During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, one of the German vehicles that American soldiers feared most was the Tiger II tank, or “King Tiger.” Tigers in the Ardennes tells the story of the 501st Heavy SS Tank Battalion, a King Tiger tank unit in the Battle of the Bulge (or Ardennes Offensive, as the Germans called it). The battalion was attached to Kampfgruppe Peiper of the 1st SS Panzer Division. The abilities and liabilities of the Tiger II tank had a great effect on what Kampfgruppe Peiper could and could not accomplish.
U.S. Army officer and military historian Gregory Walden provides the most detailed look at the actions of a single German battalion in the Battle of the Bulge to date. Tigers in the Ardennes is the product of years of research in archives, conversations with German and American veterans, and detailed examination of terrain in the Ardennes battlefields. The author’s experience as a tank unit commander provides unique insight into the tactical difficulties of armor movements through the Ardennes, especially considering the technical aspects of the Tiger II tanks. The book includes over 100 images, including photographs of the Tiger II tanks never before published, plus detailed maps showing the routes used by the 501st Heavy SS Tank Battalion during the battle.
Tigers in the Ardennes shows the human side of tank warfare, focusing on one German unit – how the men and their unit prepared for the battle, what they experienced (often in their own words, from interviews with veterans), how they used their powerful tanks, and the shortcomings of those tanks which eventually kept them from accomplishing their objective. The author, Gregory Walden, is a retired U.S. Army officer, with 20 years’ experience in tanks and armored units. As a tank commander and armor unit leader, the author’s perspective lends a better understanding of how the men felt as they pushed forward in the offensive, how they used their tanks to tactical advantage, and the reasons why their equipment ultimately failed them.
In addition to the stories of the soldiers who manned the tanks, the book gives detailed descriptions of the Tiger tanks. This information is presented in a listing of the tanks which took part in the battle, including names of their crews where known, their camouflage paint and other physical characteristics, and a description of what happened to the tanks during the battle. The descriptions are supported by numerous photographs and film stills taken during and after the battle. The detailed descriptions will be of interest to military historians of the Battle of the Bulge, those interested in the Tiger II tank in general, and military modelers.
As an amateur historian interested in the German armored forces of World War II, the author visited the Ardennes battlefields many times, and interviewed numerous veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. He also conducted research with Belgian historians, and in the U.S. National Archives and the German Bundesarchiv. The book includes over 100 images, including photographs of the Tiger II tanks never before published, plus detailed maps showing the routes used by the 501st Heavy SS Tank Battalion during the battle.
About The Author:
Gregory Walden is a retired U.S. Army officer and military historian. His book, Tigers in the Ardennes: The 501st Heavy SS Tank Battalion in the Battle of the Bulge, was published by Schiffer Publishing. The author’s experience as a tank unit commander provides unique insight into the tactical difficulties of armor movements through the Ardennes forest region of Belgium. A 20 year Army veteran, Greg served in Armor branch, and spent most of his service time in Cavalry units. He spent three tours of duty in Germany during the Cold War. While there he visited the Ardennes area many times to study the battle sites and meet with veterans and local historians. Greg is a member of the Company of Military Historians and of the Association of 3rd Armored Division Veterans, and lives in Florida with his wife, Susan; sons Rob and Alex; and two puppies.
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Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Schiffer Military History