Starting with the name of the extant Gasthaus Klosterkrug, we arrive at the tiny hamlet of Falkenhagen, near the town of Lügde, about 6.5 km west of town of Polle, Germany. S. Pz. Abt. 507 was operating in this area on/or around April 7th, 1945. Tigers in Combat, vol 1, page 315, (ppb edition), shows a photo of a very similar Tiger, with a “Porsche” turret and what appears to be a two-piece barrel, lost on April 8th in Polle.
Misidentification abounds… Not entirely on my part either. Lügde is actually a much larger town several km north of the Gasthaus, but Google Maps lists the location as such, probably because there isn’t any other major landmark nearby. Reading from Tigers in Combat, vol 2, Panzergruppe Paderborn operated further west of the Gasthaus and most likely did not see action in this immediate area, so I’m sticking with the 507th as the most likely unit involved.
Not good enough apparently. Further study has revealed a discussion on Missing Lynx concerning these three Tigers and their engagement near the town of Polle.
“The Tiger that had been fighting in the village of Polle was blocking the main street on April, 8th, 1945, after it had been abandoned for lack of fuel and ammunition.”
“That Tiger did belong to “Kampfgruppe Goerbig”, another shoot of it taken postwar can be found in another book from the same author. US fighter-bombers tried to destroy that tank, but were only able to destroy the Polle castle (out of the picture to the left). Kfgr. Goerbig used instructor vehicles (at least 3 Tiger II) from the tank school in Paderborn. They were left near Paderborn to cover the large Sennelager training ground and to act as mobile reserve. During their retreat to the east they lost one of their Tigers in the nearby hamlet of Falkenhagen, no information seems to be available about the fate of their third Tiger.”
So, despite the fact that the 507th passed right through this area on their way from Hamelin to Höxter during this time frame, these vehicles are not from the 507th, as others, including myself, have erroneously concluded. The fact that they came from Paderborn would explain their unusual features, early-model status and lack of tactical markings. I searched through my copy of The Combat History of s.Pz.Abt. 507 and found no operational entry for this engagement, thus confirming that these were not the 507th’s vehicles.
Goes to show, one must always double-check one’s references, even with highly regarded books like Tigers in Combat, which is the book that started me down this erroneous path in the first place. The terms Kampfgruppe Paderborn and Kampfgruppe Goerbig being used interchangeably doesn’t help clarify things either.