509th Heavy Panzer Battalion
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|509th Heavy Panzer Battalion|
|Active||9. September 1943- 8. May 1945|
|Equipment||Tiger I (1943–1945)
Tiger II (1944–1945)
The 509th Heavy Panzer Battalion (abbreviated s.Pz.Abt. 509) was a German heavy panzer abteilung equipped with Tiger I and later Tiger II Königstiger tanks. The 509th saw action on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. As with other German heavy tank battalions, it was never assigned to a single corps; but shuffled around as needed.
The 509th was ordered formed on 9 September 1943, taking most of its personnel from Panzer-Regiment 204 of the disbanded 22nd Panzer Division. The battalion received forty-five Tiger Is. It was committed to action in Ukraine as a part of Army Group South. Reaching the Front in October 1943, the 509th saw action near Kirovograd and Krivoi Rog, and participated in Werhmacht's retreat.
In early 1944, the 509th was involved in the Second Battle of Kiev and then retreated across Ukraine. In late May, the depleted 509th was pulled back for refitting. After receiving a full complement of Tiger 1s, the battalion was sent back to the front on 1 June 1944. On 22 June 1944, the Red Army launched Operation Bagration, and the 509th, attached to Army Group Centre, was in their line of advance. On 8 September 1944, the detachment lost sixteen Tigers in under 24 hours near Kielce, Poland.
In late September the battalion was pulled back to be equipped with Tiger IIs. After it had received forty-five new Tiger IIs in December 1944, the detachment was attached to IV SS Panzer Corps, which was preparing an attempt to relieve the encircled garrison of Budapest. Launched on 18 January 1945, the operation, codenamed Konrad III, was ultimately a failure. During the operation, the 509th had lost forty of its forty-five Tiger IIs, with ten being total losses.
The 509th was transferred to III Corps, to support Operation Frühlingserwachen in March, and retreating to Vienna. It took part in the Battle of Vienna in April, before retreating to the American lines. On 9 May 1945, the 509th surrendered to the U.S. Army near Linz.
- Hauptmann Hannibal von Lüttichau (? Aug 1943 - ? Nov 1943)
- Hauptmann Hans-Jürgen Burmester (? Mar 1944 - ? Feb 1945)
Jentz, Thomas L. Panzer Truppen, Vol. 2: The Complete Guide to the Creation & Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1943-1942. Atlgen, PA: Schiffer, 1996 ISBN 0-7643-0080-6