2nd ss panzer division das reich

Perhaps the most interesting part about the Battle of Kursk was the famed Battle of Prokhorovka, where II-SS Panzer Corps clashed head on with the 5th Guards Tank Army in an all out armored brawl that makes the Battle of Kursk so famous. 

1st SS Panzergrenadier Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, 2nd SS Panzergrenadier Division Das Reich and 3rd SS Panzergrenadier Division Totenkopf duked it out with 2nd, 18th, and 29th Tank Corps, 2nd Guards Tank Corps and 5th Guards Mechanized Corps as the main Russian units. 

Germany committed about 290 tanks and assault guns while the Russians pressed about 600 into battle. 

Even though the Germans managed to take out 300-400 Soviet vehicles for about 80 of their own, the determined Soviet defenders held the line until German forces were forced to retreat. 

Link if you want a biggur image

Cpl. James Gordon and Pvt. L.C. Rainwater of the US 2nd Armored Div., inspect a Panzer V ‘Panther’ of 2.SS Panzer Division “Das Reich” deserted near the village of Grandménil in Belgium.
Sometime after the of Battle 25 - 27 December 1944.
When the 2.SS Pz Div., pulled back form Grandménil on 26 December 1944, seven Panther tanks were left behind for various reasons. One of them still remains as a memorial of the bloody winter day in late 1944 when this village with barely three hundred inhabitants became a focal point in the great Ardennes Battle.

A Tiger from 2nd SS Panzergrenadier Division Das Reich, which fell under the 8th SS Panzer Regiment in Kharkov, Ukraine, 1943. 

During the fierce fighting for Kharkov, Tiger tanks from both the Waffen-SS and the Heer were used as a heavy quick reaction type force, where they were swung to areas in the German front line that were on the verge of being broken through by the Soviets. 

This post is dedicated to the People burned alive by Soldiers of the 2nd SS Panzer “Das Reich” Division at Oradour-Sur-Glane, June 10th, 1944.

On 10 June,The Division sealed off Oradour-sur-Glane and ordered all the inhabitants – and anyone who happened to be in or near the town – to assemble in the village square to have their identity papers examined. The SS also arrested six people who did not live in the village but merely happened to be riding their bicycles through there when the SS unit arrived.

The women and children were locked in the church and the village was looted. The men were led to six barns and sheds, where machine guns were already in place.

According to a survivor’s account, the SS men then began shooting, aiming for their legs. When victims were unable to move, the Nazis covered them with fuel and set the barns on fire. Only six men managed to escape. One of them was later seen walking down a road and was shot dead. In all, 190 Frenchmen died.

The SS men next proceeded to the church and placed an incendiary device beside it. When it was ignited, women and children tried to escape through the doors and windows, only to be met with machine-gun fire. 247 women and 205 children died in the brutal attack. The only survivor was 47-year-old Marguerite Rouffanche. She escaped through a rear sacristy window, followed by a young woman and child. All three were shot, two of them fatally. Rouffanche crawled to some pea bushes and remained hidden overnight until she was found and rescued the next morning. About twenty villagers had fled Oradour-sur-Glane as soon as the Stormtroopers had appeared. That night, the village was partially razed.

Several days later, the survivors were allowed to bury the 642 dead inhabitants of Oradour-sur-Glane who had been killed in just a few hours. Adolf Diekmann said the atrocity was in retaliation for the partisan activity in nearby Tulle and the kidnapping of Helmut Kämpfe.

Murphy’s Report.

Raymond J. Murphy, a 20-year-old American B-17 navigator shot down over Avord, France in late April 1944, witnessed the aftermath of the massacre. After being hidden by the French Resistance, Murphy was flown to England on 6 August, and in debriefing filled in a questionnaire on 7 August and made several drafts of a formal report. The version finally submitted on 15 August has a handwritten addendum:

About 3 weeks ago, I saw a town within 4 hours bicycle ride up [sic] the Gerbeau farm [of Resistance leader Camille Gerbeau] where some 500 men, women, and children had been murdered by the Germans. I saw one baby who had been crucified.

Murphy’s report was made public in 2011 after a Freedom of Information Act request by his grandson, an attorney in the United States Department of Justice National Security Division. It is the only account to mention crucifying a baby.  Shane Harris concludes the addendum is a true statement by Murphy and that the town, not named in Murphy’s report, is very likely Oradour-sur-Glane.