Knispel, Kurt Hans

Knispel Knispel
Given Name:
Kurt Hans Kurt Hans
Jméno v originále:
Original Name:
Kurt Hans Knispel
Fotografie či obrázek:
Photograph or Picture:
šikovatel Field Sergeant
Akademický či vědecký titul:
Academic or Scientific Title:
- -
Šlechtický titul:
Hereditary Title:
- -
Datum, místo narození:
Date and Place of Birth:
20.09.1921 Salisfeld (Salisov), okr. Jeseník /
20.09.1921 Salisfeld, Jeseník District /
Datum, místo úmrtí:
Date and Place of Decease:
28.04.1945 Vrbovec, okr.Znojmo /
28.04.1945 Vrbovec, Znojmo District /
Nejvýznamnější funkce:
(maximálně tři)
Most Important Appointments:
(up to three)
- -
Jiné významné skutečnosti:
(maximálně tři)
Other Notable Facts:
(up to three)
- nejúspěšnější tankové eso všech dob se 168 potvrzenými zničených tanky (126 jako střelec, 42 jako velitel tanku) a 27 nepotvrzenými - top scoring tank ace of all time with 168 confirmed destroyed tanks (126 as gunner, 42 as tank commander) and 27 unconfirmed
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Knispel Knispel
Given Name:
Kurt Hans Kurt Hans
Jméno v originále:
Original Name:
Kurt Hans Knispel
Všeobecné vzdělání:
General Education:
Vojenské vzdělání:
Military Education:
06.09.1940-12.08.1941 základný výcvik (4. rota, tankový náhradní oddíl 15)
06.09.1940-12.08.1941 basic training (4th Company, Panzer-Ersatz-Abteilung 15)
Důstojnické hodnosti:
Officer Ranks:
DD.MM.RRRR poddůstojník
01.01.1945 šikovatel
DD.MM.RRRR Unteroffizier
01.01.1945 Field Sergeant
Průběh vojenské služby:
Military Career:
13.08.1941-14.08.1941 3. rota, 1. prapor, 29. tankový pluk
15.08.1941-14.04.1943 9. rota, 29. tankový pluk, 12. tanková divize
15.04.1943-19.12.1944 1. rota, 503. těžký tankový prapor
21.12.1944-28.04.1945 Těžký tankový prapor Feldherrnhalle
13.08.1941-14.08.1941 3. Kompanie Panzer-Regiment 29
15.08.1941-14.04.1943 9. Kompanie Panzer-Regiment 29, 12. Panzer-Division
15.04.1943-19.12.1944 1. Kompanie, schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503
21.12.1944-28.04.1945 schwere Panzer-Abteilung Feldherrnhalle
- 4krát navržen na Rytířský kříž Železného kříže - 4 times propoused for Knight's Cross of the Iros Cross
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Feldwebel Kurt Hans Knispel

- the biggest tank ace of the Second World War
(destroyed confirmed 168 enemy tanks)

* 20.09.1921, Salisov ( Salisfeld), okr. Jeseník ( Freiwaldau), Czechoslovakia
+ 28.04.1945, in district Znojmo ( Znaim), Czechoslovakia (fell in battle)

Who more serious people interested in combat technology from the period of World War II would not know names like Otto Carius with 150, or Michael Wittmann with 138 confirmed destroyed tanks. Their combat activity, places of deployment and numbers of machines on which they fought are well known and, for example, there are still discussions on the topic of Wittmann's death.

But who knows the life and fighting destinies of Kurt Knissel, the greatest tank ace not only in the German army, but in World War II at all?

Kurt Hans Knispel was born in the Sudetenland, while his father Leopold Knispel had Mikulovice ([[url] ( i] Niklasdorf), okr. Jeseník. After a carefree childhood and graduating from a car factory, young Kurt joined the German army on September 6, 1940.

He carries out basic training in 4. The company from Panzer-Ersatz-Abteilung 15 located in the city of Sagan, where, in addition to the training, he also encounters for the first time a weapon that will become fatal to him in the true sense of the word. - by tank. He trains in Sagan and Putlos on types Pz.Kpfw. I, Pz.Kpfw. II, Pz.Kpfw. IV and terminates it as a tank charger and shooter. On 13.08.1941 he was transferred first to the 3rd Company Tank Regiment 29 and two days later to the 9th Company Tank Regiment 29 which belonged to 12. tank division.

The baptism of battle took place in the months of July-August 1941 in the area of Minsk and Smolenska as a shooter in Pz.Kpfw. IV, commanded by Lieutenant Hellman. It is on this machine that it achieves its first victory, when on August 25, 1941, a Soviet tank hits the distance of 800 meters T-34. On 04.11.1941 he was awarded for achievements Iron Cross 1939 II. class. From September 1941 to January 1943, when he returned to Putlos, he also fought against Leningrad, near Volkhov and Ladoga. During this period, he has admitted 12 destroyed tanks as a shooter.

In Putlos, where the E 500 reserve unit was deployed at the time, he then undergoes retraining for the tank Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E Tiger. After successfully mastering the new technology, he was transferred to the 1st Company of the Heavy Tank Division 503 on April 15, 1943, with which he subsequently participated in the fighting in the Kursk Arch as part of Operation Zitadelle, where his unit acts as part of 7. tank division. During these battles, he was able to hit a moving tank at a distance of more than 2,000 m and, according to members of his crew, there were cases where he hit a static target (tank) at a distance of 3,000 m. even such rare interventions cannot be ruled out without further ado. In addition, the fact that Knispel must have been a brilliant shooter is evidenced by the total number of victories he achieved. He destroyed a total of 27 tanks in this operation, respectively. self-propelled parts. The Kursk Arch is followed by other heavy fighting - Cherkasy pocket, Kamenets-Podolsk, Belgorod, Tarnopol. After achieving his fiftieth victory, he was awarded the July 24, 1943 Iron Cross 1939 I. class.

After Heavy Tank Division 503 was withdrawn to Ohrdruf after heavy fighting and losses in May 1944 ( Thuringia ) to supplement, the so-called Auffrischung, is also supplemented by a new combat technique.K 33 "Tiger I" adds 12 excellent Pzkfw VI Ausf. B "Tiger II".

After the Allied landings in Normandy ( Operation Overlord), Heavy Tank Division 503 intervenes in the fighting at Caen and the retreats of Normandy. After achieving 126 victories, Knispel was awarded a high honor on May 20, 1944 - Order of the German Cross in Gold. Nevertheless, it still has only the rank of Unteroffizier and has been promoted to the rank of Feldwebel until 01.01.1945, with retroactive effect from 01.11.1944. At the same time, he is the only non-commissioned officer who has ever been appointed in the Armed Forces Reports ( Wehrmachtbericht), which was essentially a bulletin on the military situation OKW daily from 01.09.1939 to 09.05.1945 and always broadcast in noon radio news. According to this report from 25.04.1944 Knispel from July 1941 to March 1944 hit and destroyed 101 enemy tanks.

In the autumn of 1944, the unit worn out again (new 45 tanks "Tiger II") was added, and on October 12, 1944, it was transferred to the Eastern Front in Budapest. On 18.10. the unit is moved to Szolnok, Hungary. There is on 21.12.1944 Heavy tank section 503 renamed to Heavy tank section Feldherrnhalle and listed under Feldherrnhalle Tank Corps. This was because the designation 503 was assigned to one of the Waffen-SS Heavy Tank Divisions (reorganization from the 1XX to 5XX series). Nevertheless, in the reports, respectively. the unit's documents still show the designation 503 and read in its entirety - schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 Feldherrnhalle.

For the sake of completeness, I consider it necessary to add that not only Heavy Tank Division 503 changed its designation due to the redesignation of Waffen SS units. Other Heavy Tank Divisions belonging to the army were also marked. Specifically, Heavy Tank Section 501 was renamed to Heavy Tank Section 424 (and then to Heavy Tank Division 512) az Heavy Tank Division 502 was formed Heavy Tank Division 511. On the other hand, in the Waffen SS from Heavy Tank Division SS 101 was created Heavy Tank Division SS 501, from Heavy Tank Division SS 102 again Heavy Tank Division SS 502 and finally from SS 1033 Heavy Tank Division became SS 503 Heavy Tank Division. This renaming took place from the end of December 1944 to the end of January 1945. After the correctness, it was also to be renamed Heavy Tank Division 504, but this did not happen because Heavy tank division SS 504 was never assembled.

After heavy fighting in Hungary, Knispel's unit retreats, respectively. what is left of it, through Austria to the territory of Czechoslovakia and trying to break into American captivity. And just somewhere on the border of Austria and Czechoslovakia, Knispel finds his death. All sources available to me agree on the date of his death, which was established on April 28, 1945, but differ in the place of his death. One source states that Knispel was killed in a fight near the village of Wostitz (Vlasatice), another that he was severely wounded near the village of Stronsdorf (Lower Austria/Niederösterreich), which lies close to the border and died in the village Urbau (Vrbovec), district Znojmo , where he is also buried. The latter is also mentioned in the Deutsche Dienstelle, a Berlin-based office looking for the last resting place of German soldiers killed in World War II.He was supposed to suffer an injury in the tank he had pushed into and previously commanded by Feldwebel Carl Skoda, who had died in this tank the day before . These details were mentioned shortly after the war in one of the letters by Horst Bechtel, a tank gunner of the 3rd Company.

In connection with his undeniable combat successes, the question arises as to why Knispel - a brilliant tank shooter and undisputed tank ace - did not advance in ranks and was not awarded the Knight's Cross, for which he was proposed four times (!!!), while other tankers were awarded this award when they achieved 50 victories? The answer is probably to be found in Knispel's considerable "non-prescription", which was already obvious at first glance, for example, from his long hair (with the exception of the well-known photo from the so-called Sennelagerparade, where he is considerably "enchanted" for propaganda purposes). His comrades-in-arms also mentioned that he never put napkins in front of his mouth and openly criticized the mistakes of his superiors. All these facts therefore made it difficult to use for propaganda, and it is no wonder that other aces came to prominence, such as the already mentioned Otto Carius or Michael Wittmann.

In total, Kurt Knispel achieved 168 confirmed victories, of which 42 as a tank commander and 126 as a tank shooter. Another 27 were not officially confirmed.

Some information about Kurt Knispel can also be found in the book Kurowski, Franz: Panzer aces II.[/I]

edit 10.04.2013

According to the latest reports, historians from the Moravian Museum have managed to discover the remains of Kurt Knispel in Vrbovec in the Znojmo region. Although historians "forgot" to state this in their statements, most of the work in finding the last resting place was done by members of, especially Jirka "Fantan" Váně.

Knispel was preliminarily identified by the military mark on his neck. To confirm this finding, an anthropological examination of the remains will be performed at the Anthropos Institute of the Moravian Museum and subsequently stored in the honorary burial ground of the Central Cemetery in Brno.

edit 26.11.2018: I thank Mr. Schildberger from the Moravian Museum for specifying the name Knispel, which is Kurt Hans

Knispel, Kurt Hans - Sennelagerparade

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Gefreiter Hanjo Thaysen a gefreiter Kurt Knispel (right).

author's archive

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The discussion on the place of death and the last answer of Kurt Knispel was moved sem.
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This post has not been translated to English yet. Please use the TRANSLATE button above to see machine translation of this post.

Hello all,

FANTASTIC! the first picture of Kurt Knispel with a Turret number...101? on Tiger 1.

Well done!

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According to the materials provided to me, the identification mark of K. Knispel shows 4./Pz.Ers.Abt. 15.

Now I have the latest book on the history of " 503" with a long title ".

Two things stopped me
1 - there were more similarly unshaven and visually unmodified. The photos show as bearded ... Gefr.Walter Jung (3./503, tank driver no.301 and 334), Obergefr.Kubin (1./503), Fw. Wunderlich Heinz (3rd/503) Oberfeldwebel Wolff (1st/503 tank commander), Uffz Hans Rippl (1st/503 tank commander). When, especially for the last two named, the "Knispelism" directly emanates from the photograph:

2 - there is nothing cool about the KK in this book (approx. 600 pages) !!! There are not even almost 140 portrait photographs in the book !! (pages 563-583) And there are drivers and radio operators, ... (edit - I take back !! It is listed as commanded right at the beginning of the book !!!)

These are insignificant remarks. However, if I generally compare "book" history 501 .s SS. Pz Abt will be 90% wound to the fate of M. Wittmann !!
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This post has not been translated to English yet. Please use the TRANSLATE button above to see machine translation of this post.

Use little flags on the right side - they translated the text via Google translator... Not permanently.
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To AbyssalPlain:
Our almighty engine translator wants to say, that
- according to data available exclusively to Dolin404 Knispel's dogtag was stamped 4./Pz.Ers.Abt. 15
- Dolin404 has got the latest book on the history of schwere-Panzer-Abteilung-503 titled "Erinnerung an die Tiger-Abteilung 503: Die schwere Panzerabteilung 503 an den Brennpunkten der Front in Ost und West"
- Dolin404 says there are two interesting things in the book mentioned above:
1) There are more pictures of unshaven and a bit wild looking tank crewmen in that book. For instance Gefr. Walter Jung (3./503, Tank Driver of Nos. 301 and 334 tanks), Obergefr. Kubin (1./503), Fw. Wunderlich Heinz (3./503) Oberfeldwebel Wolff (1./503 Tank Commander), Uffz Hans Rippl (1./503 Tank Commander). Last two mentioned TCs (Wolff and Rippl) were "knispeling" their appearance above acceptable average.
2) Surprisingly there is not any significant or interesting article written about Kurt Knispel in that book containing about 600 pages. His picture is not included even in the bunch of nearly 140 portraits of tankies on pages 563-583 although there are portraits of many tank drivers and even wireless operators...

Dolin404 says his comments are marginal but at the end of his post he says that this book is in fact uncomparable to (let us say theoretical) book on the history of schwere-SS-Panzer-Abteilung-501, which would be based mainly on the life, combat success and fate of Michael Wittmann.
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