August 18, 2011

The Tigers of sSS-Pz.Abt.503 in Berlin

Browsing the net these days, I came across the fascinating story of the six King Tigers from sSS-Pz.Abt.503 who heroically fought the Russians in Berlin in the final days of the war. The name of the commanders: Hauptscharführer Körner, Unterscharführer Diers, Unterscharführer Turk, Oberscharführer Stolze, Untersturmführer Schäfer and Obersturmführer Lippert. All Köningstigers were lost during the break through attempts. Yes, they defended the final hours of a murderous political system, but their military actions were outstanding.

On the 30th April, Untersharfuhrer Georg Diers and his crew of tank 314, were ordered to take up a defensive position at the Reichstag buildings. This was one of only two remaining King Tigers belonging to Heavy SS Tank Battalion 503 in Berlin. By that evening they had knocked out about 30 T34s, and the following day led a successful counterattack against the Kroll Opera House directly opposite the Reichstag. Their efforts though, merely postponed the inevitable and by the end of the day the order was given to abandon the position and prepare to break out of Berlin. Tiger 314 ended the war with 39 victories. The crew survived the war.

Georg Diers at the very end of the confrontation:
"At this point we were confused and sad, as we had knocked out at least 39 enemy tanks with this Tiger II, and that was only the tanks which had caught fire, who knows whether it was more or not. With this last command, I told the General about my orders from Goebbels, whereupon he informed me of that what General Krebs had arranged, and we were forced to destroy our beloved tank."

Total confirmed score (26.4. – 2.5.1945):
- Köningstiger #314 under command of Uscha. Diers knocked out one JS-2 + thirtythree T-34/85s.
- Köningstiger under command of Hscha. Körner knocked out one JS-2 + two ISU-122s + one T-34/85.
- Köningstiger under command of Ustuf. Schäfer knocked out one JS-2 + five T-34/85s.
- Köningstiger under command of Uscha. Semik knocked out one T-34/85 and under command of Oscha. Stolze five T-34/85s.
- Köningstiger #101 under command of Uscha. Turk knocked out three T-34/85s.

I would've liked to depict Diers' Tiger no 314 but, unfortunately, there's just a couple of pictures with the destroyed tank. Therefore I decided to make Turk's tank, no 101. This is the most famous photo, with the abandoned Tiger near Potsdamer Bahnhof. I will use Revell kit, with Part PE and Mig Production decals. But only after I finish the SU-122 in 1/48, as I don't like working on two models at the same time.