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Unit Name
Schwere Panzer Abteilung 506
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(less Stab & 1st Company)
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Commander (s)
Major Eberhard Lange
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Estimated Strength
28 x PzKpfw. VI (Tiger II)
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Date committed to Battle
24th September 1944
Major Eberhard Lange
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Unit Emblem for Schwere Panzer Abteilung 506

The Schwere Panzer Abteilung 506 was one of the last units to arrive to reinforce the Germans fighting in Arnhem and Oosterbeek. Under the command of Major Eberhard Lange, the unit had been in Germany training with a full complement of 45 new Tiger IIs it had received in August 1944. In September the Battalion was alerted and sent west to stop the Allied Offensives.

On the night of the 23/24 Sept. 1944 the whole unit arrived by Train in Zevenaar. It was here where the 2nd and 3rd Companies of the unit were unloaded and sent to Arnhem. The 1st company and the Headquarters continued their journey onto Aachan to fight the Americans.

On arrival in Arnhem, the 2./s.Pz.Abt. 506 commanded by Hauptmann Wacker was attached to the 9. SS Pz. Div. 'Hohenstaufen' and sent to Oosterbeek to finish off the British Paratroopers holding out in the pocket. The 3./s.Pz.Abt. 506 commanded by Hauptmann Otto was attached to the 10. SS Pz. Div. 'Frundsberg' which was fighting south of the Rhine in and around Elst. The Order of Battle for these two companies can be seen below.

Order of Battle -  2. & 3./schwere Panzer-Abteilung 506

© German Armour in Arnhem - Marcel Zwarts

The 2./s.Pz.Abt. 506 were ineffective in the narrow streets of Oosterbeek. The 68 ton machines found it difficult to manoeuvre between the buildings not to mention traversing the 88mm gun. However the unit did manage to cut the British Lines in the East on the 25th September 1944 with the help of Assault Guns from Sturmgeschützbrigade 280 . They advanced to nearly the centre of the pocket before being halted by a last ditch effort of the Paratroopers within the pocket and much needed assistance from the 64th Medium Artillery Regiment firing from Nijmegen.

It was during this battle that the s.Pz.Abt. 506 lost its only Tiger II in Oosterbeek. The Tiger II which was attached to Kampgruppe ' von Allworden' was knocked out between two Houses in the lower Weverstraat. It was initially hit by a 6-pounder Anti-Tank gun which did no damage on the Panzer. The Polish gun being fired by a British Artillery Officer (Lt. Adrian Donaldson) and a NCO (LBdr. Joe Dickson) scored several more hits on the tank before the gun was destroyed by the Tiger II. Still with no damage the Tiger II tried to engage the two British soldiers who were now running back to their 75mm howitzer with no success.

The Artillerymen fired their 75mm over open sites hitting the tank 6 times before the howitzer jammed. One of the rounds hit the Tiger II track which caused the Panzer to catch fire. Still not satisfied, the two British soldiers finished the job with 2 remaining Piat rounds ensuring the 'massive beast' was destroyed.

In early 1945 Dutch civilians look over the Tiger II destroyed in Oosterbeek by Lieutenant Adrian Donaldson and Lance-Bombardier James (Jim) Dickson MM on the 25th September 1944.

Due to the value of these tanks, no more ventured into the pocket for the remained of the Battle. The British were to evacuate the pocket the following day and the 3rd Company was sent across the Rhine to join up with the 2nd Company to engage XXX Corps.

In October , s.Pz.Abt 506 (the whole unit) took part in the defence of Aachen. In November 1944, the battalion was strengthened by the addition of a 4th company. This new company had been organized originally as a heavy assault support unit, used wherever necessary - a Feuerwehr (fire brigade). Its first commander was named Hummel, and this was the name given to the company. sPzKp. "Hummel" (now 4th company, sPzAbt 506) was equipped with Tiger Is. This new company was fully integrated by early December 1944.

The s.Pz.Abt 506 was the only Heer Tiger battalion to take part in the Ardennes offensive. It went on to take part in the defence of Germany and the unit finally surrendered to US forces in the Ruhr pocket on April of 1945.

Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger II 'Henschel turret', 2./schwere Panzer-Abteilung 506

© German Armour in Arnhem - Marcel Zwarts


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