This photoshopped image from Kiwi veteran Eric Gorden appears on Flickr and is a match for the gallery photos of a Tiger lost in the Galuzzo region south of Florence.
This photo is from the same veteran with a suggested date of “late 1945”. It appears in the recent book ‘Panzerwrecks 13: Italy 2’ where it is captioned as being outside “Villa Sfacciata” and possibly the mount of Kdr. Bobe. Schneider’s TIC1 dates his Tiger being blown up by the crew to 02AUG44, and notes a previous loss in the Galuzzo area on 30JUL44. The ‘Combat History of s.Pz.Abt.508’ agrees with 02AUG44 for the destruction of Bobe’s Tiger and also mentions Lt. Lange being badly wounded the same day, so maybe two Tigers were lost here together.
This gallery photo is captioned in NZ archives as being on the Giogoli-Galuzzo road. Using Google Earth we can identify the location as right outside the entrance to Villa La Sfacciata
The yellow star marks the spot.
This photo from the Alexander Turnbull Library, captioned as being taken about 04AUG44 is a match.
"Kaye, George Frederick, 1914-2004. Sherman tank destroyed by a German Tiger tank in Florence area, Italy, World War II - Photograph taken by George Kaye. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch :Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-06510-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22343582"
This extract from Wellington’s Evening Post newspaper describes the action which leaves a Tiger across the road and a knocked out Sherman. The opening paragraph mentions two Tigers lost on the same road and the final paragraph suggests the second Tiger was 100 yards beyond the first.
STEEL GOLIATH (Evening Post, 07 August 1944). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/17815922
The description of the action ties in well with the layout of the site. The narrow lane alongside the villa entrance, where the Tiger waited in ambush.
Looking at the entrance to the villa there are trees each side of the driveway which confirm the location of the gallery photos after the Tiger has been pushed off the road and a further tall tree off to the right towards Galuzzo.
It seems likely that the Panzerwrecks team are correct and Eric Gorden’s second photo is also from outside Villa La Sfacciata. Jim Elden appears to have the same suntan line across his forehead. It could be that these three photos were all taken at the same time and feature the same four New Zealanders.
If the second Tiger was lost at Villa La Sfacciata, the height of the wall with the bank above suggests a location about 100 yards towards Galuzzo. Branches (olive?) lie on the ground in front of the tank. The wall contains similar vertical slits to allow water to drain through, but the wall seen in 2012 does not appear quite as tall as that seen in the wartime photo.
Links to Flickr:
To follow the road on Google Earth search for ‘Via Volterrana, 82, 50124 Firenze, Italy’ then move to the left through the S-bends.
Villa La Sfacciata
Apparently the tower was destroyed during the war. Post-war a double murder by the infamous ‘Monster of Florence’ took place opposite the grounds. If the murders don’t spook you, why not take a holiday rental – it looks stunning!