The Panzerkampfwagen VI “Tiger” is pure evil coolness, much like an Imperial Star Destroyer or Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg. If you see one sitting next to a modern Challenger II, it still looks good. It wouldn’t last two seconds when facing said Challenger, but that somehow doesn’t matter. Even back then, it was an over-engineered, fragile box on tracks. It was far too expensive and the engine was positively anemic. However, if US soldiers faced a tank, it was a Tiger – even if it wasn’t. If you show one to a milennial baby, he’ll say “Tank!”. And this particular tank was commanded by Otto Carius, the most succesful tanker in history.
The first Tigers were field-tested near Mga, during the Siege of Leningrad. It was not a success. The engines overheated (in the snow!) and 'the guy from the factory' kept swearing at the crews. One Tiger got stuck so bad it had to be abandoned overnight, only to be recovered by the Russians who were quite unimpressed.
You may well know Tiger 313 at the Bovington museum. This is not that tiger. This one spent its time shootung up Shermans at the Kesserine pass, before having to pull back. This was the first time the US Army saw actual combat and became a grown-up army in stead of a bunch of boy scouts.
Gruppe Stemmerman was caught in a kessel near Korsun. The breakout attempt halted at Shanderovka because the Soviets were raining down shells and bombs on the retreating Germans. So much so, that the Germans named the village "the Gates to Hell" - and this from people who went through Kursk.
It was cold out there, and wet. Wittmann had the flu, but nevertheless decided to go out and make life miserable for the Russians. He was a Nazi posterboy and he had to be seen in battle - sick or not. He went to recon, on foot, and had a brief scuffle with a Russian tank commander who was doing the same. These things happen, you know…
With four Tigers, two StuGs and about 40 Panzergrenadiere, Otto Carius helped to form the defence of Sinimae. The Russians brought two whole armies, so even if Otto and his friends tried really hard, they were never going to hold the line.The Old Man and the Snow
The Leibstandarte SS "Adolf Hitler" had been fighting the Red Army for some time when, suddenly, they were shipped out to Italy. The Oberkommando expected them to kick out the Allies but I'm quite certain the soldiers were more interested in wine, food and Italian girls. Call it a holiday, then. Sometimes you have to seize the moment!
Very early in the morning III Abteilung "DF" approached the crossroads at L'Abbaye Blanche, just north of Mortain. They were told to defend it as part of operation Luttich, but the Allies knew all about that. They were ready and waiting. The battle of Falaise that followed effectively broke the Wehrmacht in France.