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Tigers in Operation Wintergewitter

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Freikorps, Reichswehr, Austrian Bundesheer, Heer, Waffen-SS and Volkssturm.
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Tigers in Operation Wintergewitter

Postby jparshall on 28 Jul 2012 15:17

I know this question has been bandied about on these forums before, but I *cannot* seem to find the thread. So I'm going to re-ask the question. It is commonly related that Operation WINTERGEWITTER was supported by a battalion of Tigers (see both Anthony Beevor and John Erickson’s accounts), but I find very little corroborating detailed evidence to support this notion.

Erickson mentions (p. 15) that the Tigers were attached to 6th Panzer Division’s 65th Panzer Battalion. But this seems erroneous in at least one respect, since 65th Panzer Battalion had been disbanded on 3 June, 1942, and its forces merged into the division’s 11th Panzer Regiment (see George Nafziger’s Organizational History of the German Armored Formations 1939-1945, now available online from the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, http://www.cgsc.edu/CARL/nafziger/939GXPZ.PDF, p. 7).

As I understand it, Tigers were exclusively employed in Schwerer Panzer Abteilung. From what I can tell, sPzAbt. 501 had been deployed to Tunisia in November. A single company of sPzAbt. 502 had been deployed near Leningrad in late August, but the remainder of sPzAbt. 502, and the newly formed sPzAbt. 503 as well did not reach the Eastern front until after the New Year. See http://www.fprado.com/armorsite/tigers.htm. Likewise, the three initial Waffen SS Tiger companies had only been authorized on 15 November. They had not yet been shipped to the Ostfront, and their parent units were not involved in Manstein’s WINTERGEWITTER counterattack in any case. So, it would seem unlikely that there were Tigers at Wintergewitter.

However, this view is complicated by this picture, which is commonly trotted out as a Tiger participating in Wintergewitter:
http://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/cross-s ... 1343483096

Is this a simple case of mis-dating of a photo in the Bundesarchiv? Or were there actually Tigers at Wintergewitter, but they were in some sort of ad-hoc, non-sPZAbt? Any thoughts or insights would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

-jon parshall-
Co-Author: "Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway"
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Re: Tigers in Operation Wintergewitter

Postby Art on 28 Jul 2012 18:43

The simple answer is that no Tigers were employed in "Wintergewitter". The first vehicles arrived to the Salsk area and saw action in the beginning of January 1943.
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