Tiger Battalion 507

Published: August 11th, 2020     
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Book Cover
Author: Helmut Schneider
Reviewed by: Bob LaBouy - IPMS# 3064
Company: Greenhill Books
ISBN #: 978-1784384968
Other Publication Information: Illustrator: Adam Hook, 9.5 X 6.5 inches, 274 pages, over 200 photos
Price: $32.95
Product provided by: Casemate Publishers

Tiger Battalion 507

The Table of Contents provides this basic outline:

  • Chapter 1 Formation and Induction, Heavy Panzer Battalion 507
  • Chapter 2 First Operations: Tarnopol-Brody-Kowel
  • Chapter 3 Arrival on the Eastern Front
  • Chapter 4 From Baranovicze to Scharfenwiese
  • Chapter 5 The Battle for the Narew Bridgeheads
  • Chapter 6 A Resting Place at Zichenau-Mielau
  • Chapter 7 The Fighting between the Narew and the Vistula
  • Chapter 8 The Partial Return to Sennelager
  • Chapter 9 The Battle of Paderborn

As a preface to this very interesting book, the author, Mr. Schneider provides a snapshot of himself, aged 19, Schneider volunteered for the Panzer Arm in March 1941. He was one of the first five men sent to the Eastern Front. He took part in the Caucasus campaigns and joined the Heavy Panzer Battalion 507 in 1943. He next moved on to the panzer grenadiers where he was given a Wanderer bicycle, a Panzerfaust, an assault rifle, and was sent to fight the US Army on the Western Front. His decorations included the Panzer Assault Badge and the Iron Cross Second Class."

In this book, which took four years to complete the German to English translation, the author provides a great deal of insight into his life as a young Wehrmacht soldier, as he was introduced to the promising life as a member of Panzer force and as a Tiger tank crewman.

There is also a great deal of details about how the Wehrmacht army was recruited, trained, and organized. I really had very little knowledge about the actual organizational of a typical heavy tank battalion nor the complexity of its organization. As the Battalion was trained and fully equipped with its 45 Tiger tanks, and counted amongst its primary components of staff command group, a signals platoon, armored reconnaissance, pioneer, flak, repair, recovery, admin, provisions and baggage platoons, as well as three heavy panzer (with 18 Tiger I's each), and a workshop company.

The various diary entries provide a better and more detailed insight of their daily activities than I had previously understood.

There are a large number of black and white maps provided to guide the reader over the various battlefields. This book is based on the number of personal notes, letters, and diary entries of the numerous survivors of Heavy Panzer Battalion 507, collected during reunions and from 1977 through 1982. It is essentially a diary tracking the Battalion over the years from 1943 to 1945, covering the 500 days it existed.

Several aspects of this book are most rewarding.

  • There are 200 photographs included from private collections providing numerous great photographic details which I found very interesting as a scale modeler (e.g. the numbering styles used on the tank turrets, extra tread pieces carried on the tank facets and turrets and the use of rolls of wooden poles carried to help in swampy areas).
  • As a modeler very interested in the Tiger tank (I am the in-law of a former Tiger tank commander, captured and made a POW after the Battle of Leningrad), I found the wealth of black and white pictures extremely interesting. The images will provide the launching point for several more Tigers and allow me to build and paint more interesting vignettes.
  • Deployment and value of the radio controlled P4 tanks, which was found not to be a useful device.
  • A continual underlying acknowledgement that the war was a fruitless attempt to win from a military standpoint. For example, there are numerous statements that the Herr were prevented from undertaking various decisions based upon decisions from Hitler because of 'political reasons.' In describing the 'catastrophic year of 1943' I found this particular statement very descriptive: "The battlefield was lit up; our ears rang with the crazy shrieking. Rybalov (3rd Guards Tank Army General) had swarms of T-34s roll towards us with blinding searchlights and howling sirens, and as they approached the German lines the T-34s kept firing. Crouching low on the tank hulls, not visible because of the searchlights, were their infantry--it was a hellish spectacle with a psychological effect. And it worked, psychologically and otherwise, for the firepower of those T-34s was enormous, and the thin German lines crumbled."

But the German Panzer troops in Battalion 507 continued to fight, regardless of the eventual outcome.

My thanks to Casemate Publishers and Greenhill Books for their review copy and my thanks to IPMS/USA for my opportunity to thoroughly enjoy, read, and provide this review.

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