Schwere ϟϟ-Panzer-Abteilung 501 subordinated to Leibstandarte ϟϟ

SS-Sturmbannführer Josef Diefenthal
Panzerkampfwagen Tiger II or Königstiger n°008 of s.SS-Pz.Abt.501
Panzerkampfwagen Tiger II or Königstiger n°222 of s.SS-Pz.Abt.501
Facing the overwhelming military might and the complete air superiority of the Allies, Hitler once again relied on his trusted and powerful Waffen-SS divisions to defeat the Allied armies, first in the brutal fighting in Normandy, and then in the dense forests of the Ardennes. During these decisive battles, the soldiers of the Waffen-SS repeatedly demonstrated their elite esprit de corps and aggressive fighting spirit, but in the end were unable to win the victories the Third Reich desired. Top image: SS-Sturmbannführer Josef Diefenthal of SS-Kampfgruppe Peiper signals to American POW’s to clear out of the road during the Ardennes Offensive in December 1944. He was awarded the Knight's Cross on February 5 1945 for his exploits during the offensive, while in command of the III.Battalion of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 2 Leibstandarte SS. After World War II, Jupp Diefenthal was found guilty of war crimes allegedly committed during the Ardennes Offensive and sentenced to death by hanging but was released in 1956. Clip from a SS-Kriegsberichter film. Fair use. Bottom images: In the early morning of December 16 1944, the King Tigers of the schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 501 moved through the village of Tondorf on their way to join Kampfgruppe Peiper for the initial attack during the Battle of the Bulge. Königstiger n°008 was commanded by Battalion Adjutant SS-Untersturmführer Eduard Kalinowsky. Kalinowsky made it to SS-Kampfgruppe Peiper in La Gleize but had to abandon the monstrous King Tiger when the interior of the machine was burned out on December 24-25 1944. SS-Oberscharführer Kurt Sowa was the commander of Königstiger n°222. It was knocked out on December 19 1944 near Stavelot. Colonel Tom Raney of the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion later wrote: We saw the long tube of Tiger 222's 88mm gun emerge from behind the last building. The M10 gunner must have been tracking the tank with his telescope sight, for as soon as the Tiger had cleared the building, the M-10 fired one round of armor piercing shot which penetrated the armor on the right side above the track, about 14 inches under the turret and some four to five feet to the rear of the front glacis plate. The tank stopped dead in its tracks. The round probably struck the gunner and the loader. Surprisingly the tank did not burn. Neither did we see any of the crewmembers bail out, but they must have exited through an escape hatch in the rear of the turret. To the best of my knowledge, that was the last enemy tank that attempted to cross the bridge at Stavelot. Tank commander SS-Oberscharführer Kurt Sowa had lost his right arm below the elbow in the Normandy campaign but had nevertheless continued to command. He did survived the war. Clips from a captured SS-Kriegsberichter film. (NARA). Fair use.

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