TIGER I gallery 4

Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung (sPzAbt) 504 was created in February 1943 and its 1st Company was dispatched to North Africa a month later, surrendering in May 1943. The 2nd Company with 11 Tigers was sent to Sicily and was added to PzAbt.215 along with 6 other Tigers from another section. These 17 tanks were framed in the Hermann Göring Panzer Division and on July 11 they tried to repel the Allied landing, but were repulsed by naval fire. In a very short time 16 of the 17 Tigers were destroyed by their crews to avoid capture and the only survivor was sent back to Italy. In March 1944 the sPzAbt 504 received 45 tanks and was reconstituted, spending 3 months training in France, returning to Italy in June. There they remained the rest of the war receiving few replacements in spite of the losses. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1943-1945 was 2.29:1, claiming the destruction of 250 armoured vehicles.
Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung (sPzAbt) 505 was formed in February 1943 and in May it was sent by train to the Eastern Front. The Battalion began Operation Zitadel with 31 Tigers plus another 14 that were received a few days later. It only lost 10 tanks during all Operation Zitadel, but despite receiving 29 replacement tanks between September 1943 and May 1944, during the Soviet 1944’s summer offensive the sPzAbt 505 was decimated. It was reconstituted in September with new Tiger II tanks, with which it was sent to East Prussia until the end of the war. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1943-1945 was 7.14:1, claiming the destruction of 900 armoured vehicles.
Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung (sPzAbt) 506 was formed in July 1943 and received 45 Tigers in August. At the end of September it arrived at Army Group South on the Eastern Front. There, it received an enormous punishment and in April 1944 received another 45 new Tigers that were fighting until mid-August. After the loss of all tanks, (6 transferred to sPzAbt 507), 45 new Tiger II tanks were transferred and the Batallion was sent to Holland. The sPzAbt 506 stayed there until December, before take part in the Ardennes offensive. It would end its days fighting near Iserlohn, near the Ruhr river, in Central Germany where the unit was disbanded in mid-April 1945. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1943-1945 was 2.23: 1, claiming the destruction of 400 armoured vehicles.
Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung (sPzAbt) 507 was formed in late September 1943 and at the end of February 1944 it had 45 Tiger tanks assigned. In March it was sent to the Eastern Front and until December had received 44 replacement tanks. In mid-January 1945 the Soviet winter offensive began and the Battalion had 55 Tiger tanks, but in just 2 weeks it had 7 tanks left, and none of them were operational. In view of the situation, on February 6 the sPzAbt 507 was sent to Germany to re-equip with Tiger II tanks. With them the unit fought until the surrender to the Soviets at the end of the war. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1943-1945 was 5.77: 1, claiming the destruction of 600 armored vehicles.
Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung (sPzAbt) 508 was formed in May 1943, and in January 1944 it was sent to Italy with its 45 Tigers. There, the unit had the mission of attacking Anzio and they were located 200 km from the beachhead. Due to the mountainous terrain, more than half of its tanks were damaged before the attack, which was mainly repulsed by naval artillery. Until July the Battalion received 38 replacement tanks, but in February 1945 it only had 15 operatives. On February 12, it transferred all the tanks to sPzAbt 504 and the remnants of the Battalion were sent to Germany to re-equip. At the end of March, hardly any new vehicles had been received and the Battalion fought its last battles near Polle, Lower Saxony. They finally surrendered in Berlin in May 1945. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1942-1945 was the lowest among all sPzAbt, reaching 1.28:1, claiming the destruction of only 100 armoured vehicles.
Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung (sPzAbt) 509 was created in September 1943 and at the beginning of November it arrived in Ukraine with 45 Tigers in its ranks. In February 1944 received the first 8 replacement tanks to make up for losses, but between May and June the unit received another 30 new tanks after its losses in the Second Battle of Kiev. It was sent back to the front in early June and is deployed in the area where the Soviet Army launches Operation Bagration. In August it received another 12 Tigers but suffers enormous losses, for example, on September 8 they lost 16 Tiger tanks in less than 24 hours near Kielce, Poland. In September the unit returns to Germany to re-equip with Tiger II tanks. In December 1944, with 45 new Tiger IIs, it was sent to help the German Forces besieged in Budapest, but the mission was a failure and the sPzAbt 509 lost 10 tanks. In April the unit participated in the Battle of Vienna and on May 9, 1945 it surrendered to American forces in Linz, Austria. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1943-1945 was 4.17: 1, claiming the destruction of 500 armored vehicles.
Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung (sPzAbt) 510 was formed on June 6, 1944, receiving 45 Tiger tanks in early July. At the end of the month it is sent to Lithuania and in August it received 6 replacement tanks. The entire Battalion remains there until April 1945, when part of it is evacuated to Germany. The 15 Tigers remaining in Lithuania form the “Kampfgruppe Wise” until the end of the War and end up surrendering to the Soviets on May 8. Those evacuated to Germany were re-equipped with 6 Tiger II tanks and ended up surrendering to the British on May 8 1945. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1944-1945 was 3.08: 1, claiming the destruction of 200 armored vehicles.
Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 101 was formed in July 1943 and was assigned 27 Tiger tanks for its 2 heavy tank companies. At the end of August they were sent to Italy and they stayed there until October. Part of the Battalion is sent to the Eastern Front, but in April 1944 it is ordered to return to France, near Paris. On D-Day the unit had 45 Tigers and was sent to Normandy, where on July 5 it had already lost 15 tanks. In August they left Normandy with 25 Tigers but in September they did not have a single operational tank. At the end of the month it is redesignated as Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 501 and in December 1944 it receives 11 Tiger II tanks from the sPzAbt 509. The end of the unit is contradictory but it seems that in mid-March 1945 they had 30 Tiger IIs, although few operational. During its retreat to Austria at the end of March they lost all the tanks. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1943-1945 was 4.67: 1, claiming the destruction of 500 armored vehicles.
Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 102 was originally formed in April 1943 as “Schwere Panzer Abteilung I. SS Panzer Korps”, but it was at the end of October 1943 when it was redesignated as SS sPzAbt 102. This new Battalion had 3 Companies and in June 1944 it had 45 Tiger tanks. They arrived near Paris in late June, but did not reach Normandy until July 7 for fear to air attacks. Although at the end of July they had 30 operational tanks, by the beginning of September they had all been lost and they were retracted to be re-equipped, although the new assigned tanks never arrived. In September it is redesignated “Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 502” and in March 1945 it is equipped with 31 Tiger II tanks with which it fought to the end defending Berlin. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1943-1945 was 7.89: 1, claiming the destruction of 600 armored vehicles.
Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 103 was originally formed in July 1943 as “II SS Panzer Regiment 11 for 11. SS Panzergrenadier Division Nordland” but changed its designation to SS sPzAbt 103 at the end of November. It received 6 Tigers in February 1944 but had to transfer them to another unit, although it received another 10 Tiger tanks later. In mid-November it is redesignated as SS sPzAbt 503 and sent with 39 Tiger IIs with the Army Group Vistula sector at the end of January 1945. In mid-April it had 10 operational tanks with which defended Berlin until the end of the war. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1943-1945 was 12.82: 1, claiming the destruction of 500 armored vehicles.
Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung (FKL) 301 was first equipped with 21 Tigers between August and September 1944 to which it added 10 more of the SS sPzAbt 103 shortly thereafter. In November he is sent to the Western Front participating in the Ardennes Offensive with 27 Tiger tanks available. By March 1945 its force was down to about 15 Tigers and by mid-April the Battalion was left without any operational tanks.
Heeres Panzer Abteilung 500 Paderborn was created in December 1942 as a heavy tank training unit. In mid-1944, as a result of the increasingly worse situation in Germany, it was ordered to reorganize into a combat unit. At early April 1945 it had 17 Tigers.
Heeres Panzer Abteilung Kummersdorf received at the end of February 1945 the last 5 Tiger tanks that were available in the weapons depots. This Battalion was part of the Müncheberg Panzer Division created in March 1945. In mid-April 1945 the unit had 13 Tigers, most of them absorbed from other dissolved units.
Heeres III Abteilung/Panzer Regiment Grossdeutchland was formed with 3 complete companies, with 45 Tiger tanks, to support the Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland which was a mechanized infantry unit. All its troops met in Kharkov in mid-August 1943, totaling 36 Tigers. They spent the rest of the war in the Eastern Front receiving 70 replacement tanks until December 1944. In February 1945 the Battalion still had 11 Tiger tanks when it was absorbed by a larger unit, which would lose all the tanks at the end of March fighting in East Prussia. The kill ratio of the battalion’s Tiger tanks between 1943-1945 was 5.10: 1, claiming the destruction of 500 armored vehicles.
Heeres 13 (later 9) Kompanie/Panzer Regiment Grossdeutchland was formed in January 1943 with 9 Tiger tanks, although in May it received another 6 to accommodate the newly established organization of 15 Tigers in each heavy tank company. In July 1943 the 13 Kompanie is redesignated as 9 Kompanie and begins the Battle of Kursk with 15 Tigers. During this battle it did not lose any of its tanks but after the subsequent Soviet offensive, at the beginning of August it only had 9 operational tanks. In mid-August the 9 Kompanie is integrated into the III Abteilung/Panzer Regiment Grossdeutchland. The kill ratio of the company’s Tiger tanks was 16.67: 1, the highest of all the units that operated this tank, claiming the destruction of 100 armored vehicles.
Schwere Panzer Kompanie 4./SS Panzerregiment 1 was created in November 1942 as the spearhead of the 1.SS Panzergrenadier Division “Liebstandarte der SS Adolph Hitler” (LSSAH). In January 1943 it received 10 Tiger tanks and in February it was sent to Kharkov. In July it is redesignated Schwere Panzer Kompanie 13./SS Panzerregiment 1 and begins the Battle of Kursk with 12 Tigers. In the middle of the month it receives 5 replacement tanks, but at the end of July the Company is sent to Italy and its tanks are distributed among the other 2 SS Panzerregiment. The unit is recomposed with 27 Tigers from other units at the end of August 1943 and in November it returns to the Eastern Front. In February 1944 it only had 6 tanks and finally in March 1944 the company was dissolved. The kill ratio of the company’s Tiger tanks was 9.52: 1, claiming the destruction of 400 armored vehicles.
Schwere Panzer Kompanie 8./SS Panzerregiment 2 was created in November 1942 as part of the 2.SS Panzergrenadier Division “Das Reich”. In February 1943 it was sent to Kharkov with 10 Tigers, which were reduced to only 3 operational at the end of the month. In May it receives 6 more Tiger tanks, totaling 14 operational. On July 5, the unit begins the Battle of Kursk with 12 operational tanks and ends on the 16th of the same month with only 5. The Company remains in the Eastern Front being deployed in different areas such as Kharkov, Bobruisk or Kiev, receiving only 5 replacement Tigers in September. On December 25, 1943 the unit runs out of tanks due to breakdowns and lack of fuel and until February 1944 it does not receive another 5 Tigers that they lose definitively on March 26, 1944. Then the unit is sent to the Western Front in mid April. The kill ratio of the company’s Tiger tanks was 8.06: 1, claiming the destruction of 250 armored vehicles.
Schwere Panzer Kompanie 9./SS Panzerregiment 3 was created in November 1942 as a vanguard unit of the 3.SS Panzergrenadier Division “Totenkopf”. In January 1943 received the first 9 Tiger tanks and in mid-February it arrived at the Eastern Front. In May it receives 9 Tigers reaching 15 at the end of the month. When Operation Zitadel begins, the company has 11 operational tanks, losing only one tank until its completion on July 16. In August it is destined for Kharkov, having 20 operational Tigers. In October it received another 5 tanks until it reached 23. Then the withdrawal of the Eastern Front for the Soviet Offensive began and in mid-March 1944 it only had 4 operational tanks that were destroyed in April. In May they receive 7 tanks and in June 8 more before leaving for Poland in July. In January 1945 they go to Hungary with 11 Tigers and after 3 unsuccessful attempts to break the siege of Budapest, on March 16 they retreat towards Austria with about 7 tanks. Finally on May 8 they destroyed their last 3 tanks before surrendering. The kill ratio of the company’s Tiger tanks was 8.93: 1, claiming the destruction of 500 armored vehicles.
Heeres Schwere Panzer Kompanie (FKL) 316 was formed in April 1943 and between September and October received 10 Tiger tanks. In March 1944, it received 5 Tiger IIs that never used in combat. The company joined the Panzer-Lehr Division in June, arriving with 3 Tiger and 3 Tiger II operational. On June 11 it had lost all its tanks and in July 1944 it was redesignated as 1./Pz.Abt.(Fkl) 302 but it does not receive tanks, but Stug.III assault guns.
Schwere Panzer Kompanie Hummel was formed in July 1944 from the remains of the Schwere Panzer Kompanie Einsatz Dunkirchen near Paderborn. In mid-September 14 Tiger tanks were assigned and the unit heads to Arnhem, Holland, where only 2 tanks arrive on the 19th without breaking down. On the 20th it is re-designated as sPzKp Hummel and remains in Holland fighting against the British until November. In December it is framed in sPzAbt 506, but in mid-February 1945 it ceases to be a subordinate to that Battalion. It continues the fight in the western part of the Rhine, and in April 1945, with 11 Tigers on its staff, the company was placed under the command of Panzerbrigade 106 until the end of the war.
Tigergruppe Meyer was actually a Company type unit, but reduced and with only 8 Tiger tanks. It was formed in late July 1943 to be sent to Italy. Between August and November 1943 it was framed with PzJgAbt 46 tank destroyer unit, participating in September in the disarmament of Italian units after the armistice. From January to March 1944 it was deployed near Anzio, being re-designated as “Tigergruppe Schwebbach” in February. In March the unit was incorporated into the sPzAbt 508 and is no longer an independent company.
Apart from German units the Tiger tank was only used by Hungary and France. Germany transferred 13 tanks to the Hungarian First Army in July 1944 to fight under German orders on the Eastern Front. Some of the tanks were loaned by the sPzAbt 503 or 509 to instruct the Hungarian crews, and after a while 3 damaged tanks were returned to Germany, the rest were lost. France also used 1 Tiger tank that they found abandoned, and after repairing it they used it from March 1945 until the end of the war. The tank was christened “Bretagne” and after being withdrawn from service, it was stored and years later ended up on permanent display in the Musée des Blindés de Saumur (on the image).
Some studies about the losses of Tiger tanks in combat show that despite the difficulties normally encountered in battlefields, such as lack of air support, outnumbered, logistical difficulties or careful maintenance, the kill ratio per tank was always very high. It must be taken into account that the units of all Armies tend to increase the amount of destroyed enemies, but for example in the case of the Tiger a kill ratio of 10: 1 is generally accepted, that is, each Tiger eliminated 10 enemy vehicles before being totally destroyed.
The Tiger marked a milestone as soon as it appeared and will forever symbolize what a tank should be. Despite its drawbacks, it was an exceptionally well-protected, well-armed vehicle with sufficient mobility despite popular belief. Even at the end of the war it was feared and extremely difficult for the Allies to destroy. Very few vehicles were left intact after the defeat of Germany, since before abandoning them, their crews almost always destroyed them and only 7 complete vehicles have survived. One was turned into a monument in France (on the image) and the other 6 are in Museums. Only one of those placed in Museums is in running condition.
This is the famous “Tiger 131″ from the Bovington Tank Museum collection and it is the only operating Tiger E in the World. It was captured at Gueriat el Atach (Tunisia) on April 24, 1943 after receiving an impact from a Churchill tank that disabled the turret, for which it was abandoned by the crew practically intact. This tank belonged to the Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung (sPzAbt) 504.

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