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Panzer Personal Stories

At two o'clock in the morning of 6 June I was alerted. The invasion fleet was coming across the Channel. I was told to begin moving north that afternoon…This was too early. Air attacks had been severe in daylight and everyone knew that everything that could fly would support the invasion. My request for a delay until twilight was refused.

We moved as ordered and immediately came under air attack. I lost twenty or thirty vehicles by nightfall. By the end of the following day I had lost forty trucks carrying fuel and ninety others. Five of my tanks were knocked out and eighty-four half-tracks, prime movers and self-propelled guns. These were serious losses for a Division not yet in action.

General Fritz Bayerlein, Panzer Lehr

Tank Museum photo No. 5643/E/2 Tank Museum photo No. 5643/E/2

General Bayerlein, his driver and I were waiting for the vanguard of 901st Grenadier Regiment at Conde-sur-Noireau, 50 km south of Caen. The little town had been reduced to a smouldering heap of ruins. The road bridge too had been destroyed by bombs. All night long we had been looking for the battle headquarters of Sepp Dietrich, the Corps commander but we could not find it.

Captain Hartdegen, Panzer Lehr.

Tank Museum photo No. 2389/C/5 Tank Museum photo No. 2389/C/5

We were surprised by the violent anti-tank fire. A great number of anti-tank guns seemed to be in positions along the edge of the town. Canadian Infantry was in position in the trenches to the left and right of the tree-lined road running north-east to Bretteville. They peppered the mounted Grenadiers with wild rifle fire. Von Butner had died. Panzermeyer then sent out two assault teams. I reached the church with only six men after a lot of violent shooting. There I awaited the arrival of the Panzers. They did not show up.

SS Leutnant Fuss, Ist SS Panzer Grenadier Battalion.

Tank Museum photo No. 2553/B/1 Tank Museum photo No. 2553/B/1

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