why didn't Dunkirk defense collapse after evacuation started

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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: why didn't Dunkirk defense collapse after evacuation started

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Jun 2021 21:53

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Jun 2021 12:38
Not yet examined here is the condition of the Pz Divisions when arriving t the coast. Rommel stated (Rommels Papers) that 25 tanks remained with the division on reaching the Channel shore. Out of a starting strength of 230. About half the missing were permanent losses, that is not repairable in the field, but requiring factory or depot level resources. The balance were scattered along the route from Germany some being repaired, others running again & herring to rejoin. This was typical for the Pz Divisions, which seem to have lost about 5% strength each day of the campaign. Note that most of these recovered tank loses were from mechanical breakdown, not combat.
Richard Anderson wrote:
21 Jun 2021 16:29
Hmm, Rommel may have been exaggerating. Who could have guessed? :D
Oh sure.
Richard Anderson wrote:
21 Jun 2021 16:29
The account of the 7. Panzer Division in the Battle of France may be found in NARA Microfilm RG 242, T315, Roll 401, Frame 0754~.

Tank Losses in 7 Panzer Division
On 10 May the 7 Panzer Division reported a total of 37 Pz-I, 63 Pz-II, 91 Pz-38(t), 23 Pz-IV, and 14 BefehlPz on hand, of which an unknown, but likely small number, were in repair. Three reports, dated 26 May, 31 May, and 29 June give various (and sometimes conflicting) accounts of the numbers operational, in repair and destroyed. Overall it appears that as of the conclusion of the initial phase of the division operations on 30 May there were 20 Pz-I, 46 Pz-II, 49 Pz-38(t), and 6 Pz-IV operational.


This probably includes those repaired, but not caught up & present with the division. Rommel refers to the 'catch up' increase. Theres comments from others on a catch up increase occurring during the the brief halts on the 16th & 18th & during the 'Panzer Halt. My guess is these were breakdowns that had to wait for a part to show up. There would be confusion keeping track of these stalled tanks scattered back to east of the Meuse.
Richard Anderson wrote:
21 Jun 2021 16:29
A total of 9 Pz-I, 7 Pz-II, 20 Pz-38(t), and 4 Pz-IV apparently were total losses. There were also apparently 8 Pz-I (1 likely heavily damaged), 10 Pz-II (2 likely heavily damaged), 22 Pz-38(t), and 13 Pz-IV in repair at the end of the period.


Its not clear if this 93 tanks are combat casualties or include operating losses.
Richard Anderson wrote:
21 Jun 2021 16:29
Curiously, the battle reports account for what appears to be nearly all of the destroyed Pz-I, Pz-II and Pz-IV tanks, but they do not mention destruction of the Pz-38(t) tanks except for 6 at Arras. However, it appears extremely unlikely that the loss of the other 14 destroyed Pz-38(t) occurred on a single day, or even on a just those few days when tank losses were mentioned (11 and 21 May). Rather, it is likely that those losses, as well as the many damaged and broken down tanks, occurred over the entire course of the operation. Thus, one or two tanks probably were destroyed, damaged or broke down on each of the 20 days of the campaign.
I never located a official USMC guide or estimation for operating losses during sustained actions. A logistics officer told me he used between 2-3 % daily for wheeled vehicles. That was in the 1990s with a motor pool that was still relatively new. A tank battalion cmdr LtCol Diggs told me his M60s were breaking down at close to 5% daily during the Desert Storm. Those were from the prepositioned stock & Diego Garcia. Most were repaired quickly, but the speed of advance meant they could not be expected to catch up. He regarded them as "gone" until the halt came.
Third the artillery of Pz Div lacked ammunition for a large scale battle. Most battalions had only a single days ammunition at hand and the supply columns were far to the rear. Some just rolling out of Germany.
Richard Anderson wrote:
21 Jun 2021 16:29
If so, then it was an issue transporting ammunition to the front, because there was a surfeit of ammunition at the end of the campaign. That directly led to the decision to curtail ammunition production later in the year.
Yes it was a transportation thing. Or more accurately a traffic control problem. Replacement for expended bridge components were found to be far to the rear, communications wire in a truck a day or two out of reach, ammunition of all classes falling behind. The Germans had advanced beyond the chaos of their operations 1936-1938, but not resolved all the problems of changing priorities for who got to use the road first.

Richard Anderson
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Re: why didn't Dunkirk defense collapse after evacuation started

Post by Richard Anderson » 26 Jun 2021 05:27

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
25 Jun 2021 21:53
Oh sure.
:lol:
This probably includes those repaired, but not caught up & present with the division. Rommel refers to the 'catch up' increase. Theres comments from others on a catch up increase occurring during the the brief halts on the 16th & 18th & during the 'Panzer Halt. My guess is these were breakdowns that had to wait for a part to show up. There would be confusion keeping track of these stalled tanks scattered back to east of the Meuse.
With the Germans, "operational" meant in the hands of the troops and ready for action - einsatzbereit. If it was still "catching up" on a transporter or some such, then it was not "operational", it was in zuführung or abtransport.

The figures are complicated, a bit, by the lack of report for the Befehlspanzer, but it is pretty evident the division went from about 214 tanks at the start of operations, most of them operational, to 121 operational by 30 May. I do not think that 96 of those were playing "catch up". Rather, I think Rommel exaggerated.
Its not clear if this 93 tanks are combat casualties or include operating losses.
No, but total losses were generally due to combat damage...it took quite a bit for the Germans to "write off" a tank. So 40 totalaüsfalle that were likely battle damage. Ditto the heavily damaged (at least 3). That leaves 50 in repair, for battle damage or other causes. However, it is not the cause of the loss that is in question, it is Rommel's dubious accounting of it. :D
I never located a official USMC guide or estimation for operating losses during sustained actions. A logistics officer told me he used between 2-3 % daily for wheeled vehicles. That was in the 1990s with a motor pool that was still relatively new. A tank battalion cmdr LtCol Diggs told me his M60s were breaking down at close to 5% daily during the Desert Storm. Those were from the prepositioned stock & Diego Garcia. Most were repaired quickly, but the speed of advance meant they could not be expected to catch up. He regarded them as "gone" until the halt came.
Okay. I am not sure what relevance this has to operations in France in May 1940?
Yes it was a transportation thing. Or more accurately a traffic control problem. Replacement for expended bridge components were found to be far to the rear, communications wire in a truck a day or two out of reach, ammunition of all classes falling behind. The Germans had advanced beyond the chaos of their operations 1936-1938, but not resolved all the problems of changing priorities for who got to use the road first.
Well, yeah, but then who ever has? :lol:
"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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