German Surrendered in Normandy

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Carl Schwamberger
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German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Aug 2021 02:28

A look at Hastings book on the battle in Normany, 'Overlord' I was reminded of the number of German prisoners taken. Hastings gives 450,000 German soldiers lost. 240,000 killed or wounded which leaves 210,000 taken prisoner. A quick check on the net reveals some other estimates for total lost & KiA/WiA & missing, but the proportion of prisoners to others lost is somewhat consistent. A bit of further reading reveals hastings numbers for German PoW in the Cherbourg pocket as 39,000 & the final bag from the Falaise pocket as 40,000. Again others give somewhat different numbers, but not radically so. My question is where & when were the other 130,000 prisoners taken? Im not seeing any other large scale pockets or sieges in this battle, from 6th June through the capture of Paris. So were these men just surrendering along the way? This averages out to 2,000 solders surrendering daily. The usual interpretation is of German soldiers stubbornly fighting on despite the situation. How did it come that near 15% of the men who fought in the 7th Army & the Panzer Group gave up without being surrounded on a large scale?

Are there any examinations of the German losses or PoW in the Normandy battle that explains this or contradicts the numbers of Hastings & the others?
Last edited by Carl Schwamberger on 25 Aug 2021 06:08, edited 1 time in total.

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AETIUS 1980
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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 25 Aug 2021 05:41

Morning,
Don't forget the Roncey pocket. Then the figures communicated by Hastings must be taken with precaution as they lack traceability.
Regards
AETIUS

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Aug 2021 07:01

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
25 Aug 2021 02:28
A look at Hastings book on the battle in Normany, 'Overlord' I was reminded of the number of German prisoners taken. Hastings gives 450,000 German soldiers lost. 240,000 killed or wounded which leaves 210,000 taken prisoner. A quick check on the net reveals some other estimates for total lost & KiA/WiA & missing, but the proportion of prisoners to others lost is somewhat consistent. A bit of further reading reveals hastings numbers for German PoW in the Cherbourg pocket as 39,000 & the final bag from the Falaise pocket as 40,000. Again others give somewhat different numbers, but not radically so. My question is where & when were the other 130,000 prisoners taken? Im not seeing any other large scale pockets or sieges in this battle, from 6th June through the capture of Paris. So were these men just surrendering along the way? This averages out to 2,000 solders surrendering daily. The usual interpretation is of German soldiers stubbornly fighting on despite the situation. How did it come that near 15% of the men who fought in the 7th Army & the Panzer Group gave up without being surrounded on a large scale?

Are there any examinations of the German losses or PoW in the Normandy battle that explains this or contradicts the numbers of Hastings & the others?
Hastings figures are nonsense. I'm pretty sure I have posted this before. The PW reported were (UK/US/Total):

June - 12,683/17,017/29,700
July - 451/52,369/52,820
August - 42,105/106,898/149,003
Total - 55,239/176,284/231,253

Add to that about 23,019 killed and 67,060 wounded. Unfortunately, the German MIA figures are impossible to reconcile with the Allied PW reports. However, I suspect in round figures the German loss was c. 330,000-350,000.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Aug 2021 14:08

Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Aug 2021 07:01
... The PW reported were (UK/US/Total):

June - 12,683/17,017/29,700
July - 451/52,369/52,820
August - 42,105/106,898/149,003
Total - 55,239/176,284/231,253
Subtracting the approx 80,000 credited to the Cherbourg or Cotientin & Falaise pockets that leaves some 150,000 taken prisoner in 85 days. The books on my shelf have next to nothing on this aspect of attrition of the 7th Army. There is lots about the stubborn resistance of the infantry & others , but this suggests something else was going on as well.

So, is there any analysis or study of this aspect of the summer battle in Normandy?

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 25 Aug 2021 14:43

I mentioned in a previous thread
viewtopic.php?f=54&t=258929&p=2356714#p2356677
that there are a surprising number of accounts in Canadian WDs of even 12th SS simply surrendering when contact is made as well as this from August:
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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Aug 2021 14:56

Thanks for that.

Ellsberg in 'The Far Shore' has a passage describing his journey to inspect the newly captured Cherbourg harbor. Along the way he observed numerous stacks of German small arms adjacent to the road. These suggested several thousand had surrendered far from Cherbourg during the US advance north to invest the city. Maybe there is detailed information somewhere on the PW the US Corps took advancing to Cherbourg & later at its surrender

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Aug 2021 17:11

Zetterling points out that substantial numbers of German surrendered may have been from the South of France and 19th Army troops that failed to make their way back. Others might have been captured in the pursuit to the seine. The battle of Normandy was n it over when the Falaise pocket closed.

Some of the reconciliation between German missing and Allied PW may be in the numbers of isolated Germans who had their throats cut by the resistance of 1944.

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 25 Aug 2021 17:28

Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Aug 2021 07:01
July - 451/52,369/52,820
Did the British really only take 451 PW in July 1944 in Normandy?

Regards

Tom

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Aug 2021 17:42

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
25 Aug 2021 17:28
Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Aug 2021 07:01
July - 451/52,369/52,820
Did the British really only take 451 PW in July 1944 in Normandy?

Regards

Tom

I wondered if you would ask. 😉

That is what was reported, but it was for PW evacuated, so put on a boat to Jolly Old. I suspect that for some reason they held PW other Continent in July, but will try to dig out the SHAEF originals to double check.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Aug 2021 23:00

Sheldrake wrote:
25 Aug 2021 17:11
Zetterling points out that substantial numbers of German surrendered may have been from the South of France and 19th Army troops that failed to make their way back. Others might have been captured in the pursuit to the seine. The battle of Normandy was n it over when the Falaise pocket closed. ...
Thats why I was asking about analysis or summaries for the Normandy battle. Excluding those surrendering elsewhere & later. The numbers Rich provided include all of August reported by 12 & 21 Army Groups.

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Aug 2021 23:04

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
25 Aug 2021 17:28
Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Aug 2021 07:01
July - 451/52,369/52,820
Did the British really only take 451 PW in July 1944 in Normandy?

Regards

Tom
I assumed the reports lag behind reality & a hefty portion of those counted in August actually put their hands up in latter July. In part here Im speaking from experience in military reporting and in part on cautions from Earl Kehrberg PhD on data compiled in large organizations.

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 27 Aug 2021 19:52

Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Aug 2021 17:42
I wondered if you would ask.

That is what was reported, but it was for PW evacuated, so put on a boat to Jolly Old. I suspect that for some reason they held PW other Continent in July, but will try to dig out the SHAEF originals to double check.
8 Corps reported taking 2,000 PWs in Op GOODWOOD alone. WO171/286:
2,000 prisoners were captured by 8 Corps
I'll see if I can find anything about a change in policy from evacuation of PW to UK to keeping them in the bridgehead.

Regards

Tom

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Aug 2021 20:08

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
27 Aug 2021 19:52
Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Aug 2021 17:42
I wondered if you would ask.

That is what was reported, but it was for PW evacuated, so put on a boat to Jolly Old. I suspect that for some reason they held PW other Continent in July, but will try to dig out the SHAEF originals to double check.
8 Corps reported taking 2,000 PWs in Op GOODWOOD alone. WO171/286:
2,000 prisoners were captured by 8 Corps
I'll see if I can find anything about a change in policy from evacuation of PW to UK to keeping them in the bridgehead.

Regards

Tom
I just rechecked RG 331 Allied Operational and Occupation HQ World War II, SHAEF General Staff G-1, Admin Section Decimal File 44-45, Box #125, Folder 383.6/1 Daily POW Report...there's a mouthful! The change in monthly cumulative total from 30 June to 31 July for UK was 12,683 to 13,134, thus 451. Next I'll try to see what the 21st Army Group reports say.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Aug 2021 21:29

Richard Anderson wrote:
27 Aug 2021 20:08
I just rechecked RG 331 Allied Operational and Occupation HQ World War II, SHAEF General Staff G-1, Admin Section Decimal File 44-45, Box #125, Folder 383.6/1 Daily POW Report...there's a mouthful! The change in monthly cumulative total from 30 June to 31 July for UK was 12,683 to 13,134, thus 451. Next I'll try to see what the 21st Army Group reports say.
Just looked again at the 21st Army Group, which is also in RG 331, but under the compiled casualty reports in the SHAEF G-1 Section, Box#41, File 704/6 21st Army Group Casualty Reports (SITREPS Reports0, Volume II of V Volumes.

They match. As of 1800 31 July 1944 a total of 13,134 PW captured, 10,855 by British and 2,279 by Canadian units.

Never mind. There's your problem. It is the June figure that was wrong, somehow getting miss-transcribed in the SHAEF PW record. As of 1800 30 June 1944 the total captured "on Second Army Front" was 5,662 rather than the 12,683 recorded by SHAEF. Very odd, but it looks like the figures should be:

June - 5,662/17,017/29,700
July - 7,472/52,369/52,820
August - 42,105/106,898/149,003
Total - 55,239/176,284/231,253

One of these days I'll get around to transcribing the daily reports...
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: German Surrendered in Normandy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 27 Aug 2021 22:30

Richard Anderson wrote:
27 Aug 2021 21:29
It is the June figure that was wrong,
Thanks for clearing that up. :thumbsup:

It does make sense actually, I was thinking that the July figure looked much too low but in hindsight (a popular ability on this forum!) the original figure for the British captures in June does actually look much too high.

Regards

Tom

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