Three German schwere Panzer Abteilung equipped with Tiger I tanks fought in
Normandy against Allied invasion forces. In addition, a small number of Tiger I
tanks may have also reached Normandy with the Panzer Lehr Division.
• s.Pz.Abt. 503 was transferred to Normandy with 33 Tiger I and
12 Tiger II, reaching action in early July 1944. The 33 Tiger I were
all shipped in June 1944. Photographs of the unit's Tigers are very limited. Technical
features are similar to late Tigers shipped to the other units. However, possible
distinguishing features include spare track not mounted on front plate, spare track stowed
outside hull MG mount and driver's visor, and Pilze sockets on turret roof. Camouflage
was similiar to other units, but on at least some vehicles, the Balkankreuz were
unusually large. Tactical numbers were thin, neatly stencilled with white outline and
dark, probably black, interior. (An excellent photo reference for s.Pz.Abt. 503
is the book 45 Tiger en Normandie la s. Pz.Abt. 503 by Didier Lodieu.)
• s.SS-Pz.Abt. 101 received 45 Tiger I in deliveries in
October 1943 (10), January 1944 (8 or 9), and April 1944 (25 or 26). The unit
reached Normandy in early June and Michael Wittmann and the 1st and 2nd Ko. fought
in the well-known battle of Villers-Bocage on June 13. The unit's Tigers included
both the rubber-wheel and steel-wheel variants. Spare track was mounted on the front
plate of most, but not all, of the unit's Tigers. Each Kompanie carried the distinctive
unit marking of crossed keys in a shield, on the front and rear. In addition, the
1st Ko. also carried a panzer lozenge with an "S" and a small "1" on the front and
rear plates. Tactical numbers were fairly large and dark with white outline, except
for the command tanks.
• s.SS-Pz.Abt. 102 was transferred to Normandy with 45 Tiger I, reaching
action in early July. The unit was originally shipped six Tiger I in April 1944 and
39 Tiger I in May 1944. Again, photographs of the unit's Tigers are very
limited. Technical features would be identical to late Tigers shipped
to s.Pz.Abt. 503 and s.SS-Pz.Abt. 101. However, the
unit appears not to have mounted spare track on the front plate. Camouflage was
large patches of color which on some vehicles
leads to the appearance of lines of the original dunkelgelb. Tactical numbers were thin,
neatly stencilled with white outline and dark interior. Tactical numbers on the turret
sides were often sloped, being aligned with the slope of the turret roof. Some Tigers
carried a single underlined "S" rune painted on the zimmerit on the front and/or rear plates.
• Panzer Lehr Division was issued ten Tiger I in September-October 1943
and five Tiger II in February-March 1944. Of the ten Tiger I, three
Tiger were listed as still with the division in summer 1944. The division reported six of
eight Tigers operational on June 1 and three Tigers operational
on July 1. Whether any Tiger I actually travelled with the division
to Normandy, and the eventual fate of the Tiger I are unknown.
• Agte, Patrick. Michael Wittmann and the Tiger Commanders
of the Leibstandarte
. J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing, Inc., Winnipeg,
• Jentz, Thomas L. Germany's Tiger Tanks Tiger I & II: Combat Tactics. Schiffer
Publishing Ltd., Atglan, PA, 1997.
• Jentz, Tom and Hilary Doyle. Tiger I Heavy Tank 1942-1945. Osprey,
• Lodieu, Didier. 45 Tiger en Normandie la s. Pz.Abt. 503. Ysec
Editions (www.ysec.fr), Louviers, 2002.
• Marie, Henri. Villers-Bocage: Champ de bataille Le Combat des Tigres. Editions
• Restayn, Jean. Tiger I on the Western Front. Histoire & Collections,
• Schneider, Wolfgang. Tigers in Combat Volume I & II. J.J. Fedorowicz
Publishing, Inc., Winnipeg, Canada, 1998.