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A crew from 776th knocked out a  “Hunting Tiger” or “Jagdtiger” from Heavy Tank Destroyer Battalion 653, the first such vehicle ever knocked out on the Western Front. At 79 tons, the heaviest ever committed to combat, it was completely destroyed probably by hits from the M36 Slammer's tank destroyer 90mm main gun.

The destruction of this Hunting Tiger caught the attention of Hitler himself.   Every day, Hitler was personally briefed about the position of each Jagdtiger tank.  Infatuation with massive weapons even superseded his critical and pressing responsibilities as the supreme warlord.
panzerjager abteilung 653 hunting tiger jagdtiger Assault Gun tank destroyer panzer  rimling
Conflict surrounds the credit for the destruction of this Jagdtiger.   Two sources are credited with the 'kill': 1- A well placed bazooka shot;  2- A long-range precision round from a 90mm gun on a 776th 'Slugger' tank destroyer.

+ Panzer Pictures

The 'Hunting Tiger'  was one Hitler's favorite new wonder weapons.  Hitler personally saw to it that the Nordwind battle order employed most of the few German armored units equipped with the scarce Hunting Tiger, such as PanzerJager Abteilung 653. With its 128mm main gun, he correctly determined that no recently liberated Maginot pillbox or minor bunker could withstand a Hunting Tiger direct hit.  During Nordwind, such American desperation 'hold at all costs' stands against this monster proved futile.  The pillbox served as a mass grave.   At 2,000 meters, 2.4 meters of concrete were penetrated by the main gun.  

Hitler commanded tank commanders that, should a Jagdtiger become separated or immobilized,  to dig in, hull down, and become one more 'Festung' or German strong-point.  The immobile super assault panzer functioned as a self-contained fortress.

Panther tank 21st Panzer Division attached to Waffen SS 17th Panzer-Grenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen Nordwind
A Company of Panther tanks from the 21st Panzer Division was attached to the Waffen SS 17th Panzer-Grenadier Division "Götz von Berlichingen" at the time of Nordwind.
German Stug assault gun panzer burns in Rimling
 

king tiger tank nordwind mark iv waffen SS

Above: Spoils of war- Captured King Tiger in transit  to the Army's Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

The heaviest action for tank battles occurred on the 44th’s eastern flank and border with the 100th Division between Rimling and Gros Réderching, where the 17th SS, supported by at least  70 assault guns and a company of Panthers from the 21st Panzer Division, pushed hard to break through to the south and east to encircle the 100th Infantry Division and regain the Saverne Pass.

Destroyed German Assault Gun brandelfingerhof Farm 17th Waffen SS Panzer grenadier Division

44th Infantry Division destroyed German assault gun   Relief (it is true)
Hetzer panzer Flammpanzer Kompanie 352  353 flamethrower tank Nordwind 17th Waffen SS
The above is a special adaptation of the capable German anti-tank platform named the Hetzer.   The Flamm Hetzer, or flamethrower Hetzer, was issued only to two specialized panzer units, Flammpanzer Kompanie 352 and 353.  Both units were assigned to the 17th Waffen SS.  During Nordwind the 44th literally fought fire and ice as the 44th battled this terrifying weapon during the coldest winter on record.   The US Signal Corp. photograph above was taken in the Rimling vicinity - January 1945.

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