Broken Hearts - Broken Nations.
Two German Brothers. One Woman.
World War II. The Russian Front.
What Possibly Could Go Wrong?
Our story starts in 1937 in Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia.
Two competitive German brothers. The older brother is conceited, arrogant, and the soccer team captain. He runs his life with intimidation and dominance. He’s dad’s favorite son.
The younger brother, Kurt Knispel, is hell bent on mastering all of life’s unfolding challenges. He is highly motivated to earn both his dad’s and his brother’s acceptance and respect. He desires a family life with the woman of his dreams.
Kurt is easy going, helpful, and ego-free. He is quick and focused. He also learned from his father to be true to himself, and those around him.
We follow Kurt Knispel through his high school years, his job at the auto factory, hunting exploits with his dad and brother, we witness the sibling conflicts as well as romantic rivalry with his older brother over a mutual love interest.
But something gets in the way: World War II. Both brothers enlist. Kurt goes into tanks. Kurt fought almost all of his battles on the Eastern Front including the biggest tank battle of all time.
On the way to the Eastern Front Kurt demonstrated personal courage in coming to the aid of a Russian POW who was being mistreated by a guard. He could have looked the other way, like so many others. But, not Kurt. He did what his father told him. He jumped in and the guard got his rifle busted and the guard, himself, ended up on the ground, with Kurt fuming over him.
It cost Kurt plenty after that. He never got the promotions or medals his actual performance deserved.
Kurt's solid combat performance (12 victories 1941-1942 ) ultimately earned him a gunner slot in the new Tiger One tank in 1943. At that time it was the most powerful tank on the battlefield.
In 1943, he proved himself definitively during the bloody Battle of Kursk, Russia . At Kursk, over 8,000 tanks went head to head. Kurt scores a stunning 27 victories in 3 weeks of horrific, confused, tank vs tank combat. This was, by far, the war's largest single tank battle. Kurt excelled in this devil’s inferno.
And it was just the start of Kurt Knispel's long string of tank victories, making the most successful tank ace (from all sides) in WWII.
During the war, by being bold and taking calculated risks, Kurt finally earns the respect from his older brother that he always yearned for.
Most of all, Kurt has the love and devotion of the girl of his dream ..... with his full acceptance from his older brother.
This movie will remind us that soldiers can do both: duty and honor their own moral code. It's time to give Kurt Knispel a proper recounting. This is the highest honor us humans can do for each other
His final tally: 168 victories.
"The Ace of Aces of WWII"
This is an excellent 11 minute video summary of Kurt Knispel Actual War Record
For actual pictures (over 29) with full text descriptions of Kurt Knispel in WWII click on the button below ("Find out more about Kurt Knispel")
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"Broken Hearts. Broken Nations.
Two German brothers. One woman.
World War II. The Russian front.
What possibly could go wrong? "
It takes the biggest, bloodiest tank battle of WWII to resolve two brothers mutual love interest .
@Copyright 2018 Christopher R. Corson All rights reserved.
Registered WGA-West "Tiger One"
"TIGER ONE "
Screenplay Mini Treatment
By Christopher Roberts Corson (1/8/2020)
This story is based on a real man who showed extraordinary courage and skill things in the most horrid of times. This movie has wide appeal: young, old, men and women.
Will sell well in the states as well as overseas.
STORY BACKGROUND AND SETTING
It’s 1937 in Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia. KURT KNIPSEL, age 17, is the second son in the family. He is short in height, a likeable guy and is generous to a fault. Works very hard to do what needs to be done. He has quick reflexes. He is strong and has grit. Makes mistakes but keeps trying.
His greatest asset is his positive attitude in growing himself and those around him. Kurt’s vice is his mints that he pops regularly. If he likes you, Kurt will offer you a mint. He plays on the soccer team where his older brother, CONRAD, is team captain.
Unfortunately for Kurt, his older brother, Conrad, is favored by DAD, 50’s. Kurt feels the distance and, to earn his father’s respect, wants to prove himself. Conrad, age 19, is a lady’s man, self-absorbed, and arrogant. He gets his way pretty much all of the time. Losing is not a word in his vocabulary. Conrad has a stutter that gets worse when he is angry or frustrated. His teammates respect and fear him.
You don’t cross Conrad. He tolerates his younger brother and wants him to be better.
Its current day. The opening scene takes place on the Fort Benning Georgia M1 Abrams Tanks gunnery range. The tank commander has his gunner select a target at 3,300 meters, which is a standard distance. He orders the firing to commence. The target is hit dead on in the center.
We learn that the gunner is Armina, a 20 something female, whose avocation is to follow the family military heritage in tanks.
Afterwards the Abrams Commander, asks if she could repeat her success at 4,300 meters, Armina fiddles with her necklace and informs him that she has a lucky charm that says she could.
When she is asked about the necklace, she replies that she got it from her grandpa Conrad Knispel. Conrad had gotten it from his brother, Kurt, who was “some sort of tank ace” in WW II. It has “gypsy magic” Armina tells the Abrams Commander.
The story unfolds.
KURT'S STORY BEGINS
The opening scene is at the sold-out soccer championship game. The game is tied. During the very last seconds of play Kurt is deftly and adroitly driving onto the opposition goal. At the last second of play he is fouled. He sets up for the tie-breaking penalty shot. His shot is blocked. Game over. His brother is furious. Kurt is crushed. Conrad never lets him forget that missed shot. “It made me look bad”, Conrad.
Kurt’s family includes his sister, KATRINA, 16. She wants to be a ballerina. At the dinner table, she sticks up for Kurt reminding the family that Kurt was a pivotal player all through the season. Dad echoes this but, in reality, takes pride in Conrad. MOM, 40’s, sides with Katrina most of the time in such matters.
Dad confesses to his wife, that, while watching the soccer game, he got a gut feeling that Kurt will end up being the “family superstar”. Dad was a decorated sniper in WWI. Kurt showed his dad the grit that Dad had seen in the best soldiers in his unit. However, he does not share his new feelings with Kurt.
THE WOMAN: NIKOL "Scandanavian Attractive"
There’s a new girl in town, NIKOL, 18 and Scandinavian attractive. She is a transfer student aiming for a nursing career. She shares the ballet classes with Katrina. Conrad meets Nikol and they set a date. The date does not go well when Nikol beats Conrad in a game of darts. His shadow side appeared and it really distanced Nikol. After the date, she tells him that she is not interested. Conrad does not handle it well.
THE HUMMINGBIRD NECKLACE AND THE CASTLE GYPSY
Shortly later, Nikol and Kurt meet when Kurt while for his sister after ballet. They have chemistry and Nikol bestows a hand-crafted hummingbird necklace on Kurt. She got it during a family vacation at a Ukrainian castle. It was the castle gypsy who tells Nikol “It brings good fortune in the good times and strength in the bad times”. Nikol’s mom told her that “gypsies are never wrong”.
In Fall of 1937 Kurt’s dad suggests it’s time for Kurt to start his apprenticeship at the auto factory where dad is a supervisor. Conrad had started a construction job the year before. Kurt is a bit anxious but readily agrees as school is winding down. He will need a job to support a family.
At this time, Kurt and Nikol begin dating. Kurt eventually meets her family.
Time for Kurt to learn hunting skills. Dad and the boys go hunting twice. It’s Kurt’s first duck hunt. Winter 1937. It’s rough at first but, with Dad’s advice, Kurt finally gets a duck but must retrieve it himself from the bitterly icy water as the retrieving dog, Jacob, is hurt. Conrad and Dad both celebrate Kurt’s first duck.
In Spring of 1938, they then have a pig hunt where Kurt misses a charging pig but is saved from a brutal mauling by a timely last-minute shot from ever-so-alert brother Conrad. Kurt is grateful to Conrad. Kurt scores his own first pig and the family eats well. An overhead hawk “salutes” Kurt’s kill with a screech. Both hunts foreshadow events that follow later.
Kurt is now full time at the auto factory. Kurt’s core skills with machinery are kicking in. Dad is impressed but keeps his thoughts to himself. Conrad is promoted at his job. Dad congratulates Conrad at dinner. Kurt and Nikol’s relationship deepen. Conrad still fumes in the background.
---- ACT II WWII STARTS
September 1, 1939 Germany invades Poland and WW II starts.
In 1940 the draft becomes mandatory in the now Germany-merged Sudetenland. Mom suggests the boys move to her sister in law in Switzerland. They both chose to pass on Mom’s suggestion.
To avoid the mandatory draft, both brothers decide enlist in the branch that they want. Kurt choses tanks. He hates submarines. Conrad goes into the infantry engineers. Kurt tells Nikol who is devastated but ultimately supportive. Nikol laments “You probably be killed a 1,000 kilometers from home”. Kurt retorts that “they couldn’t ever keep me even a hundred kilometers from you.”
Kurt joins with fellow soccer mates Stefan (late teen, Kurt’s best friend, lanky, smoker, speaks Russian), Ottmar (teen, bigger guy, gum chewer funny guy), and Dietrich (teen, by the book). They get into the Panzer corps together and train together.
Kurt goes through basic training. He has a hard time concentrating. Frequently daydreams of already being a tank commander leading the charge. Acclimating to the training-intensive military lifestyle is a challenge, but he persists. Kurt and his friends eventually make it through basic.
On leave he returns home. They are thrilled to see him. Nikol is especially pleased when Kurt surprises her with a silver lariat-styled stethoscope necklace as she will be going to nursing school. He, himself, now advances to advanced tank training and tactics. The gunnery commander notices that Kurt is one of the few that want even to try to hit the most distant targets. He says “I see a spark in that boy”. In the gunnery drills Kurt now takes this training more seriously and truly applies himself.
TANK CREW MEMBERS INTRODUCED
Kurt and friends meet their tank commander (and platoon commander (4 tanks)), COMMANDER RUBBEL (40’s, agreeable, by the book most of the time). They are in a Panzer IV (aka Panzer 4) with the short-barreled gun. Their first battle is Operation Citadel (a.k.a. Barbarossa) which is Hitler’s invasion of Russia. Each of the crew have a peculiarity: Stefan smokes a lot and is messy about it which gets the commander pissed (“this tank is not your personal ash tray”); Ottmar also gets into hot water when he starts leaving his spent gum on the cannon shells noses.
Ottmar also claims to be the fastest battalion loader, “fast as a Cheetah”. He growls each time he loads a shell. Dietrich (radio/hull machine gun) is reliable and quiet. Kurt pops mints and helps keep everyone on game.
In the first engagements Kurt’s rounds hit everything but the targets that Commander Rubbel commands him to hit. He is concerned.
Battle shots are intermixed with B&W war footage. The B&W effect cross-over/fades seamlessly into the color of the current actual film footage, including the real-time shot crew and tanks.
BALITKA BREWERY LIBERATION
The first three days were highly successful and the Panzer group pressed 130 kilometers into Russia. They “stop over” while waiting for the infantry and supplies at the Balitka Brewery.
During this stay Commander Rubbel calls for a “field inspection” in the brewery basement. All four crewman stand at attention, weapons shouldered. Commander Rubbel announces that the crew has earned rarest medal of honor in the Third Reich, the “Balitka Battle Award”, for liberating a key logistics center.
He pins a Balitka beer label (from the bottles) on each man. During the “inspection”, of course, he picks on Stefan for his smoking and using the tank as his personal ash tray. He jumps Ottmar for his bad chewing gum habits, but admits to Ottmar that he could, indeed, be the fastest loader in the battalion. Ottmar smiles.
On the road to Leningrad Kurt’s tank gets its first disabling hit by a hidden anti-tank gun. He takes this down time to write Nikol and read a letter from Conrad. Being in an adjacent unit, Conrad writes Kurt that he is pumped and thinks he can win the war all by himself. “See you in Moscow for a soccer game”.
The next day the platoon (4 tanks) is on patrol. During a local recon Dietrich is killed by a sniper. This is their first platoon casually and it shakes, and wakes, everyone up. While the crew is around his body the summer wind lift’s Dietrich’s Balika Beer “medal” and it blows into the forest.
On another road Kurt’s tank is the lead tank of the platoon 4 tanks. On a sharp bend his tank is de- tracked......
Contact me for the full treatment.
Why did I write this particular story?
"Tiger One" screenplay enthusiasts ask "How did I come to learn about Kurt Knispel?"
To write my Action/Drama/Bio feature film screenplay, I had read about him about 5 years ago, totally by accident. I was very impressed with the facts about this extraordinary man, you so well documented in this video. The man stood by his personal code when everyone else looked the other way. I was stunned the he is a total unknown, except for knowledgeable students of war. As you pointed out, he was so forgotten that they didn't find his body until 2013.
----- Must watch video about Kurt
This is an excellent 11 minute video summary of Kurt Knispel Actual War Record
In 2018, for a variety of personal reasons, I decided to quit t my DFW corporate marketing job and become a screenwriter here in Austin, Texas. Desiring a fantastic career in Hollywood, I knew that I had to have a good story. I mean a really good story. To me, the best stories are true stories. People will respond to a genuine person who did his duty, took care of his mates, and made proper moral decisions even under brutal and barbaric conditions.
He could have looked the other way but he chose the higher path .... and it cost him plenty. This is a real story. Real people. Real consequences. I served during the Vietnam Era and knew of the brutality of both sides of that ugly war. Also i was saddened the way our soldiers were treated (by our own people) when returning from doing their duty. My dad flew 75 P-51 recon missions over Europe, including a "first look" at Bastogne on December 26, 1944. My mom lost her brother during the Battle of the Bulge. My oldest daughter and her husband are currently serving.
I will tell this story. I finished my script "Tiger One" last month (120 pages, one and half years in the making). I intend to create interest in a full production of his story. He is gone, but, if I have it my way, he will be remembered, finally.
I am finishing the treatment summary. If there is interest tell them you have an Austin Screenwriter with the story of a lifetime that is a totally original Action/Drama/Bio feature.
This movie will remind us that soldiers can do both: duty and honor their own moral code. It's time to give Kurt Knispel a proper recounting.... this is the highest honor us humans can do for each other.