Following the Autumn campaign the 13th Company was strengthened significantly, with a number of new vehicles being added. The structure of the formation was also revised, which saw the Fourth (Light) platoon of five Panzer III being replaced with five new Tiger Is, and the creation of a new fifth platoon. Completing the new additions were three further Tigers which were added to the existing three platoons, each of which had previously consisted of four vehicles.
Before this unit refurbishment the 13th Company had consisted of seventeen Tigers and five Panzer IIIs; as the end of 1943 approached, its armoured strength had increased by almost fifty percent and now consisted of twenty seven-vehicles, all of which were Tiger Is.
In line with the strengthening and reformation of the unit, new turret designations were also applied. Each vehicle had a two figure number – the first indicating the platoon and the second the unique vehicle number, preceded by an ‘S’ symbolising Schwere, or Heavy. The exceptions to this rule were the turret numbers S05 and S04, those assigned to the Company Commander and HQ Squad Leader respectively.
The 13th (Heavy) Company, 1. SS Pz. Rgt. LSSAH as at 02.11.1943
These early production Tigers had initially been painted in the standard factory tan colour, but white paint was later used to provide suitable camouflage for the winter months. Michael Wittmann had initially been assigned to the lead tank of the second platoon (S21), but by the time of his being awarded the Ritterkreuz in January 1944 he had assumed command of the HQ Squad Leader’s vehicle, S04.
This vehicle is probably the most well-known of all Wittmann’s Tigers, probably on account of the number of photographs that were taken of it and the crew following Wittmann’s receipt of his award.
|Order of Battle
|SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinz Kling
|Company HQ Squad Leader
|SS-Untersturmführer Helmut Wendorff
|SS-Unterscharführer Hans Höld
|SS-Unterscharführer Hans Rosenberger
|SS-Oberscharführer Otto Augst
|SS-Unterscharführer Kurt Hühnerbein
|SS-Untersturmführer Michael Wittmann
|SS-Unterscharführer Ewald Mölly
|SS-Hauptscharführer Hans Höflinger
|SS-Oberscharführer Jürgen Brandt
|SS-Unterscharführer Kurt Kleber
|SS-Untersturmführer Eduard Kalinowsky
|SS-Oberscharführer Eduard Stadler
|SS-Oberscharführer Georg Lötzsch
|SS-Unterscharführer Günther Kunze
|SS-Unterscharführer Willi Sadzio
|SS-Untersturmführer Walther Hahn
|SS-Unterscharführer Kurt Sowa
|SS-Hauptscharführer Erich Langner
|SS-Unterscharführer Herbert Stief
|SS-Untersturmführer Fritz Hartel
|SS-Unterscharführer Otto Bard
|SS-Unterscharführer Heinz Werner