Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

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LekaLoko
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Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby LekaLoko » 24 Aug 2017 15:25

Hello! I bet all of you know about this famous photo.

The tank “231” of Leutnant Zabel from sPzAbt 503 was hit 252 times by fire from all calibres during combat near Ssemernikovo.
The tank was able to be driven a further 60km and returned to the unit. Later, the tank was returned to Germany (note thetransport tracks)
but it is not known whether this tank was repaired.

Image

Here is a photo of "231" during 'Operation Zitadelle' in the Belgorod area of Russia. Early August 1943. The 503rd (attached to XI. Armeekorps), took part in Operation Zitadelle, an offensive operation meant to destroy the Kursk salient.

Image


Leutnant Zabel... reported this attack near Ssemernikovo kolkhoz:

The combat group Sander had to face a very strong enemy when attacking the
collective farm west of Ssemernikovo. The Tiger attacking as advance platoon
left the lighter tanks behind, and attracted all the enemy fire. The tanks received
hits on the front and to the right-hand side. The enemy, with tanks, AT guns and
AT rifles opened fire at a great distance. My Tiger received a 7.62cm hit in the
front of the driver’s position. The spare track links fixed there with an iron rod
were ripped off. In the tank we noticed a bang and a slight shaking. The nearer
we came, the stronger the bangs and shaking from the 7.62cm hits became.

At the same time we noticed considerably high dust clouds from artillery ground
impacts near the tank. Further on, the crew noticed a somewhat lighter bang
followed by a burst of yellow smoke, most likely a hit from an AT rifle.

A short time later we received a hit from a 4.5cm AT gun on the cupola.
The brackets of the bullet-proof glass were smashed. The glass vision block
jammed and became opaque caused by heat from the explosion. A further
hit destroyed the brackets and the hatch fell into the turret interior. There
was dense smoke in the fighting compartment and the area became very hot.
The loader’s hatch was jammed and stood slightly open and it received a number
of hits from AT rifles demolishing the hinges and brackets.

After the battle two 4.5cm AT guns and 15 AT rifle hits were counted on
the cupola.

On both days of the attack the enemy destroyed our machine guns. The
smoke dischargers on the turret were also destroyed. The smoke in the turret
caused so much trouble that the Tiger was not ready for action for some time...
...all crew members nerves were frayed, we lost our sense of time. We felt
neither hunger nor any other needs. Despite the fact that the attack lasted for
more than six hours, all men in the tank felt the time had gone by in a flash.
After a further 7.62cm hit on the mantlet the gun mounting bolts sheared
off. The recoil brake lost its fluid and the gun barrel remained in rear (recoiled)
position. Due to electric problems the breech block could not be shut. Due to
shocks inflicted by further hits the radio system failed and the steering levers
were jammed. When the exhaust cover was destroyed, the engine caught fire.

This fire could be extinguished by the fire-fighting system. Further hits loosened
some turret ring screws. The turret traversing system failed temporarily...
We counted 227 hits by AT rifles, 14 hits by 5.7cm AT guns and 11 hits by
7.62cm AT guns. The right suspension was heavily damaged by shelling. The
connecting pieces for several running wheels were ruined, two torsion bars were
broken. A rear idler wheel bearing was damaged.

In spite of this damage the Tiger was able to be driven for further 60km. The
hits inflicted cracks to some weld seams. A fuel tank began leaking due to the
heavy shocks. We noticed a number of impacts in the track links, which however
did not particularly impair mobility.

Subsequently, it can be said that the armour on the Tiger had come up to our
expectations...

Signed Lt. Zabel

Here I found more photos with Tiger tanks from sPzAbt.503 that you may find it interesting.

http://www.tiif.de/thread.php?threadid=20&sid=7e2b72a77bac2ca520e57b95592da0fc


I would like to know this tank combat history if you guys have any info about it.

Cheers!

Michael Kenny
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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby Michael Kenny » 24 Aug 2017 19:38

Late Churchill's had more armour than the Tiger and the early ones were tough nuts as well.

Mr Churchill's Tank. D Fletcher Schifffer.
Page 106
The Special Tank Squadron was by now being referred to as Kingforce after their commanding officer and it was Norris King who Ied the way in T68189/R, followed by 2~d Lieutenant Appleby in T31665/R and Corporal Kelly in T68186/R.
Corporal Kelly did not Iast very Iong. When his 6-pounder gun recoiled after the first round had been fired it stuck, refusing to run out again. Unable to contribute more to the action Corporal Kelly ordered his driver to engage reverse and quietly withdrew from action. Nobody knows precisely what happened to 2/LtAppleby. His tank was seen to advance into the thick of the action. For a while it disappeared over the edge of the ridge but a short time Iater it was seen reversing slowly out of action. Then it stopped, smoke appeared and it finally burst into flames and continued to burn for the rest of the night. Only one man, and he wounded, is believed to have survived from the crew of five. When it was examined Iater it was seen that 38 rounds of 50mm calibre had struck the front of the tank, one of which had penetrated. There was damage from one high explosive round and six strikes from 75mm guns, one of which had penetrated. This was probably the shot that did the damage. However on closer inspection eight strikes were found on the back of the tank, one of which had gone through the gearbox and three into the turret. They were of 57mm calibre and had obviously come from British six-pounder guns.
Putting the facts together after the event its seems as if Lt Appleby had gone further into the German position than was wise, and taken a Iot of punishment. As he reversed out his tank, wreathed in smoke, was spotted by an Australian anti-tank battery. Being unfamiliar with the shape they took the sensible precaution and opened fire. It was an unfortunate turn of events but there is no doubt that Appjeby's tank absorbed a tremendous amount of punishment before it was destroyed.
Last edited by Michael Kenny on 25 Aug 2017 04:04, edited 2 times in total.

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LekaLoko
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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby LekaLoko » 24 Aug 2017 20:50

So bad it was taken out by friendly fire.. any photos of it after the battle exists ?

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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby Yoozername » 24 Aug 2017 22:00

looking at the Tiger I with the transportation tracks on, and comparing the damage described, it would seem that it has been repaired to some extent. Most notably the hatches/cupola, the gun is at battery. The driver's visor is missing. Also, rubber on a roadwheel.

I thought I read it was returned to germany and was a monument?

Michael Kenny
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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby Michael Kenny » 24 Aug 2017 22:37

The technical term for that kind of damageis -total loss.
The Tiger had no weapons, limited mobility, no optics. fire-damaged engine and weld-seams had popped. That and the number of holes meant only someone really desperate for tanks would even try to put it back in service. It was used as a propoganda tool-look how tough the Tiger is-and if you want to know how successful that 'lie' is then just Google it today and see how many people believe it survived the damage.

That suspension looks destroyed to me. The Tiger is for sure sitting lower than it should.

q1zufah2rk6yggg-vert.jpg
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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby LekaLoko » 25 Aug 2017 00:48

It was sent back to germany for repair but looks like only the turret was repaired and used as bunker.
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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby LekaLoko » 25 Aug 2017 02:13

As a logical consequence we can see the turret of 231 in a later use as a training pillbox at Paderborn.

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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby Yoozername » 25 Aug 2017 03:36

Is the transportatio track just on the near (right) side only? According to the report, the front and right side took the most damage. The damaged tank looks level. If anything, the transportation track looks 'loose' or it could lose a link or two.

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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby LekaLoko » 25 Aug 2017 10:39

I think there were two Tigers "231" one of 1.Kompanie and the other one of 2.Kompanie:

I think that because of the camouflage patterns.. the 2.Kompanie have the yellow camo.. and 1. Kompanie has something white applied by crew that suggest it fought somewhere near Russia.
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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby LekaLoko » 25 Aug 2017 10:43

I would love to have here someone with knowledge to help me with info like if there were two "231" Tigers or just one.. and if they were two with some combat records.

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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby cb021 » 25 Aug 2017 23:07

The TIIF gallery is split into two sections, early and late. What you have are two different Tiger 231's both belonging to 2Kp of 503 but in different time periods.

Chris Brown

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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby LekaLoko » 26 Aug 2017 09:27

cb021 wrote:The TIIF gallery is split into two sections, early and late. What you have are two different Tiger 231's both belonging to 2Kp of 503 but in different time periods.

Chris Brown

That explains it. Thanks!

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Re: Panzer VI 'Tiger I' (231) of 2./s.Pz. Abt. 503

Postby LekaLoko » 26 Aug 2017 13:47

I searched on the internet but I can't find any service records of these two :(


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