by Miha Grcar

The Schwere Panzer Abteilung 424 was formed in December 1944 from Schwere Panzer Abteilung 501. The redesignation took effect on the 21st December 1944 and the unit kept it’s previous commander Major Saemisch (commanding the 501st from August 1944) and it’s remaining Tigers, while receiving 11 additional Tiger Is from the Schwere Panzer Abteilung 509. The unit strength on 30th December 1944 was 18 operational Tiger II and 54 Tiger I, while 2 were in need of repair (although some sources claim that it’s Tiger strength was 28 Tiger II or even 45 Tiger II with 11 additional Tigers II coming from the sPzAbt. 509). The Abteilung was attached to XXIV Panzerkorps. The unit itself participated in one big engagement when it fought against the Russian 61st Guards Tank Brigade of 10th Guards Tank Corps (4th Tank Army) for the town of Lisow on 13th January 1945. The Soviet offensive led by Marshal Konev breached the German defences facing the Branov bridgehead on 12th January 1945 and pushed forward with Lelushenko’s 4th Tank Army. The attack was quickly countered by German reserve units; the Schwere Panzer Abteilung 424 and elements of the 168. Infanterie Division. The next day, on the 13th, the German XXIV Panzerkorps made it’s counter attack with the 424 advancing towards the town of Lisow. The town itself was at that time already occupied by the 61st Guards Tank Brigade (with approximately 65 T-34/85, a few JS-2 from the 72nd Guards Heavy Tank Regiment, and ZIS-3 anti-tank cannons). The attack by the Abteilung on Lisow began with Tiger #323 breaking across the bridge enabling the units attack. The 1st company advanced on the left, the 3rd  company on the right and the 2nd company followed. During the push several tanks were bogged down in the swamps beside the road. On the South edge of Lisow, Tiger #111 (commanded by Leutnant Oberbracht) lost both tracks but destroyed 20 tanks. The 2nd company knocked out 7 T-34s. Tigers #202 and #221 broke down during the movement to contact 200 meters in front of the town. Tiger #334 stopped with a broken driveshaft. When the Abteilung entered the town it found itself opposed by numerous well prepared anti-tank positions and tanks, which decimated it’s ranks. Saemisch himself was killed in action when his command Tiger was knocked out. The result of the attack was that the majority of the Abteilung’s Tigers were either destroyed or lost to bad terrain. The 424 was destroyed.

It was disbanded in February 1945 and it’s remnants were used to form the Schwere Panzer Jäger Abteilung 512.

Commanders

Major Saemisch (27 Nov 1944 - 13 Jan 1945) (KIA during attack on Lisow)

Area of operations

Poland (Dec 1944 - Feb 1945)

Subordination

XXIV Panzerkorps (Dec 1944 – Feb 1945)

Campaign New issue Transfers in Transfers out Combat loss Type of tank
Tunisia 23 0 3 20 Tiger I
Eastern Front 51 30 9 72 Tiger I
Eastern Front 45 2 2 45 Tiger II

Note. This table covers both Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 and 424

Sources used

Ron Klages - Trail of the Tigers
Wolfgang Schneider - Tigers in combat (2 vol)
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945
Gordon Williamson - German Army Elite Units, 1939-45

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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