When the Tigers broke free Lyrics - Pink Floyd

Review The Song (14)

It was just before dawn
One miserable morning in black forty-four.
When the forward commander
Was told to sit tight
When he asked that his men be withdrawn.
And the Generals gave thanks
As the other ranks held back
The enemy tanks for a while.
And the Anzio bridgehead
Was held for the price
Of a few hundred ordinary lives.

And kind old King George
Sent Mother a note
When he heard that father was gone.
It was, I recall,
In the form of a scroll,
With gold leaf adorned.
And I found it one day
In a drawer of old photographs, hidden away.
And my eyes still grow damp to remember
His Majesty signed
With his own rubber stamp.

It was dark all around.
There was frost in the ground
When the tigers broke free.
And no one survived
From the Royal Fusiliers Company Z.
They were all left behind,
Most of them dead,
The rest of them dying.
And that's how the High Command
Took my daddy from me.

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Battle of Anzio | Reviewer: Mario | 5/22/14

I write from Anzio, on February 19, 2014 Roger Waters has received honorary citizenship in memory of his father, Roger was able to see and learn about the places where the events took place, the battle where he lost his father vitail was held in Campo di Carne ( Field of meat ) , so called for the massacre that took place on the day of the battle.

Deeply moving | Reviewer: Arturo Duran | 12/11/12

After spending an important part of my life in Britain, I came across this record only recently.

It's got something special, it just makes me feel so touched.

Sad, but deeply beautiful.

Moved | Reviewer: Rainer | 3/11/12

....I am, hearing the song... and deeply love it... I remember one of my friends from University, Thomas, a musician; he mentioned it was one of his favourite songs... I never knew the full meaning of the song until today... reviewing your posts I need to say... I'm very thankful for the life I'm gifted by those who gave their life...

I do live in Germany

Company C vs Company Z | Reviewer: Brian | 1/19/12

I am not a military historian, but I can tell you that no British person says "Zee" for the letter "Z". It is pronounced "Zed" in the UK, Canada and most, if not all the British Commonwealth countries. So, I find it hard to believe that Eric Waters served in Company "Zee". Unless Roger modified it for purely poetic, rhyming reasons.

It's actually Royal Fusiliers company Z | Reviewer: JTHunter | 8/8/11

The Royal Fusiliers were involved in many notable battles of the second world war, including Operation Shingle, or as it is now known, the Battle of Anzio. On 18 February 1944 Company Z was ordered to hold the bridgehead against a Tiger I tank assault. There were many casualties, among them one Eric Fletcher Waters, father of Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters, who wrote the song "When the Tigers Broke Free" about the attack. (A common misconception is that the company Eric Waters served was called "C" when in reality he was in company "Z", 8th Battalion. There is not - nor was there - a Company C in the 8th Battalion. The 9th Battalion Company C saw no action that day.)

My Uncle was left @Anzio,he left me his name. | Reviewer: Samuel Chiacchio | 4/25/11

I've done research, and have war papers describing the Anzio battle. I have his letters, papers and a signed letter from Pres. Harry Truman. My UNCLE SAM(Saverno)was offered by our Italian Family to stay with them, and not fight. He was Italian-American and wouldn't let his company down, and wanted to fight! He was PFC, in the 50th. Due to lack of tank commanders, he jumped at the chance and dueled with the Panzers he was 21. They were hit by a direct shell he knew was coming. He was able to get everyone out. His remains were never found! He still lies in the dust of Anzio. My Grandmother wouldn't believe it till the other tank commanders,(they had made a pack with each other if any one of them didn't make it home, they were to personally visit the family's home), they came to her house to explain exactly what happened to him. As poor as my Grandmother was the money she received went to Italian-American church in Washington D.C. His marker lies in Anzio-Nutuna war Memorial. No trace of him,no dog tags were ever even found. My Grandmother sat in her yard everyday with her Rosary's praying for him. My Dad was in Germany at the time of his death, and they had plans to meet somewhere in Europe. I never met my Uncle Sam, but carry his name sake, proudly. He was a true warrior. THEY WHERE ALL HEROES! Never forget what part you carry with you, FREEDOM.

pink | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/2/11

This song IS about WW2 the TIGERS broke free...its talking about tiger tanks which weren't developed till WW2 and Roger multiple times on camera has talked about how his father died in WW2. This song was never on the original Album cause it is too fixiated on Rogers personal turmoil, David Gilmour used his influence to rule it out.

response to Guy and Matt | Reviewer: anne | 5/9/10

I agree with you Guy, I believe that you've made a keen and correct observation. Matt if you honestly believe that the relationship between the employer and employed is mutual, I suggest you perhaps take a listen to some David Harvey lectures and the like, take a second look at this fallacy and think about it again.

This is a beautiful and moving song.

my favorite | Reviewer: robert | 1/6/10

its one of my favorite pink floyd songs mainly because of how it is sung, youll never fully understand unless you hear it.

another song one you may know says

Overseas there came a pleading,
"Help a nation in distress."
And we gave our glorious laddies
Honour bade us do no less,
For no gallant son of freedom
To a tyrant's yoke should bend,
And a noble heart must answer
To the sacred call of "Friend."


i personally love that song, and i feel that at the time the only option was to go to war, same with ww2, today middle east, bacicly a new vietnam, those people have been fighting for thousands of years, we should have known it wouldent be easy as rounding up a few cattle


if you want to talk about it my emails there, im only 20 with alot to learn, teach me if you have to, but dont criticize my beliefs

Response to Guy | Reviewer: Matt | 8/27/08

The worker - businessman relationship is mutual. He hires the worker, allowing the worker to survive and to purchase material goods, which in turn brings money to the business people. The cycle continues in a spiral of prosperity, allowing free class mobility.

Oh, wait, the government taxes the hell out of its citizens, keeping the self-regulating nature of the free market from working. Good job.

...left behind... | Reviewer: Guy Montag | 7/18/08

Jose, those miserable black days have not been left behind, unfortunately. Workers like us still feed the same fat businessmen, as well as their agents: governments and generals... We're not free, no matter what the media says. Our boys are still dying out there; now it isn't Anzio anymore, now its always somewhere in the Third World. Dying for what? To keep oppressors as warm and well-fed as usual. People were all left behind in the forties, and we are all left behind now as well...

left behind... | Reviewer: Guy Montag | 7/18/08

Those black and miserable days were not left behind, unfortunately. Our boys are still dying out there... it's not Anzio anymore, now it's always somewhere in the Third World... and dying for what? To keep those who rule as warm, safe and well-fed as usual. We're not free.

patrick | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/13/07

I work in a frame shop. we are framing a condolence letter from the president to a dead soldiers family. It has gold leaf and is signed by kindly old king georges own personal laser printer. War is over(if you want)

WWII | Reviewer: Jose Madrigal | 9/9/07

World War II. If the 1940's seem too prehistoric, talk to your Social Studies teacher. It was a dark and sad period when we had to do things we really didn't want to do... Pearl Harbor is a nigthmarish memory but, please, don't forget it, we don't want anything of the kind happening again!!
I believe Waters is just letting go what a lot of children in U.K. refrained from sayin about what the war did to their homes...and this, of course, applies to everyone who was a kid back then and saw their Dad leave but never come back. It's a very sad song and you only have to hear the words he uses to provide the setting..."miserable morning", "black forty-four"...to get a picture of the times.
It's not one of Pink Floyd's greatest hits; it's not like "Money", or "Shine on you Crazy Diamond", or "Fearless", but it's a song worth listening to, particularly if you are aware of the fact that we share the same old world.

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------ 11/23/2014

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