Site hosted by Build your free website today!

SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Heinz Kling, Ace Commander! 1st SS Schwere Panzer Korps Leibstandarte

SS HAUPTSTURMFUHRER HEINZ KLING. Formation of a Heavy Panzer Battalion for the 1 SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte was formed in December 1942, in which it received its first company of the newest and heaviest German battle tank, The Tiger I E in January 1943. The Leibstandarte already enjoyed a legendary reputation and was acclaimed as the premier military unit of the German Reich. The man who commanded the Leibstandarte's new Tiger company was SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Heinz Kling, a top quality man, who made quite a significant contribution to the success of the Heavy Tiger company. With outstanding gifts for command and organization, as well as for tactics and instruction, whose mastery of the Tiger tank, exemplary willingness and bravery, enabled the rest of the Tiger commanders to prove themselves whenever they saw action. The Tiger tank crews of the Leibstandarte developed a feeling of combat superiority, undoubtedly created and enhanced by the awareness that they were capable of operating the best and most potent tanks in the world. Heinz Kling was a dominant influence on the Tiger company of the Leibstandarte, and helped shape the careers of many of the successful Tiger aces, such as Michael Wittmann, a student of Heinz Kling, who was exceptionally well trained on the Tiger with Heinz Kling as his teacher. Heinz Kling commanded the Leibstandarte's Tiger company the full 1943-45 span, from the Tiger I E early, mid and late production, to the even more powerful King Tiger II in the final days of the war, ending the war with an impressive 67 tank kills to his credit. Heinz Kling enjoys more historical fame as a Tiger tank leader than as a Tiger tank ace. His special place in the tiger tank is as a tutor, a gifted teacher and instructor, he would teach his Tiger commanders to fight in the armored battles and stay alive to fight again, he was idolized by his troops. Heinz Kling set the stamp of his leadership and personality on the Tiger tank battalion of the Leibstandarte. Historically, the 1 SS Panzer Korps Leibstandarte and Heinz Kling are inseparable, and it was his tutelage that developed some of Germany's greatest Panzer aces. The quality of Heinz Kling's training can be judged from one of the Leibstandarte's Heavy Tiger company's stellar personnel, one such top man was Michael Wittmann (138 enemy tanks and 132 anti-tank guns destroyed). Leading such men as Wittmann and others was a moving experience for commander Heinz Kling. He is remembered for putting his Heavy Tiger company first and himself second. Commanding the Leibstandarte's Tiger Battalion was probably the high-point of his military career, for which he was awarded the Knight's Cross on 23 February 1944. His place in history with the Tiger Tank is secure.