Question about tanks, 1943!

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MarkN
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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by MarkN » 05 Mar 2019 16:03

Counter wrote:
01 Mar 2019 20:01
According to these figures… The Soviet could never have won the war…

Could you help me?
Can I help you? Not really? I don't understand how you jump from reading a handful of statistics counting pantsers to "The Soviet could never have won the war"? The figures you posted offer zero understanding of how the war was fought and won.

If you can explain how you made this massive leap from pantser numbers to war conclusion, then maybe I and others will be able to help.

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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by Counter » 05 Mar 2019 22:50

If you say that the number of AFV on each side was unimportant and you demonstrate it, you are helping me.

But, according to what I read, the soviets did have superiority in tanks (and in manpower, artillery, aircraft...) as long as the war was near to the end. So, in spite of that amazing ratio 1/8 of the german tank crews the figure of german panzer was decreasing in the Eastern Front and the soviets were increasing.

I suppose you know very well the data about this question...

1) Monthly production on each side. The figure of 17000 german AFV for 1943 I found it too in Stephen Fritz "Ostkrieg" and referred to Richard Overy's data (not only in "A war to be won"). Someone in this thread wrote a very diferent figure "5,897 Panzer and 3,312 StuG in 1943" but citing no source.

2) Operational AFV? According to the chart of Jentzt (generously apported by Art), after August 1943, germans had fewer than 1000 operational (although not so many total losses) How many the soviets? Supposedly they losed over 6000 in July and August. total losses? how many soviets AFV also turned in non-operational? How many they were producing? I know they got also some deliveries from USA.

So I think it is very easy to help me. They are data that surely you have at hand.

If the german produced, let's say, 5000 AFV in 1943, and those arrived operational to the Russian front (and maybe another 5000 produced but never repaired, never reached the front, sent to elsewhere) and they kept the rario 1/8... they should have destroyed (total losses) 40000 soviet AFV... not to mention the soviet AFV turned "non-operational". It is very easy.

Thank you anyway

Richard Anderson
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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by Richard Anderson » 06 Mar 2019 01:44

Counter wrote:
05 Mar 2019 22:50
1) Monthly production on each side. The figure of 17000 german AFV for 1943 I found it too in Stephen Fritz "Ostkrieg" and referred to Richard Overy's data (not only in "A war to be won"). Someone in this thread wrote a very diferent figure "5,897 Panzer and 3,312 StuG in 1943" but citing no source.
That's nice, I suspect that Fritz may have cribbed it from Millett and Murray. So, BTW, did you bother to do as I suggested and look at your "source"? There is no 1941 in that table, so the German data is right-shifted. Sorry about not citing a source. The data may be found in Speer's "Statistische Schnellberichte", Stand Januar 1945, BAMA R3/1731, Jentz, Panzer Tracts No. 23, Panzer Production from 1933 to 1945, Jentz, Panztertruppen, Vol. I & II, USSBS, Tank Industry Report, and many others.
2) Operational AFV? According to the chart of Jentzt (generously apported by Art), after August 1943, germans had fewer than 1000 operational (although not so many total losses) How many the soviets? Supposedly they losed over 6000 in July and August. total losses? how many soviets AFV also turned in non-operational? How many they were producing? I know they got also some deliveries from USA.
In 1943 the Soviets manufactured 19,864 tanks and 4,199 assault guns. They received another 2,102 from the UK and 888 (or more, figures conflict) from the US.
"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

Art
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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by Art » 06 Mar 2019 08:38

Counter wrote:
05 Mar 2019 22:50
So, in spite of that amazing ratio 1/8 of the german tank crews the figure of german panzer was decreasing in the Eastern Front and the soviets were increasing.
As explained above 1/8 is an artifact of incomplete reporting. In general aggregate German irrevocable losses of tanks and assault/self-propelled guns in 1943 were almost 9000 (from Müller-Hillebrand). Of them the bulk on the Eastern Front and the smaller part in Africa and Italy. Soviet losses of tanks and SP guns in 1943 were 23500 (Krivosheev). The losses from both sides were proportional to production more or less.

Counter
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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by Counter » 06 Mar 2019 09:38

Thank you very much

There are two articles in wikipedia, citing sources, which are not very different from the figures here mentioned

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_ar ... rld_War_II

(11600 AFV german production for 1943)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_co ... rld_War_II

(25000 AFV soviet production for 1943)

You did not write anything about statistics on soviet "total losses" and "non operational" (damaged) losses. So, I presume, according to these figures of production, that those "6000" soviet destroyed tanks in July and August 1943 (battles zitadelle, kutuzov, rumyantsev) included damaged soviet AFV that later were repaired... and that many german AFV non counted as "total loss" were damaged... and never repaired. This way you can easily imagine the "ratio" you please... :o

Obviously, not only the 1/8 ratio is a myth. The 1/4 ratio too.

Thank you very much for your help... Excuse me if I was not able to express myself better...

MarkN
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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by MarkN » 06 Mar 2019 10:34

Counter wrote:
05 Mar 2019 22:50
If you say that the number of AFV on each side was unimportant and you demonstrate it, you are helping me.

But, according to what I read, the soviets did have superiority in tanks (and in manpower, artillery, aircraft...) as long as the war was near to the end. So, in spite of that amazing ratio 1/8 of the german tank crews the figure of german panzer was decreasing in the Eastern Front and the soviets were increasing.

I suppose you know very well the data about this question...

1) Monthly production on each side. The figure of 17000 german AFV for 1943 I found it too in Stephen Fritz "Ostkrieg" and referred to Richard Overy's data (not only in "A war to be won"). Someone in this thread wrote a very diferent figure "5,897 Panzer and 3,312 StuG in 1943" but citing no source.

2) Operational AFV? According to the chart of Jentzt (generously apported by Art), after August 1943, germans had fewer than 1000 operational (although not so many total losses) How many the soviets? Supposedly they losed over 6000 in July and August. total losses? how many soviets AFV also turned in non-operational? How many they were producing? I know they got also some deliveries from USA.

So I think it is very easy to help me. They are data that surely you have at hand.

If the german produced, let's say, 5000 AFV in 1943, and those arrived operational to the Russian front (and maybe another 5000 produced but never repaired, never reached the front, sent to elsewhere) and they kept the rario 1/8... they should have destroyed (total losses) 40000 soviet AFV... not to mention the soviet AFV turned "non-operational". It is very easy.
1) You have collected a mass of tank numbers data.

2) You have applied your thought and reasoning process to analyse that data and produce a conclusion.

3) Your conclusion is: "The Soviet could never have won the war."

4) You observe that the Soviets were on the winning side.

5) You recognise something must have gone wrong at step 1 or 2 and ask for help.

My observation is that it went wrong at step 2: your thought process and your reasoning.

Thus, if you want others to help you understand where your thought process and reasoning went wrong, you have to explain what thoughts and reasoning you had that made the gigantic leap from tank number statistics to "The Soviet could never have won the war."

You can ask, demand and expect a million other pieces of tank number statistics (with or without sources) - and you'll still not understand anything until you fix step 2.

Max Payload
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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by Max Payload » 06 Mar 2019 11:12

According to Krivosheev, tanks and SPGs 01/01/43 numbered 20,400 of which 8,100 were ‘in the theatre of operations’.
Received in 1943, 27,300: losses in 1943 23,500.
Tanks and SPGs 01/01/44 numbered 24,400 of which 5,800 were ‘in the theatre of operations’.
By the end of ‘43 the number of trained Soviet tank crews rather than vehicle availability was a major constraint on operations.

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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by Max Payload » 06 Mar 2019 12:28

Counter wrote:
01 Mar 2019 20:01
A friend of mine told me about the amazing efficiency of the Wehrmacht tank crews, and assured me that in the battle of Kursk (july 1943) the germans destroyed EIGHT Russian tanks for each german tank lost. ...
They destroyed (supposedly) 1614+2586+1864= 6064 soviet tanks in July and August… and then there would have been more than 2000 another german tanks left… enough (supposedly) to destroy at least… 18000 russian tanks more…

According to these figures… The Soviet could never have won the war… 8O

Could you help me?
The faulty assumption here is that German tanks were responsible for the destruction of Soviet tanks and that if the Germans had X tanks that they were prepared to commit and lose, the Soviets would inevitably lose 8X tanks to them.
Only a small proportion of tank losses were due to tank-on-tank combat. What mattered was the overall balance of forces, equipment quality, tactical proficiency, morale, the standard of staff work, effective logistical support and so on. If the Soviets produce a lot of tanks and put them into a target rich environment they may well lose a lot of tanks. If as a result they achieve their operational objectives then, irrespective of comparable German AFV losses, they may consider it to have been an acceptable rate of attrition.
Over time loss rates cannot significantly exceed replacement rates (many of the tanks nominally in the Soviet tank park in 1943 were older models suitable only for training purposes and deployment to non-active theatres) and on the EF operations were conducted such that for much of the time loss rates were constrained to the available production/replacement rates.
German AFV loss rates in 1943 were lower than Soviet loss rates in large part because at any one time they had far fewer AFVs operationally deployed.

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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by Counter » 06 Mar 2019 16:17

2) You have applied your thought and reasoning process to analyse that data and produce a conclusion.

3) Your conclusion is: "The Soviet could never have won the war."
Obviously, my conclusion was that, by reductio ad absurdum, there never existed a 1/8 ratio of the german crews over the poor soviet tanks crews, and authors writing so were giving confusing data. Herr Frieser book, particularly, stressed how brilliant german officers and soldiers were and how stupids were, at least, soviet generals.
The faulty assumption here is that German tanks were responsible for the destruction of Soviet tanks and that if the Germans had X tanks that they were prepared to commit and lose, the Soviets would inevitably lose 8X tanks to them.
Obviously, tanks were destroyed by other tanks, by artillery, by some aircrafts and even by courageous soviet partisans, because all arms were used with that goal.

Many other authors (Antony Beevor, for example) wrote that there existed a ratio, at least, of 1/5 of german armoured forces superiority. According with these figures, even that is exaggerated.

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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by Art » 06 Mar 2019 16:43

Counter wrote:
05 Mar 2019 22:50
2) Operational AFV? According to the chart of Jentzt (generously apported by Art), after August 1943, germans had fewer than 1000 operational (although not so many total losses) How many the soviets?
The number of operational tanks/SP guns on the front decreased almost two-fold: from 10200 On 1.7.43 to 5300 on 1.1.44. So quite a huge decline.

critical mass
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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by critical mass » 06 Mar 2019 20:05

Counter wrote:
06 Mar 2019 16:17
2) You have applied your thought and reasoning process to analyse that data and produce a conclusion.

3) Your conclusion is: "The Soviet could never have won the war."
Obviously, my conclusion was that, by reductio ad absurdum, there never existed a 1/8 ratio of the german crews over the poor soviet tanks crews, and authors writing so were giving confusing data. Herr Frieser book, particularly, stressed how brilliant german officers and soldiers were and how stupids were, at least, soviet generals.
The faulty assumption here is that German tanks were responsible for the destruction of Soviet tanks and that if the Germans had X tanks that they were prepared to commit and lose, the Soviets would inevitably lose 8X tanks to them.
Obviously, tanks were destroyed by other tanks, by artillery, by some aircrafts and even by courageous soviet partisans, because all arms were used with that goal.

Many other authors (Antony Beevor, for example) wrote that there existed a ratio, at least, of 1/5 of german armoured forces superiority. According with these figures, even that is exaggerated.
I think You are either willingly or unreflectedly misreading Frieser. His work is excellently referenced. I have found a couple of mistakes in it by myself (claims of tanks destroyed by Luftwaffe ground attack is given as he did in the sources but is almost certainly too high.) but none of the accounts on Kursks is definitive. He takes into account both, Soviet and German primary sources and he knows the difference between primary and secondary source, It has been a custom for too long before Frieser to uncritically overtake soviet estimates of German AFV losses (claims) instead of German loss data and vice versa german claims on soviet AFV losses /loss data.

The actual exchange rate tank vs tank is irrelevant. I am inclined to believe there may be a very high exchange ratio in favor of German tanks simply because of the enourmeous density of anti tank guns and artillery employed by the soviets in all engaged sectors will cause a high ratio of German losses beeing not caused by soviet Tanks. But the focus is misleading. The soviets didn’t plan to fight tanks with tanks, they intended to utilize strong defense, mines, anti tank gun belts covered by artillery to absorb the German armored thrust. Tanks were used to prevent maneuver if breakthrough had to be sealed. Kursks can teach a lot about how to embrace different tactical doctrines depending on the realities of the tactical situation. Rather than using tank vs tank descriptive statistics as a proxy for battlefield effeciancy one should look into the combined arms aspects more deeply.

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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by pintere » 06 Mar 2019 20:45

Counter wrote:
06 Mar 2019 09:38
You did not write anything about statistics on soviet "total losses" and "non operational" (damaged) losses. So, I presume, according to these figures of production, that those "6000" soviet destroyed tanks in July and August 1943 (battles zitadelle, kutuzov, rumyantsev) included damaged soviet AFV that later were repaired... and that many german AFV non counted as "total loss" were damaged... and never repaired. This way you can easily imagine the "ratio" you please... :o

Obviously, not only the 1/8 ratio is a myth. The 1/4 ratio too.

Thank you very much for your help... Excuse me if I was not able to express myself better...
From what I understand the Soviet did indeed suffer 6000 total tank losses in these battles, and it is not all that unlikely that the German tanks were achieving kill ratios (in terms of total losses) of at least 3:1. So how can these figures be reconciled? Here's a few pointers.

1) Though the number of permanently destroyed tanks (Totalausfälle) was relatively low, most German divisions always had a large number of damaged tanks in tow that resulted in a fairly low operational strength. When one studies the Panzer division strengths on the Eastern front you generally find a pattern like this... Arrives with full strength in operational panzers, suffers a massive drop as a result of tanks being damaged and sent to repair shops, and then achieves an equilibrium of sorts as the influx of damaged tanks is balanced by return of tanks from repair shops to the front.

2) Many damaged tanks were lost during retreats when it was not possible to evacuate them. This included both tanks that would've eventually been written off or repaired. Lots of other tanks were lost if they became bogged down in mud and couldn't get unstuck in time. Since the Soviets were on the offensive throughout the later stages of the war most of their repairable tanks could eventually be recovered while the Germans lost many which could have been. So although the total tank/loss ratio could've been 2:5/1 or something when you take into account these operational losses the ratio goes well up in the Germans favour. By the same token the loss ratios due to combat in 1941 were more in favour of the Soviets due to losing a lot of repairable tanks during retreats.

3) Although German tanks like the Panther could decimate Soviet armour on the battlefield they were constantly hindered by their poor reliability that reduced their operational readiness, increased the no. of non-combat losses and put them at a disadvantage in highly fluid battlefields.

4) Battles are not won and lost on tanks alone. Although it's the case that the Germans usually had the edge in tank-tank combat in the late war period (especially 1943), Soviet tanks were not their biggest worries. Most German tanks in the last few years of the war in the East were not lost to Soviet tanks but anti-tank guns. They were generally tougher to spot and destroy compared to tanks and the Soviets had A LOT of them. Otto Carius in his memoirs comes to similar conclusions.

Thus although the tank kill ratios at Kursk through combat alone are indeed heavily skewed in the Germans' favour, this factor alone is not the thing that wins and loses wars.

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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by Counter » 07 Mar 2019 16:44

Counter wrote:I presume, according to these figures of production, that those "6000" soviet destroyed tanks in July and August 1943 (battles zitadelle, kutuzov, rumyantsev) included damaged soviet AFV that later were repaired... and that many german AFV non counted as "total loss" were damaged... and never repaired.
pintere wrote:From what I understand the Soviet did indeed suffer 6000 total tank losses in these battles
It could be, but this rises another questions...

Art showed the chart about the difference between "available" and "operational" vehicles. According to the chart, after the battles of July and August 2000 there were available german AFV but only 800 "operational" among them. I know it is difficult to be precise on this issue, but at that time, the staff officers (and Hitler himself!) tried to get well informed about the exact amount of weapons resources, because victory could depend on a very narrow difference...

In the second half of 1943 the German armament industry produced a monthly average of 908 tanks and
assault guns (some of which were, of course, intended for other fronts)
(according to Frieser, and accepted this datum here)

So, maybe 1500 (750 monthly?) vehicles came to reinforce the losses in the Eastern Front at the end of August? How many, then, were destroyed or turned in "non-operational" state by any cause? At the end, only 800 were operational and another 1200 "available" but non-operational

About the russians...
Max Payload wrote:Received in 1943, 27,300: losses in 1943 23,500.
Art wrote:The number of operational tanks/SP guns on the front decreased almost two-fold: from 10200 On 1.7.43 to 5300 on 1.1.44.
If more than 6000 russians AFV were "total losses" in July and August, and if they had 10200 operational previous to the battles and if they received average 4500 in two months... How many operational at the end of August?

Previous to the battles there were 2600 german operational and 10200 russian operational... And the germans losed (the loss of Kharkov, particularly, was strategically critical).

It germans only left 800, the russians required, at least five-fold that amount to keep the superiority: 4000 operational

Is that possible? They began with 10200, then 6000 total losses, only 4500 received, how many turned in "non-operational"? The germans had more "available non-operational" (1200) than "operational" (800 =40%) -2000 german total losses in July and August?. The same proportion on the russian side would be "8000 available but non operational" (10200 in the start, less 6000 total losses plus 4500 received)... and from them only 3500 (=40%) as "operational". A bit short?

Excuse me for the confuse calculation. I am sure that anyone here has the right data... And maybe knowing how to use the "Lanchaster law" in this case... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanchester%27s_laws

Anyway, the ratio 1/4 of german efficiency against the russian targets would not be reached as average...

Thank you again

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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by Stiltzkin » 07 Mar 2019 17:00

Excuse me for the confuse calculation. I am sure that anyone here has the right data... And maybe knowing how to use the "Lanchaster law" in this case... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanchester%27s_laws
These are basic differential equations for 6-7th graders, surely you will know how to use them? Here, Alpha and Beta represent each belligerents efficiency/killing parameter, A and B the initial force strengths, declining over time dt. You may have to add R(t), for replacements/reinforcements and a variable for mechanical failure and environmental attrition (abandonment, accidents, stuck in mud and bogs). Bonder-Farrel differential, pH/pK, or a probability matrix are usually better suited for tank models though.
In the second half of 1943 the German armament industry produced a monthly average of 908 tanks and
assault guns (some of which were, of course, intended for other fronts) (according to Frieser, and accepted this datum here)
The more you lose, the more you have to replace. If Soviet losses increased, they also increased the output accordingly, which is also heavily influenced by labour, crew replacement/training and raw material situations.
Even if you are down to almost zero tanks, the war is not over. Tanks are overall just a small asset of the entire armed forces (this can however result in delays).
Thus although the tank kill ratios at Kursk through combat alone are indeed heavily skewed in the Germans' favour, this factor alone is not the thing that wins and loses wars.
I do not think that anyone was able to convince him. :)
The actual exchange rate tank vs tank is irrelevant. I am inclined to believe there may be a very high exchange ratio in favor of German tanks simply because of the enourmeous density of anti tank guns and artillery employed by the soviets in all engaged sectors will cause a high ratio of German losses beeing not caused by soviet Tanks. But the focus is misleading. The soviets didn’t plan to fight tanks with tanks, they intended to utilize strong defense, mines, anti tank gun belts covered by artillery to absorb the German armored thrust. Tanks were used to prevent maneuver if breakthrough had to be sealed. Kursks can teach a lot about how to embrace different tactical doctrines depending on the realities of the tactical situation. Rather than using tank vs tank descriptive statistics as a proxy for battlefield effeciancy one should look into the combined arms aspects more deeply.
The exchange rate is an expression for the disparity in quality which manifests in the attrition coefficient, a general rate of substitution. The exchange rate is favourable on all levels and if we ignore the microscopic layer for a moment (and I do not disagree with any indepth analysis and note that the one does not exclude the other), it is exactly what it is.
Armed forces are defeated by either annihilation, capture or occupation of the military and administrative complex. This is hard for people to understand. All armies, no matter what doctrine and bureaucratic apparatus, are bound to these laws, without exception.
To keep on the pressure, the Soviets relied on a constant output, while drawing on an effective replacement and training system for personnel (the same applies to the Wehrmacht, Wehrkreise). Again: This is equal for all belligerents. Faction A dies faster than B, but has a higher replacement rate, thus it is able to keep on the advance. Should you half the Soviet frontline strength and diminish the quarterly replacement rate, then its over. If the war would have continued at such a pace beyond 1945, that is, should the German Army continue to "kite" the Red Army (loss of territory, adequate replacement), then further offensives would have been stalled. Soviet daily casualties and those per Division do not lower, i.e. the Soviets pay a higher price in order to advance quickly. Advance rates are heavily influenced by these factors as well, the weaker the Axis forces on the EF, the faster the Soviets advance.
The exchange rate is exactly what enabled the Wehrmacht to survive for more than 4 years on the Eastern Front. If we remove the exchange rate and hypothetically assume that the quality parameters were the same, then the Wehrmacht is annihilated in a few months and not in 4 years.
If people cannot understand this basic concept and intellectual side of war, then this is just plain ignorance.
On the macroscopic layer, you have two buckets full of water, with different sized holes at the bottom, resulting in leakage. Greater development levels, greater per capita investment, better manufacturing quality and training institutions, leadership, officer corps and NCOs, changing any of these elements would result in narrowing the gap between both combatants (e.g. a better projectile design, giving them GPMGs or Assault Rifles, or outfitting the infantry with an adequate number of half tracks etc.). What happens on the battlefield, is expressed in losses, that is the sum of the losses from the tactical level to the operational level. The Soviet doctrine can be summarized by sacrificing more men and they could afford it.

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Re: Question about tanks, 1943!

Post by pintere » 07 Mar 2019 19:27

Counter wrote:
07 Mar 2019 16:44
In the second half of 1943 the German armament industry produced a monthly average of 908 tanks and
assault guns (some of which were, of course, intended for other fronts)
(according to Frieser, and accepted this datum here)

So, maybe 1500 (750 monthly?) vehicles came to reinforce the losses in the Eastern Front at the end of August?
As with anything these numbers need to be taken in context. As already stated many of these were sent to other fronts, and at this point many needed to be sent West to deal with the increasing threat of an Allied invasion.

You also need to take into account the nature of the German replacement system. Throughout the war the Germans heavily favoured sending the bulk of their new AFVs to either newly forming units or units refitting well behind the frontline. The result was that frontline formations did not receive new vehicles with nearly the same kind of reliability that Western Allied (or even Soviet) armoured units could. It was bad practice for sure, but does help to explain how the production numbers can be reconciled with operational tank strength on the Eastern front at this time.

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