German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

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TheMarcksPlan
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German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Jan 2021 21:52

Edit: as used herein, "tactical surrender" or "tactical PoW" means any PoW captured on the battlefield except those caught in operational encirclements. It also excludes those captured while mustering for service but not yet with units.


Questions presented:
  • (1) How many PoW's did Ostheer capture tactically (i.e. aside from operational encirclement battles and other non-tactical surrender scenarios)?
  • (2) Were there any trends in Ostheer's tactical PoW hauls?
  • (3) What analytical conclusions can be drawn from available data trends?

Summary of argument:
By revising Ostheer's non-operational PoW hauls to subtract intercepted reservists, a dramatic increase in the rate of tactical PoW's becomes apparent - peaking in November. Data issues contribute uncertainty to the trendline but not to its upward slope and November peak.


Question 1: How many PoW's did Ostheer capture tactically?

There is general agreement on total Ostheer PoW's in Barbarossa and in the operational encirclements. A table from Nigel Askey's Operation Barbarossa vol. IIIB summarizes the figures:

Image

The total PoW figure reflects OKH's December 20th revision downwards by 539,559 men and therefore doesn't match the running tally.

Subtracting the Kesselschlachten hauls from Barbarossa's total PoW count gives ~839k non-operational PoW's.

But there's another little-discussed non-operational PoW source: intercepted reservists. The Price of Victory by Lopukkovsky and Kavalerchik discusses, citing Krivosheev, that 500,000 reservists were intercepted by the advancing Ostheer before reaching their units. p.76-77. Do we know when these interceptions occurred? I think we can strongly infer that they happened predominantly in June/July:

Appendix B to The Price of Victory by Lopukkovsky and Kavalerchik contains a May, 1942 memo from a Colonel Efremov, listing replacements used in existing units as, "126,000 in July, 627,000 in August, 494,000 in September, 585,000 in October and 299,000 in November." In the translation, Efremov states the tally as of men used as field replacements" - unless someone can correct the translation it seems obvious that this is not identical to men sent as field replacements. I.e. it is a tally of the replacements who actually reached the units.

Notice that July saw 501,000 fewer replacements used than August. This wouldn't make any sense in general but is particularly aberrant given the RKKA's prewar disposition; to explain why requires a diversion:

The central point is that the divisions deployed in what became the operating fronts on June 22, 1941 were all short several thousand men. Prewar RKKA war plans dictated the rapid dispatch of manpower to these units to bring them up to strength. Soviet prewar rifle divisions had a TOE strength (shtat) of 12,000 men but on average were somewhat short of their peacetime shtat of 8,000 men. See Askey's Barbarossa vol. IIIB, listing strength for all Soviet units on June 22, 1941. Merely fulfilling the prewar plans - i.e. before accounting for any losses - would require ~500k replacements sent to the forward units. On this basis it is impossible that RKKA sent only 126,000 men to the forward units during July.

In addition, it seems highly unlikely that RKKA would continue directing reservists to locations vulnerable to the advancing Ostheer after losing 500k men for that reason in a few weeks.

For the foregoing reasons, it seems all but certain that the bulk of reservist interceptions occurred during June-July. At any event, they were highly unlikely to have been intercepted as late as November, as will become the relevant issue downthread when discussing Question #2.

Merely subtracting 500k intercepted reservists would leave Ostheer with only ~339k tactical PoW's. That's too simple, however, as surely some of the reservists were intercepted as part of the June/July encirclements. How to estimate these? Let's assign replacement flows in proportion to the strength of the field units, as this would maintain the proportion of shortfall between peacetime and wartime shtats. Estimating that the forces facing AGC held, on average, 1/3 of RKKA's operating forces seems ballpark accurate. That implies that AGC swept up 165k of the unfortunate reservists in its June/July battles, leaving 335k to subtract from Ostheer's non-operational PoW total.

Estimate of Ostheer's tactical PoW between 22.6.1941 and 12.31.1941:

504,000


Next post will address Question #2.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 23 Jan 2021 01:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 23 Jan 2021 00:39

Question #2: Were there any trends in Ostheer's tactical PoW hauls?

To clarify: in this section and the preceding I take the German data we have at face value, reserving analytical conclusions for Question 3.


Ostheer reported capturing 291,934 men in November 1941. https://web.archive.org/web/20160614163 ... h_gen.html As there were no operational encirclements during November, and as reservist interceptions at this time were highly unlikely, all of these can be considered "tactical" PoW.

Subtracting November's haul from the tactical total previously estimated at 339k PoW leaves only ~47k tactical PoW during the rest of 1941.

...implying a monthly tactical PoW rate 30 times higher in November than the rest of 1941.

For the post-Vyazma period beginning on October 19, Army Group Center shows higher tactical PoW's at a more granular level. Its data show at least as a daily PoW's in the second half of November, compared to the 25 days following October 19th. https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/ru/ ... ect/zoom/6 Note that while Ostheer's overall PoW's fell in the last decade of November, AGC's did not. Of course in that period AGC was still advancing (slowly) while AGS's defensive/retreat began in late November and AGN was stuck.

Aside from the data peak in late October and November, there are signs of a smaller peak earlier: AGC reported 92k PoW during the defensive battles ("Abwehrschlacht") on its front between August 6 and September 27. https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/ru/ ... ect/zoom/6 Obviously the Abwehrschlacht involved no German operational encirclements nor opportunity intercept reservists. AGC was taking ~1,500k PoW/day during this period, which is short of the data picture for the post-Vyazma period but well ahead of the average for the rest of Barbarossa based on AGC having only <40% of Ostheer in the Abwehrschlacht. It's consistent with an upwards trend, in other words.


Question #3: Analytical discussion, including data issues

I see three main sources of error for quantifying Ostheer's tactical PoW haul:
  • 1. Apportionment of intercepted reservists between operational and non-operational PoW totals. [Variable "X"]
  • 2. Apportionment of OKH's December 20th correction to total PoW's between operational and non-operational hauls. [Variable "Y"]
  • 3. Reporting delays from operational encirclements, causing a false impression of higher tactical PoW hauls. [Variable "Z"]
We can test the validity of my proposed trendline (significantly higher tactical PoW's in late fall) by positing whether the trend remains after positing different values for X, Y, and Z. First a bit more explanation of the variables:

Variable X:

This is the percentage of intercepted reservists who are properly attributable to operational encirclement. As the variable increases, Ostheer's total tactical PoW's declines. If, for instance, all reservist interceptions occurred during the Minks/Smolensk battles, then Ostheer's total tactical PoW count need not be decreased at all. Increasing the variable makes my hypothesis weaker and vice versa.

Variable Y:

This is the percentage of downwards revision to Ostheer PoW totals (553,559) that should be apportioned to the operational encirclement totals. I.e. how many fewer men did the Germans really capture at Minsk/Smolensk/Kiev/etc.? Because I estimate tactical PoW's by subtracting operational PoW's from Ostheer's total, apportioning downwards revision to the operational total is the same as increasing Ostheer's total tactical PoW haul. That, in turn, weakens the trend apparent in the higher late-Fall tactical PoW data.

I have not found any document apportioning OKH's December 20, 1941 reduction of Ostheer PoW totals by period or by unit/army/group. Can anyone help? It would remove some uncertainty from this discussion...

Variable Z:

This is the percentage of apparent tactical PoW's (i.e. those reported temporally/geographically outside of operational encirclement battles) that, in reality, should be attributable to operational encirclement. There would be two main sources for this error: reporting delay and stragglers from encirclement captured behind the lines.

Because the late-Fall period I highlight immediately followed big encirclements (Vyazma-Bryanks and Chernigov/Nogai Steppe), it's at least theoretically possible that Variable Z is sending me a false signal through the data. But for several reasons, I don't find it likely that this factor can account for a great part of the late-Fall increase in tactical PoW present in the data:
  • AGC's rate of capture during the second half of November - over a month after the Viazma/Bryansk pockets collapsed - was higher (5,600/day) than its rate of capture between Oct 19 and November 14 (4,300/day). https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/ru/ ... ect/zoom/6 If delayed Taifun reports were really at fault, they'd likely have diminished in importance over time and therefore AGC would have reported fewer PoW in November than during latter October. The opposite is true.
  • AGC's PoW hauls decline precipitously exactly when we would expect them to, given broadly timely reporting: when the German offensive ended. AGC reported only ~500 PoW/day during the last 20 days of December. https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/ru/ ... ect/zoom/6 If PoW reporting was delayed after Viazma-Bryansk, it suddenly became accurate during the panic and communications problems caused by the first Soviet counteroffensive.
  • The foregoing is true for Ostheer as a whole: Its PoW numbers fall significantly in latter November when AGS and AGN stall out; its December figure is ~1/4 of November's. Once again it's either PoW reporting suddenly became accurate or reporting was reflecting what was happening at the front.
  • The Germans corrected their PoW reports throughout the war; the AGC reports I cite are from December 1941 and later. If reports of PoW captures were delayed, staff would likely have properly assigned the PoW counts to the proper times of capture.
  • No doubt some of AGC's post-Taifun PoW's were stragglers/escapees from the Kessels. As with delayed reports, however, we would expect this factor to diminish with time after the encirclements. Again, the opposite is true: AGC's capture rate was higher in latter November than in the immediate post-Taifun month.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Ok so let's play with the variables a bit to see under what parameters Ostheer's late-Fall apparent tactical PoW hauls don't reflect a trend.

First scenario:
  • X=50%
  • Y=65%
  • Z= ?? (dependent variable)
Here I'm assuming that half of intercepted reservists - 250k - are already included in operational encirclements. This seems excessive, as at no time did Ostheer encircle territory in which half of the Red Army was deployed. This parameter increases total tactical PoW by 85k from the OP calculation. (now 589k)

Y=65% is based on the proportion of PoW claims in operational encirclements (2.549mil) out of total Ostheer PoW claims prior to revision (3.92mil). It implies that the Germans double-counted their operational PoW's to the same extent as non-operational. Note, however, that AGC's post- and pre-revision statistics for operational encirclements reflect no significant downward revision of operational encirclements: https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/ru/ ... ect/zoom/6 https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/ru/ ... ect/zoom/6 Thus the error that OKH corrected probably stemmed from OKH-level tabulation errors rather than from local-level battle appraisals. As AGC's encirclements account for >60% of the operational totals, Y=65% seems implausible. Nonetheless, let's stick with it for discussion purposes. 65% of the 539,559 revision is ~350k.

Now our inferred tactical PoW total for all of 1941 is 939k.

Now we have 292k tactical PoW in November's 30 days (9.7k/day) and 647k in Barbarossa's other 163 days (4k/day).

So even under the extremely unfavorable parameter values for X and Y (IMO implausible), Z=60% is needed to equalize the two periods. I.e. a majority of Ostheer PoW reports were improperly time-stamped and/or tens of thousands of stragglers from the October pockets remained behind German lines and were captured in November. Doesn't seem plausible for the reasons I outline above, especially the upwards tick in AGC's PoW haul in latter November.

---------------------------------------------------------

At some point I hope to expand this model to account for smaller-scale encirclements during the June battles in Lithuania and Ukraine. For example 87 and 124 ID's had highly unfavorable deployments and were encircled quickly by AGS. As these resulted from unique circumstances, it seems improper to consider them tactical surrenders along the same lines as happened in later weeks.

It would also be helpful to disaggregate offensive from defensive periods for comparison.

------------------------------------------------------

Absent some of the considerations I've presented, we must believe that over half a million Soviet soldiers surrendered to the Germans during Summer 1941 without being encircled. Nearly every German accounts from early Barbarossa mentions the intensity of resistance and high German casualties; these accounts seem irreconcilable with the usual reading of the data.

My proposed trendline revises this picture significantly: many fewer Soviet soldiers surrendered tactically in June-July 1941, most early non-operational PoW's were caught defenseless while mustering for service or trapped in untenable tactical circumstances owing to the initial surprise. Only later did tactical surrenders start to reach worrying proportions, when the Germans seemed poised to take Moscow and the average Soviet soldier was a barely-trained, poorly-armed/supplied replacement. The RKKA winter offensive restored morale and reduced tactical surrenders.

This revised picture is more line with both Soviet heroism and the rational individualism of people everywhere, who will make plans for surviving any eventuality including conquest of one's homeland.

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 23 Jan 2021 00:51

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2021 21:52
Questions presented:
  • (1) How many PoW's did Ostheer capture tactically (i.e. aside from operational encirclement battles and other non-tactical surrender scenarios)?
You can to please explain or write definition on what was "tactical PoW" or "capture tactically" or "tactical surrender".

What can to be different on
  • Tactical surrender
    Non tactical surrender
    Operational encirclement surrender

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 23 Jan 2021 01:03

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
23 Jan 2021 00:51
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2021 21:52
Questions presented:
  • (1) How many PoW's did Ostheer capture tactically (i.e. aside from operational encirclement battles and other non-tactical surrender scenarios)?
You can to please explain or write definition on what was "tactical PoW" or "capture tactically" or "tactical surrender".

What can to be different on
  • Tactical surrender
    Non tactical surrender
    Operational encirclement surrender
Edited at top of OP. Thanks for the helpful comment.

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 23 Jan 2021 02:19

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
23 Jan 2021 01:03
Ружичасти Слон wrote:
23 Jan 2021 00:51
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2021 21:52
Questions presented:
  • (1) How many PoW's did Ostheer capture tactically (i.e. aside from operational encirclement battles and other non-tactical surrender scenarios)?
You can to please explain or write definition on what was "tactical PoW" or "capture tactically" or "tactical surrender".

What can to be different on
  • Tactical surrender
    Non tactical surrender
    Operational encirclement surrender
Edited at top of OP. Thanks for the helpful comment.
Ok. Thanks you.

Edit: as used herein, "tactical surrender" or "tactical PoW" means any PoW captured on the battlefield except those caught in operational encirclements. It also excludes those captured while mustering for service but not yet with units.


Now i think there must to be problem on logic on tmp ideas and theorys.

Example on datas tmp was give for Minsk pocket was have 323.000 surrenders.
On tmp definition 323.000 was be operational surrenders and 0 was be tactical surrenders because was be operational encirclement.

Then tmp was write
Ostheer reported capturing 291,934 men in November 1941. https://web.archive.org/web/20160614163 ... h_gen.html As there were no operational encirclements during November, and as reservist interceptions at this time were highly unlikely, all of these can be considered "tactical" PoW.

But november battles was operational encirclement on Moscow what was fail.

It seems to me there must to be problem on logic.

On Minsk battle red army mens was be tactical surrender and on one moment everything was change and was all be operational surrender. Moment was be when operational encirclement was be success.

On imagination story on nazi battle on Moscow was be success all november tactical surrenders must to change to operational surrenders like was be on Minsk battle.

I can to propose tmp for to make analysis on operational encirclements what was be success for to understand how many was be tactical surrenders on first place but was change on one moment on operational surrenders.

When tmp complete analysis then tmp can to make logic comparison on month.

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by Max Payload » 23 Jan 2021 10:06

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
23 Jan 2021 00:39
Now we have 292k tactical PoW in November's 30 days (9.7k/day) and 647k in Barbarossa's other 163 days (4k/day).
This is a statistically significant difference despite the dubious accuracy of some of the data (673k prisoners at Vyazma/Bryansk?) and the assumptions that you have had to make. Could one explanation be the definition of operational prisoners? It would be valid to apply the term to formations that find themselves behind enemy lines or otherwise cut off from sources of supply due to enemy action, but not necessarily to personnel who surrender before such a stage is reached. Yet in the table of data from Askey your starting point is -
“Subtracting the Kesselschlachten hauls from Barbarossa's total PoW count gives ~839k non-operational PoW's.”
(829k incidentally, not 839k)
But is that valid?
Data on PoWs taken in pockets includes everyone taken in the geographical area of the encirclement over a given timescale. Many of those would be prisoners taken in circumstances that were not ‘formations that find themselves behind enemy lines or otherwise cut off from sources of supply due to enemy action’.
If such numbers represent a significant proportion of the quoted Kesselschlachten hauls, it would reduce the disparity between the overall and November tactical prisoner figures.

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 23 Jan 2021 16:54

Max Payload wrote:Data on PoWs taken in pockets includes everyone taken in the geographical area of the encirclement over a given timescale. Many of those would be prisoners taken in circumstances that were not ‘formations that find themselves behind enemy lines or otherwise cut off from sources of supply due to enemy action’.
Good point.

Basically the "model" needs adjustment for the functional exclusion of PoW that would have been "coded" tactical PoW but for the occurrence of a Kessel.

One way to address this: assume that the space/time of the Kessel would have produced tactical PoW at the same rate as RKKA yielded elsewhere. So if the Minsk-Smolensk encirclement battles occupied 1/3 of RKKA forces for 45 days, and our pre-November RKKA tactical PoW/day is X, then we'd expect Minsk-Smolensk to have yielded ~23X tactical PoW [ 0.5 * 45 * X ]. That would be the biggest chunk, as the "model" currently assumes no AGC tactical PoW until August.

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 23 Jan 2021 17:14

And where is the sense of this 'discussion'?

A POW is an POW...he can not fight anymore against the enemy, so a substantional loss for its 'mother army'.

Some guys seems to have too much time!

Jan-Hendrik

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 23 Jan 2021 17:18

Max Payload wrote:
23 Jan 2021 10:06
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
23 Jan 2021 00:39
Now we have 292k tactical PoW in November's 30 days (9.7k/day) and 647k in Barbarossa's other 163 days (4k/day).
This is a statistically significant difference despite the dubious accuracy of some of the data (673k prisoners at Vyazma/Bryansk?) and the assumptions that you have had to make. Could one explanation be the definition of operational prisoners? It would be valid to apply the term to formations that find themselves behind enemy lines or otherwise cut off from sources of supply due to enemy action, but not necessarily to personnel who surrender before such a stage is reached. Yet in the table of data from Askey your starting point is -
“Subtracting the Kesselschlachten hauls from Barbarossa's total PoW count gives ~839k non-operational PoW's.”
(829k incidentally, not 839k)
But is that valid?
Data on PoWs taken in pockets includes everyone taken in the geographical area of the encirclement over a given timescale. Many of those would be prisoners taken in circumstances that were not ‘formations that find themselves behind enemy lines or otherwise cut off from sources of supply due to enemy action’.
If such numbers represent a significant proportion of the quoted Kesselschlachten hauls, it would reduce the disparity between the overall and November tactical prisoner figures.
You have same opinion on what i have.

It seems to me purpose on topic was be because tmp was want for to analysis difference on month. On other topic tmp was want for to analysis on Red army morale. On this topic i not exact purpose. Maybe it can to be on Red army morale again or maybe it can to be on Red army training and experience.

Maybe it can to be interesting analysis and discussion. But tmp definition on type surrenders not help.

"tactical surrender" or "tactical PoW" means any PoW captured on the battlefield except those caught in operational encirclements

Surrenders on november battles was be on operational encirclement on Moscow. According tmp definitions tactical surrenders on november = 0.

Now we can to make comparison:
Tmp was write on logic error : Now we have 292k tactical PoW in November's 30 days (9.7k/day) and 647k in Barbarossa's other 163 days (4k/day).

But that was not be correct and must to be Now we have 0 tactical PoW in November's 30 days (0/day) and 647k in Barbarossa's other 163 days (4k/day).

I not think tmp was want for to have such result so i was propose for tmp to make analysis on all operational encirclements for to understand how much surrenders was be tactical surrenders first then was be change on operational surrenders.

It is same proposal like what you was propose.

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 23 Jan 2021 17:24

Jan-Hendrik wrote:
23 Jan 2021 17:14
And where is the sense of this 'discussion'?

A POW is an POW...he can not fight anymore against the enemy, so a substantional loss for its 'mother army'.

Some guys seems to have too much time!

Jan-Hendrik
What can to be sense on topic?

Tmp have imagination story on nazi Germany win war. Tmp want to find evidence for to make imagination story plausible. So tmp was decide to make topic on surrenders and for to get result he want for imagination story tmp was invent tactical non-tactical and operational surrenders and was make many anti-intellectual assumptions and errors on logic.

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by Art » 23 Jan 2021 21:13

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2021 21:52
Appendix B to The Price of Victory by Lopukkovsky and Kavalerchik contains a May, 1942 memo from a Colonel Efremov, listing replacements used in existing units as, "126,000 in July, 627,000 in August, 494,000 in September, 585,000 in October and 299,000 in November." In the translation, Efremov states the tally as of men used as field replacements" - unless someone can correct the translation it seems obvious that this is not identical to men sent as field replacements. I.e. it is a tally of the replacements who actually reached the units.
That stands for march replacement sent from replacement units.

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Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by Art » 23 Jan 2021 21:41

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2021 21:52
There is general agreement on total Ostheer PoW's in Barbarossa and in the operational encirclements. A table from Nigel Askey's Operation Barbarossa vol. IIIB summarizes the figures:
That's a pretty chaotic list. For example, 390,000 POWs attributed to the "Smolensk pocket" were actually captured in the entire operational area of the HG Mitte from circa 10 July until 5 August 1941:
https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/ru/ ... ect/zoom/6
So actually Mogilev and Roslavl pocket (which are listed separately) are already included in this number.
On the other hand this scheme meets many pockets and operations, big or small. E.G. where is the Moonsund campaign in September-October 1941?

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