The Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 was sent to North Africa following the Allied landings in Africa. The first tanks arrived in Tunisia November 1942 and the second kompanie was used during the occupation of Vichy France and did not arrive in Africa until in January. It surrendered in Tunisia May 1943

It was reformed in September 1943 from the cadre that had not been sent to Africa and was sent to the Eastern front in November and fought at Vitebsk and Gorodok.
It was refitted with Tiger II (Königstiger) tanks in July 1944 and attached to Heeresgruppe Nordukraine. It fought at Radom, Sandomierz and Kleice before being disbanded and used to form Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 424 in December 1944.


Major Hans-Georg Lueder (10 May 1942 - 26 Feb 1943) (WIA) (exact dates in doubt)
Major August Seidensicker (17 March 1943 - 12 May 1943) (1)
Major Erich Löwe (? Sep 1943 - 24 Dec 1943) (KIA near Losovka/SU)
Oberstleutnant von Legat (? Jan 1944 - ? Aug 1944)
Major Saemisch (? Aug 1944 - 27 Nov 1944)

Area of operations

North Africa (Nov 1942 - May 1943)
Eastern front (Nov 1943 - Dec 1944)

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

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Knight's Cross (2)
- Löwe, Erich [385. EL] 08.02.1944 Major Kdr s.Pz.Abt 501
- Seidensticker, August 18.07.1943 Major Führer s.Pz.Abt 501

Tiger tank from Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 captured by the US forces in Tunisia
(Courtesy of Idaho Military History Museum)

Tiger 112 commanded by Oberfeldwebel Krebs in Oghrane, Tunisia February 1943
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Tiger 134, possibly during missions in the Orscha region of the Soviet Union
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3 0 Germany)

Tigers of sPzAbt.501 with Grenadiers from the 256. Infantrie-Division during Operation Hubertus
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)


1. August Seidensicker was commander of Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 504 and was Abteilungs Führer of 501 since the unit with it's remaining 11 Tiger tanks were subordinated to 504 (Stab and 1./504) in Tunisia.

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