- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Oberleutnant der Reserve (1st Lieutenant of Reserves)
- Chef 2./Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 177
- Awarded on:
- August 4th, 1943
Awarded for actions during Operation Citadel. On the 10th of July his unit was in action near Ponyri. In the late afternoon of the day he and five assault guns moved forward to attack a known Soviet assembly area in front of German lines. As they advanced Zitzen noticed 30 Soviet tanks assembling in the area as well. He withdrew his assault guns and set up ambush positions in anticipation of their attack, and sure enough shortly after dusk the Soviet tanks rolled forward. He waited until these tanks were 200 meters away before giving the order to open fire. In a furious close range firefight at ranges as little as 30 meters his assault guns destroyed 15 tanks and immobilized 4 more, of which Zitzen was personally responsible for 6.