Der Tiger, volume 2

...schwere Panzerabteilung 502


Title:  Der Tiger, volume 2...

Author: Volker Ruff

Publisher:  Volker Ruff Publishing

ISBN:  973-3-9816908-1-1

...schwere Panzerabteilung 502


This is the second of Volker Ruffs excellent series of landscape format hard-cover books covering the various German Heavy Tank units using the Tiger.  This second volume deals with schwere Panzerabteilung 502, from its' formation in 1942, through to the end of the war.  Containing over 100 archive photos and accompanying text which is provided in both German and English languages throughout, it fills 128 pages.

Each element of the book has some background text giving details of when and where the unit was in action, to accompany some appropriate archive photos.  At the beginning you see the early model Tiger Is, from when the unit was formed in May 1942 and when their first four Tigers went into action in August of that year, on the Russian Front.  Mechanical problems did plague them at this stage and it includes a picture of their first loss, when one of the Tigers was badly damaged by a hand grenade that sparked off an explosion and fire in the September.  It was in a marshy area which made recovery impossible, so after all usable parts had been removed, the tank was approved for demolition in November.  Photos in this section also include some of the Pz III Ausf L which also made up part of the unit at this stage.  It moves on through the snowy winter of 1942 into early 1943, and with various patterns of winter camouflage over the panzers grey Tigers.  It also illustrates at least one of the Tigers having a Pz III turret stowage bin fitted on the back of the Tiger turret.  Moving on to the Spring of 1943 a section of photos show the Tigers in a rear area maintenance area, with some interesting diorama ideas for modellers.  Then in May/June 1943 more Tigers were delivered and these arrived in overall dunkelgelb (yellow) and includes a couple of impressive photos of Tigers training in the grounds of the very impressive Chateau du Bois du Loup, in Brittany.

In the second half of the year it moves back to action on the Russian Front, including around Lake Ladoga.  One particular photo illustrates a problem for the panzer crews, as it shows it needing no less than 5 of the 18ton Sdkfz9 half tracks needed to recover one disabled Tiger I.  Others show Tigers on railway flat cars, festooned with foliage for camouflage, as well as crews in their uniforms.  They are seen in action at Leningrad and then in the Summer offensive on 1944, leading to the Retreat to Courland in the autumn of 1944.  The book closes with the final two pages covering the final Tigers of the unit in 1945, this time Henschel turreted Tiger IIs.

Another excellent book for this series which is set to be followed with another covering schwere Panzerabteilung 503 which is due next.  Meanwhile this one is available here in the UK through the importers Panzerwrecks.