoon commander said he would recommend me for a medal. I
had destroyed my 103rd tank! I then helped my crew replenish the ammo and refill the petrol. The
Russians had broken through after I left and we were to hold our positions in the town. We
positioned ourselves 300 yards from the edge of town. My tank was located behind a brick wall
by some trees. I was to cover the main road, which was most likely to be the main path of
advance by the Russians. My platoon leader was situated 300 yards to my rear, in a barn, and the
plan was that the after Russian tanks were to pass by me, my platoon commander would open
fire, then I would. The plan also called for the use of several smaller, but more agile Panzer Mk.
IVs, which would be giving cover on our flanks from the nearby orchards.
1700 hours. 18. February, 1945

All was quiet until I could hear the low gurgle of the T-34s engines as dusk approached. I
climbed down from the cupola and closed the hatch. I called out over the intercom, Ruskie
tanks coming down the road, prepare yourselves! I knew that this tank could very well end up
becoming my grave. Michael gave me an eerie look, as to say, I dont want to die." The Russian
tanks stopped a few hundred yards away from the edge of town.
I noticed that one of
them was heading in the direction to the rear of me. This meant he was going to try and outflank
our position. I immediately got on the radio and alerted the nearby Panzer IV commander of this
danger. He heeded this warning and pulled his tank a little farther back into the orchard. I stood
back up in the cupola to get a better view of what was going on. I could see that the Russian
tanks had started moving again and so I slid back down into my seat, closed the hatch, and
looked at my watch: 1705 hours. The Russian tanks drove slowly past me. Then, BOOM, the
lead Russian tank burst into flames, and the crew, who were on fire, jumped out! My radio
operator, who also acted as hull gunner, opened fire with the machine gun, killing the Russian
crew. They wouldve suffered a. agonizing death by fire. Then Michael fired three shots at the
three tanks in the column closest to us. Then my driver reversed the tank about 150 feet and then
turned parallel to the road. In this time, Michael and my platoon leader had, by then taken out
another five tanks. The Russian tank column virtually ceased to exist after only 30 seconds of
combat. A successful ambush! I knew another, even larger attack was coming, because never
once have I won a battle with the Russians without the Russians counter-attacking. To be safe, I
drove the tank to where my platoon leaders was parked. I got out of the turret and we believed it
would be more honorable to stay a fight, but as soon as I was going to get back in my tank, my
radio operator gave me a message from command to pull back to defend a bridge five miles from
our current position. We left the town at 2100 hours, using the darkness to cover our retreat.
Flashes of light and a low rumble from artillery in the distance appeared everywhere on the
horizon. We reached the bridge at 2300 hours. I backed my tank into a shallow ditch that was
running alongside the road. The night was rather quiet. We watched over the bridge as engineers
rigged the bridge to explode if we were pushed back. After the engineers finished, we
commandeered a house for the night. Our watch was taken over by an infantry recon battalion.
As morning approached I was sure to be out early so that I could study a map of the area. I
wanted to be aware of all the flanking routes, high positions, escape routes, etc. etc. I also wanted
to just think. Think about what my life was before the war, what I would do if I lived. I also
imagined that if this war could be reversed what the High Command wouldve done to turn back
these miserable defeats we have been suffering for two and a half years. I had always wanted to
be a fisherman, but I was conscripted into service in 1934. The oath I took, in which I swore
obedience until death to Hitler, ran endlessly through my head. I thought of the millions of
fellow German soldiers who had paid the ultimate price. I thought of the hundreds of thousands
of German civilians who had perished. It then fell upon me Is there still a chance of total
victory? Should I hold my oath to Hitler? I swirled that question around in my head for several
minutes, thinking of all the death and destruction I had seen. No, I would not hold my oath to
Hitler. From then on, I swore to myself, that I would no longer hold my oath to Hitler, but instead

swore a mental oath of allegiance to my beloved Germany, to the German people, as well as to
my comrades.
0900 Hours. 20. April, 1945
It was Hitlers 56th birthday. There was a motivation spiel given to us by our battalion staff
officer, insisting victory was still attainable, and that our efforts would determine the fate of the
Reich. My unit was situated near the outskirts of Berlin, my once-great nations capital, and the
grand prize for the Soviets. The Soviets had already fired hundreds, if not thousands of rockets
and shells over our positions, in their triumphant effort to greet Hitler for his occasion. I
observed the smoke billowing from above the distant tree line from where the ordinance was
originating, and knew this battle would be, no matter what the outcome, my last.
Men, mount up! I shouted over the thundering explosions.
My crew, battle-tested and exhausted, clambered onto the Tiger II from which we were still
fighting from for the past months. There was a lingering sense of duty, even though we all knew
the war had gone beyond the point of hope. The days of triumphant victories, sweeping forward
maneuvers, and foreign crowds that look upon us as liberators were gone. We now felt as if our
own people blamed us individual soldiers for the losses suffered by the Wehrmacht as a whole.
Though our sense of duty remained, our sense of honor had been torn from our hearts.
The first contingents of Soviet troops appeared across a field, near a railhead about five hundred
meters away from our location. Our tank was positioned near a line of trenches, in which our
supporting infantry had positioned themselves. I gave the order to load a high explosive round,
and wait for my signal to fire.
Fire! I hollered.
The gun roared to life, and the breech recoiled back in its cradle. The first group of Soviet
infantry disappeared in a fiery cloud of smoke and flames. The infantry in the trenches around us
opened fire with their weapons, unleashing a torrent of machine gun and rifle fire. The Russians
took cover in the field between us and the railhead. I called for the infantry to hold their fire,
insisting that we conserve our ammunition. All of a sudden, my radio operator heard a garbled
voice over the radio.
Sturmoviks from the south! the voice cried.
The news of approaching Sturmoviks turned the mood to a deafening silence. I examined the
immediate area in search of a place to take refuge from the incoming airborne devils. All of a
sudden, our tank received a non-penetrating strike.
Heavy tank front! Near the railhead! exclaimed my driver.
It was a dreaded Josef Stalin tank. I spun around in my cupola, peering through the dust-covered
vision blocks in an attempt to acquire the target for myself.
I see the target, waiting for order to engage, Michael said calmly.
Engage vehicle targets at will I responded.
Michael fired the gun, and the shell mustve penetrated directly into the tanks ammunition
storage, as the turret flew into the air followed by a massive tower of flame and wreckage.
Another JS tank appeared nearly the instant the first one was dispatched of. Michael made a
small adjustment of the turret, and dispatched of it, too. Two more tanks destroyed. The Soviet

infantry reappeared after the destruction of the second JS tank, this time running back towards
the railhead. We again opened fire upon the infantry, cutting down most of them. The rest would
be back before long.
1730 Hours. 20. April, 1945
As dusk neared, we heard the never-ending rumble of Soviet tanks marshaling just beyond our
line of sight. I was standing inside the turret, torso and head exposed outside the cupola, eyes
glued to the area surrounding the railhead. I knew the low rumble would eventually turn into
deafening explosions and the sounds of wounded men.
The first Soviet tank appeared near the railhead right after sundown. There was still enough light
to conduct operations, and it became apparent after the first shots were fired that the Soviets had
used this opportunity to stealthily move their infantry across the field between the trench line and
the railhead. The Soviet infantry appeared approximately one hundred meters away from our
lines. Our supporting infantry began to rout under the pressure of the Soviet onslaught.
Driver, get us out of here! Quickly, damn it! I barked into the headset.
Our seventy ton Tiger II began to crawl rearwards down the wide avenue towards our secondary
defense line about two hundred meters away. Once we had reached the defense line, we halted
and began to position ourselves behind the rubble of an obliterated apartment building. We were
now officially in urban combat. I glanced up at the windows of the buildings, silently picturing
Soviet soldiers firing down on us from them. Suddenly, an oberfeldwebel hailed me from behind,
requesting authorization to mount the tank. I affirmed, and he climbed on.
My men and I have orders to hold this avenue at all costs until morning, he informed me.
He then proceeded to show me a tactical map of the Berlin region. The city was surrounded.
There was to be no escape. I also knew that a break-out was impossible. I glanced at the
oberfeldwebels uniform, noticing a Ritterkreuz; a Knights Cross. He had previously
distinguished himself in combat, and judging by his composure, he was a fanatic. He would fight
to the death if it were required of him.
Noticing my gaze, he continued, Do you believe in the Endsieg?
That was a question I was never prepared for. To say I were still clutching onto the frivolous
belief in the Final Victory would deem myself a liar, while admitting my actual feelings would
deem me a defeatist, punishable by court-martial.
I only believe in what is best for Germany I responded.
Well, we must do our best then, eh? he scoffed. He then saluted me, and dismounted the tank.
I felt more torn than ever at that point. I wanted to believe there was a way to win the war, but
every cell within me drifted towards the more logical idea that the war was beyond lost at that
point, and that we were only prolonging the inevitable.
0600 Hours, 21. April, 1945
There had been no action that night. I had awoken to the sound of deafening silence. I slowly
crawled out of the cupola, scanning the far end of the avenue. I couldnt make much of anything,
as the apartment blocks had been blown to hell by the Soviet artillery. I then proceeded to
dismount the tank, in search of somebody who knew what the current situation was. After a short
period of time, I had found the sergeant from the prior evening.

Oberfeldwebel, can you give me a situation report? I asked.

Yes, Major, he responded, pointing at map of the Berlin area, Last night, nothing of great
importance happened in our direct area, besides a few sporadic bouts of gunfire. To the north of
us, the Russians have penetrated two kilometers into the city, along these avenues. To the south
of us, the Russians have achieved a minor breakthrough, yet have been halted by Volkssturm
Civilians managed to halt the Soviet advance?
They have an unequivocal belief in the National Socialist cause. They are determined, unlike
many in the Wehrmacht.
I quickly changed the subject. Do we still hold this position? What are our orders from the
sector commander?
Our orders are, at this point, unchanged Herr Major.
Appreciate your time, Oberfeldwebel.
I returned to my vehicle, woke my crew, and seated myself high in the cupola, vehemently
scanning for any signs of movement. The silence was soon broken by the crackle of gunfire from
the far end of the avenue and the impacts of enemy bullets. I spotted the culprit of the spray; the
Soviets had managed to position a heavy machine gun in a window of one of the apartment
Gunner, machine gun, in the window at the end of the apartment on the right! Fire when ready!
I hollered.
Michael quickly traversed the turret, raised the barrel of the gun, and quickly disposed of the
Soviet weapon crew. Before the dust had settled, three Soviet tanks had appeared at the far end
of the avenue. Driven by his keen instinct, Michael fired at the tank at the rear of the column.
The Soviet vehicle burst into flames and ground to a halt. Michael then proceeded to destroy the
lead tank in the column. The remaining tank used the burning hulk of the first tank as cover from
our gun. Soviet infantry then appeared from the piles of rubble along the edges of the avenue.
My supporting infantry managed to pin them down with a hail of machine gun fire. The
surviving Soviet tank had managed to deploy its smoke grenades, thus being able to safely retreat
out of line of fire. We had survived another attack. The next, I knew, would not be so easy.
1100 Hours, 21. April, 1945
As the morning drew on, I sensed the Soviets would be attacking with more than a handful of
tanks. Planes were constantly flying over our heads, but they werent ours. I had never seen
Soviet planes flying so confidently over our lines. They flew extremely low to the buildings,
presumably without fear of being shot down. My senses proved to be right. A flight of Soviet
aircraft swooped down along the avenue, strafing my tank with machine gun and cannon fire.
One of them fired a salvo of rockets, but all but one missed, and the one that had hit ricocheted
into the dirt. Several soldiers were killed in the attack, and immediately after four Soviet JS tanks
trundled around the corner and onto the avenue.
Gunner, Soviet tanks forward! I hollered into the turret.
Michael fired three rounds in quick succession. None of them penetrated the Soviet machines.
The lead Soviet tank returned fire, and the shell traveled into the front right drive sprocket. We

had been immobilized. The Soviet tank fired another round. The shell dinged off the turret face,
causing a tremendous sound. Michael then fired a fourth round. This round had penetrated the
lead Soviet tanks turret, and caused a ammo rack detonation, blowing the turret clean off. The
smoke caused by the explosion allowed me enough time to coordinate a course of action with the
oberfeldwebel. I had noticed that there were several windows high up in the apartment blocks
containing Soviet soldiers. I therefore demanded that the oberfeldwebel take his troops in an
effort to clear the apartments of the Soviet attackers. He insisted that the Soviet positions were
too difficult to attack with a chance of success. As the smoke down the avenue began to clear, he
disembarked my vehicle, and returned to his troops. The remaining Soviet tanks reemerged,
slowly trundling down the avenue. The tanks escorting infantry then began to disperse along the
rubble piles that were lining the avenue. They slowly advanced, using their heavy volume of rifle
and machine gun fire to suppress our own infantry. I began to feel exceedingly overwhelmed
with the situation, and I began to lose focus. I then heard the voice of my loader.
Three rounds left, Major! he yelled.
After hearing these words, I began processing the situation in its entirety. I examined the
solutions for this extreme problem. We were immobilized, and we were essentially out of
ammunition. We couldnt abandon the tank quite yet, as the Soviets did not know our critical
ammunition situation, nor did they know we had been immobilized, as the blown track lay
hidden behind the rubble pile. There was only one possible solution; We were going to have to
repair the track whilst taking enemy fire.
Men, we have one choice, and that is to continue the fight, but only after we repair the track, I
calmly pronounced to my crew. I motioned to the oberfeldwebel. I need you to lay down heavy
suppressive fire as my crew exits the tank in order to allow them to repair our track.
Jawohl, Herr Major.
About thirty seconds later, the infantry under the oberfeldwebels command proceeded to lay
down heavy fire toward the Soviet troops. At this point, the five of us quickly exited the vehicle
with the goal of repairing the track in under twenty minutes. After examining the track, I
observed that only one group of track links had been blown off. An easy fix. Although we were
under increasingly heavy fire from the Soviets, we had managed to repair the track within the
twenty-minute goal we had set. Again, I motioned to the oberfeldwebel to give us another round
of covering fire. Under the cover of the suppressive power of three Maschinengewehr 42s, the
five of us climbed back into our beloved Tiger II, closed the hatches, and then went back to
duking it out with the Soviet armored column.
1400 Hours, 21. April, 1945
After we had expended our last 88mm shell, I gave the order to proceed with the tactical
withdrawal. The oberfeldwebel signalled that he and his infantry would keep the Soviets pinned
as we reversed towards the next intersection, about 100 meters away, then he would proceed to
join us around the corner. The nearest ammunition depot was located 7 blocks away, near the
hospital. When we reached the munition dump, the bodies of fallen German troops could be seen
strewn about the other side of the street. I walked to the depots orderly, and questioned whether
there was ammunition for my vehicle.

Theres about twenty rounds in those crates over there, he said, pointing towards a corner
littered with the remains of tens of wooden crates.
Thank you, Stabsgefreiter.
I motioned to my crew the location of the remaining ammunition. Under my guidance, we
restocked a few of the tanks ammo racks, but many slots remained empty.
Herr Major, how are we to hold back the Soviets with only a quarter load of ammunition? my
loader asked.
Very quietly, I responded You know as well as I that we are only delaying the inevitable.
That may be the case, sir, but I believe to give us a chance at survival, we need more
Let me see what more I can muster.
I returned to the stabsgefreiters desk, and asked whether or not that was every last round.
I have orders to ration the ammunition out to as many tanks as possible. I am sorry that I can
not help you acquire more.
Sorry? When was the last time you handed out ammunition to a tank?
Yesterday morning, sir.
You see, not many tanks and their crews are surviving the intensity of this battle are they?
Fine. There are more crates.
Where, damn it?
Over by the trenches.
Have a good day, Stabsgefreiter.
Good luck, Herr Major. I apologize for this situation.
No need to apologize. You are following your orders.
After we had loaded up the rest of the ammunition, we headed back to the rallying point with the
Nice of you to be back, Herr Major! he gleefully said.
Its nice to know you men have held out so long. We had issues securing proper rations of
ammunition. Whats your name? I believe Ive never asked.
Kurt von Schiller
Ah, von Schiller, eh? I need another situation report, Oberfeldwebel von Schiller.
As you wish. The enemy troops, supported by heavy tanks, are slowly advancing up Rigaer
Strae from the railway yard. Theyre only approximately 500 meters away from our current
position. Their strength is about forty men, and three Stalin tanks. They also seem to have direct
support from their artillery units, as each time we made contact with them, they had artillery
dropping on our positions nearly instantly.
I could easily make out the individual sounds of combat all around me. Artillery shells
exploding, machine guns firing, and the endless drone of Soviet aircraft. The street on which we
fought from lay in ruins, craters everywhere, and rubble strewn about.
I appreciate the situation report. What do you have in mind as a course of action?
To be quite honest, Herr Major, I do not believe there is much we can do against the amount of
Soviet opposing us in this sector. The sheer amount of vehicles and artillery they have access to

is unbelievable. Our vehicles are out of fuel and ammunition, and their supply appears to be
Regain your composure, damnit. The troops mustnt see their leaders lose it. Since our orders
are to hold, we are going to hold this position, Obergefreiter. Nothing more than defend.
The oberfeldwebel, the fanatical Nazi, was beginning to see the writing on the wall.
27. April, 1945
Berlin is surrounded. My crew and I have been locked in savage fighting deep within the city