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Trying to Capture an Intact Tiger in Tunisia

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.

 

Aberdeen Tiger Tank Moving to Fort Benning

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.

48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs RAF Lakenheath Press Release: WWII Tank Relocated by 48th LRS

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.

 

Air Attack at Hunt’s Gap

The following correspondent’s report from the UP (United Press) describes the fighting at Hunt’s Gap in Tunisia in February-March 1943. Compare this account of the battle to the German commander Oberst. Rudolf Lang’s account and British observer Howard Marshall’s account.

BRITISH BOMBER SCORES AGAINST 6 GERMAN TANKS
Northern Tunisia Fighters Receiving Allied Air Support

BY EDWARD W. BEATTIE

ON THE NORTHERN TUNISIAN FRONT, March 1.—(UP)—There were six enemy tanks—big boys, probably Mark VI’s—massed north of the Mateur-Beja road when a bomber went in and dropped two bombs squarely into the middle of them.

British soldiers threw their helmets into the air and cheered. And well they might, for troops in this area never before had such air support as they are now receiving.

The British bombers caught Rommel’s supply columns in a narrow valley above. Beja Sunday. There was a thick fog lying across the valley and it was not an ideal day for bombing.

But, starting at dawn, the Allied bombers made eight sorties low into the valley and when they got through, the hair-pin road along which the Axis transport was concentrated was pock-marked with bomb craters.

Enemy Immobilized

I talked to the returning pilots and they said most of the enemy vehicles were stationary and some of them immobilized by the fury of the Allied attack.

The Germans threw an attack against Allied lines above Beja Sunday, using about 10 Mark IV tanks. British Churchill tanks rolled out to oppose them and knocked out three and perhaps four of the Mark IV’s. A heavier enemy attack may come, however, because a force of about 30 German tanks was seen just off the Beja road.

Allied air power was thrown against the Germans as early as Saturday, and ground troops then reoccupied two important positions.

The British early Saturday morning took Fort McGregor—named after a young American lieutenant from Brooklyn—south of Medjez-El-Bab. The American garrison of Fort McGregor was withdrawn some time ago.

British Surprise

The Germans took it Friday. Crack German tank forces and other elements penetrated through a dry river bed to the south. The British surprised them with a counterattack, killed 40 and captured 60.

The British reoccupied Tally-Ho corner after the Germans withdrew into the hills east of the Medjez-El-Bab – El-Aroussa road during the night. When darkness came Saturday, the British were mopping up a few remnants halfway along the road.

The attack toward Beja made little progress Saturday, and was heavily bombed and shelled. The Germans sent forces of roughly a battalion (1,000 men) through the hills between the Beja-Mateur and Beja-Medjez-El-Bab road, intending to cut around the latter around over Zarga. By Saturday night, the battalion had not been in contact with the British, although artillery had shelled the Germans heavily.

Germans Use Planes

The Germans have been using their planes liberally to attack Allied positions and shoot up transport behind the front. They attacked Tally-Ho corner three times without much result.

Roughly, it was estimated the Germans threw 13 battalions (13,000 men), with supporting troops of two divisions (perhaps 30,000 men) into the action on the northern front, but paradoxically, fighting was more restricted Saturday than the day before.

Of an estimated 50 German and Italian tanks involved, It was estimated that at least 15 to 20 have been knocked out.

 

Battles of Kampfgruppe Lang in Tunisia - Attack on Beja

The Historical Division of the U.S. Army in Europe assembled a series of Foreign Military Studies from 1945 to 1954 covering the fighting in Europe during World War II. The volume Battles of Kampfgruppe Lang in Tunisia (10th Panzer Division) by Oberst. Rudolf Lang covered the fighting around Sidi Nsir, Hunt’s Gap, and Beja from the German perspective. (Note: According to the cover page, the manuscript was written from memory without written sources.)

The Attack on Beja

New mission (Beja).

The following day I had to go to a place near Chouigui (35 kilometers westnorthwest of Tunis) to take over the command of the group making the main effort during the attack on Beja. I was assigned to the Korpsgruppe of General Weber and had only the day of the 25th at my disposal to make all the preparations for the attack on Beja. Most of the troop elements forming my Kampfgruppe — pulled out of other sectors — could not arrive before the evening or during the night (25/26). And the Kdr. who had driven to my command post in advance in order to be briefed and to receive their orders, were in the same situation as myself, that is to say, they had no opportunity to look over the terrain: a rather considerable disadvantage!

The troops.

Troops assigned to me were:

- the I./Pz.Gren.Rgt. 86 mot. of the 10.Pz.Div. (Kdr. Hauptm. Haut)

- the Tiger-Abt. 501 (Kdr. Major Lueders) consisting of about 20 Tigers.

- one Pz.Gruppe of the Pz.Rgt. 7 of the 10.Pz.Div. incl. Pz.Pioniere (Fhr. Hauptmann Burgk)

- mot. reconnaissance forces (Pz.Spaehwagen) of the 10.Pz.Div.?

- few pieces of artillery

- sufficient Flak (of the Flakdivision Tunis, 20.Fla.Div.?)

- subsequently also the I.R. 47 (Kdr. Oberstlt. Busse) reinforced by Art. Abt. 27.

Prevailing situation unfavorable.

Right from the beginning this kind of composition was unfavorable in that mountain territory, because the Panzer and the automobiles were forced to keep on the road and had no opportunity whatsoever to “spread out”, and also, because no mountain troops were included. In a terrain of this kind it is impossible for the concentrated firing power of a mot. column extending over many kilometers to unfold and become fully effective. Due to this topography it was, therefore, to be anticipated that during this operation, with the target Beja and the British Headquarters there, up to east of Beja, only the advance Panzer elements would be engaged in any fighting action. Other unfavorable factors were:

- some of the troops brought in from far away had not yet arrived when the 26 Febr. attack started at 0500 hours on 26 February (f.i. the entire I.R. 47);

- the elements previously engaged in the fighting east of Tebessa and those who had participated in the interrupted thrust on Maktar were tired;

- the lower-echelon commanders had had no opportunity to reconnoiter (see above);

- and, in the final analysis, the attack had been ordered over hastily, Pz.A.O.K. 5 had not granted a repeatedly requested postponement by even one day because of Ob.Sued’s insistence.

The fighting near Sidi Nsir.

According to orders, the Panzer point under Major Lueders crossed the most advanced security lines at 0500 hours. Contact with the enemy was made along the mountain ridges east of Sidi Nsir. A swampy spot in the road along the rocky slopes had been infested with most carefully camouflaged mines so that the first Panzer going through had been immobilized and was blocking up the road. Moreover, a rather heavy artillery and mortar fire started, excellently directed from many favorable observation posts in the mountains. Pz. Pioniere sent forward were unable to clear the mine field or to get the immobilized leading Panzer going again, because sheafs of fire coming from M.G. coming mainly from the flanks mowed down every single man. Nevertheless I personally went from Panzer to Panzer, sprinting from one cover to the next, up to the point and past it through the mine field to a spot where the road wound around a projection in the mountain. From that spot I was able to observe many enemy guns along the declining slope and in the bottom of the valley, firing at us. There was no doubt about the situation: for the time being it was impossible to proceed any farther beyond this point. And even if an attempt should be made to push the thrust farther ahead, a great number of Panzer would be knocked out along the winding road into the valley by the numerous enemy artillery pieces, antitank and dual purpose antitank antiaircraft guns. Therefore I gave the order for the I./86 to detruck and proceed on foot making a detour to the south around the mountain range running from northeast (609) toward southwest, to break through to the road Sidi Nsir – Ksar Mezouar, and, taking protective cover to the southwest, to roll up the enemy front in direction toward Sidi Nsir. I was well aware of the fact that this movement would cost precious hours.

Enemy air force activity.

In the meantime the enemy air force had also become more active, since it could not very well miss noticing the huge army column winding its way into the depth without being engaged in any action, and, at the same time, outright inviting an attack. However, hardly any of the enemy planes came very close being held off at a respectful distance by the massed fire from numerous 8.8 centimeter and 2 centimeter guns. The same situation prevailed during the following days: whenever an especially daring flyer, disregarding or underestimating the defensive power of his opponent came too close to the effective range of the latter’s weapons, he was almost always hit by the well aimed fire of the German Flak. A considerable number of planes were shot down during the days.

General Weber, who had joined his troops on the field of action, was given a detailed report. He approved of the measures taken.

Rolling up the front.

Following the orders issued to him, by about evening, Hauptmann Haut (I./86) had not only fought his way through to the Sidi Nsir – Ksar Mezouar Road and thereby interrupted communications to and from Beja, but he also had wheeled toward north with the mass of his troops and was now rolling up the front of the British forces. Some of these were making a stand in Arab huts. During dusk and while rain began to fall, the enemy forces were wiped out and the area mopped up in severe close combat action, the I./86 went through all this in excellent manner.

Success.

Very soon this attack showed results: the fire on the Panzer point slowed up, finally died down completely; right away the engineers cleared the mine field, the immobilized and blocking Panzer was pushed aside, the Panzers drove around the projection in the mountain, down along the winding road, and destroyed the enemy artillery. Several hundred prisoners were taken, at one spot, in a small area, about 25 artillery pieces, antitank guns, and self-propelled mounts were captured.

By then it was absolutely dark and a torrential rain was falling, as is typical in the tropics; therefore the plan immediately to continue the attack had to be given up. The heavy, huge Panzer has great difficulties trying to cross a swampy stretch in the road, bogged down in the mire, so that soon, when the water started rushing down too, it was impossible to get through. Some elements of the Kampfgruppe were assigned to road repair work, again precious hours had to be wasted.

The attack is continued.

Not waiting for additional forces to come up, at 0300 hours on 27 February the attack was continued with Pz.Spaehwagen at the point. Very soon the thrust was stopped by a mine obstacle which had obviously been installed hurriedly. As soon as these mines had been cleared, we started up again, during broad daylight, along the narrow valley flanked by high mountains (717 usw. [?]). The vehicles at the point were approaching the Station of Ksar Mezouar. There the humid valley broadened out; moreover, at this point, the valley is dominated in front by an odd-shaped mountain crest offering ideal opportunities for observation. Once more a broad and deep mine field forced us to stop, then a terrific fire burst out, which convinced us very quickly of the facts that the enemy’s artillery was by far superior, with efficient fire control, and that the enemy had ammunition at his disposal in such amounts as to make one envious. On the other hand, the enemy airplanes had hardly a chance to become active. Once more — as happened on the previous day east of Sidi Nsir — clearing of the mines was impossible because of the fire, and by-passing the obstacle was not possible because of the conditions of the terrain. Consequently there was no choice but to interrupt the attack as it was conducted at the moment, the point had to be loosened up and spread out, a difficult task because of the softness of the soil of the swampy meadows, making any movement practically impossible; the combat vehicles farther to the rear were moved back and into cover. Was it a coincidence then that during this bombardment which lasted for hours and during which many thousands of grenades of all calibers were discharged, not one single Panzer was hit and that only some of the chains were slightly damaged by fragmentation? Under these circumstances the absence of a B-unit was felt very severely, since it would have been able to determine the emplacements of the enemy artillery by hearing devices. Communication with our own air force was good so that our planes were able to slow down enemy batteries in several places.

In order to hold the territory which had been gained, the I./86 — the only infantry forces within the group making the main effort! — was stationed in the front and at either side of the road. Its subsequent objective consisted in taking the pass road east of the Dj. Zebla (716). I requested that I.R. 47 be brought up and assigned to my command for any further action; this request was granted during the night from the 27th to the 28th. What couldn’t even one Geb. Jaeg. Btl. have accomplished there and then!

Upon my request to the Korpsgruppe I was relieved of the responsibility for repair work on the road; this task was assigned to available labor forces. Nevertheless, the Oberbefehlshaber, Gen. Oberst. v. Arnim, who had little time, was unable to cross the bad stretch in the road in the evening when he tried to have a personal conference with me. The difficulties at that spot were not to be underestimated, and by the 28th, in the morning the Rgt. 47 had not yet arrived; it was, therefore, necessary to drop any plans for further attack on Beja for that day. On the other hand our good I./86, under the circumspect and energetic command of its very experienced commander, Hauptmann Haut, pushed forward slowly but steadily across open, rocky terrain below commanding enemy positions arranged like tiers, and finally occupied the road east of the Dj. Zebla and the first hills during a smart fighting engagement, taking prisoners all along.

Towing away the damaged Panzer.

During the night the damaged Panzer, including several Tiger, had been towed away to be repaired. In some instances this maneuver had to be carried out at a distance of only about 100 meters from the enemy forces, and was, therefore, rather exciting. After all, Hitler himself had issued the order that everybody connected would be held responsible whenever a Tiger should fall into enemy hands. A British newspaper reported in connection with this attack on Beja that — I do not recall the exact figure given — 30 (?) German Panzer had been shot to pieces, but that the Germans were past masters in the art of towing them away during the night.

During the night some Panzer in the point had succeeded in opening up a path through the mine field despite the fire from the alert enemy artillery; they advanced on the 28th, took the Station of Ksar Mezouar, but were unable to make any further gains of consequence. A follow-up thrust made by additional forces warded off the danger of renewed mining to the rear of the advance-guard point. These few Panzer performed exceedingly well and managed to fight their way back during the night from 28 February to 1 March or during the following nights, using their last drop of fuel.

During the day (28) the I./47 arrived gradually; it was committed according to further plans to action south of the road where it gained ground slowly. Through the intervention of Major i.G. Moll on the staff of the Oberbefehlshaber, whom I had asked to do so when he was in my command post, I succeeded in “having a fire built under” the II./47. As a matter of fact, its bulk arrived toward evening.

Plan for 1 March.

The plan for the following day, intended to bring about a decision, was as follows:

The II./47 was to make an enveloping movement to the right, pass to the south of 717, cross the pass road to the northeast of the Dj. Zebla (reconnaissance had reported this area free from enemy forces), wheel about to the north of 716 to reach the road west of the Dj. Zebla, and make a thrust from there along that road to the south and into the rear of the enemy forces. It was not anticipated that there would be considerable resistance. The commander had been fully informed that the thrust made by his battalion would bring about the decision. According to our time calculations he should reach the railroad line on 1 March not later than 0200 hours, or at least this line should be within the range of his weapons by that time.

At that moment (about 0200 hours) — the start of the attack to be determined later on — the I./47 was to assemble for an attack and, taking advantage of the effects of the II./47′s action, it was to gain the exit from the valley to the south of the road, while the I./86 at the same time was assigned north of the road to take the Dj. Zebla. Additional orders for the taking of Beja had been issued on the basis of excellent air pictures.

The II./I.R. 47.

The II./47 assembled toward evening of the 28 February for an envelopment planned to bring about a decision, encountering no interference from the enemy. Several hours went by, but the ordered intermediate reports from it did not come in. Searching patrols made up of officers were sent out, found the road east of 716 free from enemy forces, located some men of the battalion aimlessly wandering about, but did not find either the battalion or its commander. Vehicles, weapons, and ammunition had been left behind indicating that the enemy forces had moved away from the spot in a hurry. No additional dispositions could be taken, since everything depended on the action of the II./47′s commander; consequently, there was nothing left to do but wait. However, by daybreak (1 March) still nothing had happened — the battalion had completely disappeared, there was no battle noise coming from its route.

And so the day of 1 March was used to complete minor offensive operations to improve the lines on either side of the road and to prepare for the changing over to defensive action. Any chance for a surprise effect had long since slipped by because of the delayed arrival of Rgt. 47; and the idea to bring Beja into our possession had vanished too, because a lower-echelon commander had missed his chance to distinguish himself by failing to fulfill an ideally beautiful mission assigned to him. Supposedly, II./47 had lost its way.

Success.

The thrust made by the Kampfgruppe through Sidi Nsir on Beja was a success even though the objective was not fully reached. A gain in terrain of about 30 kilometers depth was achieved and considerable damage was inflicted upon the enemy even though he was superior in strength, especially as far as artillery, ammunition, and the air force was concerned, and even though he was stationed in positions prepared for defensive actions during several weeks of work; conversely, our own losses were comparatively slight.

What we learned.

Among other things, the operation “Beja” taught us the following lessons; (as has been already critically pointed out in the preceding pages):

A “spontaneous attack” (except during crises) may be made only against an enemy who is inferior either in strength, or in equipment, or in morale; or against an enemy who has already been shaken; or against an enemy who has not yet had an opportunity to prepare his defense. Neither of these conditions prevailed in this case, just the opposite! It is true that Ob.Sued was constantly pressing Pz.A.O.K. 5 for action; nevertheless, Pz.A.O.K. 5 could not possibly place the blame for the fact that Beja remained British on anybody else but itself.

Change in command.

My mission at the point of main effort of the attack in the northern front was terminated, the defense organized, and I was able to hand over the sector to Oberst Busse, Kdr. I.R. 47, still during the following night.

At 0600 hours on 2 March I had to report to Tunis for a conference to decide on the plans for an attack to follow immediately, which once more had the taking of Medjez el Bab for its objective.

 

Sidi Nsir and Hunt’s Gap

This map from The Royal Hampshire Regiment: 1918-1954 shows the battles at Sidi Nsir and Hunt’s Gap in Tunisia in February-March 1943. The German forces overran the British units at Sidi Nsir but were halted at Hunt’s Gap near Ksar Mezouar. The Tiger Grave at Beja is located near the point marked “German tanks hit by artillery”.

Panzer III of sPzAbt. 501 in Tunisia

Photographs of Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. N of sPzAbt. 501 in Tunisia:


No. 03 Panzer III Ausf. N of sPzAbt. 501 in Tunisia 03
04
 
N/A
 
 
05
Picture of 05 does exist in private collection.
 
07
No. 113 Panzer III Ausf. N of sPzAbt. 501 in Tunisia 113
124
133
134
143
 
N/A
 
 
222
Picture of 222 does exist. To be added.
 
 
242
Knocked out by the British in January 1943.
 
832
Knocked out near Beja during Operation Ochsenkopf.
 
844
Knocked out, probably during Operation Ochsenkopf.

sPzAbt. 501 Organization

The following table shows the organization of sPzAbt. 501 in Tunisia. This organization is consistent with existing photographs, however, considerable disagreement remains among researchers on the tactical numbering of the panzers in the command Trupp of each Kompanie.

In the chart below:

  • Black icons = photographic evidence.
  • Grey icons = no photographic evidence.
Stabskompanie
Tiger
01
Tiger
02
Pz III
03
Pz III
04
Pz III
05
Pz III
06
Pz III
07
1st Kompanie
Tiger
11
Pz III
12 (?)
Pz III
13 (?)
Tiger
111
Tiger
112
Pz III
113
Pz III
114
Tiger
121
Tiger
122
Pz III
123
Pz III
124
Tiger
131
Tiger
132
Pz III
133
Pz III
134
Tiger
141
Tiger
142
Pz III
143
Pz III
144
2nd Kompanie
Tiger
21 (?)
Pz III
22 (?)
Pz III
23 (?)
Tiger
211
Pz III
212
Tiger
213
Pz III
214
Tiger
221
Pz III
222
Tiger
223
Pz III
224
Tiger
231
Pz III
232
Tiger
233
Pz III
234
Tiger
241
Pz III
242
Tiger
243
Pz III
244

An original German report lists the tactical numbers of all nine Tigers in 1. Ko. including Tiger #11.

Thomas Anderson in “Des Tiger dans les Djebels” identifies the following panzers as confirmed (“Numéros confirmés par photographies ou rapports originaux”): 01, 02, 03, 04, 07, 111, 112, 113, 114, 121, 122, 123, 124, 131, 132, 133, 134, 141, 142, 143, 144, 213, 222, 223, 231, 232, 233, and 242.

References:

Misc. Comments on the Tigers of sPzAbt. 501 in Tunisia

sPzAbt. 501 received 20 Tigers—2 Tigers in September 1942, 8 Tigers in October, and 10 Tigers in November. The Tigers of the 501st were transferred to Tunisia between November 1942 and January 1943. Two Tigers served in the Stab [01 and 02 (unconfirmed)], 9 Tigers in the 1st Ko. [11 (source: Jentz), 111, 112, 121, 122, 131, 132, 141, 142] and 9 Tigers in the 2nd Ko. [?? (unknown), 211, 213, 221, 223, 231, 233, 241, 243). The Tigers of the 1st Ko. and 2nd Ko. were extensively modified and are easily distinguished from other units.

For a good selection of sPzAbt. 501 Tiger photographs, see Tiger im Focus - sPzAbt. 501.

Photographic Record:

  • Only one confirmed photograph of a Stab Tiger exists (01), so the exact features of the Stab Tigers are unknown.
  • Identifiable photographs exist of all the 1st Ko. Tigers except Tiger 11. Tiger 121 is unique among the 1st Ko. Tigers in having the shovel mounts on the front glacis plate.
  • Identifiable photographs exist of 2nd Ko. Tigers 231, 241, and 243. Tiger 231 and 243 carried spare track links on the lower front plate, while Tiger 241 did not.
  • In February 1943, the 501st was redesignated as the 7th Ko. and 8th Ko. of 10th Panzer Division. Presumably the 1st Ko. Tigers were also renumbered at this time, although no photographic proof exists that the Tigers were renumbered before the additional reorganization described below. For example, a photograph exists of Tiger 142 during Operation Ochsenkopf alongside photographs of renumbered 8th Ko. Tigers.
  • The Tigers of 2nd Ko. were renumbered as 8th Ko. and identifiable photographs exist of 813, 823, and 833. 823 is noteworthy in having the reinforced mantlet. 833 is noteworthy in having the new hinged front mudguards.
  • After the heavy losses in Operation Ochsenkopf, the Tigers were consolidated into a single company and renumbered as 7th Ko. Identifiable photographs show Tigers 712 [formerly 2 Ko.], 724 [formerly 112 as recognizable from battle damage], 731 [formerly?], and 732 [formerly 1 Ko.].

Tiger Characteristics:

The following characteristics are visible in photographs of Tigers of the unit:


No. Cross Size New Mud Guards Reinf. Mantlet Front Shovel Notes
01 small ? N ?
111 large ? ? ?
112 large N N N
121 large N N Y
122 large N N N
131 large N N N
132 large N N N
141 large N N N
142 large N N N Destroyed near Beja.
UNK1 large N N Y Destroyed near Beja.
UNK2 small N N Y “Heidi” on front plate.
UNK3 small N N ? Tiger painted behind headlight.
22? ? N Y ?
231 ? N ? ?
241 ? N ? ?
243 ? N ? ?
811 ? ? ? ? Destroyed turret photographed near Beja.
813 small ? ? ?
82? small N Y Y Photographed on road near Sidi Nsir. May be same as 823.
823 small N Y ? Destroyed near Beja.
833 small Y N ? Destroyed near Beja.
712 small Y N Y Aberdeen Tiger. Formerly 2 Ko.
724 large N N N Formerly 1 Ko. Tiger 112 (from battle damage).
731 large N ? N Norbert? Characteristics of both formerly 1 Ko. and 2 Ko.
732 large N ? ? Formerly 1 Ko.

 

Battle of Sidi Nsir

In an effort to extend the Tunis bridgehead, the Germans launched Operation Ochsenkopf in February 1943. Kampfgruppe Lang, containing sPzAbt. 501 and elements of 10th Panzer Division, struck at British forces at Sidi Nsir. After a hard battle, the German forces overran the British infantry and artillery and captured Sidi Nsir. The British resistance gained time to establish defenses at Hunt’s Gap which halted Kampfgruppe Lang’s advance toward Beja.

The Bundesarchiv archive contains several photos of the aftermath of the Battle of Sidi Nsir.

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-05A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-05A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

 
101I-557-1020-05A
German soldiers and wounded British soldiers at the northeast end of the Sidi Nsir station.
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-18A, Appe.  (Creative Commons License.)

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-18A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

 
101I-557-1020-18A
Another view of the British wounded and German soldiers at the northeast end of the station. A Kubelwagen ambulance has arrived and one stretcher has been loaded. The name of the station, Sidi Nsir, is visible on the station sign.
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-20A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-20A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

 
101I-557-1020-20A
A German halftrack tows an antitank gun through a gap in the British wire. The halftrack has just passed through the intersection and is moving toward the Sidi Nsir station. The road to the left goes to Tebourba while the road to Beja is barely visible in the background behind the halftrack.
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-26A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-26A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

 
101I-557-1020-26A
Another view of the group of German soldiers shown beside the halftrack. The rocky hills behind the soldiers are also shown in photograph 05A.
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-27A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-27A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

 
101I-557-1020-27A
A photograph showing the southwest end of the train station along with motorcycles, halftrack, Kubelwagen, and a captured U.S. halftack in German service. In the background are the sheds and boxcar visible in other photographs.
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-33A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1020-33A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

 
101I-557-1020-33A
A column of German troops and British prisoners leaves Sidi Nsir heading along the railroad tracks in the direction of Mateur. The Sidi Nsir station is visible in the background.
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1023-27A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-557-1023-27A, Appe. (Creative Commons License.)

101I-557-1023-27A
German light flak setup in the road intersection. On the left, behind the 20-mm flak, is the road to Tebourba. The road and railroad to Beja is visible in the background with traffic moving in both directions.

101I-557-1023-26A is a nearly identical photograph of the same scene.

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-788-0032-19, Dullin. (Creative Commons License.)

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-788-0032-19, Dullin. (Creative Commons License.)

 
101I-788-0032-19: A photograph from a second photographer showing a PzKpfw. III Ausf. N belonging to sPzAbt. 501 parked at the southwest end of the Sidi Nsir station.

Tiger Grave at Beja [Updated]

The kernel of the following map originated with discussions started on several Internet forums related to WWII German armor, especially the lengthy discussions in the Missing Lynx Axis WWII Discussion Group.

Tiger Grave at Beja
Photos:


P1

P2

P3

P4

P5

P6

P7

P8

P9

P10

P11

P12

P13

P14

P15

P16

P17

P18

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P20

P21

P22

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P24

P25

P26

P27

P28

P29

P30

P31

P32

P33

P34

P35

P36

P37

P38
Photograph Sources:
P1 – P24: LIFE Images.
P25: Missing Lynx Axis WWII Discussion Group.
P26: Missing Lynx Axis WWII Discussion Group.
P27 – P28: Wehrmacht-Awards.com Militaria Forums
P29: Online auction.
P30: Missing Lynx Axis WWII Discussion Group.
P31: Missing Lynx Axis WWII Discussion Group.
P32: Online auction.
P33: Missing Lynx Axis WWII Discussion Group.
P34: “The Red Bulletin,” Vol. I, No. 5, April 14, 1945. [Link]
P35 – P38: Online auction.