The creation of what became the 4th (Heavy) Company, SS Panzer Regiment Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler was the result of a well-worked campaign to develop the armoured units of the Leibstandarte.
During the early stages of the war, the division had been equipped with lighter tracked vehicles and assault guns (such as the famous StuG III) but only in late 1942 were plans implemented to provide them with heavier equipment. Training was initially carried out on Panzer IIIs and then Panzer IVs during the winter of 1942-43, with recruits gathered from the assault gun batteries, artillery and regular infantry.
By early 1943 the unit had been supplied with its first Pz. Kpfw. VI Tigers – fifteen in all. Three of these these were designated as command vehicles, and the remaining dozen were divided into three platoons (Züge) of four tanks each. The Company was complemented by a light support unit consisting of five Panzer IIIs, which was headed by Michael Wittmann – then fresh from officer school.
The 4th (Heavy) Company, SS Panzer Regiment LSSAH as at 01.02.1943
The turret numbers for the 4th Company’s Tigers consisted of the company number (‘4’) followed by two further numbers that signified both the platoon and vehicle number. The platoon numbers were a straightforward 1, 2, and 3, but the vehicle numbers for some reason started at five and went through to eight for each of the four Tigers in Platoon. Therefore the lead vehicle for the third platoon was 435, with the other three vehicles being 436, 437 and 438.
The turret numbers for the 4th (Light) platoon were slightly different, and were slightly easier to decipher; all five vehicles the turrets were marked by the company number and then ‘L’ (for Leicht, or light) followed by 1 to 5. As commander of the lead vehicle in the Light platoon, Michael Wittmann’s assigned turret number was 4L1.
These vehicles had originally been painted in the regulation factory tan colour, but were then provided with a coat of white paint to provide winter camouflage.
|Order of Battle|
|405||SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinz Kling|
|Company HQ Squad Leader|
|404||SS-Untersturmführer Ortwin Rohl|
|403||SS-Untersturmführer Gustav Mühlhausen|
|415||SS-Obersturmführer Waldemar Schütz|
|416||SS-Unterscharführer Aus der Wieschen|
|418||SS-Hauptscharführer Fritz Hartel|
|425||SS-Untersturmführer Hans Philipsen|
|426||SS-Hauptscharführer Benno Poetschlak|
|427||SS-Oberscharführer Heinz Mengele|
|435||SS-Untersturmführer Helmut Wendorff|
|436||SS-Unterscharführer Jürgen Brandt|
|437||SS-Oberscharführer Heinz Mengele|
|438||SS-Unterscharführer Ewald Mölly|
|IVth (Light) Platoon|
|4L1||SS-Untersturmführer Michael Wittmann|
|4L2||SS-Oberscharführer Max Marten|
|4L3||SS-Unterscharführer Franz Staudegger|
|4L4||SS-Scharführer Georg Lötzsch|