ϟϟ-Panzergrenadier-Division „Das Reich“

II.SS-Panzerkorps
SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Leibstandarte SS and Das Reich were the most successful units on the German southern wing on the first day of the offensive. The Leibstandarte SS were overrunning the first Soviet defensive belt in heavy fighting against Soviet Paratroops of 9th Guards Airborne Division. The Das Reich pushed upwards of 65 kilometers into the southern sector of the bulge, but the Wehrmacht got bogged down. Image: Tiger n°813 of Das Reichs 8.Panzerkompanie commanded by SS-Oberscharführer Paul Egger moves forward as SS-Panzergrenadiers consolidate their positions near Bykowka during the early phase of the operation. Das Reichs 8th Panzer Company used a unique company symbol known as the Springender Teufel (jumping devil). According to the veteran and Panzer ace SS-Unterscharführer Will Fey (Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS) a member of 2.SS-Panzer-Regiment Das Reich found a strange metal figure in the streets of Kharkov after the battle in March 1943. He named it “Springender Teufel” and the gnome was adopted by the Tiger Company in the early summer of 1943 and stenciled onto the turrets for the Kursk offensive. Photographer: SS-Obersturmführer and Kriegsberichter Friedrich Zschäckel. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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