SS Panzer Battalion 501, Tigers in the Ardennes
The book covers the history of the SS Panzer Battalion 501 in the Battle of The Bulge (Ardennes for the Germans). The book is divided into 5 chapters with an Introduction, Conclusion, Notes and Bibliography at the end of the book. Each chapter in turn is divided into individual sections dealing with specific points. The book contains a total of 169 pages, 191 black and white photos, 7 maps and 1 order of battle table. The unit was attached to the 1st. SS Panzer Division Liebstandart Adolph Hitler (LSSAH) another unit of was the 12th. Panzer Division. The goal of the unit was to reach the port of Antwerp and thus divide the Allied units in two. The unit personnel were very experienced. One of the biggest problems the unit had was the great deal of maintenance and mechanical problems that plagued the unit.
The first chapter starts with the unit Order of Battle followed by how difficult the mission would be, the problematic start of the unit, as well as the road to Bastogne to mention a few. In chapter 2 we are introduced to the unit's history, as well as some of its members. This is the shortest chapter of the book. We are introduced to the men of the unit. which each assigned tank and the commander of same. Chapter 3 is about the number of tanks lost between the starting line and Stavelot. This is the chapter that starts the detailed demise of each German AFV, which continues with chapters 4 & 5. The conclusion or "Autopsy of a Fiasco" as the authors call the conclusion gives us the reasons why the actual event was to end badly for the Germans. The lack of preparation, lack of fuel and use of the units in forms for which they were not really designed are touched upon by the authors.
One thing I was not happy with was the amount of photos of broken down Tigers shown in the book. I did not count the number that appeared that way, but I felt there were too many of them, Yes, the mechanical problems of the equipment are well known and documented, but I would have liked to see more photos of the Tigers in action. Maybe this was not possible due the chaotic times this event took place, but it would have been nice to see them. I would recommend the book to those interested in this particular unit, as well to those who would take inspiration to create a diorama.
My thanks to Casemate Publishers for the opportunity to review the book.