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Photos of Tiger II 332 of s. SS-Pz.Abt. 501 in Belgium
Old 05-27-2018, 08:14 AM   #1
Greg
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Default Photos of Tiger II 332 of s. SS-Pz.Abt. 501 in Belgium

Interesting photos of Tiger 332 of s. SS-Pz.Abt. 501 have surfaced from a private collection in Belgium. The photos were taken by the owner’s grandfather in Trooz,probably in the early spring of 1945. 332 is shown being driven under its own power along the Rue Grand (the main street of Trooz; the N61 highway). The modern images from Google Maps show the locations today.
What was 332 doing in Trooz? Trooz is a town about 25 km from Spa, where the 463rd Ordnance Evacuation Company left 332 at the train station after evacuating it out of the combat zone in December 1944. It was previously thought that Ordnance Technical Inspection Team 1 (O.T.I.T. 1) transported the tank from Spa to Antwerp by rail, or by using a captured German heavy tank trailer that was pictured in an O.T.I.T. report dated 13 May 1945 (NARA). If a heavy tank was being transported by trailer, traveling on the N61 through Trooz to Antwerp would make sense. But why stop in Trooz? It appears that the location of the famous photos of 332 on the German trailer were also taken in Trooz, and this may have been where the tank was loaded for transport to Antwerp. The tank may have been driven from Spa to Trooz by the O.T.I.T. 1 soldiers. It’s possible that the tank was being repaired/maintained at Trooz. The photo owner’s grandparents hosted a number of American soldiers who were mechanics working in a car/truck repairshop next door to their house. The shop is large and could accommodate even a Tiger II. It seems that the G.I.s must have given the photographer some advance notice that the tank would be driving down the street, because he kept his camera packed away and would not have been able to get to it quickly enough if he just happened to see the tank drive through town.
The last Google Maps image shows the area on the N61 in Trooz where it seems that 332 was loaded onto the German trailer. This location is about 1 km to the west (in the direction of Antwerp) from where the photos of 332 being driven were taken. While some of the buildings have changed, the distinctive brick wall that can be seen to the right of the loaded trailer is still there. The building seen to the left in the trailer photos is gone; it was perhaps part of a steel mill that is no longer there.
Of note are the U.S. markings on the tank. The 463ORDEVAC marking is on the left turret side, and at this point the O.T.I.T. 1 had put their designation on turret sides, rear hull plate, and glacis plate. The enigmatic “cross-in-circle” markings have not yet been painted, but on the forward part of the left hull there is a white circle exactly where the cross-in-circle later appears. This almost looks like some sort of thick solid object that has been applied. Unfortunately higher resolution scans of the very small original photo don’t reveal any more details. For whatever purpose the O.T.I.T. used the cross-in-circle markings, this may have been the beginning of the left hull one, since the markings appear in the photos of 332 being loaded onto the German trailer.


Best,
Greg
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 332 Trooz for web.jpg (161.3 KB, 279 views)
File Type: jpg 332 Trooz 2 for web.jpg (142.5 KB, 277 views)
File Type: jpg 267 Grand Rue Trooz, Belgium from Google Maps.jpg (94.5 KB, 277 views)
File Type: jpg 259 Grand Rue Trooz, Belgium from GoogleMaps.jpg (96.7 KB, 278 views)
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Last edited by Greg; 05-27-2018 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:18 AM   #2
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This Google Maps view may show the location where the famous photos were taken of 332 being loaded onto the German heavy tank trailer. This is perhaps how the O.T.I.T transported 332 to Antwerp, to ship the tank to the USA. B/W photos from the US National Archives.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg N61 Grand Rue Trooz, Belgium from GoogleMaps.jpg (174.0 KB, 279 views)
File Type: jpg OTIT Report trl left rear NARA.jpg (152.7 KB, 276 views)
File Type: jpg OTIT Rpt trl rear NARA.jpg (194.2 KB, 275 views)
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:51 PM   #3
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Great work Greg!
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