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Monday, August 18, 2014

A (Very) Brief History of 510 Schwere Panzer-Abteilung

In Battlefront's Bridge at Remagen book, the unit history provided with the heavy tank company list details 506. Schwere Panzer-Abteilung.  However, given you can also field a forced based on 510. Schwere Panzer-Abteilung with the list (and the fact that I'm working on one such army right now), I thought it would be interesting to look into that unit's history.

One of the last Heer heavy tank battalions formed, Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 510 wasn't established until June 6, 1944.  It received its training at the Ohrdruf Training area in mid-June, and by mid July 1944 the unit was transported for action on the Eastern Front.  Initially equipped with the Tiger I tank, it spent most of the next few months fighting against the Soviets in the Baltics.

Ultimately the unit ends up fighting in Kurland, starting with the First Battle of Kurland.  By mid-March 1945, the unit had been largely spent and was pulled from the line to be reconstituted with King Tiger tanks.  The portion of the unit I'm concerned with is the third company under Oberleutnant Helpup... yes Helpup.  They received six Tiger II tanks and were dispatched to Kassel in late March / early April 1945

Based on the history I have available, 510. Schwere Panzer-Abteilung didn't officially meet up with "Westfalen" until April 18, 1945.  The company had already officially disbanded, but the fleeing soldiers were caught and ordered to man an abandoned Tiger II of 507. Schwere Panzer-Abteilung.  That being said, in the insane back-and-forth battles of April, it is clear that the 510th would have fought alongside several rag-tag units like "Westfalen."

By the end of the war, the battalion had knocked out over 200 enemy tanks.

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