Tag Archives: Königstiger

Hey Girls, Want to Check out Our New Tiger?

8 January 1945: This German Panzer VIB, (Königstiger) tank #312 (SS-Oberscharführer Peter Kisters), of SS Panzer Abteilung 501, was knocked out by 90mm M36 tank destroyers of the 628th “Victory” Tank Destroyer Battalion, attached to support the paratroopers of the 82nd “All American” Divison, near Coronne, Belgium.

Signal Corps Photo 111-SC-198889 from the National Archives.

Formed five months prior to Pearl Harbor as the 28th Infantry Division’s anti-tank battalion, the 628th was largely formed from Pennsylvania National Guard members. Shipping out for England in April 1944, they were assigned to support the 1st Infantry and 29th Infantry at Normandy, where they landed at Utah Beach with M10 Hellcats.

Fighting to the Falaise Pocket and through Belgium to the Siegfried Line and the Hurtgen Forest, around which time they upgraded to M36s, they really came into play at the Battle of the Bulge to help blunt the German offensive in the Ardennes, fighting in turns with the 5th Armored, 78th Infantry, and 3rd Armored Divisions.

On New Year’s Day 1945, the 628th was chopped to the All Americans for 11 days to give their light infantry some muscle in clearing the area west of the Salm River. In their time with the paratroopers, the battalion lost four M36s and 14 men but chalked up six panzers in return– including two Tiger II tanks.

Finishing the war deep in Germany, the 628th was inactivated on 14 November 1945, their scoreboard holding 56 tanks by then.

‘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.” 

Original Field Number: ETO-HQ-44-29921. Photographer: Private William C. Sanderson (167th Signal Company) 12/15/1944. NARA 111-SC-197752

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.

Lucky, indeed.