George, I went to Utah Beach last August, and on the way, I made a (large) go round to take these pictures. Here’s the story…At the end of the battle of Normandy, the town of Vimoutiers was used as a rally point for all the retreating german units that had managed to escape from the Falaise gap. Though most of these units were depleted, some tanks made their way to this point. Many were abandoned for some reasons, but most often due to a lack of fuel. On August 19 of 1944,1 Panzer III, several Panzer IV and Tigers, and even 1 Königstiger were scattered aroundVimoutiers. In a curve in the middle of the road, a Tiger had been abandoned by its crew.Just before moving by foot to the East, they tried to blow it up by setting explosives against both turret and engine, but to no avail. The explosion had poor or no effect.When liberating the town on tuesday August 22, Canadians from the Black Watch ,2nd Infantry Division, cleared the way by pushing it down in a ditch along the road.The tank laid there until October 1975, when a rescue operation got it out and set it as a monument. It’s said that another Tiger has been buried in a big hole of the road, by civilian engineers, about the same point.
Related to different books, this Tiger belonged to:Schweres Panzer-Abteilung 503 ("le guide des plages du débarquement et des champs de bataille de Normandie." – Editions Presses de la cité. 1984.)orII SS PanzerKorps ("Normandie 1944, guide du champ de bataille." – Editions Heimdal. 1984)Actually, units that retreated from Falaise gap were so mixed and scattered that it’sa real challenge to identify precisely where came this tank from.Interesting pictures of the rescue operation can be seen in :"Normandie 44, les Panzers." Eric Lefevre, editions Heimdal. 1978I believe that there’s an english issue of this book, named"Normandy 1944, then and now".
This Tiger is now known as: "LE TIGRE DE VIMOUTIERS"
Sorry for the low quality of the pictures, but my camera is a very basic one.
Side view. Of course, it has been awfully repainted.
The German camouflage for tanks in the battle of Normandy was sand-yellow, with red-brown and dark-green stripes.
A closer view.
Close up of the tracks. Very impressive.
Notice the road wheels, without rubber ofthe late Type E.
Silly me, I’ve forgotten to put on a scale.
Just to show the size of the "beast", here I am, 1,77 meter tall.
The location of this tank. On the way out of Vimoutiers, on the Route Departementale D 979, heading to Gace. The little black square at the spike of the arrow is the exact point where you will find this Tiger.
Of course, you can use these pictures and information freely on your site. If any comments or questions, just e-mail me.