Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
Sean Oliver
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Sean Oliver » 07 Mar 2016 19:27

I found scans of the 7th Guards Army War Diary/Combat Journal (Журналы боевых действий) for May 1944 online. It was one of the major formations which attacked at TF. The journal provides a little chart showing the approximate numbers of Soviet v German men, artillery and tanks on May 2 based on the latest pre-battle intelligence, and it gives the German tank strength around TF as.....80 tanks.
Pretty accurate, it seems.
I haven't found 5th Guards Tank Army nor 2nd Tank Army's journal for the period yet. My comment above is wrong concerning the May '44 TF records and docs available at https://pamyatnaroda.mil.ru/ since the TF battle is not considered important enough (*ahem*) in Soviet/Russian historiography to draw attention to it with its own page.

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 21 Oct 2016 12:11

Battle strength of 2 Ukrainian Front on 1 May 1944:
4 Guards Army - 40 804 men in divisions and separate combat units
5 Guards Army - 39 378
7 Guards Army - 44 460
27 Army - 53 705
40 Army - 55 725
52 Army - 62 996
53 Army - 38 582
2 Tank Army - 15 447
5 Guards Tank Army - 24 646
6 Tank Army - 17 033
Under Front HQ (incl 5 Guards Cav. Corps, 3 Guards Tank Corps, 7 Mech. Corps) - 55 522
Total in combat units - 448 298 men, 67 182 horses, 144 376 rifles, 72 976 sub-machine guns, 6 275 light and 1 837 medium machine guns, 1 0141 anti-aircraft machine guns, 1 289 120-mm mortars, 1 954 82-mm mortars, 694 guns and howitzers 122-mm or larger, 1 295 76-mm divisional guns, 444 76-mm regimental guns, 908 45-mm AT guns, 5 808 AT rifles, 16 445 automobiles, 483 operational tanks, 468 tanks in repair, 658 rocket launchers, 163 85-mm and 592 37-mm anti-aircraft guns.
In addition: 11 624 men in front's engineer brigade, 133 567 replacements in replacement units.
From appendix to 2 UF war diary:
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/dou/?docID=113723600
Deficit of small-arms was a grave problem, the number of rifles and SMGs was well below establishment, machine guns were also in short supply. In mid-May there were 198 000 rifles available in armies and large formations out of requisite 315 000, and 88 000 SMG out of requisite 152 000.

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 21 Oct 2016 12:28

Personnel casualties of 2 Ukrainian Front in May 1944:
7547 killed, 1466 missing and prisoners, 28 204 wounded, 11 831 sick, 561 non-battle, total 49 433 men. By command
4 Guards Army - 2616
5 Guards Army - 2068
7 Guards Army - 7569
27 Army - 9734
40A - 6742
52A - 9730
53A - 3706
2 Tank Army - 1713
5 Guards Tank Army - 1973
6 Tank Army - 444
5 Air Army - 170
Units under front HQ - 2967
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/dou/?docID=113723601

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 26 Oct 2016 15:57

Artillery situation in the 2 Ukrainian Front, 26 April 1944:
40 Army - 866 guns and mortars in divisions, 141 in non-divisional units, total 1007. Of them 1000 ready for battle, 7 left behind
7 Guards Army - 573+540=1113, of them 423 left behind
27 Army - 815+513=1328, of them at least 324 left behind
52 Army - 749+264=1013, of them 191 left behind
4 Guards Army - 572+73=645, of them 256 left behind
53 Army - 384+131=515, of them 78 left behind
5 Guards Army - 722+120=842, of them 16 left behind.
A large number guns and mortars were abandoned during advance in Ukraine in March-April due to lack of fuel or prime-movers, as unserviceable or for other reasons.

Average number of available rounds per gun in 7 Guards and 27 Armies, 30 April 1944
82-mm mortars - 170
120-mm mortars - 110
45-mm AT guns - 220
76-mm regimental guns - 200
76-mm divisional guns - 100
122-mm howitzers - 50
152-mm howitzers - 110
152-mm gun-howitzers - 40
Other armies were roughly on the same level. While ammunition situation was mediocre, fuel stocks were simply critically low. All armies had several tenth of normal load of motor gasoline, tank armies - one tenth in average. One can only wonder how Konev was hoping to get the operation moving with such a meager amount of fuel.

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 26 Oct 2016 19:39

16 Artillery Division was supposed to support offensive in the 7 Guards Army sector. In reality only one ad-hoc brigade was available with:
1 mortar regiment - 31 120-mm mortars
1 light regiment - 17 76-mm guns
1 howitzer regiment - 26 122-mm howitzer
2 heavy howitzer battalions - 12 152-mm howitzers
Brigade was constrained by a lack of ammunition (about 50 rounds per 120-mm mortar, 160 per 76-mm gun, 80 per 122-mm and 50 per 152-mm howitzers).
Most of the 16 Artillery division was on march from the area of Uman (about 300 km from the front) and didn't arrive until 8-9 May. From the 16 AD's after-action report from May 1944:
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/dou/?docID=110226517

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 27 Oct 2016 09:00

13 Artillery Division was supporting 27 Army in the battle of Targul Frumos in early May 1944. On paper the division possessed 315 artillery pieces. In reality on the evening of 1 May operational artillery ready for action included 14 76-mm guns and 8 152-mm howitzers. 16 122-mm and 15 152-mm howitzers were on march moving to Targul Frumos area. Other pieces were still in process of relocation via railroad.
By the evening of 3 May operational artillery strength had improved somewhat and included 12 120-mm mortars (300 rounds available), 14 76-mm guns (724 rounds), 17 122-mm howitzers (886 rounds), 40 152-mm howitzers (429 rounds). Total 83 pieces out of 315 with limited ammo.

Overall operational artillery strength of the 27 Army on the evening of 1 May was:
- in 7 divisions and 1 fortified region - 182 82-mm, 68 120-mm mortars, 106 45-mm guns, 21 regimental and 112 divisional 76-mm guns, 54 122-mm howitzers, 2 105-mm howitzers (captured). Total 545 pieces.
- in non-divisional units (4 AT regiments, 2 mortars regiments, 2 rocket regiments, 1 heavy cannon brigade) - 41 120-mm mortars, 2 57-mm guns, 30 76-mm guns, 6 152-mm gun-howitzers, 2 M-8 and 12 M-13 rocket launchers. Total 94 pieces.
- in 13 artillery division - 14 76-mm guns and 8 152-mm howitzers. Total 22.

All in all 661 operational artillery pieces in the army out of paper strength of about 1300, approximately 50%.

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 27 Oct 2016 09:13

Ammunition expenditure by the Soviet 27 Army in 5 days 1-5 May 44:
17 529 82-mm mortars rounds
5 597 120-mm mortars
4 036 45-mm AT gun
954 76-mm regimental gun
2 860 76-mm divisional gun
2 344 122-mm howitzer
1 282 152-mm howitzer
30 152-mm gun-howitzer
265 132-mm rockets
total about 35 000 rounds. From
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/dou/?docID=133322087
In general unimpressive numbers.

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 27 Oct 2016 19:57

Soviet intelligence estimate of Axis forces between Rivers Moldova and Prut as of 30 April 1944 (from west to east)

- 6 Infantry Division (rom.) - 16 km frontage (between Moldova and Seret), 9 infantry battalions, 11 200 men, 135 field and AT guns and mortars
In reserve behind 6 ID - SS Totenkopf Tank Division - 6 infantry battalions, 6 800 men, 120 guns and mortars, 12 assault guns, 40 tanks

- 1 Guards Division (rom.) - 12 km frontage, 12 infantry battalions, 14 000 men, 198 guns and mortars
- SS Großdeutschland Tank Division (sic!) - 26 km frontage, 6 infantry battalions, 5 200 men, 118 guns and mortars, 12 assault guns, 25 tanks
- 46 Infantry Division - 15 km frontage, 6 infantry battalions, 5 900 men, 101 guns and mortars
- 3 Infantry Division (rom.) - 7 km frontage, 9 infantry battalions, 9 000 men, 140 guns and mortars
- 18 Infantry Division (rom.) with tank regiment/17 Tank Division - 5 km frontage, 9 infantry battalions, 13 000 men, 190 guns and mortars, 40 tanks
- 79 Infantry Division - 7 km frontage, 6 infantry battalions - 5 400 men, 104 guns and mortars
- 5 Cavalry Division (rom.) - 8 km frontage, 8 infantry battalions, 124 guns and mortars
In reserve: 24 Tank Division - 4 infantry battalions, 6 200 men, 114 guns and mortars, 36 assault guns, 70 tanks
and 23 Tank Division - 4 infantry battalions, 5 800 men, 92 guns and mortars, 15 assault guns, 20 tanks.

In the second line - 4 Infantry Division (rom.), 7 Infantry Division (rom.), 17 Tank Division without tank regiment - no data on their strength.
(From war diary of the 2 Ukrainian Front)

So by total count 195 tanks and 79 assault guns against the right wing of the 2 Ukrainian Front. It would appear from the estimate that Großdeutschland's sector was a the weakest spot.

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 27 Oct 2016 20:05

Casualties of the German 8 Army (aka Army group Woelher) in May 1944 (German units only):
1-10 May - 603 KIA, 2882 WIA, 274 MIA, total 3757
11-20 May - 220 KIA, 1228 WIA, 88 MIA, total 1536
21-31 May - 331 KIA, 1673 WIA, 34 MIA, total 2038
http://ww2stats.com/cas_ger_okh_dec44.html
Total 7331 battle casualties during May 1944, most of them must be from the areas of Targul-Frumos and Jassy.

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 27 Oct 2016 20:13

Casualties of individual German divisions in May 1944:
23 Panzer Division - 120 KIA, 409 WIA, 31 missing, total 560 battle casualties
24 Panzer Division - 168 KIA, 504 WIA, 13 MIA, total 685 battle
Großdeutschland Division - 346 KIA, 1344 WIA, 128 MIA, total 1818 battle casualties
From monthly status reports of respective divisions.

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 28 Oct 2016 16:43

Tank strength of the 2 Ukrainian Front circa 1 May 1944 (from 2 UF war diary):
27 Army - two tank regiment, 8 tanks
5 Guards Army - 7 Mechanized Corps (38 T-34), one self-propelled regiment (18 SU-85)

5 Guards Tanks Army with:
29 Tank Corps - 14 T-34
18 Tank Corps - 38 T-34, 1 SU-85
3 Guards Tank Corps - 130 T-34, 42 M4A2, 33 Mk-IX Valentine, 21 SU-76, 21 SU-85
376 SP Regiment - 18 ISU-152
14 Guards Heavy Tank Regiment - 13 IS-2
Total 280 tanks ans 61 SP guns

2 Tank Army with:
16 Tank Corps - 34 T-34, 2 Mk-IX, 5 SU-85
3 Tank Corps - 30 T-34
11 Tank Brigade - 18 T-34
6 Guards Tank Regiment - 18 IS
8 Guards Tank Regiment - 5 IS
375 Guards SP Regiment - 18 SU-152
Total 107 tanks and 23 SP guns

6 Tank Army with:
5 Guards Tank Corps - 7 T-34, 1 Mk-IX, 5 SU-85
5 Mechanized Corps - 4 M4A2, 2 Mk-IX
6 SP Brigade - 1 SU-76
Total 14 tanks and 6 SP guns

5 Guards Cavalry Corps - 3 tank regiments with 44 foreign tanks and 1 SP regiment with 16 SU-76 (as of 8 May)

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 01 Nov 2016 15:29

From report on combat operations of armored forces at Targul-Frumos, 2-8 May 1944

By the start of operation 2 Tank Army had 3 and 16 Tank Corps, 11 Guards Tank Brigade, 2 IS tank regiments. In all units 82 T-34, 5 IS-85, 19 IS-122, 3 MK-IX, 19 ISU-152, 5 SU-85. Total 133 tanks and SP guns. Task: to create a breakthrough in the sector of 35 Guards Rifle Corps/27 Army and then to advance from Targul-Frumos to the east (Jassy) or south-east (Slobozia).
5 Guards Tank Army - 18 Tank Corps, 29 Tank Corps, 3 Guards Tank Corps with one IS regiment attached. 13 IS-122, 183 T-34, 33 Mk-IX, 42 M4A2, 21 SU-76, 22 SU-85, 18 ISU-152, 26 SU-57 half-tracks. Total 271 tanks and 87 SP guns (sum - 358). The task is to create a breakthrough in the sector of 7 Guard Army and then to advance to the south (Roman).
In the two tank armies 380 tanks and 111 SP guns, total 491 AFV.

Initial tank strength of Grossdeutschland is estimated as 25 tanks

After abortive breakout attempt both tank armies withdrawn from combat on 5-6 May. By that moment 2 Tank Army has 41 T-34, 4 MK-IX, 4 SU-76, total 49 tanks and SP guns. 5 Guards Tank Army has 148 tanks and 67 SP guns, total 215 AFVs. In sum 264 tanks and SP guns.

On 7 May German counterattack north of Targul-Frumos, elements of 2 Tank Army are employed to repel the counterattack. From 8 May the battle abates.

Original document:
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/dou/?docID=113723593
Cult Icon wrote: 227 tanks were written off in 3 days. 3,792 men dead and wounded fighting against GD front. Most the pressure was on GD, and intended on destroying it.
The number is actually a decrease in operational tanks and SP guns rather than write-offs only.

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 01 Nov 2016 16:08

And "Conclusions" sections from the same document:

1. Both tank armies failed to achieve their objectives.
2. Tank units were not ready to operate on mountainous and broken terrain.
3. Surprise was completely lacking. German knew of impending attack from prisoners and shifted SS Totenkopf Division to the Targul-Frumos area.
4. Employment of tank armies both for tactical breakthrough and for further development is not expedient in view of large losses suffered in the first phase.
5. A part of tanks should be attached to rifle units for making a breakthrough in a mountainous area. Main tank forces should be committed only after a penetration 6-8 km deep.
6. Artillery and aviation support is of special importance when operating in mountains. Howitzers are preferred to guns. The tank army should have not less than 2 howitzer regiments attached.
7. A liaison officer with communications equipment should be attached to the tank army from an aviation unit for better cooperation with air forces.
8. A better engineer support is needed (not less than an engineer battalion per corps).

Sean Oliver
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Sean Oliver » 02 Nov 2016 02:52

Excellent posts, Art.
The Targul-Frumos area is north of the Carpathians, but it isn't mountainous. It's somewhat hilly, open grassland and devoid of cover, and described as fairly good 'tank country' in various German reports. It seems curious that the Red Army 'Conclusions' for May battles around Jassy and Targul-Frumos refers to so many problems caused by mountains. I did not notice any 2d or 3d Ukr.Front formations advancing into mountainous terrain on any maps of April- May of 1944, but I could've missed something....

Art
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Re: Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

Post by Art » 02 Nov 2016 17:06

In another place the terrain is described as "open, very broken with many ravines, hollows and mountains" and "foothills". It appears that what they called "mountains" were actually hills. From the topo maps the area was crossed by several river valleys with steep slopes, sometimes as many as 200 meters of altitude change over 500 meter distance or so. In addition the soil of the riverbeds was boggy and presented problems for tanks. All that combined divided the area into several separate compartments.

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