The 507th Headquarters Kompanie tank commanded by Wolf-Dietrich
"Dieter" Jaehn was blocking the east end of the road
to Dorenhagen and Eggeringhausen. The 2nd Kompanie, commanded
by Hauptman Maximillian Wirsching, was east at Busch and also
hidden in the woods. It was comprised of nine King Tigers and
3 Feuerschutz Jagdpanthers (Tank Destroyers) blocking the road
to Eggeringhausen. These three Kompanies set the ambush that
totally destroyed the ill-fated assault on Hamborn by the US
3rd Armored Division's Task Force Welborn; which also resulted
in the death of its Division Commander Major General Maurice
Rose. See footnote #1.
The Tiger 88mm main gun was deadly at 1,000 meters. The American
column with "Big Six" (General Rose's code name) were
less than 700-800 meters away and blindly approaching without
sending out any reconnaissance patrols. They had no knowledge
of their pending disaster about to occur. Koltermann could hardly
believe his good fortune.
The following German veterans were assigned to the 507th Battalion
on 23 September 1943 and were sent to the Russian front in March
of 1944. After being credited with over 600 Russian tank "kills,"
they were returned to Sennelager on 6 February 1945 to be refitted
with Tiger IIs. Note those with the Ritterkreuz (Knight's
Major Fritz Shoeck, Ritterkreuz, Battalion CO, August
1944- May 1945
Hauptman Hannes Steinborn, Supply Officer
Hauptman Wolfgang Koltermann, Ritterkreuz,, CO 3rd Kompanie
Hauptman Maximillian Wirsching, Ritterkreuz, CO 2nd Kompanie
Hauptman Hannes Steinborn, Tank Commander
Lieutenant Wolf-Dietrich Jaehn, Hqs, Tank Commander
Lieutenant Heinrich Jahn, Tank Commander
Lt. Eckart, Tank Commander
Lt. Georg Reinhard, Tank Commander
Lt. Peter Heesch, Tank Commander
Lt. Woerner, Tank Commander
Lt. Exler, Tank Commander
Lt. Foerster, Tank Commander
Lt. Gustav Stadler, Tank Commander
Lt. Helmut Kuessner, Tank Commander
Lt. Berhold, Tank Commander
Lt. Bernard Pfeuffer, Tank Commander, Platoon Leader, 2nd Kompanie
Lt. Eychmuller, Tank Commander
Lt. Krahling, Supply Officer
Oberfeldwebel Fritz Breitfeld, Tank Commander
Oberfeldwebel H. Dietz, Tank Commander, Platoon Leader
Oberfeldwebel Edmund Ratajczak, Ritterkreuz, Tank Commander
Oberfeldwebel Zinke Tank Commander
Stabsfeldwebel Voss, Tank Commander
Feldwebel Willi Wolf, Tank Commander
Feldwebel Fritz Ebner, Tank Commander
After ambushing Task Force Welborn, with disastrous results
for the 3rd Armored Division, the 507th Battalion CO, Major Fritz
Shoeck, gave orders to withdraw to the area near Dorenhagen.
It is believed that it was Koltermann's 3rd Zug (Platoon) 3rd
Kompanie with orders to deploy and withdraw to Dorenhagen who
confronted General Rose on the road. Attempting to escape eminent
capture, Rose's jeep had passed two Tiger tanks going in the
opposite direction in the dark on a narrow road, when the third
tank blocked his jeep. General Rose dismounted, surrendered and
became a POW.
The tank commander, of the third tank in road march formation,
who remains unidentified among the names listed above, had blocked
Rose's jeep and was standing in his turret. After shouting unclear
commands in German to General Rose, he aimed his M38 Schmeisser
machine pistol, set on Dauerfeurer (full automatic) with the
32-round magazine, and without justification, fired repeatedly
at General Rose, who had his hands raised in surrender; striking
him fourteen (14) times, resulting in his instantaneous death.
For the record, neither the 507th Headquarters Kompanie nor the
2nd Kompanie tanks were anywhere near the road location where
Rose was machine gunned.
After experiencing severe platoon leader prior losses on the
Russian front due to having taken the lead tank position, a change
of tactics was made to maintain platoon control; the Zug commander
would now take the third position in an attack, following
his two lead tanks, called the "Keil" formation. In
a road march, the platoon leader would take a position in the
middle (third) in the straight line formation called "Reihe."
As the Kompanie CO and tank commander, Koltermann, in Tank #301,
after decimating Welborn's column from the high ground and giving
the orders to redeploy on his radio with the third platoon,
as CO he would have been in the third tank in the road
march deployment formation.
To date, in spite of repeated requests, the 507th survivors have
refused to identify the specific 3rd Kompanie platoon leaders;
although the name and tank number of every tank commander in
each of the 507th Kompanies were recorded during this encounter
on 30 March 1945 defending Paderborn.
Four decades had passed and almost to the day when the Sennelager-Paderborn
Battle Field Walk-Through was conducted by Major Philip Halford
MacLeod of the British Army in the British Zone of Occupation
of Germany on March 28, 1985; six veterans from the 507th participated.
Present were Koltermann, Jaehn, Jahn, Eychmuller, Reinhard and
Stadler; with Helmet Schneider as the recorder. This small group
verbally recreated the Chronik (History) 507th from memory, without
notes or journals; later it was published (edited) by Helmut
It was at this meeting in late March, 1985, on the fortieth anniversary
of Passover/Good Friday of 1945 that this small group of 507th
survivors met at Dieter Jaehn's home in Goettingen as his house
During this meeting when the details leading to Rose's indefensible
death were being discussed when Koltermann made the following
startling explanation, "Der Teufel los!" (The Devil
was loose!). Was this a repeat of Macbeth's Banquo's ghost who
disrupts a banquet? Was this exclamation a mea culpa with
these chilling words or an epiphany that caused Koltermann to
recall this night of terror and General Rose's killing without
justification or cause? Was he seeking absolution in an act of
contrition - or disavowing any personal involvement and complicity?
One can only speculate. Koltermann was an old man also facing
the specter of death in the few years he had remaining. He died
not long after, still denying knowing the name of Rose's killer
or giving the name of third tank commander's name. Koltermann
knew the name of each of his fifteen tank commanders in his 1st,
2nd and 3rd platoons; and moreover, after the road mop up, by
radio check he knew where each tank was located when he gave
the redeployment order of "Tigers march!"
I have had several letters of correspondence with Dieter Jaehn,
who is fluent in English. In being cooperative, he telephoned
me on 22 August 1999 from his summer home in Nova Scotia, Canada
to respond to my interview and answer my many questions. In addition,
at my request, he obtained the photo of Wolf Koltermann from
Widow Frau Koltermann and received her permission to use her
husband's photo in our biography of General Maurice Rose. Frau
Koltermann moved from Augsburg to Nurenberg after the death of
her husband. Jaehn also sent me photographs standing next to
his Tiger Tank with two fellow crew members.
Sebastian Hupfl, a Bessarabien-German from Romania, known
as Wastl to friends, served in the 507th Tiger Panzer Battalion
in the 2nd Kompanie, in Tiger Tank # 203, 1st Zug (Platoon) under
the command of Zug (Platoon) Ladeschtz (Leader) Lt. Pfeuffer.
Hupfl was the tank Richtschuetze (main gunner targeting the 88mm)
with Fahrer (driver) Walter Ertl, Funker (radio) Werner Schurig.
The tank #202 commander was Stabsfeldwebel (Sergeant) Voss. Tank
#203 was commanded by Feldwebel Fritz Ebner. Tank number #204
was commanded by Feldwebel Willi Wolf with Richtschtze (gunner)
Jodl, Faher (driver) Helmet Gunther, and Funker (radio) Hans
Prager. In action the next day, 31 March 1945, near Altenbeken,
3 of the 507th Tiger tanks were knocked out in an ambush; Ebner,
Ertl and Schurig were killed; Voss was injured and hospitalized;
Hupfl was wounded and sent to a hospital at Bad Driburg and was
captured there. See footnote #2.
While a Prisoner of War in November 1945, Hupfl requested and
was granted permission from the British Army POW Camp Commander
to walk 20 kilometers to bury his dead comrades whose remains
were still in the destroyed hulls of their tanks. After burying
their remains at Boedekkeen with the assistance of a priest from
Kirchborchen and marking their grave sites, he returned to the
POW Camp as promised. He escaped in the spring of 1946 - stopping
to visit the widow of Ertl, only to learn that she had left town
with an American soldier. He then returned to Freiburg where
he made his home.
Sebastian Hupfl sent me a copy of the Chronik 507 (History) along
with his personal comments and notations in the margins; plus
extensive file copies including maps from the German Army Freiburg
archives on the history of the 507th from conception to the end
of April 1945 when it ceased functioning as a tactical unit due
to its loss of tanks and men.
The Germans' (unsubstantiated) claim is that 100 young Waffen-SS
prisoners were shot and killed by the US 3rd Armored Division
the next day in retaliation for General Rose's death. Quoted
from "Das Kriegsende 1945 im ehemaligen Hochstift Paderborn,"
Page 19, by Waldemar Becker.
Footnote #2: See Chronik (History) 507 pages 237-255 -
especially page 250 for KIA. Page 250 for Hupfl buries Ebner,
Ertl and Schurig.
Publication or reproduction, in part or whole,
is prohibited without written permission from the author, Don
R. Marsh. All rights remain the sole property of The Marsh Family