102nd SS Heavy Panzer Battalion

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102nd SS Heavy Panzer Battalion
schwere SS-Panzerabteilung 102
Active July 1943
Country  Nazi Germany
Branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Type Panzer
Role Armoured warfare
Size Battalion, up to 45 Panzer
Equipment Tiger I Panzer
Engagements Battle of Normandy
Battle of Verrieres Ridge
Operation Totalize
Operation Tractable
Falaise Pocket

The 102nd Heavy SS Panzer Battalion 102 (German: schwere SS-Panzerabteilung 102) was a heavy-tank battalion of the Waffen SS during World War II. It fought as part of the II SS Panzer Corps during the Battle of Normandy and was nearly destroyed. Renumbered as 502nd Heavy SS Panzer Battalion in late 1944, (schwere SS-Panzerabteilung 502) the unit was destroyed in the Halbe Pocket in Spring 1945.

Formation[edit]

Heinrich Himmler inspecting tanks of the battalion, Russia, 1943

In April 1943, the Waffen-SS ordered the creation of a series of Heavy Panzer Battalions — equipped with the new Tiger I tanks — for use in offensive actions on the Eastern Front.[1] Each of the heavy tank battalions would be attached to a Corps of the Waffen SS. Upon formation, the 102nd was attached to the II SS Panzer Corps.[2] Originally, each heavy tank battalion was composed of a single company of Tiger I's, attached to each respective SS Panzer Division in the Panzerkorps.[3] By July 1943, the predecessor of the 102nd — SS Panzer Regiment 2 of the 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" — was equipped with 14 Tiger I's.[3]

Operational history[edit]

The battalion was sent to Normandy after the D Day landings, the battalion was almost completely destroyed during the fighting in Normandy; in September 1944 it was pulled back to Germany to reform. Stationed in Sennelager the battalion was renumbered the 502nd Heavy SS Panzer Battalion.[citation needed] Equipped with Tiger II tanks (Königstiger), the battalion took part in the defense against the Red Army at the Oder-Front, during the Soviet offensive to take Berlin, the battalion was surrounded in the Halbe Pocket in 1945 and nearly destroyed.

Commanding officers[edit]

The 102nd Heavy SS Panzer Battalion was commanded by the following SS officers:

  • SS-Sturmbannführer Hans Weiss (March, 1944 - 18 August, 1944)
  • SS-Sturmbannführer Kurt Hartrampf (August, 1944 - May, 1945)

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Ripley, p. 230
  2. ^ Fey, p. xviii
  3. ^ a b Fey, p. 19

References[edit]

External links[edit]