AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Discussions on all aspects of the United States of America during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Carl Schwamberger.
Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6906
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Michael Kenny » 02 Apr 2008 20:23

The losses for 3rd AD taken from Cooper are the highest losses for any of the Divisions. The 600+ total losses would roughly give a 300% turnover.
For Tiger Abteilung in the same period:
Heer 503 write-offsgives a rate for that Unit of 230%.
For SS 101/501 it would be 237%.

For the British 11th AD:
During the campaign 29 th Armoured Brigade Workshops and
159 Infantry Brigade Workshops repaired between them:—
717 tanks.
40 self-propelled guns.
130 armoured and scout cars.
226 carriers.
1226 wheeled vehicles.
265 motor-cycles.
233 guns of all types.
4. Tanks
A total of 280 new tanks of all types were issued to replace battle
casualties. This, together with an initial issue of 208 Comets before.the Rhine
crossing, means that on an average each armoured regiment had its tanks
replaced two-and-a-half times during the campaign.

Below is taken from Zaloga's Osprey title 'US Armored Divisions 1944-45 '(Battle Orders no. 3) a full complement of Mediums would be in the region of 200 tanks and lights around 160


US Armored Divisions 1944-45 ETO

Division ........2........3 ........4.........5 ...... 6.......7.......8......9......10.....11.......12.....13......14....16....20
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mediums
lost ........ 290.......632.....216......116....196.....360.....58....162.....181....72......129.....27.....101....0.....17

Lights
lost ..........n/a.......173.......52......19......24.....130......21....50... ..31....37.......30......8.......36.... 0..... 2

Username
Banned
Posts: 166
Joined: 10 Apr 2006 20:24
Location: co

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Username » 03 Apr 2008 11:55

Belton Cooper states that once he had officially written off a vehicle or vehicles, they would go to the repo-depot and choose the tank they wanted for its replacement. He states they wanted the Ford V8 (not inline). Tanks were not issued or delivered to him. They were selected from a pool. The depot did not 'write-off' the afv, the division did. Specifically, Cooper did.

When he recieved his replacements, He would bring these back to his unit convoy style. Sometimes being stopped by officers who wanted to commandeer his services.

I would assume that 76mm versions were given priority as far as repair also (Cooper was responsible for this). If given 10 disabled tanks, and 7 were 75mm and 3 76mm, the 76mm may have been repaired first. The same as a mixed panzer battalion giving its 75mmL48 vehicles priority over 75mmL24 and 50mm weapons for example. So 76mm shermans may have more 'combat-ready-days'. Thsi may explain some of the statistics that the initial post stated.

I wonder about the backlog of '43 shermans in England and the new production coming over in shipping in '44. Did the better replacement shermans land in France and go directly to the depots in France during the summer/fall and winter battles? I would assume that 'ready divisions' in England would be shipped over from England with its already issued equipment. But the depot of spare afv in England may have been 'second source' as the clamor for better shermans was raised after the initial encounters with Panthers and other 'tough' German afv. Does anyone have any breakdown of what versions of sherman were issued to the armored divisions that were in England pre-invasion? The shermans in depots?

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by RichTO90 » 03 Apr 2008 15:59

Username wrote:Belton Cooper states that once he had officially written off a vehicle, they would go to the repo-depot and choose the tank they wanted for its replacement. He states they wanted the Ford V8 (not inline). Tanks were not issued or delivered to him. They were selected from a pool. The depot did not 'write-off' the afv, the division did. Specifically, Cooper did.
I'm afraid you misunderstood me, the issue of tanks from depots in France is a very distinct and separate issue from how those tanks got in theater, which is what I was addressing. And by the time that Cooper began requesting replacements from depot's what was available was pretty much reduced to M4A3, since that was what was being shipped, and since the reserve of replacement tanks in the ETO pretty much disappeared by mid-July, that was essentially all there was to chose from. Otherwise they were restricted to repaired tanks, but it seems evident what was returning from 4th echelon maintenance was pretty insignificant.

Nor did I say anything about who "wrote-off" vehicles. At the division level Ordnance officers, such as Cooper, reported unrecoverable and unrepairable vehicles, evacuating the vehicles that could not be repaired to the corps and army Ordnance Heavy Maintenance (Tank) Companies, that is where the "official" write-off was prepared and filed and also how they were reported, as a consolidated army-level reports prepared initially on an irregular basis (the initial First Army report covered 26 days) and then on a nominally "weekly" basis (which actually varied from a four to nine-day cycle).
I would assume that 76mm versions were given priority as far as repair also (Cooper was responsible for this). If given 10 disabled tanks, and 7 were 75mm and 3 76mm, the 76mm may have been repaired first. The same as a mixed panzer battalion giving its 75mmL48 vehicles priority over 75mmL24 and 50mm weapons for example. So 76mm shermans may have more 'combat-ready-days'. Thsi may explain some of the statistics that the initial post stated.
That actually is a difficult question to answer, since much of the maintenance records were not retained (and, worse, neither were the vehicle records, which is a pain). 3rd Armored did retain some of theirs in their monthly historical reports, and I have gone through some, but haven't had a chance to really look at them too closely as yet. But it seems evident given the shortfalls in availability due to lack of sufficiant reserves and an adequate flow of new tanks, that the priority was to repair those that were most easily and quickest to repair first, although definitly priority was set for repair of medium tanks.
I wonder about the backlog of '43 shermans in England and the new production coming over in shipping in '44. Did the better replacement shermans land in France and go directly to the depots in France during the summer/fall and winter battles? I would assume that 'ready divisions' in England would be shipped over from England with its already issued equipment. But the depot of spare afv in England may have been 'second source' as the clamor for better shermans was raised after the initial encounters with Panthers and other 'tough' German afv. Does anyone have any breakdown of what versions of sherman were issued to the armored divisions that were in England pre-invasion? The shermans in depots?
Part of the problem is that the "backlog" (theater reserve) in England only existed for a short time and by 1 May 1944 had essentially disappeared and there was no "depot of spare afv in England". Partly that was a consequence of Lend-Lease and other theater committments, but it was also due to inadequate planning (replacement) factors being calculated by the War Department, which was based upon assumptions derived from the experience in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. To illustrate the problem, in June just 127 new tanks were unloaded, with 168 in July, and 122 in August. Compare that with the roughly 187 lost in June, 230 in July, and 486 in August and the scale of the problem becomes obvious.

Anyway, all US Army tank units in England prior to the invasion were equipped with M4 and M4A1, although a few oddities have cropped up in photos (ISTR an M4A2 fitted as a tankdozer pictured in one of the separate tank battalions in Normandy?) And at that time the "depot" stocks consisted almost entirely of the M4A1 (76mm) that had been shipped in April and May, but which were not issued until July, and the few M4 and M4A1 (75mm) remaining from the ETOs shrunken reserve. Lend-Lease commitments caused 400-odd to be transferred to the British in May and 100 had been allocted for conversion to tankdozers for the invasion, of which IIRC 30 had been allocated to the British as well.

But then most shipments after 1 June were new-production M4A3 (the early prodction M4A3 were not used in significant numbers AFAICT by the US Army in the ETO and may all have been used for Lend-Lease?), and in fact all those shipped in June and July were reportedly M4A3 (76mm).

User avatar
C.GILLONO
Member
Posts: 333
Joined: 14 Nov 2004 12:56
Location: Paris-France

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by C.GILLONO » 03 Apr 2008 19:28

But then most shipments after 1 June were new-production M4A3 (the early prodction M4A3 were not used in significant numbers AFAICT by the US Army in the ETO and may all have been used for Lend-Lease?), and in fact all those shipped in June and July were reportedly M4A3 (76mm).
Hi RichTO90 and all
It seems that the relatively few dry M4A3s made (1,690 all by Ford from June 1942 to September 1943) were kept in CONUS for training and that they were "remanufactured" (overhauled and retrofitted with up-to-date items depending on parts availability) before being sent to ETO and PTO in spring 1945. Approx 5-10 photos known in ETO and 1 (one) on Okinawa.

Except the 7 that were sent to GB for tests.

I write "it seems" as I (and posters on various DGs I visit for years now) have no primary material to prove it - just a thorough look at available photos
HTH

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by RichTO90 » 03 Apr 2008 20:25

C.GILLONO wrote:Hi RichTO90 and all
It seems that the relatively few dry M4A3s made (1,690 all by Ford from June 1942 to September 1943) were kept in CONUS for training and that they were "remanufactured" (overhauled and retrofitted with up-to-date items depending on parts availability) before being sent to ETO and PTO in spring 1945. Approx 5-10 photos known in ETO and 1 (one) on Okinawa.

Except the 7 that were sent to GB for tests.

I write "it seems" as I (and posters on various DGs I visit for years now) have no primary material to prove it - just a thorough look at available photos
HTH
Thanks. I honestly couldn't remember what the story was on the M4A3, although I did know that a large number were rebuilt, I should have checked Hunnicutt or my draft manuscript. The remanufactured former "training"tanks were:

M4 (Aug 44-Apr 45)
446 M4 by Chysler Evansville
289 M4 by International Harvester (IH)
60 M4 by Chester and Lima Tank Depot
M4A1 (Aug 44-May 45)
1,216 M4A1 by Chysler Evansville
737 M4A1 by IH
306 M4A1 by the Chester, Lima, and Richmond Tank Depot
M4A2 (all Lend-Leased)
218 M4A2 by Fisher Tank Arsenal (Apr-Jul 44)
317 M4A2 by Federal Machine and Welder Company (Apr-Nov 44)
M4A3 (Aug 44-Apr 45)
281 M4A3 by the Chester, Lima and Richmond Tank Depot
400 M4A3 by Montreal Locomotive
1,610 M4A4 by the Detroit Tank Arsenal (Dec 43-Oct 44, shipped as Lend-Lease to Britain)

Of course that doesn't explain what happened to the other 1,009 early production M4A3? :wink:

Username
Banned
Posts: 166
Joined: 10 Apr 2006 20:24
Location: co

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Username » 03 Apr 2008 21:30

This large overhang of production in 1943 created a pool of older versions available. This further interacted with the shipping shortages when it came to sending tanks to Europe. The result being the majority of Shermans in England in mid 1944 were from the 1943 production runs, including those stored as reserves. You have to remember the US Army pre-shipments of vehicles.
I am quoting the origional post in this thread. Does anyone know the breakdown of pre-invasion US Tank Bn (number of battalions and tanks/type?). Was there a known pool of reserve tanks?

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by RichTO90 » 03 Apr 2008 22:23

Username wrote:I am quoting the origional post in this thread. Does anyone know the breakdown of pre-invasion US Tank Bn (number of battalions and tanks/type?). Was there a known pool of reserve tanks?
I guess I'm not going to be allowed the "wait for the book" excuse? :D

ETOUSA Tank Requirements and Availability (note that a lot of these numbers remain a bit "fuzzy" because of the incompleteness of the records.)

As of 30 May there were 2,331 Sherman tanks of all types on hand with troops and another 753 in depot reserves in England, against a T/E requirement of 1,765 and a reserve requirement of 309. However, only 83 more were “afloat” – that is, en route to England – and just 64 of those had been unloaded by 20 June. Thus, total ‘resources’ were 3,167. However of those 338 were committed as theater Lend-Lease transfers to Britain and 100 were committed to conversions as flame-throwers, reducing the total available to US forces to 2,729.

As of D-Day the 753 in depot reserves included 640 M4 75mm and 113 M4 76mm. There were only 43 M4 75mm and 40 M4 76mm afloat and en route to the ETO. The first 76mm Shermans were issued, 51 each, to the 2nd and 3rd AD on 21 July, for Operation COBRA. First Army held the remaining 51 available on the continent at that time as reserves (which indicates that the 153 were probably the orignal 113 plus most of the 43 that had been afloat). Then as more shipments arrived, in August more issues were made, at least 17 each additional were issued to the 2nd and 3rd AD during the month and 36 were issued to the 2eme DB. Other units also received the 76mm, the 4th AD 10 on 19 August and 8 more on 27 August, the 5th AD 17 on 19 August and 2 more on 31 August, the 7th AD 13 on 28 August, the 70th Tk Bn 17 on 11 August, the 746th Tk Bn 14 on 11 August and 3 more on 14 August. Thus at least 256 were issued through the end of August, but with 251 on hand as of 31 August and 98 reported lost through 2 September the total issues including replacements must have been about 349.

On 13 August 1944 12th Army Group made the first complete theater-wide report of the US tank situation. At that time First Army (report of 122200 August) had 823 M-4 on hand, Third Army (report of 112200 August) had 1,261 on hand. Reserves consisted of 34 operational and 53 in repair at First Army (report of 092200 August), 89 operational at Third Army (report of 122200 August), and 292 “on the water” of which 108 were “off shore” – that is, ready to unload at the beaches. Total on hand with units to T/E was 2,084 to 2,123 or 98.2 percent, about the best situation since the start of the invasion. But total ‘resources’ were 2,552, a 19.4 percent decrease from 30 May. All told, it appears that from 30 May through 31 August just 417 M4A1 and M4A3 76mm arrived on the continent, plus at least 160 M4 105mm, against losses totaling about 913. The new production M4A3 (75mm) did not begin arriving until September.

The divisions in England as of 30 May 1944 were:
2nd and 3rd AD each with a M4 Medium Tank T/E of 232
4th, 5th, 6th, 7th AD each with a M4 Medium Tank T/E of 168, plus 18 M4 105mm

The Separate Tank Battalions, all with a T/E of 54 M4 Medium Tanks and 6 M4 105mm were:
79th , 709th, 712th, 735th, 737th, 741st, 743rd, 745th, 746th, 747th, and 749th.

Hope that helps answer your question.

Username
Banned
Posts: 166
Joined: 10 Apr 2006 20:24
Location: co

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Username » 03 Apr 2008 22:44

It certainly addresses my question, but it raises others.

Mainly, where are all the Shermans that have been made? Are they stock-piled stateside? There could not have been that many in Italy. I doubt England itself had many more than the USA pre-D-Day (I have heard 4000+ tanks for both sides were in England).

Some were sent to the Soviets and the Marines got some...but it must be that many 1943 models are actually in the USA?

JonS
Member
Posts: 3935
Joined: 23 Jul 2004 01:39
Location: New Zealand

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by JonS » 03 Apr 2008 22:54

Rich,
AIUI, and despite the TOE listing, the 105mm Shermans also didn't start arriving till July/Aug, and units initially went into Normandy with regular 75mm Shermans in place of the 105s.

Could I trouble you for equipping dates for those? I.e., "XX Armd Div (regt, bn) received YY 105mm Shermans on DD date", etc. Similarly, do you know when the CW armd regts received their 105mm Shermans?

Thanks
Jon

Username
Banned
Posts: 166
Joined: 10 Apr 2006 20:24
Location: co

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Username » 03 Apr 2008 23:01

I would think the M8 Scott (M5 with open top 75mm howitzer) would have been available for Normandy. Its production had ceased early in 1944.

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by RichTO90 » 04 Apr 2008 03:26

JonS wrote:Rich,
AIUI, and despite the TOE listing, the 105mm Shermans also didn't start arriving till July/Aug, and units initially went into Normandy with regular 75mm Shermans in place of the 105s.

Could I trouble you for equipping dates for those? I.e., "XX Armd Div (regt, bn) received YY 105mm Shermans on DD date", etc. Similarly, do you know when the CW armd regts received their 105mm Shermans?

Thanks
Jon
Hi Jon,

Yes, sorry, I thought I had made that clear in my previous post?

2nd and 3rd AD I'll have to look up, I don't have the records at home, but it was sometime in late September. One originally received a different allotment than the other, but on 28 November 1944 the authrized change (IIRC it was Change Number 3) to TO&E 7 gave them 27.

4th AD - 18 M4 105mm 9 August
5th AD - 18 M4 105mm when became operational 7 August
6th AD - 18 M4 105mm sometime prior to 6 August
7th AD - 18 M4 105mm when it became operational 13 August
70th Tk Bn - 6 M4 105mm 6 July
709th Tk Bn - 6 M4 105mm when it arrived 15 July
712th TK Bn - 6 M4 105mm 3 July
735th Tk Bn - 6 M4 105mm when it arrived 17 July
737th Tk Bn - 6 M4 105mm when it arrived 12-15 July
741st Tk Bn - 6 M4 105mm 3 July
743rd Tk Bn - 6 M4 105mm 6 July
745th Tk Bn - 6 M4 105mm 6 July
746th Tk Bn - 6 M4 105mm 6 July
747th Tk Bn - 6 M4 105mm 6 July
749th Tk Bn - 6 M4 105mm when it arrived 29 June

I seem to recall having a long discussion a while back about the Commonwealth M4 105mm? IIRC the general concensus was they did not become available in the regiments until practically the end of the war? I'll see if I can find where I squirreled the info away?

The other changes to TO&E7 on 28 November 1944 took longer to implement and the equipment wasn't really in place until late February and early March 1945, so it's unclear how many actually took place before VE Day. They included:

1. The number of M-8 HMC in the light armored division was reduced from 17 to 8. Only the assault gun troop in the cavalry reconnaissance squadron retained theirs.
2. The number of M-4 105mm tanks in the light armored division was increased from 18 to 27. It was intended that they would replace the M-8 HMC in the armored infantry battalion assault gun platoon.
3. At the same time the 2nd and 3rd Armored Division retained 15 M-8 HMC.
4. The authorization of M-4 105mm tanks in the 2nd and 3rd Armored Division was confirmed as 27.

It appears that the TE authorization for dozer blades to equip tank dozers was approximately 6 per separate tank battalion, 18 per light armored division and 12 in the 2nd and 3rd Armored Division.

The TE authorization for armored recovery vehicles was also modified. The separate tank battalion remained at 5, but the light armored division increased to 24 and the 2nd and 3rd Armored Division to 37.

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by RichTO90 » 04 Apr 2008 03:37

Username wrote:I would think the M8 Scott (M5 with open top 75mm howitzer) would have been available for Normandy. Its production had ceased early in 1944.
I'm afraid I have never seen the M8 referred to as a "Scott" except in very postwar secondary sources? And in fact the US Army did not officially recognize any such "Britishisms" during the war, although "Sherman" did enter the GI lexicon, along with a few others. But, for example, I do not know of any TD men that referred to their pieces as other then "3-inch M5 Gun", M10, M18, or M36. And much the same for other equipment. It's rather like the way some try to identify the modern M113 APC as a "Gavin" although it has no official sanction.

BTW, production ended with its last acceptance of 75 in January 1944. And anyway, it was available, and used heavily in Normandy, they were standard support weapons for armored infantry battalions and mechanized cavalry, but they weren't tanks, so I'm unclear what you mean?

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by RichTO90 » 04 Apr 2008 04:13

Username wrote:It certainly addresses my question, but it raises others.

Mainly, where are all the Shermans that have been made? Are they stock-piled stateside? There could not have been that many in Italy. I doubt England itself had many more than the USA pre-D-Day (I have heard 4000+ tanks for both sides were in England).

Some were sent to the Soviets and the Marines got some...but it must be that many 1943 models are actually in the USA?
Again, can't I just get away with "buy the book" when it's published? :D

Hint: in a recent post we identified where 5,880 of them were from late 1943 into early 1945, they were being rebuilt in the US. :D

Basically, by the end of 1943 a total of 29,262 M4 75mm had been built. Of those, 5,880 of different types had been used for training in the US and were rebuilt. Another 1,001 early M4A3 had also been so used and had also provided chassis for various conversions and prototypes. Given that the remainder were not re-built, it seems likely that they may have been too worn out, although there is also the possibility some were rebuilt postwar for foreign MDAP. Otherwise, as we have seen, by May 1944 there were 3,084 held by the USAETO. US data for the Pacific is sketchier, but should have totaled about 1,400 and similarly in the Med about 2,000, but I might be able to firm that up a bit tomorrow? Another 755 had been provied for equipping French armored units in Europe and the Med, while something like 505 had been shipped to the Soviet Union. Anyway, just under 15,000. The total received by the Commonwealth to that date I'm uncertain of, but belive it was about 12,000 of the 15,000-odd eventually shipped. Add in the 2,000 or so lost in transit and in action and the number remaining becomes fairly small.

But I'm not sure what you are disputing with regards to the numbers in England? By 6 June 1944 the UE of the Commonwealth and Polish units in England was right around 2,200, with nearly an equal number in reserve, so all up there were about 7,400 in England between the British and Americans, not 4,000+.

JonS
Member
Posts: 3935
Joined: 23 Jul 2004 01:39
Location: New Zealand

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by JonS » 04 Apr 2008 07:30

Many thanks Rich. Much appreciated.

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by RichTO90 » 04 Apr 2008 17:47

RichTO90 wrote: 2nd and 3rd AD I'll have to look up, I don't have the records at home, but it was sometime in late September. One originally received a different allotment than the other, but on 28 November 1944 the authrized change (IIRC it was Change Number 3) to TO&E 7 gave them 27.
Okay, 2nd AD got theirs first three on 22 October. 3rd AD then got nine on 23 October 1944. By 30 November 2nd AD had 24 and 3rd had 29.

Return to “USA 1919-1945”