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Mid-war Intelligence Briefing for a German Schwere Panzerkompanie in Tunisia
We only had room in North Africa for the one Tiger battalion, so we went with the Tigers fighting in Sicily. The following Intelligence Briefing covers the Tigers that fought in Tunisia.
501. Schwere Panzerabteilung began arriving in Tunisia in November 1942. It fought with 109. Panzerabteilung and the 10. Panzerdivison. They fought on until March 1943 before being incorporated in the 504. Schwere Panzerabteilung. 504. Schwere Panzerabteilung fought with both the 5th Panzer Army and the Afrikakorps before the fall of Tunis in May.
Tigers in Tunisia
The first three Tiger I E heavy tanks, from 501. Schwere Panzerabteilung, arrived in Bizerte on 23 November 1942. Assigned to Kampfgruppe Lueder in the 190. Panzerabteilung they operated near Djedeida against the British. In December the Tigers fought with four Panzer III tanks supporting 10. Panzerdivision in the capture of Teborba.
By 9 December additional Tigers had arrived and
the battalion grew while continuing to operate with the 10.
Operations continued until mid-January 1943, when half
of the battalion was given to Kampfgruppe Weber of the 334.
Infanteriedivision for Operation ‘Eilbote’. Additionally, two tank groups of four Tigers and four Panzer III tanks each were attached to the 756. Gebirgsjäger-Regiment while a third group of five Tigers and ten Panzer III tanks was re-attached to Kampfgruppe Lueder to reinforce the II. Battalion of 69. Panzergrenadier-Regiment.
After a number of successful operations against
the US 1st Armored Division, the 501. Schwere Abteilung was
incorporated as the 7th and 8th companies of the 7. Panzer-Regiment,
10. Panzerdivision on 26 February 1943.
The battalion was supplemented with fifteen Panzer IV tanks, but by 1 March heavy fighting found but one operational Tiger left. Though their ranks increased over the next two weeks, the eleven remaining Tigers of the 501st were transferred to the newly arriving 504. Schwere Panzerabteilung on 17 March 1943.
April found one company of the newly formed
504th attached to 8. Panzer-Regiment while the other company was
fighting with the Herman Göring Division.
With the Allies now closing in on Tunis, six Tigers were made available for the Fifth Panzer Army and seven for the Afrikakorps. Though only four Tigers survived to 1 May, the battalion had accounted for over one hundred Allied tanks destroyed. Nine Operational Tigers were destroyed by their crews when Tunisia surrendered.
In Flames Of War
Mid-war Intelligence Briefing for a German Schwere Panzerkompanie in Tunisia.
Tunisian Tigers (PDF)...