‘Lucky Seventh’ Tiger
Original Caption: “German Tiger Tank, after being repaired by men of 129th, Ordnance Batallion, down the street of Gersonsweiler, Germany. Company B, 129th Ordnance [Maintenance] Battalion, Gersonsweiler, Germany.”
That mother beautiful King Tiger, as Oddball would say, has been patched up by the maintenance battalion of the 7th Armored “Lucky Seventh” Division, just prior to the Battle of St. Vith, where they were rushed to support the paratroopers and glider troops of the XVIII Airborne Corps as part of the First Army. It would have been curious to know if the Americanized Tiger was used against the Germans there, as Skorzeny and his boys were infamously running around the area with assorted captured Allied and viz-modded German gear with U.S. markings at the same time.
Formed in California in 1942 out of spare parts from the reorganized 3rd and 5th Armored Divisions, the 7th AD entered combat in Northern France in mid-August 1944, crossing through the Netherlands as part of Market Garden, then through the Ardennes and Rhineland and into Central Europe, ending the war at Grevesmuhlen on 6 May 1945 after traveling 2,260 miles across the continent. Besides the above Tiger, the unit captured an amazing 113,000 Axis POWs.
In 172 days of combat across those eight months, the division suffered 10,502 casualties or 98.4 percent of their authorized strength.