Part I

The Combat History of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 in Normandy

1

Organization and Training of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 (29 June 1943–6 June 1944)

Initial negotiations concerning an SS Division to be composed of young members of the Hitlerjugend commenced in February 1943 between the representatives of the Waffen-SS and the National Socialist youth organization. On their recommendation on 24 June 1943 Adolf Hitler issued an order for the division to be set up in the Beverloo training facility north of Brussels.

The officers and NCOs of the new unit were reassigned from its patron division the 1.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler”1. The enlisted were mainly German young men born in the first half of 1926 who had already received paramilitary training.

SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had been in formation since 29 June 1943 in the Mailly-le-Camp training facility northeast of Paris. Approximately 200 soldiers were transferred to the new regiment from the patron division’s SS-Panzer Regiment 1. At the end of 1943 the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 was still far from being operational. The chronology of the organization, training and equipment of the unit in 1944 is as follows:2

1 January 1944

SS-Panzer Regiment 12, which at the time was stationed at the Mailly-le-Camp training facility in France, received an order from the Oberbefehlshaber “West” (Senior Area Commander “West”) to relocate to the training facility near Beverloo in Belgium to join the other units of the division being trained there.

4 January 1944

Distribution of the tactical identification (turret) numbers. The tactical identification number system applied in SS-Panzer Regiment 12 was different from the principles followed by the Army and the armoured units within the Waffen-SS.

Turret number 055 was assigned to the tank of the Regimentskommandeur, turret number 054 to the Regimentsadjutant, and turret number 053 to the Regiment Ordonnanz Offizier. Numbers 055–060 were assigned to the tanks of the regimental (Panzer IV) Panzer Aufklärungszug. The commander of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 received the number 155 for his tank, the number 154 was assigned to the Abteilungsadjutant and the Nachrichtenoffizier was given turret number 153. The five (Panther) tanks of the Panzer Aufklärungszug of I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 were given the numbers 156–160. The commander of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 received turret number 555, number 554 was assigned to his Adjutant and number 553 was handed out to the Nachrichtenoffizier. Turret numbers 556–560 were assigned to the (Panzer IV) Panzer Aufklärungszug of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.3

The 35cm high, 22cm wide numbers with 1cm border had to be painted in black, on the back of the tanks, and on the sides of their turrets, which were painted in camouflage colours. Between the numbers a 4cm wide clear stripe had to be left.4

Изображение выглядит как текст, человек, мужчина, военная форма

The first commander of the 12. SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”, Fritz Witt is shown as an Obersturmbannführer in a signed photo (see Chapter 2 Footnote 5). (Mark C. Yerger)

Изображение выглядит как текст, человек, внешний, военная форма

Josef “Sepp” Dietrich commanded the I.SS-Panzer Korps in Normandy (see Chapter 2 Footnote 23). (Mark C. Yerger)

Изображение выглядит как небо, внешний, старый, винтажный

An excellent close-up of a Panzer IV from II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 on exercises in Belgium, winter 1943/44. (Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-297-1722-27, photo: Kurth)

Изображение выглядит как текст, небо, внешний, боевая машина

Panzer IV from 6.Kompanie II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12, Belgium, winter 1943/44. This image gives a good impression of the application of the tactical numbers to the tanks. (Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-297-1725-09, photo: Kurth)

Изображение выглядит как текст, небо, боевая машина, внешний

A frontal view of the same Panzer IV. (Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-297-1725-11, photo: Kurth)

Изображение выглядит как текст, человек, военная форма, группа

Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt observing exercises conducted by SS-Panzer Regiment 12, March 1944. From left to right: von Rundstedt (Oberbefehlshaber West), Standartenführer Kurt Meyer (commander SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25, later commander 12.SS-Panzer Division), Brigadeführer Fritz Witt (commander, 12.SS-Panzer Division), Obergruppenführer Joseph Dietrich (commander, I.SS-Panzer Korps). (Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-297-1739-16A, photo: Kurth)

Изображение выглядит как боевая машина, внешний, земля, транспорт

Panzer IV tanks from 5.Kompanie, II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 parade before Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt, March 1944. (Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-297-1740-19A, photo: Kurth)

7 January 1944

Arrival of a new Panther tank for the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

10 January 1944

Beginning of the train loading in Mailly-le-Camp.

16 January 1944

SS-Panzer Regiment 12 arrived at the training facility near Beverloo.

29 January 1944

Regrouping of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and the regimental units to Hasselt and the northern region.

31 January 1944

The training of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 in January proceeded as ordered, although the shortage of fuel and training ammunition hindered the work. One NCO and three enlisted men were killed this month.

6 February 1944

Generaloberst Heinz Guderian, General Inspector for the Panzertruppen, inspected the drill of the 3./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 with the theme, “attack in motion against enemy in the air”. During the first week of February 16 Panther tanks arrived for the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

15 February 1944

Command drill of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 with the theme: “attack of a Panzer Abteilung with limited goals”. The regimental Flak Zug (one officer, five NCOs and 64 enlisted men), with Zugführer Untersturmführer Walter Schaffert were directed to Schwetzingen, in order to receive training with Panzer-Ausbildungs-und Ersatz Abteilung 204.

Изображение выглядит как текст, человек, стена, мужчина

Max Wünsche as a Sturmbannführer with the “Leibstandarte” wearing his Knight’s Cross, later the first commander of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 (see Appendix II and main text). (Mark C. Yerger)

Изображение выглядит как текст, боевая машина, транспорт, внешний

Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche in his Panther command tank (Pz Bef Wg Panther) during an exercise with SS-Panzer Regiment 12 in Belgium, March 1944. The additional antennae for the command equipment are clearly visible. (National Archives)

Изображение выглядит как текст, человек, внешний

A close-up view of Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche, Belgium, March 1944. Note the zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste on the tank. (National Archives)

Изображение выглядит как внешний, транспорт, боевая машина, старый

Panthers from 2.Kompanie, I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 on exercise in Belgium, March 1944. (National Archives)

Изображение выглядит как внешний, небо, боевая машина, поле

A Panther from I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12, Belgium, March 1944. (National Archives)

Изображение выглядит как текст, боевая машина, внешний, транспорт

A rear view of Wünsche’s command Panther, Belgium, March 1944. (National Archives)

Изображение выглядит как небо, внешний, дерево, мужчина

An iconic view of Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche, commander of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 during the fighting in Normandy. (National Archives)

17 February 1944

The regimental Panzer-Pionier-Kompanie was created from the Ausbildungskompanie of SS-Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 12 (Kompanie Chef: Oberleutnant Müller5) near Zonhoven.

29 February 1944

Command drill for the Zugführer und Kompanie Chef at the Stab of the 12.SS-Panzer Division in Turnhout. Theme: “Panzer group combat against panzer group”.

During the month, four enlisted men were killed, and one NCO was shot in accordance with the death-sentence of the field court martial.

3 March 1944

Participation of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 in battle-group training with the armoured personnel vehicles of the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 and the Wespe and Hummel self-propelled howitzers of the I./SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 12. Themes covered: “attack of armoured Kampfgruppe with limited goals” and “cooperation of subordinated units and armament”.

12 March 1944

Drill of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 at full strength. Theme: “Kampfgruppe against Kampfgruppe”.

14-17 March 1944

Command and signal drill within Panzerkorps 1 in Dieppe. Participants from the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12: Abteilungsadjutant, Ordonnanz Offizier, Nachrichtenoffizier, two motorized reporters, one radio station. Theme: “exercise of the forwarding of orders and signals, training of officers”.

18 March 1944

General der Panzertruppe Heinrich Eberbach, Inspector of the Panzertruppen des Ersatzheeres6 visited the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and the 2.Kompanie training in the following areas:

• shooting theory on plotting board;

• lecture in tactics: “the tank in attack”;

• gas training of platoon formations;

• aiming practice in the target village;

• lecture on the tank gun, ammunition, electrical equipment, sighting device.

19 March 1944

General Eberbach first inspected the training of the 1./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 completing the following tasks:

• tasks of the tank commander, routine process in case of a reported enemy armoured fighting vehicle;

• decision tasks in platoon formation, routine process in case of reported enemy anti-tank guns and/or running over a mine;

• arrangement of tank-platoon for retreat, routine process in case of breakdown of a tank or armament.

Practices of the 3./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Panzer Kompanie attack with live fire, within that fire strikes and fire concentration;

• cooperation of Panzer Zug with Pionier Zug (attack with live fire).

Practice of the Flak Zug of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

• deployment of the Flak Zug against ground and air targets.

22 March 1944

Oberstgruppenführer und Panzer Generaloberst der Waffen-SS Sepp Dietrich, commander of the I.SS-Panzer Korps, visited SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

23-30 March 1944

The 3./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 won the regiment’s position building contest.

30 March 1944

The regimental Panzer-Pionier-Kompanie was disbanded and its strength was divided into two Panzer-Pionier-Züge for the Stabskompanien of each Panzer Abteilung.

During the month of March, one officer and three enlisted men died.

1 April 1944

Beginning of SS-Panzer Regiment 12’s relocation to the Evreux–Le Neubourg–Bernay area in France.

2 April 1944

The regiment received its 12 Flak Panzer 38(t) self-propelled antiaircraft guns, all of which were equipped with 2cm automatic cannon.

Изображение выглядит как человек, мужчина

Max Wünsche giving Hitler the donations of the I.SS-Panzer Korps (see KTB entry for 20 April 1944). (Mark C. Yerger)

12-19 April 1944

The relocation tasks were completed and training was resumed. Combat post of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 in Le Neubourg.

20 April 1944

The I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had 26 Panther tanks that day, 23 of which were operational.7 Birthday celebrations for the Fuehrer by all units of SS-Panzer Regiment 12. Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche, commander of the regiment, as a member of the delegation of the I.SS-Panzer Korps, delivered the gift from the I.SS-Panzer Korps, two million six thousand Reichsmarks.8

27-29 April 1944

Regimental drill in Louviers. The I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 participated with Panzer Group “Blue” of Obersturmbannführer Wünsche. Theme: “panzer group combat against panzer group”. The exercise was inspected by Generaloberst Heinz Guderian, General der Panzertruppe Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg, commander of the Panzergruppe „West,“ and Oberstgruppenführer und Panzer Generaloberst der Waffen-SS Josef Dietrich.

30 April 1944

The regiment at this time possessed six Panzer II light tanks, one short-barrelled (L/24) Panzer IV tank, three long-barrelled (L/43) Panzer IV tanks, 90 long-barrelled (L/48) Panzer IV tanks, 26 Panther tanks, three quadruple-barrelled 2cm anti-aircraft guns, 18 2cm anti-aircraft machine cannon, 326 machine guns, 249 submachine guns, 1650 rifles, 1496 pistols and 919 bayonets.9 Further vehicles of the unit: 50 motorcycles, 52 Volkswagen off-road cars, 62 medium cars, one heavy car, 11 vans, two light trucks, 111 heavy trucks, 7 Sd.Kfz. 9 18-ton towing cars, one workshop platoon (four Büssing heavy trucks), one maintenance unit (two medium Opel trucks), two ambulance cars and a captured Italian SPA Radschlepper wheeled prime mover.

8 May 1944

Of the now seven Panzer II light tanks in the Aufklärungszug of the Regiment, two were sent to each Panzer Abteilung, one to the regimental Flak Zug and two to the workshop platoon.

10 May 1944

The Flak Zug of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 shot down an Allied P-47 Thunderbolt at 1612 hours while aircraft were attacking the bridge on the Seine near Elbeuf.

13 May 1944

The regimental Flak Zug shot down an Allied P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber aircraft at 1130 hours at the railway bridge near Le Manoir.

21 May 1944

Arrival of eight Panther tanks for the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

22 May 1944

An American B-26 Marauder bomber aircraft crashed down in the quarters area of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. Two members of the crew who parachuted were captured.

23 May 1944

Arrival of further eight Panther tanks for the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

25 May 1944

The regimental Flak Zug destroyed another Allied P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber aircraft attacking at low level at 1146 hours at the railway bridge near Le Manoir.

Around the same time, at 1047 hours at Elbeuf, in the area of the bridge on the Seine, the Flak Zug of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 destroyed two attacking Allied P-47 Thunderbolts.

26 May 1944

The bridge on the Seine at Elbeuf was destroyed by the Allied fighter-bomber aircraft.

27 May 1944

Forty enemy bomber aircraft attacked the railway bridge at Le Manoir which was secured by the regimental Flak Zug with Flak Panzer 38(t) anti-aircraft guns in order to provide a bridge for the heavier tanks to cross the river. The Flak Zug did not suffer any losses.

29 May 1944

The railway bridge in the Orival area, which was suitable for the Panther tanks to cross the Seine, was destroyed by an Allied air raid. The bridge was secured by the Flak Zug of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

30 May 1944

The Flak Zug of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12, between 1650 hours and 1653 hours, that is, within only three minutes, shot down three Allied P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber aircraft attacking the bridge on the Seine near Elbeuf. However the bridge was destroyed by the Allied air force that same day.

31 May 1944

Arrival of two shipments (seven and seven, altogether 14) of Panther tanks for the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. Radio command practice for the Abteilung. Theme: “attack against invading enemy forces”. The lesson: controlling tanks with morse code is only possible until the attack is launched; further training is needed, because stricter control has to be kept during the broadcasting of messages.

3 June 1944

Obersturmführer Rudolf von Ribbentropp, Kompanie Chef of the 3./SS-Panzer Regiment 1210 was wounded during a fighter-bomber raid.

4 June 1944

Tank training and tank gun fire practice between 0700 and 1100 hours for the officers and NCOs of the Regimentsstab, and Panzerfaust training in Louviers.

The theoretical order of battle for the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 within the Panzer Regiment of the 12.SS-Panzer Division on 1 June 1944, five days prior to the invasion of the Allied Forces at Normandy:

Kompanienstab;

Stabskompanie

Nachrichtenzug (three command Panther tanks),

Aufklärungszug (five Panther tanks and two armoured personnel carriers), terrain reconnaissance platoon and Panzer-Pionierzug (Kettenkrads, Schwimmwagens and three armoured personnel carriers),

Flak Zug (three self-propelled 2cm quadruple-barrelled anti-aircraft guns);

four Panzer-Kompanien (17 Panther tanks in each)

Kompanie Chef unit (two Panther tanks),

three Panzer Züge (each equipped with five Panther tanks);

workshop (Instandsetzungs) Kompanie

Versorgungskompanie.

The II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 was organized by a similar order of battle, only the tanks were Panzer IVs instead of Panthers and instead of an workshop Kompanie only a workshop platoon was provided. The required strength (Soll-Stärke) determined for SS-Panzer Regiment 12 allocated five Panzer IV tanks and three Panther command tanks for the Regimentsstab, 73 Panthers, three Panther command tanks and Bergepanther armoured recovery vehicles for the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and 93 Panzer IVs and three Panzer IV command tanks for the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.11 According to this, the regiment should have been equipped with 2,301 soldiers, four Panzer IIIs, 101 Panzer IVs, and 81 Panther tanks. However, this was far from the case in reality. Out of the four Panzer IIIs only two were present on 1 June 1944 (both of them operational), besides at least one Panzer II.

Altogether 66 Panther tanks were allotted for SS-Panzer Regiment 12 until 1 June 1944.12 According to the data above however, only 56 of these had reached the troops by the day of departure to the frontline. A further 10 Panthers were still en route via railway transport. Of the already arrived tanks 48 Panthers were in operational condition on 1 June 1944. Two were repaired within the first two weeks, and it took far longer to repair another six. Only two of the three command Panthers in the Regimentsstab were operational.13 On the basis of this data 46 of the 53 Panther tanks that arrived for the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 were in operational condition at the beginning of June 1944. The three command Panther tanks were still missing from the force of the Stabskompanie as well as the five tanks of the Aufklärungszug.

The Flak Zug of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 is sort of a ‘mystery’. According to the exceptionally detailed history of the Division14 the Abteilung did not have such a unit at all on 1 June 1944 – as opposed to the three 2cm quadruple-barrelled anti-aircraft guns depicted in the appendix of the order of battle drawing from the report for that day. At the same time the contemporary documents of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 reveal that the unit had already been in existence in March 1944. The unit also participated in the battles in Normandy.

The Flak Zug of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 was also different than that described in the theoretical order of battle. Instead of the six 2cm anti-aircraft machine guns indicated in the report on 1 June 1944 there were three self-produced self-propelled 2cm quadruple-barrelled anti-aircraft guns mounted on Panzer IV tank chassis.15 There was also a Flak Zug in the Stabskompanie of SS-Panzer Regiment 12, with 12 Flak-Panzer 38(t) self-propelled anti-aircraft guns.16 When comparing the data we would assume that the Flak Zug of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 received three to six anti-aircraft guns of the latter.

On 1 June 1944 the 1. and 2.Kompanien of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had 17 Panthers each, the 3./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had 10 Panther tanks, the 4.Kompanie of the Abteilung however did not have any operational tanks.17 The I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 received less vehicles than originally prescribed, and the workshop Kompanie did not have its Bergepanther armoured recovery vehicles yet.18 On 1 June 1944, 91 of the 98 Panzer IV tanks of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 were operational. The primary officers of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 on 6 June 1944 was as follows:

Stab, SS-Panzer Regiment 12

Regimentskommandeur: Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche

Adjutant: Hauptsturmführer Georg Isecke

Ordonnanz Offizier: Untersturmführer Rudolf Nerlich

Nachrichtenoffizier: Hauptsturmführer Helmut Schlauß

Regimentsarzt: Hauptsturmführer Dr. Rudolf Stiawa

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 (Panther)

Abteilungskommandeur: Sturmbannführer Arnold Jürgensen

Adjutant: Untersturmführer Heinz Hubertus Schröder

Ordonnanz Offizier: Untersturmführer Hans Hogrefe

Nachrichtenoffizier: Untersturmführer Rolf Jauch

Abteilungsarzt: Obersturmführer Dr. Wilhelm Daniel

Chef of the 1.Kompanie: Hauptsturmführer Kurt-Anton Berlin

Chef of the 2.Kompanie: Obersturmführer Helmut Gaede

Chef of the 3.Kompanie: Obersturmführer Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Chef of the 4.Kompanie: Haupsturmführer Hans Pfeiffer

• Workshop Kompanie: Untersturmführer Robert Maier

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 (Panzer IV)

Abteilungskommandeur: Sturmbannführer Karl-Heinz Prinz

Adjutant: Obersturmführer Friedrich Hartmann

Ordonnanz Offizier: Untersturmführer Herbert Walther

Nachrichtenoffizier: Untersturmführer Hermann Komadina

Abteilungsarzt: Hauptsturmführer Dr. Oskar Jordan

Chef of the 5.Kompanie : Obersturmführer Helmut Bando

Chef of the 6.Kompanie : Hauptsturmführer Ludwig Ruckdeschel

Chef of the 7.Kompanie : Hauptsturmführer Heinrich Bräcker

Chef of the 8.Kompanie: Obersturmführer Hans Siegel

Chef of the 9.Kompanie19: Hauptsturmführer Wolf Buettner

• Workshop platoon: Obersturmführer Dieter Müller

Order of Battle for the 12.SS-Panzer Division apart from SS-Panzer Regiment 12 was as follows:

Divisionsstab with ordnance surveyor group, Divisionsbegleitkompanie and four Feldgendarmerie-Züge;

SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25:

I-III. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Bataillone: 1–4., 5–8., 9–12. Kompanien20

13. SS- (towed heavy infantry gun) Kompanie

14. SS- (towed anti-aircraft gun) Kompanie

15. SS- (motorcycle) Kompanie

16. SS- (armoured pioneer) Kompanie

SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26:

I–III. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Bataillone: 1–4., 5–8., 9–12.Kompanie21, the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 was equipped with armoured personnel carriers

13. SS- (towed heavy infantry gun) Kompanie

14. SS- (towed anti-aircraft gun) Kompanie

15. SS- (motorcycle) Kompanie

16. SS- (armoured pioneer) Kompanie

SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 12:

♦ (self-propelled) I./SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Abteilung (1–2. Batterien with 10.5cm Wespes, 3. Batterie with 15cm Hummel self-propelled artillery guns)

II./SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Abteilung (three Batterien with 10.5cm towed light field howizers)

III./SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Abteilung (three Batterien with 15cm towed heavy field howizers and a Batterie with 10.5cm guns)

IV(Werfer)./SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Abteilung (four Batterien with 15cm launchers)

SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 12:

Stabskompanie with armoured cars

1. (wheeled armoured car), 2. (half-tracked armoured car) Kompanie, 3-4. (armoured personnel carrier) Kompanie, 5. (armoured heavy weapons) Kompanie, 1 Versorgungskompanie

SS-Panzerjäger Abteilung 12:

1. (Jagdpanzer), 2. (Jagdpanzer), 3. (towed heavy anti-tank gun) Kompanien

SS-Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 12:

1–3.Kompanie (1.Kompanie armoured personnel carriers), “B” Feldbrückekolonne, leichte Pionierkolonne

SS-Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 12:

1.(telephone), 2.(radio) Kompanie

SS-Panzer-Flak-Abteilung 12:

1–3. (8.8cm), 4. (3.7cm), 5. Scheinwerfer Batterien

SS-Panzer-Feldersatz-Bataillon 12

12.SS-Panzer Division Nachschub-Truppen

SS-Panzer-Instandsetzungs-Abteilung 12

SS-Wirtschafts Abteilung 12

SS-Sanitätsabteilung 12

The units of the division – apart from the IV.(Werfer) Abteilung of SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 12 and SS-Panzerjäger Abteilung 12 still in formation – were qualified as of 1 June 1944 as fit for carrying out any assault tasks on the Western frontline.

1 The name of the division was usually abbreviated as “LAH” or “LSSAH”. In wartime as a brigade and later division its standard title was “Leibstandarte,” the lengthier title was more from its SS-Verfügungstruppe period and earlier when a bodyguard unit.

2 Unless indicated otherwise, data has been taken from the activity report of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 between 1 January and 4 June 1944. See Vojenský Historický Archiv, Praha (Military History Archives, Prague), Tätigkeitsbericht des SS-Panzer Regiments 12, 1 Januar–4 Juni 1944.

3 See Appendix III for the original order. The numbering system of the tanks of the Kompanie Chef was as follows: the number of their Kompanie + 05 (for example 105 for the Chef of the 1.Kompanie and 505 for the Chef of the 5.Kompanie), the reserve tank (which at the same time served as the tank of the deputy Kompanie Chef) received its number according to the Kompanie number + 04 (for example 104 for 1.Kompanie and 504 for 5.Kompanie). Within the platoon the first tank (of the Zugführer) received the number made up from the Kompanie number, that of the platoon, and + 5 (for example the Zugführer of the I./1.Kompanie received turret number 115). Further tanks of the platoon were given the numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9 following the number of their Kompanie and Zug number, for example, the five tanks of the I./1.Kompanie were designated by the numbers 115, 116, 117, 118 and 119. The last tank of the III./8. Kompanie received number 839. See Anlage II/4 zum Tätigkeitsbericht SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

4 See Appendix III for the original order. According to original photographs, some of which can be seen in this book, the numbers were painted with black numbers in a white border on the Panzer IVs, and with red numbers in a white border on the Panthers. The size and system of the numbers remained as described above.

5 Because of the shortage of trained officers, approximately 50 officers were reassigned from the German Army to the 12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”. Most of them were former members of the Hitlerjugend. They did not wear SS uniforms, but belonged to the division strength in every other sense. See also Hubert Meyer, Kriegsgeschichte der 12. SS-Panzerdivision “Hitlerjugend” Band I, Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag, 1999, 4th edition, p.19 (hereafter cited as Meyer).

6 The armoured troops of the Replacement Army.

7 Kamen Nevenkin, Fire Brigades – The Panzer Divisions 1943–1945, Winnipeg: J.J. Fedorowicz, 2008, p.905 (hereafter cited as Nevenkin).

8 For comparison, this amount of money equalled the construction price of eight Tiger B heavy tanks.

9 See Appendix V.

10 Oldest of the five sons of Joachim von Ribbentropp, the German Foreign Minister. See Appendix II.

11 See document number SS-FHA Amt II Org.Abt. Ib Tgb. Nr. II/2534/44 geh., an attachment without number to the activity report of the regiment.

12 Nevenkin, p.905.

13 See the monthly report of the 12.SS-Panzer Division dated 1 June 1944 in Meyer, pp.757–760.

14 Meyer, p. 14.

15 These became the “prototypes” for the mass production of an anti-aircraft gun called “Wirbelwind”.

16 2cm anti-aircraft automatic cannons mounted on the chassis of the Panzer 38(t) light tank.

17 Meyer, p.757.

18 Meyer, p.760.

19 Five Kompanien instead of four were organized in the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. There were fewer tanks provided for the 5-8.Kompanien than the originally planned 17 tanks, and the remaining tanks were allotted to form the strength of the 9. Kompanie. The Kompanien with lesser strength were presumably deemed by the Germans to be more controllable in combat.

20 The 4., 8. and 12.Kompanien were schwere (heavy weapons) Kompanien.

21 The 4., 8. and 12.Kompanien were schwere (heavy weapons) Kompanien.

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