Kampfgruppe Peiper, commanded by the veteran Jochen Peiper from 1st SS Panzer Division (LAH), crossed the border at the Losheim Gap at the start of Operation Autumn Mist on 16th December. His units captured a fuel depot near Honsfeld, and further along their line of advance at Malmady, some of his men took part in a massacre of US prisoners. As he reached Stavelot on 18th December, the Kampfgruppe met its first serious resistance. Peiper left some of his men to fight, while the main column diverted via the bridge at Trois Ponts. However, this had been blown and the Americans were resisting strongly here as well, so instead Peiper took the road to Coo and La Gleize.

La Gleize was reached, but efforts to push beyond it were thwarted. Peiper then found himself in defence of the village over the next few days, before the remnants of his Kampfgruppe sneaked through the American lines and escaped. In the process they leave behind 135 vehicles in and around the area. In La Gleize alone they abandoned:

47 half-tracks (SPW)
7 Panzer IV
12 Panther G
1 Panther H
6 Tiger II (King Tigers)
6 Bisons (150mm Hows)
3 Puma
1 Flak half-track
2 half track vehicles
4 Russian 120mm mortars
1 Flakpanzer IV
1 Steyr truck
1 Schwimmwagen
1 Ketten-Krad
1 BWM Motor Bike
3 cars (Steyr 1500 A/01)
1 75 mm cannon
1 flak cannon
1 US Jeep (captured and used by the Germans)
1 Dodge (captured and used by the Germans)
1 Dodge ambulance (captured and used by the Germans)
1 truck (type unidentified)

The Tiger II on display outside the La Gleize Museum was one of the six left behind by Kampfgruppe Peiper. This 68 ton tank had a road speed of 35 kmh, and a range of 170 km. It was armed with a 88mm KwK 43, and was proteced by 150mm of armour at the front, and up to 185mm on the turret. As such there were few allied guns that could hope to knock it out, and most of those left behind in the Ardennes had either shed a track, broken down or run out of fuel. In La Gleize one of the captured Tiger IIs was used as target practice by US troops once the village had been retaken. They fired bazooka after bazooka round at it - none penetrated!

This one was restored some years ago, the main gun being damaged. It was repainted, but the original tank number, '213' was keep. Vehicle 213 was part of 501st Abteilung, commanded by Dollinger, and was abandoned in front of the town hall. It was moved to its present site in 1951.

Link to the Tiger II pages of Acthung Panzer! web site:

ŠPaul Reed 2002-2006

Hit Counter

Home Up Ardennes Tourism Bastogne Sherman Celles Panther Hotton War Cemetery La Gleize King Tiger La Gleize Museum M10 Ardennes