Tuesday, December 19, 2023

King Tigers last stand in France

 King Tigers last stand in France 

316 & 302 Funklenk-Panzerkompanie, France 1944

Borgward IV 

As always I like to research units before I build them, many people are unaware Tiger II seen combat against Americans in France in 1944.

The Funklenk-panzerkompanie 316 fought in Normandy with tiger I, StuG and the Borgward IV, leaving the 3rd company of Tiger II behind in Saint Denis. The 3rd company Tiger II reformed as Funklenk-panzerkompanie 302 in Eure de Loir. American troops advancing east after the collapse of the front after Pattons 3rd Army breakout and collapse of the 7th Army met the Tiger II on advance to Orleans and Chartres at Chateaudun. 

 I plan to build both units this coming year as I have spare StuG, Tiger I and Tiger II kits not assigned to units currently and I have a Borgward IV B also. 


The 6th Company /Panzer-Versuchs-und-Ersatz-Abteilung 300 (Fkl) was raised April 1st 1943 with Field Post no. 56041. According to order no. 6039/43 of OrgAbt. I OKH/GenstdH on July 13, 1943, the company was renamed Panzerkompanie (Fkl) 316. The original equipment was to consist of 36 Borgward BIV and 10 StuGs. On September 21 it was transferred to Fallingbostel, where the unit was assigned to Panzer Lehr Regimental training grounds. This was followed by exercises and trials in the regimental context at the military training area there. 

On September 30th the PzLhrRgt. Received three Tigers I , and received eight more Tigers on October 8th
These were transferred to the PzKp. ( Fkl ) 316 , which used it to test the Tiger I in the lead control vehicle detonation role.

In mid-January 1944, the order came that the 316th should be equipped with Tiger II as an experimental company, it was renamed the 1st Heavy Tank Company (Fkl) . At the end of February 1944 it was transferred to Panzer Ersatz Abteilung 500 in Paderborn for training on the new tank. Since the Panzer Jager Lehr Regiment 130 had not yet received a PzJg IV, the company had to them hand over their 10 StuGs to them from the third company. On March 14th the five Tiger II arrived, on March 22nd the personnel sent to Paderborn for training returned to the unit. 

A status report from April 2, 1944 states the following vehicles: 

5 Tiger II 
3 Tiger Ie
51 SdKfz. 301 Ausf B and Ausf C borgward IV
4 3t tractors
1 1-ton tractor 
9 heavy trucks 
3 light trucks 
1 medium-sized truck 
3 staff cars 
6 sidecar motorcycles 
2 light motorcycles 

At the end of April 1944, the Panzer Lehr Division received the order to relocate to France and remain available there as an operational reserve, 316 FKL also moved by rail, the the HQ and radio control company moved into quarters at Saint Denis-les-Ponts, next to Chateaudun. 

On May 18th, the divisional HQ ordered that the 3./PzJgLhrAbt. 130 had to return the ten StuGs. As the 5 Tiger II were hardly operational due to technical problems.

When the Allied invasion began on June 6, 1944, the Tiger IIs of III coy was left at Saint Denis for ongoing repairs and also to be part of the operations reserve for the airfield at Chateaudun from airborne attack. The I and II company’s moved to Normandy attached to Panzer Lehr.  

Combat in Normandy  

On June 8th the StuGs supported panzer Lehr grenadier regiment 902 during a counterattack, it is unknown if the Tiger Is were involved in this counterattack.

On June 11, the company proved its worth as a radio control unit, repelling a heavy British attack in several counterattacks. In the days that followed, the StuGs were mainly used to support the counter attacks with the Panzer Grenadier Lehr Regiment 902, there were only a few attacks using the Borgward units driven in the radio control process. 

On June 19, the Kp. was involved in heavy fighting around Tilly-sur-Seulles , almost all StuGs in the unit were damaged, and one was a total loss. Company commander Meinhardt was killed, as was the leader of the 2nd platoon, Lt. Fisherman.

On June 22 the unit was no longer operational, the remaining vehicles three Tiger I and 4 remaining StuG and 40 PzIV Borgward units withdrawn to Reims for refitting and placed back in reserve. The AHA (Staff I (1)) issued the order No. 27220/44, according to which the first company was renamed as Panzerabteilung FKL 302 and remain in Chateaudun with 7th Armee reserve. The company of Tiger I, remaining II company of StuG control, Borgward IV and Headquarters deployed in Reims and remained as Panzerabteilung FKL 316. On August 19- 24th 316 is withdrawn and redeployed East to Warsaw for the uprising. 

Panzerabteilung (Fkl) 302

On the 13th of July The First company of Panzerabteilung 316 Tiger II is posted south to 7th Armee reserve. Posted to Orleans region to take up position Chateaudun - Nogent-Le-Rotrou line moving by train. On the 15th of July tiger 03 is moved by train and unloaded at Nogent-Le-Rotrou to be presented to officers of 7th army HQ, the vehicle subsequently broke down and remained there and was later stripped for parts. 

Tiger II 03 broken down at Nogent Le Rotrou 

The breakthrough during Operation Cobra of the Americans at Avaranches on the 31st July seen the unit activated as part of the Pays de Loire defensive line. The breakthrough of the US 3rd army across the Mayenne River defence line on the 5th of August, then the capture of 7th Army HQ on the 8th of August at Le Mans, meant that the south eastern and North eastern main road routes were now open to Orleans Chartres and Paris.

8th August Le Mans is captured the German 7th Army HQ (those not captured) retreats east to Chartres  

On August 9th the first company of five Tiger II at Chateaudun and were manned by scratch crews and deployed into a defensive position south of the Loir river defending the river crossing, the nearby airfield and the gateway to the open wheat plains east to Orleans-Chartres. 

Defense of the crossing of the Loir river at Chateaudun

Schwere Panzer-Kompanie (Fkl). It had 5 Tiger II numbered:

N°02 : destroyed by American Anti tank fire at Janvillle, Eure-de-Loire on August 18th 
N°03 broken down 15th July during unloading from train stripped for parts, Nogent-Le-Rotrou, Pays de Loire. 
N°10, destroyed by crew the at Varize 17th August 1944
N°11 broken down and abandoned by crew Chateaudun 17th August 1944 
N°12 damaged by artillery fire a south of Chateaudun, abandoned by crew, 16/17th August. 
N°13 abandoned by crew and destroyed Chateaudun on the night of August 16/17 August.

13.08.44 They are deployed within the city defense against the approaching US Army. Tiger no. “10” is positioned in the northwest at the N155, “13” stands in the west near the N827, “12” is in position at the junction N10/N824, the two remaining tanks — “02” and “11” — cover the river Loir to the north at the Place le Mail.

15.08.44 the US third recon platoon approaching from Montigny-Le-Ganellon runs into tank “12”. The crews of three vehicles are captured by the supporting German infantry. One US Jeep and one M8 are destroyed. Later this tank retires to the Rue de Varize.

16.08.44 Tiger “13” is being shelled by US artillery without any effect. Tank “12” fires several rounds with the main gun bringing an enemy advance to a standstill (destruction of a M10 from the 654th TD battalion). In the evening tank “10” leaves its position and joins “02” and “11” at Le Mail.

17.08.44 During the night tanks “12” and “13” are left behind by their crews. “12” is set on fire. The other three tanks drive to the Boulevard Kellermann at approximately 0300 hours. Arriving there Tiger “11” breaks down and is left behind. The other two tanks take the N155 to the east and get to Varize in the following night. Tiger “10” then breaks down and is retrieved for a short distance by “02”.

18.08.44 At approximately 2000 hours Tiger “10” is blown up. “02” continues its way towards Janville-en-Beauce on the D927 . Shortly before approaching Toury the tank suddenly is hit by AT fire, makes a sharp turn to the left (final drive damage ?), runs over a tree and comes to a stop. It is abandoned by the crew.

Map of destroyed German units from Panzer Lehr, 17th SS and FKL302

No10 abandoned at Varize

Tiger 11 no 11 abandoned in Chateaudun, 46 Rue Kellerman note the round entry point from a M10

Tiger II no 11 was towed off the road and dumped

Tiger II no 11, abandoned where the current NOZ is located corner Rue Constantin and 55 Rue Kellerman 

King Tiger no 11

King Tiger no10 in Chateaudun

The last king Tiger between Janville-en-Beauce and Toury 


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