Basis of the LSSAH Tiger Story on 12 July 1943

The story of the actions of the four LSSAH Tiger’s on this day are also not based upon any documentation I am aware of. As far as I know (and I admit that I have not exhaustively researched this aspect of the battle), the only source of its operations is a post-war account by Georg Loetzsch, who was in command of the one of the four Tigers on the 12 July. The account as provided by Karl-Heinz Frieser (page 127). It simply states that:

‘In the morning, the company was on the left wing of the II Armoured Battalion when about 50 enemy tanks, from the cover of copses and hedges, came storming towards us in broad wedge formation….I shot two T-34s, one of which drove towards me in flames. At the last moment I managed to avoid the burning bomb.’

Frieser footnotes Wendt, Tiger, pages 29-20. There may be more to the account than that, but I have not pursued it.

The German intelligence map for 12 July (see page 950 in my Kursk book or page 343 in my Prokhorovka book) does show a breakthrough that is turned back. It does not show what forces were engaged or turned them back. This whole fight, and who might of been involved has already been discussed in more depth in an earlier post:

Who all was facing the XVIII Tank Corps?

I did not include the Georg Loetzsch account in my book, as I was not familiar with its source. Perhaps I should have. I do tend to be suspicious of personal accounts that I cannot otherwise confirm.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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3 Comments

  1. For detail that this action was against the 170th Tank Brigade see the map in Zamulin’s book for 12th July.

    Georg Loetzsch testimony matches the images of destroyed Soviet tanks in a wedge formation in my article. No other wedge of tank wrecks is visible across the entire battlefield. Clearly this validates Georg Loetzsch claim that the Tigers were on the left flank of the LSSAH and destroyed Soviet tanks in a wedge formation.

    All testimony of the battle is dubious until evidence can prove its worth. The first part of Georg Loetzsch testimony has been proved to be true (by archival sources). The latter part regarding tank ramming will have to remain open to debate.

    • For detail that this action was against the 170th Tank Brigade see the map in Zamulin’s book for 12th July.

      Well, it looks like he has the 170th Tank Brigade (on one map before page 385) going all the way to Ivanovskii Vyiselok, along with the 1/32 Tank Brigade, where they are stopped by the 2nd SS Panzer Regiment (Das Reich SS Division). No such penetration is shown on the German intel map for the 12th (pages 950 and 343 of my books). It is also not shown on the II Guards Tank Corps map of 12 July 1943 (pages 946/337).

      Georg Loetzsch testimony matches the images of destroyed Soviet tanks in a wedge formation in my article

      I assume you are talking figure 32. I am not seeing much there. In the center of the picture I am seeing what appears to be seven or more blotches that form a wedge. This, of course, is where the “tanks” would have been halted by fire….vice the formation they were in at the time. I am guessing if a formation is advancing towards you, you shoot the tanks in the lead first, which means the location of the shot tanks will be different than the formation they were in.

      The first part of Georg Loetzsch testimony has been proved to be true (by archival sources).

      ?

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