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The story of two men destined to face each other on the battlefields of Normandy is told in this programme. Michael Wittmann was a knight of the Nazi empire, a natural and accomplished soldier and highly decorated. Like Wittmann, Trooper Joe Ekins, a shoemaker from Northamptonshire, was a volunteer for military service but there the similarities ended. Joe was a reluctant soldier in a county yeomanry armoured regiment, while Wittmann served in the Waffen SS s elite Tiger Battalion. Panzer ace Wittmann had 138 tank kills to his name, including an impressive score against 7th Armoured Division at Villers Bocage early in the Normandy Campaign but by August 1944 the Allied breakout was gaining momentum and I SS Panzer Corps were struggling to contain the British and Canadians as they fought towards Falaise. In the fields south of Caen Wittmann s Tiger and Joe Ekins s Sherman Firefly were pitted against each other but how was the Panzer Ace finally knocked out? Joe Ekins, Veteran of the Battle of Normandy and the North West European Campaign, Joe Ekins fought with the Northamptonshire Yeomanry and during Operation Totalise, the British and Canadian breakout from the Normandy Beachhead, he was a gunner in a Sherman Firefly. This was the only Allied tank that could knock out the much feared, mighty German Tiger tank at anything other than the closest of ranges. During the desperate battle he knocked out three Tigers and a Panzer Mark IV. At the end of the war, preferring the anonymity of being a shoemaker in civi-street, Joe attempted to keep a low profile but over the years his achievement of knocking out the vaunted German SS panzer ace Michael Wittmann, denied him obscurity. Stung by some wilful misrepresentation of facts and his views Joe has for the first time told his story for this DVD in full and in detail.
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An absorbing video that adds to the appreciation of the conditions after the first landings as the Allies fought to break through the German defenders and raced towards Germany and the end of the war. Firetrench
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