German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 19 Apr 2021 04:53

per70 wrote:
18 Apr 2021 21:44
Another small piece in the puzzle.

Some POW summary figures for Panzergruppe 1 on 25.08.41.

T311 R256 #1236
Thanks. Every bit helps!

For non-German readers (or poor ones like me), after Uman PG1 took >85k PoW clearing out between Bug and Dniepr, up to 24.8 (and anticipated a significant increase on the 25th).

Should any of these be considered Kessel PoW? There was an attempt to cut off Nikolaev in this period, for example, but it may have been unsuccessful in trapping soldiers.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 19 Apr 2021 08:09

Random thought, not likely, but just to cover all bases on data issues:

Has it ever been credibly suggested (i.e. with evidence) that OKH's downward correction to PoW figures was an attempt to cover up PoW deaths/murders? Given how the story actually went, even covering up 550k deaths wouldn't have saved anybody from the gallows but they didn't necessarily know that then.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

per70
Member
Posts: 67
Joined: 13 May 2015 21:32
Location: Norway

Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by per70 » 19 Apr 2021 20:56

A further note. The document puts the total number of PoW's since the start of the campaign at 189 455.
The Panzergruppe claimed 45 527 PoW in the Uman battle from 29.7 to 7.8.
So I guess the rest could be attributed to regular combat and pursuit operations outside any major encirclements (although I guess one could argue that they did capture some of them in minor Kessels)

As a final sidenote; 17th Army reported on 8.8 that they had captured 62 700 PoW in the Uman battle between 27.7 to 8.8, which brought the total since start of war to 90 700.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 19 Apr 2021 23:59

per70 wrote:The Panzergruppe claimed 45 527 PoW in the Uman battle from 29.7 to 7.8.
Thanks. Will update my spreadsheet with dates for Uman. That was the biggest chunk of missing Kessel data.

Over ten days of Uman 4,553 PoW/day.

Over 16 days after Uman (9-24.8) 83,596 or 5,225/day.

...PzGr1 was taking more PoW/day in its Bug-Dniepr pursuit than during Uman. I wonder what the relative breakdown for 17th/11th Armies would look like. Again, this non-Kessel PoW dynamic is far underrated in the literature.

I wish we had a comprehensive PoW report from AGS/N similar to the report from AGC cited upthread and stored on German docs in Russian.

NARA's T-78 findlog contains the following description for R464:
Folder of GenStdH/Abt.FHO/(lie), entitled "I/M Gef. u. Beutemeldungen 1941." Figures submitted by Heeresgruppe Mitte on prisoners
and war material captured between June 22 and Dec. 31» 1941*
Folder of GenStdH/Abt.FEO/(lie), entitled "I/M Gef. u. Beutemeldungen 1942." Contents very similar to H3/15&» except that the
data covers the period June 22, igifl to Dec. 311 19*4-2. Some weak
carbon copies.
I've seen nothing similar for the other AG's; this likely contains the above-linked PoW documents. It seems possible that AGC alone submitted such detailed reports to OKH, which further bolsters my opinion that AGC's figures don't need correction, which further bolsters the statistical significance of tactical PoW trends during post-Taifun versus pre-.

Anybody have T78 R464 or know where I can get it?
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Oct 2021 06:44

I did a deepish dive into PoW hauls during 11th's Army's 1941 Crimean offensive in another thread. Based on the (admittedly imperfect) HGS reports contained in NARA T311/R264, it appears that ~half of that campaign's 100k PoW's were taken "tactically" as used in this thread - i.e. they were taken before the occurrence of operational conditions typically leading to mass surrender (here the entrapment of 51st Army in a cauldron around Kerch towards the end of the campaign).

This has a significant effect on the TacPoW/man-day calculations I presented upthread. In that post, I limited the definition of "Kessel" PoW's by going to primary documents to see who was truly captured in Kessels and who was captured in broadly-defined campaigns that included Kessels. Kiev, for example, yielded 492k Kessel PoW's, the 665k figure seen in most histories includes large numbers of non-Kessel ("tactical") PoW's taken days/weeks prior to Southwest Front's encirclement.

When calculating the tactical PoW rate during 20.10.41-30.11.41, I deducted all 100k of the Crimean battle's PoW from the period to give a tactical Pow total. Now that I have better resolution on when Soviets were captured, I can see that adjustment was at least twice as high as necessary.

So here's a revised calculation incorporating the Crimean adjustment:

Image

If you're following closely, you'll notice the TacPoW differential, pre- and post-Taifun, increased by up to 11% (HGC PoW figures corrected). Significant...

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

Aside from this global effect on the quantitative argument, that RKKA showed signs of morale collapse in the Crimea during this period (perhaps ~1/4 of the defenders surrendered tactically) further reinforces the impression of an army approaching crisis.

HGS tallied ~43k PoW during the break-in and pursuit period of the Crimean campaign (20 days per my definition). Krivosheev gives an initial strength of 235k for the Crimean Defensive Operation, which produces a TacPoW rate of 9.1 per 1,000 RKKA man-days. This is nearly twice the tactical PoW rate that AGC achieved in its post-Taifun advance.

That does not imply, however, that morale was worse in Crimea than before Moscow in October/November '41. Rapid advances lead to more PoW; AGC was slowed by mud (inter alia) while 11th Army advanced at a decent clip across the Crimea (15km/day after breaking through at Perekop).

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

In yet another thread I've collected some data on PoW hauls during the First Battle of Kharkov ( I looked Oct. 9-24). I note some data ambiguities/problems in that post but the PoW figures should be sufficiently accurate to glean a topline trend. What do we see so far?

6th Army was taking ~1,400 PoW/day. This was, like AGC's post-Taifun advance, a slow slog through muddy conditions. Unlike AGC, 6th Army fought with negligible armored support (recall that the Dupuy study identifies armor as highly predictive of capture rate). For Kharkov's defenders to have equaled Moscow's defender's TacPoW rate of 5 per 1,000 man-days, they'd have had to average no more than 280,000.

Krivosheev says that the entire Donbas-Rostov Strategic Defensive Operation (Sept. 29 - Nov. 16) initially involved 541,600 men - this is basically all the men facing 6th, 17th, and 1st Panzer Armies. So 6th Army was matching AGC's TacPoW capture rate unless more than half of AGS's foes were concentrated against it - which seems unlikely.

Upthread (and/or elsewhere) I've hypothesized that the post-Taifun morale crisis might be limited to the Moscow front. That's beginning to seem unlikely.

More research needed, however. Time and archival access allowing, I'd like eventually to give a decent picture of the TacPoW rate across the entire front at the army level. Maybe by 2023.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Jan 2022 18:43

I went through the HGN KTB in NARA T311 R53, covering the period up to August 31, 1941. Notes:

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

July 17 (F884): 58 ID and 36mot report around 3,000 PoW – 1 Frauenbattlion, 4 Jungkommunistkompanien, 1,500 Zuchthausler, much loot.
“The report of July 23, 1941 is proof of the persistence of the fight, according to which the enemy had suffered losses in the previous fights over the bridgehead of the 6PD: 2300 KIA and 330 PoW.” F5899
July 24: In a Kessel northwest of Nevel, L A.K. reports 4,500 PoW. XXIII A.K. reports 10,000 PoW. F5926
July 31: 18A reports on its battle north of Dorpat from 22-31.7: 794 PoW, 2-3,000 KIA. F5961
August 4: 18A reports that around Muru it took 40 PoW, counted 500 dead.
August 10-14: PG4-LVI AK reports “great bloody losses” for the enemy, 115 bunkers destroyed, 500 PoW. XXXXXI AK reports 1,200 PoW over 8-14.8.
August 18: 18A reports 6,578 PoW over 6-18.8 (battles between Wesenberg and Narva).
“Noch 25.8.41” (F064) - covering 16A’s battle of 10-24.8.41: Combat operations eliminated for a long time. In both parts of the battle 33,140 prisoners were taken, 498 guns, 275 tanks, 1131 MG, 209 mortars, 52 FLak, 77 Pak, 439 vehicles, 2,400 horses and other numerous equipment, as well as large quantities of supplies were captured. The enemy's bloody losses, along with the number of prisoners, are unusually high. In one Rgt. section alone, 1,060 dead Bolsheviks remained on the battlefield.
20-28.8.41 (F090): AOK 18 reports 11,432 PoW from the Tallinn battle, 3,000 Estonians pressed into military service are freed (included in PoW?).
-----------------------------------------------

These are the only specific listings of PoW I found; HGN's KTB didn't have periodic totals as with Sud and Mitte. I might have missed a few over hundreds of pages.

I've highlighted in red PoW hauls involving encirclements (around Nevel, Talinn [Reval], Velikiy Luki, and Lake Ilmen). Not all of the PoW reported for periods covering Kessels, of course, would have come from those encirclements.

What strikes me, however, is the ratio of dead found on the battlefield to PoW, when those figures were reported.HGN units reported finding 5-6k dead while taking only 1,164 PoW.

That's obviously a much higher ratio of KIA to tactical PoW than for the Ostfront as a whole. On my data/interpretation, RKKA yielded 700-1,200k tactical PoW during all of Barbarossa. RKKA's KIA are difficult to quantify given poor 1941 record keeping but absolutely nobody thinks it suffered 5mil.

My impression is that, at least in HGN's sector, this research provides limited further support to the thesis that RKKA morale and fighting will declined in Fall '41, relative to June-August. I.e. its soldiers were less likely to surrender tactically in June-August, and relatively more willing to die, than in the Fall fighting discussed upthread.

As the data aren't comprehensive I can't draw any firm conclusions regarding the rate at which RKKA was surrendering, opposite HGN. If anybody knows where comprehensive HGN PoW tallies are, I'd greatly appreciate the tip.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1100
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Coruscant

Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by Stiltzkin » 31 Jan 2022 20:28

As the data aren't comprehensive I can't draw any firm conclusions regarding the rate at which RKKA was surrendering, opposite HGN. If anybody knows where comprehensive HGN PoW tallies are, I'd greatly appreciate the tip.
There is information on the capture rate and the number of deserters for the 4th PzArmy at Kursk in Capture Rate Study:
Medical Requirements for EPW, Phase IV Part 1
, from which a model could be developed. To this has to be added that: 1.The rate might have been larger in 1941, but the mortality greater, as the Wehrmacht did not seem to have been interested in utilizing the labour force, in 1943 this was of course the opposite. Officers tended to have a higher desertion rate.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German tactical PoW hauls in Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 02 Feb 2022 18:35

Stiltzkin wrote:
31 Jan 2022 20:28
There is information on the capture rate and the number of deserters for the 4th PzArmy at Kursk in Capture Rate Study:
Medical Requirements for EPW, Phase IV Part 1
Thanks, I've been meaning to mention Kursk PoW yields versus to the two 1941 periods I'm comparing (roughly summer versus late autumn).

On this data set, 4PzA captured 662/day in Kursk. Assuming their opponents numbered ~500k, that gives an RKKA surrender rate of 1.3 PoW/day per 1,000 RKKA.

That's broadly in line with the tactical (i.e. non-encirclement and excluding intercepted reservists) surrender rate I've estimated for Summer 1941 - 1.3-2 PoW/day/1,000 depending on certain data assumptions. Compare that to RKKA yielding 5-6 PoW/day/1,000 during the post-Taifun period.

This is in line with my hypothesis that RKKA's tactical surrender rate in the six following Taifun was perhaps 4x what it was under conditions of "normal" morale.

I recall Art providing PoW stats for Zitadelle somewhere, which I saved to mention in this thread but lost in a hard drive crash.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Return to “WW2 in Eastern Europe”