Tiger ‘231’ of the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 505 in Vitebsk sector, winter 1943-44. Some tanks of this unit had the identification numerals painted on the gun barrels. Note the unit symbol, a charging knight on horseback on the forward turret side.

Tiger ‘231’ of the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 505 in Vitebsk sector, winter 1943-44. Some tanks of this unit had the identification numerals painted on the gun barrels. Note the unit symbol, a charging knight on horseback on the forward turret side.

Kill and Loss Ratio of the Schwere Panzer-Abteilungen (1942–1945)
More than 50% of the losses were due to the crews destroying their vehicles (as a result of the lack of fuel, breakdown or mechanical problems and other reasons). Losses include losses inflicted other than by enemy tanks. 

Kill and Loss Ratio of the Schwere Panzer-Abteilungen (1942–1945)

More than 50% of the losses were due to the crews destroying their vehicles (as a result of the lack of fuel, breakdown or mechanical problems and other reasons). Losses include losses inflicted other than by enemy tanks. 

Tiger Aces. The table contains the Tiger Aces sorted by the number of tanks destroyed. Kurt Knispel is the highest scoring Tiger Ace and also the greatest tank ace of all time.
Note: s.Pz.Abt. stands for schwere Panzer-Abteilung and s.SS-Pz. Abt. for schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung.
Not all Tiger Aces portraits are pictured. The table is incomplete and missing more aces.
Zoom Info
Tiger Aces. The table contains the Tiger Aces sorted by the number of tanks destroyed. Kurt Knispel is the highest scoring Tiger Ace and also the greatest tank ace of all time.
Note: s.Pz.Abt. stands for schwere Panzer-Abteilung and s.SS-Pz. Abt. for schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung.
Not all Tiger Aces portraits are pictured. The table is incomplete and missing more aces.
Zoom Info

Tiger AcesThe table contains the Tiger Aces sorted by the number of tanks destroyed. Kurt Knispel is the highest scoring Tiger Ace and also the greatest tank ace of all time.

Note: s.Pz.Abt. stands for schwere Panzer-Abteilung and s.SS-Pz. Abt. for schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung.

Not all Tiger Aces portraits are pictured. The table is incomplete and missing more aces.

A 13./SS-Panzer-Regiment 1 Tiger Tank fires its main gun into enemy position to provide suppressive counter fire near Petrivka (east of Vinnytsia), Ukraine, February 1944. This was one of the new replacement tanks that were delivered that month and has a small black 2 on the forward art of the turret and on the rear turret stowage box as a tactical identifier. 13./SS-Panzer-Regiment 1 was a schwere Panzer-Kompanie equipped with Tiger tanks for the Leibstandarte Division which was established at Fallingbostel at the end of November 1942.
Zoom Info
A 13./SS-Panzer-Regiment 1 Tiger Tank fires its main gun into enemy position to provide suppressive counter fire near Petrivka (east of Vinnytsia), Ukraine, February 1944. This was one of the new replacement tanks that were delivered that month and has a small black 2 on the forward art of the turret and on the rear turret stowage box as a tactical identifier. 13./SS-Panzer-Regiment 1 was a schwere Panzer-Kompanie equipped with Tiger tanks for the Leibstandarte Division which was established at Fallingbostel at the end of November 1942.
Zoom Info
A 13./SS-Panzer-Regiment 1 Tiger Tank fires its main gun into enemy position to provide suppressive counter fire near Petrivka (east of Vinnytsia), Ukraine, February 1944. This was one of the new replacement tanks that were delivered that month and has a small black 2 on the forward art of the turret and on the rear turret stowage box as a tactical identifier. 13./SS-Panzer-Regiment 1 was a schwere Panzer-Kompanie equipped with Tiger tanks for the Leibstandarte Division which was established at Fallingbostel at the end of November 1942.
Zoom Info

A 13./SS-Panzer-Regiment 1 Tiger Tank fires its main gun into enemy position to provide suppressive counter fire near Petrivka (east of Vinnytsia), Ukraine, February 1944. This was one of the new replacement tanks that were delivered that month and has a small black 2 on the forward art of the turret and on the rear turret stowage box as a tactical identifier. 13./SS-Panzer-Regiment 1 was a schwere Panzer-Kompanie equipped with Tiger tanks for the Leibstandarte Division which was established at Fallingbostel at the end of November 1942.

Wiking Panther is seen in a probably posed, but believable, battle shot in the Kovel sector, spring 1944. The tank is overall Sand Yellow with broad brush strokes of Red Brown and Olive Green. If this is an actual combat photo, the grenadier is a little close to the Panther for the comfort.

Wiking Panther is seen in a probably posed, but believable, battle shot in the Kovel sector, spring 1944. The tank is overall Sand Yellow with broad brush strokes of Red Brown and Olive Green. If this is an actual combat photo, the grenadier is a little close to the Panther for the comfort.

Upon it’s escape from Cherkassy pocket, Wiking was sent to Poland where it was re-equipped with at least eight companies of Panther Ausf. As. Then the Soviet probes at Kovel in March 1944 brought Wiking back into the battle again. Here, Panther ‘823’ covers the progression of the panzergrenadiers in the spring of 1944. This tank was coated in Zimmerit and has received one of the wide array of different three colour camouflage patterns adopted by the Wiking Division.

Upon it’s escape from Cherkassy pocket, Wiking was sent to Poland where it was re-equipped with at least eight companies of Panther Ausf. As. Then the Soviet probes at Kovel in March 1944 brought Wiking back into the battle again. Here, Panther ‘823’ covers the progression of the panzergrenadiers in the spring of 1944. This tank was coated in Zimmerit and has received one of the wide array of different three colour camouflage patterns adopted by the Wiking Division.

A photograph that amply conveys the conditions faced by the men of the Wiking Division in the Cherkassy Pocket in early 1944.

A photograph that amply conveys the conditions faced by the men of the Wiking Division in the Cherkassy Pocket in early 1944.

The Winter of 1943-44 saw a continuation of the fierce fighting in the Ukraine. For Wiking (was on the inside) and Leibstandarte (part of the relief force) it meant the bloody battle of the Korsun pocket, called Cherkassy by the Germans.
In January 1944 Wiking Division was encircled in the pocket at Cherkassy along with four other German divisions. An unseasonal rise in temperature caused a sudden thaw which turned the terrain into a boggy morass, making movement all but impossible. The airfield within the pocket, which the Luftwaffe was using to resupply the beleaguered divisions, was rendered unusable. Constant pressure from the Soviets saw the salient shrink rapidly, until it measured 65 square kilometres (40 square miles) by 9 February. This time, unlike Stalingrad, Hitler authorized a breakout by the trapped units. The Soviets, however, had thrown a ring of more than 35 divisions around the salient, and any escape attempt by the trapped forces looked unlikely to succeed. The only armoured unit in the pocket, the 5 SS Panzer Division Wiking, commanded by SS-Obergruppenführer Herbert Otto Gille, would cover the flanks, while SS Sturmbrigade Wallonie (which was attached to Wiking Division) formed the rearguard.
Escape from the Cherkassy Pocket
On the night of 16 February, the breakout began. Movement over the waterlogged terrain was difficult, and once the Soviets became aware of what was happening a murderous barrage of artillery and rocket fire was laid down on the retreating soldiers. SS Sturmbrigade Wallonie suffered dreadful losses covering the rearguard. As the remnants of the brigade drew near to the German lines, they were in danger of being swamped by the mass of pursuing Soviets. In a typical example of the type of self-sacrifice to which the Waffen-SS units would become accustomed, Wiking’s few remaining panzers turned back and held off the enemy for just long enough to allow the last of the brigade to reach the German lines, before being overrun.
Of about 56,000 troops trapped in the pocket, some 40,000, including the wounded flown out of the pocket, escaped with their lives, and despite the fact that a great deal of equipment had been left behind, a major disaster had been averted. If the pocket had been totally destroyed, Manstein’s Army Group South would have been dealt a fatal blow. 
For the distinguished performance of their troops, both Gille and SS-Hauptsturmführer Léon Degrelle, commander of the Walloons, were summoned to Hitler’s headquarters in Prussia and decorated. Gille received the Swords, and Degrelle the Knights Cross.

The Winter of 1943-44 saw a continuation of the fierce fighting in the Ukraine. For Wiking (was on the inside) and Leibstandarte (part of the relief force) it meant the bloody battle of the Korsun pocket, called Cherkassy by the Germans.

In January 1944 Wiking Division was encircled in the pocket at Cherkassy along with four other German divisions. An unseasonal rise in temperature caused a sudden thaw which turned the terrain into a boggy morass, making movement all but impossible. The airfield within the pocket, which the Luftwaffe was using to resupply the beleaguered divisions, was rendered unusable. Constant pressure from the Soviets saw the salient shrink rapidly, until it measured 65 square kilometres (40 square miles) by 9 February. This time, unlike Stalingrad, Hitler authorized a breakout by the trapped units. The Soviets, however, had thrown a ring of more than 35 divisions around the salient, and any escape attempt by the trapped forces looked unlikely to succeed. The only armoured unit in the pocket, the 5 SS Panzer Division Wiking, commanded by SS-Obergruppenführer Herbert Otto Gille, would cover the flanks, while SS Sturmbrigade Wallonie (which was attached to Wiking Division) formed the rearguard.

Escape from the Cherkassy Pocket

On the night of 16 February, the breakout began. Movement over the waterlogged terrain was difficult, and once the Soviets became aware of what was happening a murderous barrage of artillery and rocket fire was laid down on the retreating soldiers. SS Sturmbrigade Wallonie suffered dreadful losses covering the rearguard. As the remnants of the brigade drew near to the German lines, they were in danger of being swamped by the mass of pursuing Soviets. In a typical example of the type of self-sacrifice to which the Waffen-SS units would become accustomed, Wiking’s few remaining panzers turned back and held off the enemy for just long enough to allow the last of the brigade to reach the German lines, before being overrun.

Of about 56,000 troops trapped in the pocket, some 40,000, including the wounded flown out of the pocket, escaped with their lives, and despite the fact that a great deal of equipment had been left behind, a major disaster had been averted. If the pocket had been totally destroyed, Manstein’s Army Group South would have been dealt a fatal blow. 

For the distinguished performance of their troops, both Gille and SS-Hauptsturmführer Léon Degrelle, commander of the Walloons, were summoned to Hitler’s headquarters in Prussia and decorated. Gille received the Swords, and Degrelle the Knights Cross.

SS-Untersturmführer Paul Barten (foreground) with an SS-Unterscharführer from the Regiment Germania of the Wiking Division in a defensive positions in the spring of 1944. During this time, Wiking Division saw fierce combat in the Kovel sector.

SS-Untersturmführer Paul Barten (foreground) with an SS-Unterscharführer from the Regiment Germania of the Wiking Division in a defensive positions in the spring of 1944. During this time, Wiking Division saw fierce combat in the Kovel sector.

Herbert Otto Gille is seen here as an SS-Gruppenführer and commander of 5. SS Panzer Division Wiking in an observation post during the defense of Kovel in the spring of 1944. Of particular interest is the Gothic script version of the divisional cuffband, worn only by a few other individuals. In the historic battle for the Cherkassy Pocket in January 1944, Wiking Division, held out against Soviet forces which reached more than 20 times the strength of the encircled German units, before successfully breaking out. Subsequently ordered to take command of the ‘last man, last bullet’ defence of the city of Kovel, Gille refused to take his battered division into what he knew was a death trap; but he himself flew into Kovel, where the garrison under his command held out against repeated armoured assaults by four Soviet armies - despite not having a single remaining tank of their own - until a relief force from the Wiking Division broke in and Gille withdrew his men and vehicles, with over 2,000 wounded, along a narrow corridor. For this remarkable achievement Gille was decorated with the Diamonds on 19 April 1944.

Herbert Otto Gille is seen here as an SS-Gruppenführer and commander of 5. SS Panzer Division Wiking in an observation post during the defense of Kovel in the spring of 1944. Of particular interest is the Gothic script version of the divisional cuffband, worn only by a few other individuals. In the historic battle for the Cherkassy Pocket in January 1944, Wiking Division, held out against Soviet forces which reached more than 20 times the strength of the encircled German units, before successfully breaking out. Subsequently ordered to take command of the ‘last man, last bullet’ defence of the city of Kovel, Gille refused to take his battered division into what he knew was a death trap; but he himself flew into Kovel, where the garrison under his command held out against repeated armoured assaults by four Soviet armies - despite not having a single remaining tank of their own - until a relief force from the Wiking Division broke in and Gille withdrew his men and vehicles, with over 2,000 wounded, along a narrow corridor. For this remarkable achievement Gille was decorated with the Diamonds on 19 April 1944.