Overturned 12th SS Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend" Panther Ausf A

A heavily damaged Panzerkampfwagen V Panther ausf A of the 3rd Company, 1st Abteilung (Battaltion), 12th SS Panzer Regiment, 12th SS Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend" lies flipped over next to the road between Norry-en-Bessin and Bretteville-l'Orgueilleuse. Note the sign attached that says "remove gearbox." After the failure of the 1st Abteilung's 1st and 4th Companies of the 12th SS Panzer Regiemnt to seize Bretteville-l'Orgueilleuse on the night of June 8-9, 1944, SS-Oberfuhrer (later SS-Brigadefuhrer) Kurt "Panzer" Meyer ordered the recently arrived 3rd Company to attack Norrey in a daring daylight armored thrust. Again outpacing their infantry with orders to stop only to fire, the Panthers turned from the Caen-Bayeux Highway into the fields to attack the 1st Battalion, The Regina Rifle Regiment, 3rd Canadian Division. However, expecting the Canadians to open fire with their 6-pounder 57mm (2.24 inch) anti-tank guns and thus turning towards them to put their 80mm frontal armor to the Canadians, the Panthers under Hauptmann Luedemann exposed their side and rear flanks to fire from nine Canadian Shermans of C Squadron, 25th Armored Delivery "Elgin Regiment" who were bringing replacement tanks as reinforcements from Juno Beach. The Elgins' tanks included Sherman Fireflies armed with a 17-pounder 77mm (3 inch) anti-tank gun. Seven Panthers were destroyed; fifteen of thirty-five crewmen were killed; the rest were burned or wounded. As the Panthers withdrew, they were hit by artillery fire from the Canadians and Allied ships offshore. Later, this Panther was overturned by Allied Engineers to remove it from the road. It is often reported that this tank was hit by fighter-bombers; the damage to the hull bottom is the result of tests by the engineers to see what explosives could damage the tank.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Saturday, June 9, 1945