Rare color photograph of a camouflaged Panzer IV knocked out in Normandy in 1944. From the markings and camouflage, the Panzer IV appears to be from the German Panzer Lehr Division. U.S. Air Force Photo.
The following opinions are from German General Leutnant Linnarz, commander of the German 26th Panzer Division in Italy, concerning Allied airpower and its effects on German forces. Source: Defeat, Headquarters Army Air Forces, Office of the assistant chief of air staff–2, Washington, D.C., January 1946. Defeat was prepared by the Headquarters Army Air Forces, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, Intelligence Section to record the views of Allied air power from those who were on the receiving end.
OPINIONS OF LIEUTENANT GENERAL LINNARZ Commanding General of 26th Panzer Division in Italy
26 JUNE 1945.
The following report is the result of several conversations with General Leutnant Linnarz who was the Commanding General of the crack German 26 Panzer Division in Italy.
The Role of Air Power
“Single battles, in my opinion, are not decisive; they are only apparently decisive. The same thing is true of air battles. The complete havoc wrought by Allied air power toward the end of the war when we no longer had an air arm worthy of the name, may give an entirely false impression of the role of air power in deciding the victory. Such overwhelming air supremacy is not so much the cause of Germany’s defeat, but the result and visible evidence of Germany’s defeat. The war was actually decided long ago, and if the German government had given up earlier, before air power had devastated the German cities, and before the Eastern and Western land armies had joined, the results of great decisive air and land battles preceding Germany’s military collapse would not have been known. The great destructive capacity of giant air armadas would not have been realized.
“In the same category as the overwhelming Allied air and ground offensive toward the end of this war are the battles of Vittorio, Venato and the rapid Allied advances in the Balkans at the end of the last war. There are no more battles in the old classic sense. In France we styled our reports in the old manner. The result of the impression was thus one of gigantic land battles and clever generalship, a totally false impression. In my opinion, the Allies are in danger of making the same erroneous interpretations of air victories.
Brief note on British attempts to capture an intact German Tiger I tank in Tunisia from “The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Action”, Military Review, Vol. 23. Presumably, this Tiger is #231 of sPzAbt. 501 which was initially captured by the British largely intact, but the Tiger was then destroyed. Reports differ as to whether the Tiger was destroyed by the Germans or the British.
The work of keeping the minefields clear of wreckage or of immobilized vehicles has already received considerable public notice; no less important nor less hazardous is the location and salvaging of damaged equipment in close proximity to the enemy, and many a tank and gun has been so snatched from under the very noses of the enemy. Sometimes much stalking and considerable planning has been rendered abortive by some adverse turn of fortune’s wheel, and amongst such abortive effects may be mentioned a plan, almost successfully completed, for taking intact one of the earliest German Mk. VI (Tiger) tanks to be knocked out in Tunisia. After a stalk occupying one night and a day’s lie-up awaiting darkness for the actual removal of the tank, the Light Aid Detachment party were denied their success during the last few hours of daylight through circumstances over which they had no control. More frequently, however, as is testified by the astonishing proportion (eighty-three percent) of tank casualties restored to their owners without evacuation during the difficult opening stages of the action at El Alamein, the stalking and the plans are alike successful.
The old Aberdeen Museum Tiger I tank is finally being shipped from RAF Alconbury, England back to the United States to the U.S. Army Armor and Cavalry Museum at Fort Benning, Ga. At the Fort Benning museum, the German Tiger I is scheduled for complete restoration. This particular Tiger I originally served with the German sPzAbt. 501 in North Africa. The Tiger was captured by U.S. forces in 1943, and sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds for evaluation.
One of the most feared and powerful tanks of its time is making its way to the United States courtesy of the 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron. The German Tiger 1, World War II era tank, is to be shipped from RAF Alconbury, England, to the U.S. Army Armor and Cavalry Museum at Fort Benning, Ga., for repair and full restoration….
“There are only six known Tiger 1s that are still in one piece that are left in the world,” said Len Dyer, Director of the Army Armor and Cavalry museum. “This particular one was captured by the British in Tunis, North Africa, in 1943. She has plenty of combat action and a few combat scars that have had repair work done them.”
Although the tank is now being broken down to be relocated, the battle scars that have since been patched can still be seen on several parts of the tank.
This unique task of moving this battle hardened tank came down from the U.S. Army to the 48th LRS.
“I received an email from the Secretary of the Army requesting whether we could support the moving of this back to the United States and talking to the 48th LRS commander we decided we would go ahead and try to help the Army get this tank home,” said Bill Pratt, 48th LRS Transportation Management Office chief of cargo movement….
This particular cargo is slated to be completely broken down, cleaned, and made ready to be taken back to the U.S. within the next month to join other pieces of military history at the Fort Benning U.S. Army Armor and Cavalry Museum.
Officers of the Ninth Air Force pose with a German Panther tank of Kampfgruppe Peiper knocked out in front of the Hotel des Ardennes in Ligneuville, Belgium on December 17th, 1944. The Panther was commanded by SS Untersturmführer Arndt Fisher who was badly burned in the battle. (U.S. Air Force Photograph.)
Knocked-out Panther tank at the Hotel des Ardennes in Ligneuville, Belgium
When the Allied forces first encountered the Tiger II in Normandy in the summer of 1944, the panzer was briefly referred to as the “Pantiger”. The Associated Press picked up the name “Pantiger” in their article on August 19th:
Germans have thrown a huge new, heavily armored tank into action on both the Russian and northern French fronts in an effort to stem the Allied advances, but first reports denied it was a “super weapon.”
One of the new monsters weighing over 65 tons and with six inch armor plate—an inch and a half thicker than anything the enemy yet has put into action—was taken by the British on the Orne river front. The tank was a victim of a mechanical breakdown and never had fired a shot in battle.
Christened the “Pantiger” by its captors, the tank combines the best features of the Nazi Tiger and Panther tanks, which weigh 45 tons each. It is 23 feet long and over 11 feet wide, has an extra wheel on each side of its tracks and a huge, clumsy looking turret.
A new 67-ton German heavy tank—referred to variously as Pantiger and Tiger II—has been employed against the Allies this summer in France. Actually a redesigned Tiger (Pz. Kpfw. VI), it mounts the 8.8-cm Kw. K. 43 gun. On the basis of a preliminary report, the general appearance of the new tank is that of a scaled-up Pz. Kpfw. V (Panther) on the wide Tiger tracks. It conforms to normal German tank practice insofar as the design, lay-out, welding, and interlocking of the main plates are concerned. All sides are sloping. The gun is larger than the Panther gun, and longer than the ordinary Tiger gun. Armor is also thicker than that on either the Panther or the Tiger. The turret is of new design, with bent side plates. In all respects the new tank is larger than the standard Tiger.