Panzer production, strength & losses

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
Hiryu-
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Panzer production, strength & losses

Postby Hiryu- » 05 Sep 2017 23:04

I did some research about German tanks/SPG/SPA production, strength, and losses. The numbers are rather puzzling :|

According to this page http://www.niehorster.org/011_germany/a ... -09-01.htm the Germans had a total of 3,472 tanks in September 1939. In May 1940 they had 3,465 tanks http://www.niehorster.org/011_germany/a ... -05-10.htm
Between 01/09/39 and 31/12/39 the Germans build around 700 Panzers, and around 600 more before May 1940, according to M. Harrison in "The economics of WWII: an overview" http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf (p. 31).
The Germand had around 217 irrecoverable tanks losses during the Polish campaign, a few 10's during Weserübung, so there is around 1,000 tanks missing. Where are they? :?

Same applies for the whole war. The Germans had ~3,400 tanks and SPG/SPA in 1939, build ~41,900 during the Sept. 39 - December 44 period, and lost around 27,000 units in June 41-Dec 44 according to Müller-Hillebrand, with maybe 1,000 more losses for Sept. 39-May 41 (I don't know).
By January 1945 the Germans had around 11,400 tanks & SPG/SPA (without captured vehicles). So there is around 6,000 Panzer missing.

G. Liedtke in "Enduring the Whirlwind" addresses this problem of "disappearing panzers" without giving a satisfying answer. Are the losses numbers too low? The production numbers inflated? Did the Germans used some kind of magic trick to cook the books, like counting damaged armor repaired in factories as "new production" without counting them as "losses" ? Or was their reporting system a complete mess?

I know there is no definitive answer to this problem, but any thought is welcome :milwink:

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stg 44
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Re: Panzer production, strength & losses

Postby stg 44 » 05 Sep 2017 23:44

Hiryu- wrote:I did some research about German tanks/SPG/SPA production, strength, and losses. The numbers are rather puzzling :|

According to this page http://www.niehorster.org/011_germany/a ... -09-01.htm the Germans had a total of 3,472 tanks in September 1939. In May 1940 they had 3,465 tanks http://www.niehorster.org/011_germany/a ... -05-10.htm
Between 01/09/39 and 31/12/39 the Germans build around 700 Panzers, and around 600 more before May 1940, according to M. Harrison in "The economics of WWII: an overview" http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf (p. 31).
The Germand had around 217 irrecoverable tanks losses during the Polish campaign, a few 10's during Weserübung, so there is around 1,000 tanks missing. Where are they? :?

Same applies for the whole war. The Germans had ~3,400 tanks and SPG/SPA in 1939, build ~41,900 during the Sept. 39 - December 44 period, and lost around 27,000 units in June 41-Dec 44 according to Müller-Hillebrand, with maybe 1,000 more losses for Sept. 39-May 41 (I don't know).
By January 1945 the Germans had around 11,400 tanks & SPG/SPA (without captured vehicles). So there is around 6,000 Panzer missing.

G. Liedtke in "Enduring the Whirlwind" addresses this problem of "disappearing panzers" without giving a satisfying answer. Are the losses numbers too low? The production numbers inflated? Did the Germans used some kind of magic trick to cook the books, like counting damaged armor repaired in factories as "new production" without counting them as "losses" ? Or was their reporting system a complete mess?

I know there is no definitive answer to this problem, but any thought is welcome :milwink:

I don't know for certain about the overall question, but Albert Speer did the accounting trick with aircraft of counting repairs and units sent back for upgrades as new production, so that might have gone on with tanks prior to his rise to power. Likely though IMHO it is probably that Panzer 1's were being retired and replaced by new tanks. Pz Is were supposed to just be training tanks and were forced to be used in Poland and France due to lack of Pz IIIs and IVs. So likely there was a retirement of outdated tanks as soon as production of better models allowed. I'm sure there were accounting problems and losses not being properly recorded for pocket battles and retreats.

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Re: Panzer production, strength & losses

Postby Knouterer » 06 Sep 2017 09:09

As with other "big numbers", such as the unemployment rate, these total strengths are rather meaningless unless you know how they are arrived at.
Looking at more detailed lists, we see, for example, that the number of PzKpfw I tanks dropped by 200 between 1 Feb 1940 and 1 March 1940, from 1,267 to 1,067. Since there was no fighting going on at the time, these must be vehicles which had their turrets removed and were converted to training vehicles, self-propelled guns (47 mm Czech guns), armoured engineer vehicles, armoured ambulances (Sanitätskraftwagen I), etc.

Similarly, in the later months of 1941/early 1942 the remaining Pz 35(t) tanks were taken off strength and converted to artillery tractors.

So there are many questions to be answered. Are rebuilt vehicles counted as new production, or perhaps only if they have officially been written off before? Is a tank converted to a self-propelled gun counted as a new AFV? Are captured vehicles (French notably) counted? Perhaps only if they are part of "official" equipment?
"The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man's observation, not overturning it." Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

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Re: Panzer production, strength & losses

Postby Stiltzkin » 06 Sep 2017 13:36

and lost around 27,000 units in June 41-Dec 44

Well, General Inspekteur der Truppen states (dated 15.1.1945), that losses for all AFVs in the period 22.6.41-31.12.44 were 33,324 and that is merely for the EF.

Broken down it looks like this:

20,904 tanks and Assault Guns
2,898 "Pak Art" (those are vehicles like the Nashorn or Wespe)
9,153 SPWs/Spähwagen (such as Recon and Hanomags)
and 369 sonstige (Flak Panzer, Berge und Munitions Panzer)

This may shed light on the problem. Hillebrands list is incomplete for certain periods and understates for example, captured vehicles in France.
mullerhillerbrand Losses.jpg

I assume there would be also a higher discrepancy in 1945 (abandonment and capture), with some inconsistencies up to the capitulation.
Also, the sum of the stock in January 1945 is 13,187 with 12,348 "frontfähigen" full-tracked AFVs (front capable).
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Hiryu-
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Re: Panzer production, strength & losses

Postby Hiryu- » 06 Sep 2017 14:35

@ stg 44 @Knouterer Phased out and rebuilt tanks are indeed something to dig on.
Problem is, according to GatSWW Vol V/I, between Oct 39 and May 40 the number of Pz "in stock with the German army" decreased by only 3% (39 units, from 1,305 to 1,266). That doesn't look like a massive replacement of obsolete tanks by new ones. The very same book says that the Germans had around 2,800 tanks "in stock with the German army", that's around 700 less that the website I quoted in my first post. I don't know if someone is wrong or if they talk about different things.
For the captured tanks, it's clear that M-H doesnt' count them in losses.

@Stiltzkin I have that document, it's pretty consistent with M-H numbers (~27,000 tanks & SPG/SPA lost overall for May 41-Dec 44, 23,800 in the East).
However 3,200 tank losses vs the Wallies in 41-44 looks a bit too low for me, that's maybe a clue that M-H numbers are underestimated.
Your image shows that M-H missed around 881 tanks for Sept. 1944, do you have any precision about this? What does the "598" mean?

For 1945 strength I used a pretty detailled post on AHF /viewtopic.php?t=113061 (the last one). I didn't count the captured tanks used because obviously they were not produced by the German industry.
Losses for 1945 are of another level. If the Germans had 11,400 Panzer in January, build around 4,400 more until May, and had only a few Panzer left the 08/05/45, it means that the Allies destroyed or more realistically captured more than 10,000 vehicles in 17 weeks! :o Any data about this?

Stiltzkin
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Re: Panzer production, strength & losses

Postby Stiltzkin » 06 Sep 2017 16:43

What does the "598" mean?

That means that 598 additional tanks which were abandoned in Normandy are not included in MHs figures, I gave this as an example for inconsistencies. I have not made a full analysis for other months, but it seems very likely that up to Dec. 44 there might be even more errors present.
The number of abandoned/captured vehicles was substantial, especially once the fronts shifted, with the loss of initiative.
I think one of the main problems might be industry output figures themselves, the Soviets had a similar problem with keeping track of medium T-34 tank output, I have different figures for each factory and the respective totals, but I am not sure as to how much it would account for the "gap". Other than that I assume that you are just looking at the figures of additional "stock" and not acceptances. Not all vehicles are going to be accepted by the armed forces or distributed to the units. Also MH says on the strength
Strength in this case indicates the total strength in tanks of all units of the Army (Field and Replacement Army) and the Waffen-SS at repair installations, schools, ordnance depots and the like

/viewtopic.php?t=113061
Ron Klages comment in the link you posted was actually good, they had more vehicles than crews.

Michael Kenny
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Re: Panzer production, strength & losses

Postby Michael Kenny » 06 Sep 2017 17:52

Stiltzkin wrote:
What does the "598" mean?

That means that 598 additional tanks which were abandoned................ The number of abandoned/captured vehicles............

Loss numbers are what they say they are. Those vehicles no longer in the control of the Army. Abandoned/captured are excuse words.

Richard Anderson
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Re: Panzer production, strength & losses

Postby Richard Anderson » 06 Sep 2017 18:18

Hiryu- wrote:Problem is, according to GatSWW Vol V/I, between Oct 39 and May 40 the number of Pz "in stock with the German army" decreased by only 3% (39 units, from 1,305 to 1,266). That doesn't look like a massive replacement of obsolete tanks by new ones. The very same book says that the Germans had around 2,800 tanks "in stock with the German army", that's around 700 less that the website I quoted in my first post. I don't know if someone is wrong or if they talk about different things.


Inventory as of the 1st of the month October 1939/Losses 1 Oct 39-1 May 40/inventory as of the 1st of the month May 1940/ready for issue 1 Oct 39-1 May 40:

Pz I - 1305/248/1077/20 rebuilt
Pz II - 1145/89/1092/18 new and 18 rebuilt
Pz 35(t) - 195/52/143/0
Pz 38(t) - 102/0/237/135 new
Pz III (3.7cm) - 127/40/381/294 new
Pz IV - 192/6/290/104 new
PzBeflWg (K u. G) - 215/4/244/32 new and 1 rebuilt
Total - 3281/439/3464/622 new and rebuilt

Yoozername
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Re: Panzer production, strength & losses

Postby Yoozername » 06 Sep 2017 20:10

Loss numbers also include the AFV returned to Germany. That is, they leave the Army's control.

http://www.panzerworld.com/homeland-armor-maintenance

When a vehicle was too badly damaged to be repaired by the field repair shop it was sent back to Germany for homeland repair. The repairs were usually done at the factory making the vehicle. When the vehicle was received, one of four things could happen:

Repaired and sent to the Feldzeuginspektion (campaign inspectorate). These vehicles were not included in the Waffenamt (ordnance office) production numbers.
Converted to a different type of combat vehicle such as a Pz Kpfw II being converted to a Marder II. These vehicles were were generally included in the Waffenamt production numbers with a note that they were rebuilt vehicles.
Converted to school vehicles.
Scrapped, if the damages were too extensive.

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Re: Panzer production, strength & losses

Postby Kyrfirst » 16 Nov 2017 01:04

I apologize for the bad English, Google used translators. I'm interested in the presence of AFV in Ersatzheer. If the information on the presence of AFV by year? Found only for September 39 and March 45. Do you know about the table for March 45 it included AFV from SS-Ersatzheer? https://panzerworld.com/ersatzheer

Is there data on the availability of AFV in SS-Ersatzheer?


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