I find this citationless claim hard to believe:

"More high-ranking Nazi officers were killed in Tatra-manufactured cars than in active combat" Telegraph

  • 4
    It's a BS sensationalistic article. What is a "high-ranking Nazi officer" ? Generals of Third Reich? Field-Marshals ? Gauleiters ? In this link you have some informations about number of generals dead by various causes, and as you can see most of them died in combat, or from combat related injuries. forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=135564
    – rs.29
    Feb 3, 2019 at 12:57
  • 3
    The sensationalism appears to originate with Steve Cole, the author quoted. While the Tatra 77, 77a, and 87 were very modern-seeming and fast cars at the time, and do seem to have had a handling problem, the story is impossible to check. Feb 3, 2019 at 16:18
  • @JohnDallman: Yes; and the Germans were very envious of the Jeep after they encountered it. Feb 3, 2019 at 19:19
  • @rs.29 This is what I was expecting too.
    – domotorp
    Feb 3, 2019 at 19:38
  • @PieterGeerkens In November 1943, the U.S. military conducted a series of tests as well on several Type 82s they had captured in North Africa; they concluded that the vehicle was simpler, easier to manufacture and maintain, faster, and more comfortable for four passengers than the U.S. Jeeps so it may have gone both ways.
    – liftarn
    Feb 4, 2019 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


The English Wikipedia says

"At the time, as an anecdote, Tatra became known as the 'Czech Secret Weapon' for the scores of officers who died behind the wheel; at one point official orders were issued forbidding German officers from driving Tatras."

However this does not seem to be quite backed up by the sources they link to.

One is "Tatra - The Legacy of Hans Ledwinka" by Ivan Margolius, Ivan and John G. Henry (1990). I do not own the book, but searched for keywords on the Amazon preview page. The book mentions that officers were banned from driving certain Tatra models because so many of them died in accidents, but it does not seem to use the words "secret weapon". It does not claim that these deaths exceeded the number of war deaths (more than 5 million Nazi soldiers died in WW2, even if only one in a thousand would be counted as "high ranking" that would, if exceeded, still be a footprint not to be overlooked), so it does nothing to back up the Telegraph, either.

The second source is an article in Time magazine. It says

During World War II, Nazi officers in occupied Czechoslovakia were banned from driving the speedy rear-engined Tatras because so many had been killed behind the wheel.

But again does not say that these were more deaths than in the war; given that the article appeared long after the above mentioned book I would assume that it simply quotes the book.

So the idea that this car killed more Nazi officers than the war seems an embellishment (apparently it got a lot of them killed, though). After a quick Google search it seems this claim may have originated by that article, as most articles I found repeating that claim appear after the Times article. I did not go forensic, but my cursory search did not find mentions of the claim before 2015.

Not proof, but Occam's Razor would suggest that the Telegraph exaggerates (which would be true even if I hadn't looked for sources, but still).

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