About this Tiger unit
The SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Das Reich" was a Waffen-SS division, in service from 1940 onwards. After huge losses on the Eastern Front it was sent to France in 1942 to be rebuilt. Heavy tank companies equipped with Tigers were mandated for SS regiments in November 1942, so "Das Reich" formed its 8th company. Training began in December and two Tiger E soon arrived, followed by eight more in January. The division had only these ten Tigers, and their accompanying Pz.3, until April 1943.
The 8th company had a single Befehlstiger, one of the first ever built. Its other nine Tigers were a slightly later version with standard side skirts and the S-mine system. They all had the 1.4m wide turret bin, which did not fit properly; this company's unique solution was to cut a notch in each side. The organisation was two staff Tigers ("800","801") and four platoons. The ranks were filled out with Pz.3. The Tigers were originally painted in the first "tropical" scheme (RAL 8000 / RAL 7008) but were apparently whitewashed by the company before deployment.
The company was sent into Kharkiv at the beginning of February 1943, debarking from trains in the central railway station. German forces withdrew from this city on the 12th and the company fell back to Merefa. By mid March the company was fighting its way through Kharkiv again and eventually reached Belgorod. In late March it returned for rest and repairs in Kharkiv. The Tigers were then painted in camouflage colours.
The company had lost 2 Tigers by now, so they renumbered their tanks; the staff Tigers as "801" and "802", plus 3 platoons. On the 24th of April, the head of the SS visited and observed a field exercise.
Six additional Tigers were delivered on May the 13th (again in "tropical" colours). A week later the company was reorganised, giving away its Pz.3 and becoming the "heavy" company of "Das Reich". The new Tigers were not numbered before the reorganisation so they are not listed here.
Some Tigers of this unit
- Tiger 821 then 813 then S11
- Tiger 800 then S01
- Tiger 841 then 821 then S21
- Tiger 842
- Tiger 812 then 833 then S34
- Tiger 832 then 823 then S24
- Tiger 831
- Tiger 801 then 802 then S02
- Tiger 822 then 811 then S13
- Tiger 811 then 831 then S33 then S22