An interview with Joe Ekins
The interviews with Radley-Walters, Joe Ekins and Ken Tout were conducted in 2007 as part of the TV Series, Battlefield Mysteries, for History Channel in Canada. The Episode was entitled “Who Killed Michel Wittmann.” We were very lucky to be able to interview the three most important men involved in this famous, even legendary, encounter that took place in Normandy on August 8, 1944 during Operation Totalize. The exchange lasted only 15-20 minutes and left five German Tiger tanks knocked out. With no time to savour their victory both Allied Regiments moved on, to fight heavier battles. Their fight had lasted just a few minutes so little did they know that amongst the wrecks was the Tiger 007, the tank of the highest scoring WWII SS Panzer Ace, Michael Wittmann. Wittmann was a legend to the Germans and his loss was devastating to the moral of the men. But the Allies had never heard of him until 1983, when his remains were recovered from a lost grave in Normandy. With this find Wittmann’s demise could now be analyzed. Who killed Michael Wittmann?
For the show we had to recreate a 15 minute tank battle that had taken place 63 years earlier. These interviews let it happen.
Joe Ekins of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, was a gunner in a Sherman Firefly. On August 8, 1944, under incredible pressure, he destroyed 3 Tigers with only several shots! Later that day his tank was knocked out, and he never fired a gun again. Joe was not decorated for his incredible performance, unique in British Army history. His views on the war are terrific. Great guy. The Northants Yeomanry made up the eastern flank of the trap that would destroy the Tigers. Joe died in February, 2012