An easy way to compare tank losses?

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
Stoat Coat
Member
Posts: 58
Joined: 13 Nov 2022 21:39
Location: Way down south in Dixie

Re: An easy way to compare tank losses?

Post by Stoat Coat » 15 Nov 2022 00:02

To summarize what I’ve gotten from this thread:

German and British/American tank knockout numbers aren’t comparable, because the windows of time for “long term” repair requirements for both are different (more than 3 days for Germans. More than 24 hrs for US/UK), and both were likely to continue carrying tanks not capable of being repaired by the unit, even though they weren’t supposed to, because they feared those tanks returning to another units instead, resulting in double counts and/or belated reporting in some cases. (Did I get that correctly?)

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 6218
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: An easy way to compare tank losses?

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Nov 2022 00:59

Stoat Coat wrote:
15 Nov 2022 00:02
To summarize what I’ve gotten from this thread:

German and British/American tank knockout numbers aren’t comparable, because the windows of time for “long term” repair requirements for both are different (more than 3 days for Germans. More than 24 hrs for US/UK), and both were likely to continue carrying tanks not capable of being repaired by the unit, even though they weren’t supposed to, because they feared those tanks returning to another units instead, resulting in double counts and/or belated reporting in some cases. (Did I get that correctly?)
I have run into no instances of Americans keeping unuseable tanks the way the Germans did. Instead, they failed to follow the SOP for reporting. Very different thing. I suspect it was because they thought it would speed delivery of replacements, which was a different issue.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
Artillery Hell

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 6218
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: An easy way to compare tank losses?

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Nov 2022 01:00

Stoat Coat wrote:
14 Nov 2022 23:54
About tanks abandoned in enemy territory that were later found in repairable-by-the-unit condition: that especially makes sense. I wonder, was it American practice to try to destroy their vehicles (if possible), if they were being overrun, to avoid their use as beute AFVs by the Germans?
I don't know.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
Artillery Hell

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 8233
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: An easy way to compare tank losses?

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Nov 2022 01:02

Stoat Coat wrote:
14 Nov 2022 23:33


In the case of Goodwood: is 200 for the write offs or knocked out?
Any tank rendered unfit for use for any reason is a tank casualty= WIA
Any tank unable to be put back into service is a total loss/write off = KIA
Very important to understand the proper meaning of those terms.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 8233
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: An easy way to compare tank losses?

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Nov 2022 01:16

Stoat Coat wrote:
15 Nov 2022 00:02
To summarize what I’ve gotten from this thread:

German and British/American tank knockout numbers aren’t comparable, because the windows of time for “long term” repair requirements for both are different (more than 3 days for Germans. More than 24 hrs for US/UK), and both were likely to continue carrying tanks not capable of being repaired by the unit, even though they weren’t supposed to, because they feared those tanks returning to another units instead, resulting in double counts and/or belated reporting in some cases. (Did I get that correctly?)
An Allied tank Unit would strike off any tank that needed repairs taking 24 hours or more from its count.
Such tanks were sent to workshops where the decision was made if the tank could be repaired or was scrapped.
The workshops alone made the decision as to a tank being a write-off not the Regiments.
To the Unit such tanks were in effect 'total losses' but a good number of these tanks would be repaired and returned.
The daily count might list 10 tanks as struck off when the workshops repaired 5 and scrapped 5.
German tanks could be, and often were, kept on strength even when there was little or no chance of them being repaired. Lack of spare parts meant the hanger-queens were a valuable resource.

Any tank listed in an Allied tank count as being 'In Repair' was always able to be fixed but a good number of German 'in repair' tanks were never put back into service. The only category where German and Allied tank numbers could be directly compared is the numbers 'in service'

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4832
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: An easy way to compare tank losses?

Post by Urmel » 23 Nov 2022 12:42

Couple of points.

1) The US a/b/c system was x/y/z in the 1941 British accounting for tank kills.
2) There's an in-depth discussion of a specific issue with German tank loss accounting in this article. You can arrive at your own conclusion whether anyone lied here. Important to note that all the temporary kills converted to permanent as the operation went on because the concentration areas for disabled tanks and then the repair shop were overrun by the Empire forces. https://rommelsriposte.com/2021/06/03/a ... published/
3) You can see the impact of long-term repair for the British side here - at the end of CRUSADER they had large numbers of tanks in AOWs: https://rommelsriposte.com/2010/06/21/8 ... uary-1942/
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

Geoffrey Cooke
Member
Posts: 112
Joined: 11 Dec 2020 07:08
Location: Texas

Re: An easy way to compare tank losses?

Post by Geoffrey Cooke » 11 May 2023 00:11

Richard Anderson wrote:
14 Nov 2022 21:39
Stoat Coat wrote:
14 Nov 2022 21:11
Thanks. Although I’m about confused how this might affect division after action report. I took your advice in the other thread to find better reading material, so I found some 11th AD after action reports freely available and transcribed onlinehttp://www.11tharmoreddivision.com/hist ... ec_jan.htm (can’t make it to the national archives yet). That report stated that 11th AD’s own losses as 42 medium tanks and 12 light tanks during the 30 Dec-3 Jan 1944-45 period called the “Chenogne-Rechrival Valley” action. That doesn’t give day by day losses and is a general summary of tank losses during the battle. I imagine you’re talking about daily reports from HQ, which is a bit different, but does that mean that this summary would include double counts?
For example, Report of Operations (Final After Action Report): 12th Army Group, Volume XI, Annex F Combat Summary – Tank Battalions and Annex G, Combat Summary – Armored Divisions, gives total losses of the 11th Armd Div as 37 light and 72 medium tanks.
For the whole war or just the Ardennes?

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 6218
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: An easy way to compare tank losses?

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 May 2023 01:26

Geoffrey Cooke wrote:
11 May 2023 00:11
For the whole war or just the Ardennes?
Whole war.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
Artillery Hell

Delta Tank
Member
Posts: 2512
Joined: 16 Aug 2004 01:51
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: An easy way to compare tank losses?

Post by Delta Tank » 09 Jun 2023 06:38

This is from Michael Kenny from 4 August 2011. I thought it was so funny that I took a screen shot of it way back when!

Mike

I am going to inject a bit of levity here
Delta Tank wrote:
The Army I was in used terms as mobility kill, firepower kill, catastrophic kill, when talking about armor vehicle damage. Makes a lot more sense.
Most WW2 forums other forms of 'knocked out':

Allied definition.
Any Allied tank damaged in any way and for any reason, in combat or miles behind the front line or sunk at sea, counts as a German panzer 'kill'.
This total is then compared to the number of German tanks totaly destroyed and blown to pieces only to get something called a 'kill ratio'

German definition
Be aware no German tank ever gets knocked out in a fair fight.
They mostly get abandoned when they run out of fuel or the ash-trays are overflowing.
Sometimes there is a miracle hit and a German tank will get knocked out(note 'knocked out' and not 'destroyed") but this only applies when the tank is in bits no bigger than 10 cm square.
Everything above that is salvagable and thus does not count as destroyed.
When a German tank (in bits under 10cm square) gets recovered then it too no longer counts as knocked out.
When a tank in this state is judged to be beyond repair it is left behind and classified as 'abandoned by crew'

I now leave the number of US tanks knocked out on the date in question to others!

Return to “WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic”