SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer (Captain) Michael Wittmann has been described as "the most successful German tank commander of World War II." During much of his combat career he served in the heavily gunned and armored Tiger I, one of Germany's heaviest tanks. Wittmann began his career in Tigers soon after their introduction to the battlefield, serving in the 13th (Heavy) Company of the 1st SS Panzer Regiment. This unit was part of the premier German unit, the 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler." The company was later the nucleus of Heavy SS Tank Battalion (schwere SS-PanzerAbteilung) 101, a corps level unit, in which Wittmann was a company commander. By June of 1944 Wittmann and his crews had destroyed 138 enemy armored vehicles and 132 antitank guns. Wittmann was awarded the prestigious Knights Cross with Oakleaves and Swords. Near Gaumesnil, Normandy on August 8, 1944 Wittmann was acting commander of the 101st SS Heavy Tank Battalion. While leading an attack he was taken under fire from the flank by British tanks. One of the British tanks destroyed his Tiger in a catastrophic explosion; there were no survivors. The remains of Wittmann and his crew were buried in a common grave beside the field where they died, and remained undiscovered until 1983. They were reinterred with military honors in the German Military Cemetery at La Cambe. In the photo the upper cross carries Wittmann's name; the others list his crew members.