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Includes Barkmann, Repair Workshop and Panther A.
Ernst Barkmann was a farmer’s son born in Holstein, Germany, on 25 August 1919. At the age of sixteen he applied for service with the elite Waffen-SS, the armed force of the Nazi Party.
Barkmann saw his first action of the war as a machine gunner with the 9. Kompanie/III. Bataillon of Germania. Distinguishing himself, he was promoted to Rottenführer (Corporal) and received the Wound Badge in Black. He next saw action in 1940 with the invasion of France, earning the Infantry Assault Badge for his participation in three days of battle.
Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, saw Rottenführer Barkmann seriously injured near Dnieprpetrovksk, for which he received the Wound Badge in Silver. He spent the next year recovering and training SS volunteers. Late in 1942 he returned to the Eastern Front.
Assigned to the second company of the ‘Das Reich’ SS-Panzerregiment as a gunner in a Panzer III tank, he proved himself an excellent shot. He was subsequently promoted to Unterscharführer (sergeant) and given command of his own Panzer III just in time for the Third Battle of Kharkov.
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