Abandoned Jagdtiger of Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653

Feldwebel Erich Bonike's destroyed Jagdpanzer (Hunting Tank) VI Jagdtiger (Hunting Tiger) Ausf B (SdKfz 186, alternate designation 128mm (5.04 inch) PaK44 auf Panzerjager (Tank Destroyer) Tiger), hull number 305012, identification number 314, 3.Kompanie, Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, is examined by an American soldier. Feldwebel Heinz Telgmann's Jagdtiger 332 can be seen in the distant background. Jagdtiger 314 left 653's assembly area at Hollendorf on March 16, 1945, in company with five other Jagdtigers to attack American positions in Morsbronn. 653's commander preferred a night attack to neutralize the threat of "Jabos" - "Jager-Bombern" (fighter bombers) - but the attack was ordered to proceed. On the way to Morsbronn, Jagdtiger 301 was hit by a rocket in the radio compartment, burning radio operator Hans Sager. Jagdtiger 301 Unteroffizier Hans Appel was hit by shrapnel. While approaching Morsbonn, the unit came under heavy fire from 9th Air Force Republic P-47 Thunderbolts and artillery. 314 suffered drive train problems. 314 drove into the ditch you see in this view and was abandoned and blown up by the crew. 332 was hit by rocket fire and abandoned. Hull number 305012 was the last Jagdtiger with the Porsche chassis, one of eleven built. The rest of the 85 built had a Henschel chassis, which was more costly to produce. The Jagdtiger, like 314, often broke down. The entire vehicle had to move to target the main gun, and the constant wear on the transmission and tracks caused many problems that were never solved. Many Jagdtigers were abandoned rather than knocked out.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Tuesday, April 17, 1945