The Battle of Grandmenil has a number of mysteries. One of them is the mystery of the Tiger tank.
Several witnesses claimed that Tiger tanks were involved in the battle in and around Manhay and Grandmenil.
During the attack on Manhay and Grandmenil and the attack in Trou du Loup, men stated that Tiger tanks were driving around.
In the testimony of Franz Frauscher, he stated that no Tiger tanks were in the vicinity of the villages .
Barkmann says in his testimony: “The Americans think that these are Tiger tanks, while in this region there were none.”
Barkmann heard the Americans calling on the radio that Tigers had arrived.
Strange, who’s right? You could say that Barkmann would know what drove around in the region. On the other hand: It’s a little too easy to call the Americans stupid, who can’t recognise army material.
So let’s start researching. Were Tigers involved in this battle?
Internet does not provide much information.
There is plenty of talk about moving Panthers, but nothing about Tiger tanks. In the reference there is nothing about them.
What’s so special about the Tiger tank?
The Americans were terrified about this tank, that is definitely . The strength of the Tiger was unprecedented and the monster was (wrongly) known by the troops as “unbeatable”.
At the moment that Barkmann approached Manhay with his column, it was not so strange that the Americans called in utter panic that the Tigers were in town. It was pitchblack and it was not easy to see exactly what approached the crossroads.
At Trou Loup soldiers thought they saw Tigers. In the testimony of Tom Leamon you can see a drawing. On that picture is not a Panther nor a Tiger. Observation of the plate suggests that the draftsman had the intention to draw a Tiger. Ultimately it was a mix between Panther and Tiger. Some witnesses reported Tigers on this spot.
Well, whats the story?
Let’s place picture of a panther V ausf.G and a Tiger next to eachother:
There are clear differences between the two tanks. It is also almost impossible to confuse them.
But war has also psychological backgrounds. The Americans experienced the Tiger as an unbeatable monster. It is likely that they thought they dealed with a tiger instead of a panther. Many soldiers were green as grass, had little combat experience and had just left school. The 75th division was called the diaper division, because of their inexperience in combat. You can not blame the soldiers that they mixed up these tanks. It was war, your friends were slain, your were dealing your own fear, etc. Enough elements that limit the capability for accurate observation.
It is a fact that in the Battle of Grandmenil (and Manhay) Panthers drove around. An example is still on the crossroad in Grandmenil: the panther V Ausf. G.
Mystery solved, I kept on doubding. There were also veterans, with loads of experience. Did they also mix up these tanks?
I started searching again.
After long search, I thought I found something. I thought I had found photos of three Tigers. The photo’s were taken in this area:
No, once the site was on air for just a few hours, I recieved 2 emails that these were not Tigers, but Panzer IV.
There were no Tigers in Belle Haie (between Manhay Baraque and de Fraiture) and Manhay. The first two photos show citizens at the Panther IV.
Conclusion: Undoubtedly no Tigertanks in this region during the battle of the Ardennes.