Date: Saturday, the 22nd of September 2012
Title: Vimoutiers, a visit to Tiger 231
On Sunday, the 20th of August 1944, the decisive stage of the Battle of Normandy is coming to an end. The Falaise pocket, where the German forces are surrounded, is on the point of being wiped out.
On the 21st of August, five German tanks which have succeeded in breaking out, take up position in the Guerquesalles area.
One of them, Sd.Kfz. 181 Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausführung E (late edition) No. 231 heading for Vimoutiers, is immobilized shortly before entering the town; it has probably run out of fuel. The tank belonged to the Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 (“Feldherrnhalle”). It is rendered inoperable by its crew with two explosive charges.
This Tiger tank, of which only one more exists in France (in Saumur, Musée des Blindés), was purchased by the town, restored and put on its present site. It has been under preservation order as a historical monument since 1975. If funding gets sorted, in autumn 2013 the Tiger will undergo a thorough restoration. Let’s hope they find the money one way or another.