Schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 was formed July 1943 around a cadre from SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler and was attached to I SS Panzerkorps Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler.
It was attached to SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler and sent to Italy in August 1943. Two of the companies were then sent to the eastern front where they remained until April 1944.
It was assigned to SS Panzer Division Hitler Jugend and fought the Allies in Normany, suffering heavy losses.

It was refitted with with Tiger II (Köningstiger) tanks in September 1944 and redesignated Schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 501. On 3 November plans were made to equip the 3. Kompanie with Jagdtiger tank destroyer but the following day those plans were cancelled.
501 fought in the failed Ardennes offensive before being sent to the Eastern front.

Commanders

SS-Sturmbannführer Heinz von Westerhagen (19 July 1943 - 8 Nov 1943)
SS-Obersturmbannführer Karl Leiner (9 Nov 1943 - 13 Feb 1944)
SS-Obersturmbannführer Heinz von Westerhagen (13 Feb 1944 - 20 Mar 1945)
SS-Sturmbannführer Heinz Kling (20 Mar 1945 - 8 May 1945)

Area of operations

Italy (Aug 1943 - Oct 1943)
Eastern front (Oct 1943 - Apr 1944)
France (Apr 1944 - Sep 1944)
Germany (Sep 1944 - Dec 1944)
Ardennes (Dec 1944 - Jan 1945)
Eastern front (Jan 1945 - May 1945)

Campaign         New issue       Transfers in       Transfers out       Combat loss       Type of tank
Western Front         51       0       6       45       Tiger I
Eastern Front         37       0       6       31       Tiger II

 

Holders of high awards

Holders of the German Cross in Gold (3)
- Amselgruber, Thomas, 14.02.1945, SS-Untersturmführer d.R., 3./s.SS-Pz.Abt. 501
- Brandt, Jürgen, 13.01.1945, SS-Oberscharführer, s.SS-Pz.Abt. 501
- Rabe, Dr. Wolfgang, 14.11.1944, SS-Hauptsturmführer, s.SS-Pz.Abt. 101
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Waffen-SS (1)
- Philipsen, Johannes, 15.08.1944, SS-Obersturmführer, 1./s.SS-Pz.Abt. 101
Holders of the Knight's Cross (1) (1 SW)
- Wittmann, Michael [71. Sw] 22.06.1944 SS-Obersturmführer Chef 2./s.SS-Pz.Abt 501

Notable members

Heinz Kling (usually credited with 51 destroyed tanks but the exact number is unknown)
Karl Leiner (son in law of Theodor Eicke)
Karl-Heinz Warmbrunn (usually credited with 57 destroyed tanks but the exact number is unknown)
Helmut Wendorff (usually credited with 84 destroyed tanks but the exact number is unknown)
Michael Wittmann (usually credited with 138 destroyed tanks but the exact number is unknown)
Balthazar "Boddy" Woll (usually credited with 100+ destroyed tanks but the exact number is unknown)


Tiger tank from Schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 in northern France in spring 1944
wss-spz-abt-501-fr-spring
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Tiger 232 in France the spring of 1944
wss-spz-abt-501-trees
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3 0 Germany)

 

SS-Sturmbannführer Heinz von Westernhagen near Beauvais in May 1944
wss-spz-abt-501-beauvais

(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3 0 Germany)

 

Sources used

Ron Klages - Trail of the Tigers
Wolfgang Schneider - Tigers in combat (2 vol)
Walter J Spielberger, Hilary L. Doyle & Thomas L. Jentz - Heavy Jagdpanzer: Development, Production, Operations

Reference material on this unit

Gregory A. Walden - Tigers in the Ardennes: The 501st Heavy SS Tank Battalion in the Battle of the Bulge
Par Hugues Wenkin & Christian Dujardin - Stavelot La Gleize: Le destin des Tiger de Peiper

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