Battle of Kursk Losses

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Minotauros
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Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Minotauros » 12 Jan 2003 11:39

Hi Folks !

According to Soviet official documents, the Red Army lost during the Battle of Kursk 254.470 dead, 608.833 wounded and 33.000 captured.

What were the German losses ?

Thanks !

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Post by Qvist » 13 Jan 2003 09:29

For purposes of comparison, it really dependes on the definition of "The Battle of Kursk" in time and space, so to speak. For the offensive phase (5-12 July for 9th Army, 5-20 July for 4th Panzer Army and AD Kempf as I recall), German casualties were roughly 79,000 killed, wounded and missing.

From the size of the Soviet figure I suspect that it is more inclusive than the German.

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Peter K » 20 Sep 2008 10:37

Hi Folks !

According to Soviet official documents, the Red Army lost during the Battle of Kursk 254.470 dead, 608.833 wounded and 33.000 captured.

What were the German losses ?


German detailed casualties in the battle of Kursk according to official German reports:

Casualties of 2. SS Panzer Corps:

“Totalschaden” / “Totalausfalle” in the battle of Kursk – “Operation Zitadelle” – 5 to 23 July 1943 (“Zitadelle” ended on 20 July):

5 – 23 July – total casualties - combat and non-combat "Totalschaden":

3 x Tiger
23 x Pz IV
5 x Pz III
5 x StuG

Total: 36 armored fighting vehicles - total losses.

This includes:

5 – 9 July – 19 AFVs
10 – 13 July (the battle of Prokhorowka took place on 12 July) – 3 AFVs
14 – 23 July – 14 AFVs

Total during the battle of Kursk: 36 AFVs

Casualties on 12 of July:

The battle of Prokhorovka:

Division “Leibstandarte”:

a). Heavilly damaged AFVs:

4 x Pz IV
2 x Marder III

b). Damaged AFVs:

12 x Pz IV
1 x Pz VI

Division „Das Reich":

a). Heavilly damaged AFVs:

Nothing

b). Damaged AFVs:

1 x Pz III

Overall casualties in the battle of Prokhorovka – 6 x heavilly damaged + 14 x damaged = 20 AFVs.

Casualties of division “Totenkopf” on 12 of July 1943:

a). Heavilly damaged:

2 x Pz III
1 x Marder II

b). Damaged:

10 x Pz III
6 x Pz IV
5 x Pz VI
3 x Marder II
1 x StuG

Overall casualties of 2nd SS Panzer Corps on 12 July:

9 x heavilly damaged AFVs, 39 x damaged AFVs = 48 casualties.

Of those 9 heavilly damaged, from 0 – up to 3 were established later as “Totalausfalle” – so damaged beyond repair casualties - write-offs. Rest of heavilly damaged and damaged AFVs was repaired.

As "Totalausfalle" from 10th to 13th of July 3 AFVs were lost.

So total losses in the battle of Prokhorovka were:

0 - 3 AFVs.


All numbers given above include combat and non-combat casualties.

For purposes of comparison, it really dependes on the definition of "The Battle of Kursk" in time and space, so to speak. For the offensive phase (5-12 July for 9th Army, 5-20 July for 4th Panzer Army and AD Kempf as I recall), German casualties were roughly 79,000 killed, wounded and missing.

From the size of the Soviet figure I suspect that it is more inclusive than the German.

cheers


German men casualties in the battle of Kursk according to official reports:

For the offensive phase (5-12 July for 9th Army, 5-20 July for 4th Panzer Army and AD Kempf as I recall), German casualties were roughly 79,000 killed, wounded and missing.


From 5. untill 23. of July Germans (9. Army, 4. Panzer Army, Group Kempf) lost 4,559 killed + around 200 non-combat death – all together - 4,759 death men.

All together in July of 1943 total combat and non-combat III Reich’s casualties on all fronts of World War II were – according to official reports – 57,800 death, which makes this month the third bloodiest month of the WW2 (August of 1944 was the bloodiest – 64,000 combat and non-combat deaths).

In June 1943 III Reich lost on all fronts of WW2 – as combat and non-combat casualties – 13,400 death, in May 1943 – 16,200 death, in April of the same year – 15,300 death.

In June 1944 overall German casualties – combat and non-combat – on all fronts of WW2 – including campaign in Normandy – according to official reports were 26,000 death all together.

Luftwaffe:

Luftwaffe casualties in the battle of Kursk - "Operation Zitadelle" - according to official German reports:

Total casualties in the battle of Kursk - 64 planes shot down during 37,421 combat flights.

Luftwaffe pilots claimed destroying 1735 enemy planes during these 37,421 combat flights and with loss of 64 own planes.

Sources:

1. Study KOSAVE - based on archival documents
2. "Kursk 1943, A Statistical Analysis" - by Niklas Zetterling and Anders Frankson - based on official reports
3. Other sources based on official reports

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Qvist » 20 Sep 2008 12:30

From 5. untill 23. of July Germans (9. Army, 4. Panzer Army, Group Kempf) lost 4,559 killed + around 200 non-combat death – all together - 4,759 death men.

All together in July of 1943 total combat and non-combat III Reich’s casualties on all fronts of World War II were – according to official reports – 57,800 death, which makes this month the third bloodiest month of the WW2 (August of 1944 was the bloodiest – 64,000 combat and non-combat deaths).

In June 1943 III Reich lost on all fronts of WW2 – as combat and non-combat casualties – 13,400 death, in May 1943 – 16,200 death, in April of the same year – 15,300 death.

In June 1944 overall German casualties – combat and non-combat – on all fronts of WW2 – including campaign in Normandy – according to official reports were 26,000 death all together.


I would strongly caution against trying to make such comparisons on the basis of "deaths", which creates major unneccessary problems both for the reliability and the comparability of the data, and which anyway as far as I can see gives no added value relative to concentrating on overall casualties. Especially if you want to do things like compare July 1943 to August 1944, when a vast proportion of casualties were men whose fate nobody on the German side knew, and who were as a consequence classified as "Missing in Action". There are no German reports which give you an even vaguely accurate figure for killed during the summer of 1944, and it is illusory to think that the running reporting succeeded in giving an accurate breakdown between the different categories of losses.

Also, the figures you quote for Zitadelle are completely wrong. According to the reports quoted in Zetterling/Franksson, AOK 9 reported 3,880 KIA 5-11 July, the 3 Corps of AA Kempf 67, 1179 and 1271 respectively (4-10 July) and of PzAOK 4 1487, 990 and 555. Altogether, this adds up to 9,429, or roughly twice as many as your figure.

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Peter K » 20 Sep 2008 17:06

Also, the figures you quote for Zitadelle are completely wrong. According to the reports quoted in Zetterling/Franksson, AOK 9 reported 3,880 KIA 5-11 July, the 3 Corps of AA Kempf 67, 1179 and 1271 respectively (4-10 July) and of PzAOK 4 1487, 990 and 555. Altogether, this adds up to 9,429, or roughly twice as many as your figure.


My figure – 4,759 dead (including around 200 non-combat deaths), 23,356 wounded, 987 missing – is from “The battle of Kursk” by D. Glantz and J. House.

Of wounded and missing around 1,800 were non-combat casualties.

I do not think that it is “completely wrong”, as for casualties of 9. Army, 4. Panzer Army and Group Kempf during the German offensive at Kursk.

August 1944, when a vast proportion of casualties were men whose fate nobody on the German side knew, and who were as a consequence classified as "Missing in Action"


Vast majority if not 100% of those MIA – were in fact PoWs.

There are no German reports which give you an even vaguely accurate figure for killed during the summer of 1944, and it is illusory to think that the running reporting succeeded in giving an accurate breakdown between the different categories of losses.


In June 1944 overall casualties on all fronts – combat and non-combat – including Normandy – were 26,000 dead and 32,000 MIA – of whom the vast majority or even 100% were prisoners of war.

There are no German reports which give you an even vaguely accurate figure for killed


Accurate and 100% complete figure is not given in any of German reports from WW2 period - not only from summer of 1944.

I don't see any reason why figures from summer 1944 would be less accurate than any other ones.
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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Michael Kenny » 20 Sep 2008 17:24

Domen121 wrote:
Luftwaffe:

Luftwaffe casualties in the battle of Kursk - "Operation Zitadelle" - according to official German reports:

Total casualties in the battle of Kursk - 64 planes shot down during 37,421 combat flights.

Luftwaffe pilots claimed destroying 1735 enemy planes during these 37,421 combat flights and with loss of 64 own planes.


64!!!!

Christer Bergstrom (Kursk, The Air Battle: July 1943)comments that this is an oft-quoted 1 Fliegerdivision claim and says that 1 Fliegerdivision casualties ALONE are greater than 64.
He says that Luftwaffe losses were 681 aircraft 'put out of comission' of which 420 were completely destroyed /W.O.
The dates are given as 5-31 July and the Units as Fliegerkorps VIII and Luftflotte 6.
Soviet Losses are given as 1,104 aircraft between 12 July-18 August

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Qvist » 20 Sep 2008 18:00

My figure – 4,759 dead (including around 200 non-combat deaths), 23,356 wounded, 987 missing – is from “The battle of Kursk” by D. Glantz and J. House.


Well, in tjat case either you have misunderstood the scope of the figures or they have it wrong. Or do you have a good explanation for why the reports quoted by Z/F show figures twice as high?

Of wounded and missing around 1,800 were non-combat casualties.


What are these figures that Glantz and House is quoting anyway? I have seen literally hundreds of German loss reports and I have never seen a single one that gives losses mixed in this way. And please, how can Missing in Action conceivably be non-combat losses?


Vast majority if not 100% of those MIA – were in fact PoWs.


Really? How do you know, exactly? Nobody else does. This is why there are 18 volumes of the Maschke Commission who worked for 20 years to ascertain the fates of the more than 1 million German servicemen whose fates are unknown. And even they have nothing more solid than assessments. If you read the documentation of the Abwicklungsstäbe tasked with determining the losses in these summer battles, they were still classing most cases as "unclarified" in the spring of 1945.


In June 1944 overall casualties on all fronts – combat and non-combat – including Normandy – were 26,000 dead and 32,000 MIA – of whom the vast majority or even 100% were prisoners of war.


Sorry, but that statement simply shows that you are clueless about the nature of these reports. There is quite simply not even a reasonable guess about how the breakdown of Heeresgruppe Mitte losses was between June and July, andt here never will be either.

Accurate and 100% complete figure is not given in any of German reports from WW2 period - not only from summer of 1944.


No, I am talking "not meaningfully within a rough order of magnitude". There is no comparison between June 1944 and the normal level of accuracy you can expect in other months.

I don't see any reason why figures from summer 1944 would be less accurate than any other ones.


8O Er...it didn't occur to you that the fact that an entire army group was being obliterated in June and July, with no meaningful reporting coming through from four whole armies, might have a bit of an impact? And then the same problem in August with Heeresgruppe A and OB West?

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Peter K » 20 Sep 2008 18:24

There is quite simply not even a reasonable guess about how the breakdown of Heeresgruppe Mitte losses was between June and July, and here never will be either.


Why - simply number of soldiers in units at the beginning minus number of soldiers at the end of the month = all types of casualties during the month.

And please, how can Missing in Action conceivably be non-combat losses?


Not missing in action - but missing.

Missing can be non-combat losses - for example - desertions.

Or do you have a good explanation for why the reports quoted by Z/F show figures twice as high?


What do they quote about number of wounded and number of missing ?

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Qvist » 20 Sep 2008 18:34

Firstly, you don't seem to realise what the nature of the reporting in this period was. Simply put, there are no meaningful reports of any kind from any of the armies of Heeresgruppe Mitte for this period. Not loss reports, not strength reports. The reason for this is that they were in the process of being ripped to shreds, and the army staffs had no more control over these things than anybody else. What loss reports trickled in during July cover only a fraction of the actual losses, who were only fixed retrospectively in October and November - and then in the form of classing most of them as MIA, on the grounds that there was simply no way of knowing anything more detailed than that a given number of soldiers were gone. There is no question whatsoever that the overall casualty figures for June who were available ta the time are woefully incomplete, even the reports themselves say so.

Niklas Zetterling and Anders Franksson discuss the Bagration casualties in their JSMS article "analyzing WWII E.Front battles", as an example of how the German reporting system coped with catastrophic defeats that made regular, periodical reporting incomplete. The ten-day reports of the armies have some gaping holes in them.

PZAOK 3 reported 7,851 KIA, 31,125 WIA and 7,076 MIA 21 June-31 August. there is no report for the period 1-10 July.

AOK 4 reported 3,411 KIA, 16,583 WIA and 5,540 MIA. Again there is no report for the period 1-10 July.

AOK 9 reported 2,438 KIA, 11,756 WIA and 2,662 MIA. Reports for all of July are missing.

AOK 2 reported 7,080 KIA, 32,833 WIA and 12,976 MIA. Reporting is complete.

Totals: 20,780 KIA, 92,297 WIA, 28,254 MIA. Total casualties: 141,331.


This is of course not the totality of the German losses. For AOK 4, there is a supplementary report of 14 September, which adds another 4,604 KIA, 13,255 wounded and 107,615 missing. A report of 14 November provides the balance of the remaining losses: 517/1,814/62,100 in AOK 9, 460/2383/64,990 in PzAOK 3. Totals would then be:

PzAOK 3: 8,311 KIA, 33,508 WIA, 72,076 MIA - TOTAL: 113,885
AOK 4: 8,015 KIA, 29,838 WIA, 113,155 MIA - TOTAL: 151,008
AOK 9: 2,955 KIA, 13,570 WIA, 64,762 MIA - TOTAL: 81,287
AOK 2: 7,080 KIA, 32,833 WIA, 12,976 MIA - TOTAL: 52,889
TOTAL: 26,361 KIA, 109,749 WIA, 262,969 MIA - TOTAL: 399,079

It must be borne in mind that this includes the last third of June, but all in all it can be said that the Bagration losses probably constitute slightly less than half the German losses in the East during the 3rd quarter. This presupposes that the Heeresarzt report have added the 14 Nov figures to the period in which they were suffered rather than to the period when that report was produced. As far as running reporting from the armies is concerned, the latter is unfortunately apparently often the case. However, a special staff were tasked with determining losses under such special circumstances (first set up to ascertain losses in Stalingrad), and the material it produced seems to have been placed in the correct timeframe in later casualty overviews (f.e., the stalingrad casualties later calculated are added to the January 1943 losses). Unfortunately, it is not clear from the article if the 14 november report has such an origin, or if it is a "berichtigte Meldung" from the AOKs in question (For the 14 September report, this does not matter, as September is still within the same quarter). However, the November figure in the Heeresarzt report is not very high, which is a good sign. In any event, something that does not appear feasible with any reasonable margin of security is to asses the distribution of these losses between Late June, July and August. Even the AOK2 figures are known to be unreliable in this respect (ie, the early August figures are known to contain some of the July losses, and some late June losses are contained in the late August figures).

Secondly, even in theory you can of course not in any case determine losses by comparing strength at two points in time, because that reflects many other things apart from losses - most obviously, replacements and shifts in command affiliation.

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Qvist » 20 Sep 2008 21:09

Not missing in action - but missing.

Missing can be non-combat losses - for example - desertions.


No. Desertions are desertions. Missing in Action is, quite simply, all soldiers lost as a result of combat who are either confirmed captured or whose fate is unclear. In terms of German reporting, there is no such thing as "missing" in the sense you mention. I have never seen, or heard about, MIAs being combined with losses known to be due to desertions or other non-combat losses. And with all due respect, I doubt that you have either. If I am wrong and this is more than conjecture on your part, I should like to know the original source for this (ie, if it is Glantz, what does Glantz refer to?).

What do they quote about number of wounded and number of missing ?


Well, you quoted this book as one of your sources, so you don't really need me to tell you that? As you see from pages 113-15, the quoted reports give casualty totals of 22,273 for AOK 9 (to 12 July), 15,960 for AA Kempf (to 20 July) and 18,594 for PzAOK 4(same date). All in all, 56,827.

Which means that I need to correct my own statement here:

For purposes of comparison, it really dependes on the definition of "The Battle of Kursk" in time and space, so to speak. For the offensive phase (5-12 July for 9th Army, 5-20 July for 4th Panzer Army and AD Kempf as I recall), German casualties were roughly 79,000 killed, wounded and missing.


where I mistakenly stated the approximate losses of these three armies for the whole of July. Or maybe I just didn't remember correctly. Anyway, my bad.

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Peter K » 21 Sep 2008 11:15

No. Desertions are desertions. Missing in Action is, quite simply, all soldiers lost as a result of combat who are either confirmed captured or whose fate is unclear.


Fate of deserters often IS unclear unless they are captured by their own army.

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Art » 21 Sep 2008 11:25

Michael Kenny wrote:64!!!!

Christer Bergstrom (Kursk, The Air Battle: July 1943)comments that this is an oft-quoted 1 Fliegerdivision claim and says that 1 Fliegerdivision casualties ALONE are greater than 64.
He says that Luftwaffe losses were 681 aircraft 'put out of comission' of which 420 were completely destroyed /W.O.
The dates are given as 5-31 July and the Units as Fliegerkorps VIII and Luftflotte 6.

Could you give some more details on it? Here is information on losses from Zetterling and Frankson:
Image
Losses columns stand for aircrafts completely lost in action. As far as I can see from comparison of this table with 6th LF daily reports the thing Zetterling calls sorties are day sorties only. As I remeber combat diares of oth VIII Air Corps and 1 Air Division are available oline and they give similar figures.
So 1st Air division reported the loss of 33 aircrafts during the period 5-11 July 1943. By type: 10 FW-190, 1 Bf-109, 4 Bf-110, 8 Ju-87, 6 Ju-88, 3 He-111, 1 Ar-66 (V. Gorbach 'Nad ognennoy dugoy", Moscow, 2007). As Gorbach sais Luftwaffe general quartermeister losses lists give higher number of aircrafts lost to all reasons- 64 (24 Fw-190, 2 Bf-109, 5 Bf-110, 15 Ju-87, 11 Ju-88, 5 He-111, 1 Ar-66, 1 Fi-156) plus 45 damaged.
VIII Air corps reported 111 aircrafts lost from 5 to 23 July (Gorbach). According to the losses list the number of planes written off during the same period was roughly 170 plus 90 damaged.

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Qvist » 21 Sep 2008 11:40

Fate of deserters often IS unclear unless they are captured by their own army.


This is to be pointlessly obtuse. A soldier who disappears in combat is missing in action, and is by definition a combat loss. If he has deserted and is recorded as such, he is not missing in action, and is not a combat loss nor recorded as "missing" in any sense. It is as simple as that.

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Art » 21 Sep 2008 11:42

Minotauros wrote: According to Soviet official documents, the Red Army lost during the Battle of Kursk 254.470 dead, 608.833 wounded and 33.000 captured.

According to what official documents? I suppose that these numbers are somewhat distorted losses from Krivosheev.
What were the German losses ?

Here are losses of 9 Army, 4 Pz Army and AA Kempf from Zetterlig&Frankson (sorry for the quality of the scan)
Image
Losses of German East Army in July-September 1943. That is the result of my exercise with figures from Zetterling I've made some time ago:
Image
Accroding to these data German Army lost some 55 thousands during the offensive phase of the battle (5-11 July for 9th Army, 5-20 July for 4th Pz Army and Army Detachment Kempf). The sum losses of the armies involved in the Battle of Kursk ( 9th, 2nd Pz, 2nd, 4 Pz, AD Kempf aka 8th Army) from 1.07.43 to 1.09.43 were some 200 thousands. That is a rough estimate of German losses in the entire battle. It's hard to make more precise calcualtion because ten-days reports have a considerable time lag.

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Re: Battle of Kursk Losses

Post by Qvist » 21 Sep 2008 12:01

Accroding to these data German Army lost some 55 thousands during the offensive phase of the battle (5-11 July for 9th Army, 5-20 July for 4th Pz Army and Army Detachment Kempf). The sum losses of the armies involved in the Battle of Kursk ( 9th, 2nd Pz, 2nd, 4 Pz, AD Kempf aka 8th Army) from 1.07.43 to 1.09.43 were some 200 thousands. That is the rough estimate of German losses in the entire battle. It's hard to make more precise calcualtion because ten-days reports have a considerable time lag.


Yep. These must be considered minimum figures, and the Heeresarzt ten-days certainly tend to be behind in this period - in part in a major way. It seems to have gotten worse late in the Quarter than earlier though.

If one f.e. compares these figures with the reports of the Armeearzt of PzAOK 4, which were issued about a month after the fighting, the results are quite interesting. He gives different figures in July (11487, 5376 and 4446), but it is clear from the reports that GrD and II SS-PzK are included only in the I Dekade. Consequently, the actual losses must have been higher than these. Must rush, more later.

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