Russians simply won by the power of numbers

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Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 11 Apr 2007 21:41

Qvist wrote:
Not sure about this conclusion. If you exclude the non-returns (which are difficult to include in a mathematical calculation, unless you use a proxy figure to stand in for the value 'never'), then the average of the German return to service is below three months (90 days), and it could be well below that, because we do not know how the distribution works within the three months (e.g. if 30% return in 30 days, 35% in 60, and 40% in 90 days).
Hm, I see your point. So much for that then.

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We aim to please, as they say in the Royal Artillery. :-D

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Post by Andreas » 12 Apr 2007 09:53

Sorry, I missed this one.
Qvist wrote:Hehehe. A wee bit over-theoretical with the paradigm thingy, you thought? Just be happy you didn't know me when i was doing history of ideas. :) Anyway, it's good then that there are people around to reconnect me with the ground. I had been playing around with the notion that different approaches to EF interpretation have something of the paradigmatic about them and I still think there is something in that, but this was probably not a good place to apply it.
It is a question of seeing the tree in the forest. The key to successful PhD level research is to identify a research question and to stick to answering it, no matter how much you are being dragged away at a later stage, or whether you start wondering that this other question would not have been more interesting. Compartmentalisation (i.e. the study of a particular tree) is important to finish a PhD. It is not particularly helpful when the overall question is about the forest though, which I think is the case here.
The development of the tank armies and logistics I would call organisational improvements rather than developments in operational methods, but then it appears that you have something broader in mind than operational methods or operational art strictly speaking.
It is more the history of everything related to Red Army development during and before the war. Definitely not a PhD question.
Otherwise I think you basically prove your point, though I might quibble on some points of detail and ultimate extent. I approached the issue somewhat differently, in terms of identifying the factors that gave the Red Army an advantage over its adversary. Yours is better.
Thanks for that verdict, much appreciated.

All the best

Andreas

Art
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Post by Art » 14 Apr 2007 14:18

Qvist wrote: There is the fact that Krivosheev relates his figures to those provided by military hospitals.
Not exactly. He states that the number of wounded and sick is taken from troop reports, but at the same time gives the number of men hospitalized according to the materials of Medical Service of Red Army. In order to explain the dicrepancies between thiese two data sheets he emphasizes that some wounded men could be not evacuated to hospitals, but instead returned to their units from regimental and divisional medical points. As far as I am ackwainted with the losses acount sytem in Red Army, it was on the level of this medical points where the acount of the losses bega, so the situation desribed doesn't seem to be improbable.
Krivosheev also quotes the hospital data, which is slightly lower for wounded (by about 610,900, which he states may be due to these having remained with their units
This is what I've allready said :) .However, if you noticed the figure of wounded men fro 1941 given by Krivosheev is higher then the figure of wounded hospitalized in the same year, and this the fact that couldn't be expained by this theory.
What exactly are the alternative figures?
In 1941 1 532 367 wounded, 5 570 burnt, 29 625 frostbitten, 374 298 sick
1942 3 523 933/ 22 170/ 107 200/ 1 893 707
1943 3 695 814/ 18 410/ 44 435/ 1 824 425
1944 3 225 271 /12 294/ 11 344/ 2 046 744
Figures for 1945 are absent. There is even monthly breakdown of losses and for 1944 the breakdown by months and fronts, but I don't have time now to type them. The figures of sick pertain to the Active Army alone as aithors state, you can readily see the huge difference between their figures and Krivosheev's ones. As I have allready said since I haven't seen the sources that both collectives of authors used I can't explain this difference.
So, this would in essence mean that Stavka Reserves are included generally in Glantz' figures, insofar as they are based on the GKO decrees?
In the decrees that I saw - yes.
More wounded - as the losses increased (which they steadily did), so did the number of hospitalised men in the EH at any given point.
But not in three times - that's what the number of wounded in EH did since 1942! I was indeed surprised by this rise.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 14 Apr 2007 15:08

Hello Art, and thanks again. Will return, but a couple of immediate comments:
The figures of sick pertain to the Active Army alone as aithors state, you can readily see the huge difference between their figures and Krivosheev's ones. As I have allready said since I haven't seen the sources that both collectives of authors used I can't explain this difference.
Thewy are however, interestingly, very close to the overall sick figures quoted in Table 60. Which may mean that Krivosheev is not correct that over half of these were from the rest of the army, or the authors of the work you quote are not correct that these pertain to the active army.
But not in three times - that's what the number of wounded in EH did since 1942! I was indeed surprised by this rise.
A threefold rise in hospitalised wounded over this period does not strike me immediately as all that improbable, (considering also that by this time other fronts than the East were weighing in heavily, and that the losses in the East alone were roughly twice as high in 1944 as in 1942, and more than that compared to 1941) but I'll have to look more closely into that. What point in 42 were you referring to exactly?

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 15 Apr 2007 11:30

Hello again Art,
Not exactly. He states that the number of wounded and sick is taken from troop reports, but at the same time gives the number of men hospitalized according to the materials of Medical Service of Red Army. In order to explain the dicrepancies between thiese two data sheets he emphasizes that some wounded men could be not evacuated to hospitals, but instead returned to their units from regimental and divisional medical points. As far as I am ackwainted with the losses acount sytem in Red Army, it was on the level of this medical points where the acount of the losses bega, so the situation desribed doesn't seem to be improbable.
This is what I was referring to too, the point being just that Krivosheev at least take the hospital figures into account when commenting on his own data, and makes an attempt to account for the differences.
However, if you noticed the figure of wounded men fro 1941 given by Krivosheev is higher then the figure of wounded hospitalized in the same year, and this the fact that couldn't be expained by this theory.
Hm, you are right, this I had not noticed. OK, these are the two sets of figures - "Kriv" consisting of "Wounded" plus "Frostbites" according to Table 69, Hosp. referring the hospital figures in Table 60.

Year.............Kriv............Hosp..............Diff
41..............1,269,978......1,712,981.......- 443,003
42..............3,553,989......3,625,351.......- 71,362
43..............4,628,590......4,124,093.........504,497
44..............3,979,408......3,520,203.........459,205
45..............1,864,946......1,702,965.........161,981
In All.........15,296,473......14,685,593.......610,880

So, in 41/42, the reported figures wounded are lower than the figures shown by hospitals, 43/45 they are higher. IMO, the obvious factor to turn to in order to account for this should be the state of reporting in the chaotic circumstances of 1941/42, which Krivosheev himself describes as having resulted in inaccurate reports - also a very familiar phenomenon on the other side. He attempts to adjust for this by adding an estimated figure for missing in 1941, but does no such thing for wounded, or if he does, he doesn't say anything about it. This may have resulted in wounded not being accounted for at all, or it may have resulted in wounded being reported too late. If in the latter case, the excess figure in 1943 may be at least partly accounted for by this reporting lag. The explanation he does give (of soldiers not being sent back despite having been reported wounded) seems much more plausible for the late part of the war. There are several good reasons why there is considerably less incentive to evacuate wounded soldiers to the rear when generally on the offensive than when generally retreating. Above all, there is little risk of wounded being captured as a result of enemy advances. The general effect of advances is of course also to outrun your medical infrastructure, making it more time- and resource-consuming to bring wounded men back and forth.

I suppose a final possibility is also that hospitals and field formations may not have classified a given casualty in the same way. For instance, an injury (say, a broken leg) may have been reported under the wounded category because it was incurred during combat, but not been regarded as a combat injury by the hospital.
n 1941 1 532 367 wounded, 5 570 burnt, 29 625 frostbitten, 374 298 sick
1942 3 523 933/ 22 170/ 107 200/ 1 893 707
1943 3 695 814/ 18 410/ 44 435/ 1 824 425
1944 3 225 271 /12 294/ 11 344/ 2 046 744
Okay, so let's put that with Kriv. and the hospital figures

WOUNDED, FROSTBITES; BURNS

Year.............Kriv............Hosp..............Alt
41..............1,269,978......1,712,981........1,567,562
42..............3,553,989......3,625,351........3,653,303
43..............4,628,590......4,124,093........3,758,659
44..............3,979,408......3,520,203........3,248,909
In All.........13,431,527......12,982,628... 12,228,433

SICK (Kriv. Sick + Died of disease etc.)
Year.............Kriv............Hosp..............Alt
41...............319,508.......405,685..........374,298
42...............726,226.....1,948,133.......1,893,707
43...............991,643.....2,175,862.......1,824,425
44.............1,189,762.....2,381,321.......2,076,744
IN ALL.......3,209,139.....6,911,001.......6,169,174

On the wounded side, (and I would like to stress that I am merely offering possibilities) I think this again points towards plausibility for Krivosheev's explanation during the later part of the war, and to delayed or incomplete reporting during the early part of it. On the sick side, my immediate instinct (by no means an infallible guide) would be identify these figures with the overall sickness figures from hospitals, to whom they are much more similar. What do you think? And does the source have anything more to say about the scope and basis of the figures?
In the decrees that I saw - yes.
Thank you, that is a very major piece of contextual information for these figures.
But not in three times - that's what the number of wounded in EH did since 1942! I was indeed surprised by this rise.
You'd think that among hundreds of loss-related documents there'd be something as simple as a yearly Heer breakdown, but oh no. :) I can piece the figures together probably, but it'd be a major undertaking. However, as said, such an increase seems perfectly plausible to me. Bear in mind also the very heavy losses suffered in 1945 - just in the East, 335,000 wounded were reported for January and February, and it is also clear from the report that thi is an incomplete figure. Then there is the effect of major losses in the West and south, which were not there in '42.
There is even monthly breakdown of losses and for 1944 the breakdown by months and fronts, but I don't have time now to type them.
If you should ever find the time to do so, or could be persuaded to scan them for me, I would be eternally grateful.

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Post by Art » 22 Apr 2007 15:55

Hello, Qvist
Qvist wrote: If you should ever find the time to do so, or could be persuaded to scan them for me, I would be eternally grateful.
Ok. I opened another thread in orded no to bury the data under 20 pages of discussion (please escuse my mediocre Excel skills):
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=119574
Thewy are however, interestingly, very close to the overall sick figures quoted in Table 60.
Yes, indeed. However, the authors state several times that the figures of sick pertain to Active Fronts, and as you can see from the table of losses in 1944, they even give the breakdown of the losses by fronts where they were suffered. So an accidental mistake from their side is excluded. It's worth to assume that either Krivosheev is wrong or the difference in figures of NCL results from the nature of data used. As I said if don't know for certain what was this nature, we cannot make an ultimate conclusion about the source of the difference.
On the wounded side, (and I would like to stress that I am merely offering possibilities) I think this again points towards plausibility for Krivosheev's explanation during the later part of the war, and to delayed or incomplete reporting during the early part of it
Yes, this seems to be a probable explanantion.
So, in 41/42, the reported figures wounded are lower than the figures shown by hospitals, 43/45 they are higher. IMO, the obvious factor to turn to in order to account for this should be the state of reporting in the chaotic circumstances of 1941/42, which Krivosheev himself describes as having resulted in inaccurate reports - also a very familiar phenomenon on the other side.
Right, that is exactly what I suggested.
What point in 42 were you referring to exactly?
1st September - there were 280 thousands of hospitalized men in Ersatheer on that date according to MH. The figure mounted to 600 thousands till 1st July 1944 and to 750 thousands in the late months of the war. It reasonable to assume that the naumber of hospitalized should be proportional to the average losses suffered during several previous months. However more than a twofold increase of losses till Summer 1944 while the impact of Western Allies on German losses was relatively small doesn't seem to be very probable to me, since German losses on EF remained roughly on the same level of 2 mln. per year.
and that the losses in the East alone were roughly twice as high in 1944 as in 1942, and more than that compared to 1941
I guess it was the number of MIA that rose most significanty, was it? Here two remarks could be made: first, MIA didn't contributed to the number of men hospitalized and second, the greatest losses of MIA were suffered in the second part of 1944 (Bagration, Yassy-Kishiniov, etc.), while the increase in number of hospitalized occured allready before the mid-year. At any rate thank you for your opinion and remarks.
Last edited by Art on 23 Apr 2007 08:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Andreas » 22 Apr 2007 17:45

In actual fact, high numbers of MIA should reduce the number of hospitalised considerably, since they would contain a lot of those who ordinarily (iin circumstances where frontlines don't collapse) would have been evacuated wounded, instead of becoming MIA/KIA.

A small family anecdote regarding admin chaos. My grandfather was very seriously wounded in the final stage of the retreat of AG North into the Panther line south of Lake Peipus. He was shipped out to Germany. A while later his father received the EK I that was bestowed on my grandfather for a defensive action earlier in the retreat at the family home, where my grandfather found it two or three years ago. It was either impossible for the administration to understand my grandfather's whereabouts, or they presumed he was dead. He was then reconvalescent and on home leave until about a year later, before he was sent to Denmark for garrison duty.

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Post by Qvist » 22 Apr 2007 20:38

1st September - there were 280 thousands of hospitalized men in Ersatheer on that date according to MH. The figure mounted to 600 thousands till 1st July 1944 and to 750 thousands in the late months of the war. It reasonable to assume that the naumber of hospitalized should be proportional to the average losses suffered during several previous months. However more than a twofold increase of losses till Summer 1944 while the impact of Western Allies on German losses was relatively small doesn't seem to be very probable to me, since German losses on EF remained roughly on the same level of 2 mln. per year.
OK, sat down to do the figures in detail, and my instincts were as off as your were on - wounded does not increase nearly enough to account for this. However, I also had a look through the hospitalised figures I have noted down and in documents, and the explanation seems to be that Müller-Hillebrand is using figures that are not on a comparable basis - it seems, in short, that the 1942 figure relates only to wounded, while the 1944 one relates to wounded and sick.

In April 1942, there were 470,632 hospitalised wounded and sick in the Ersatzheer, according to the WFSt summary for that month (RW6-542-126). I didn't write down the division unfortunately, but in June there were some 270,000 hospitalised sick in the Ersatzheer.

On 30 June 1944 there were 289,085 hospitalised wounded and 281,569 hospitalised sick in the Ersatzheer, according to the WFSt chart for that month.

More later.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 22 Apr 2007 20:43

In actual fact, high numbers of MIA should reduce the number of hospitalised considerably, since they would contain a lot of those who ordinarily (iin circumstances where frontlines don't collapse) would have been evacuated wounded, instead of becoming MIA/KIA.
Well, that the proportion of missing increases doesn't neccessarily mean that the absolute number of wounded decreases. There were more wounded in 1943 and 1944 than in 1941/42, despite much higher proportions of missing.

Interesting anecdote BTW, thanks for sharing it.

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Post by Andreas » 22 Apr 2007 20:55

Sorry, should have been more clear, on a proportional basis, a higher share of MIA should be balanced by a lower share of WIA, i.e. these are to some extent interchangeable.

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Post by Qvist » 22 Apr 2007 21:04

That is certainly true.

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Post by Qvist » 22 Apr 2007 21:20

Ok. I opened another thread in orded no to engrave the data under 20 pages of discussion (please escuse my mediocre Excel skills):
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=119574
The excel is terrific, and thanks a million. These are exceptionally interesting data. Could I ask, does this work provide any figures on KIA and MIA, and if so, how do they compare to Krivosheev's?
Yes, indeed. However, the authors state several times that the figures of sick pertain to Active Fronts, and as you can see from the table of losses in 1944, they even give the breakdown of the losses by fronts where they were suffered. So an accidental mistake from their side is excluded.
Agreed.
It's worth to assume that either Krivosheev is wrong or the difference in figures of NCL results from the nature of data used. As I said if don't know for certain what was this nature, we cannot make an ultimate conclusion about the source of the difference.
Melancholically agreed. :) This would appear to leave us with a major unsolved question mark in the field of Red Army casualty data. I can only hope that someone will take up the task of trying to resolve it.
However more than a twofold increase of losses till Summer 1944 while the impact of Western Allies on German losses was relatively small doesn't seem to be very probable to me, since German losses on EF remained roughly on the same level of 2 mln. per year.

I guess it was the number of MIA that rose most significanty, was it? Here two remarks could be made: first, MIA didn't contributed to the number of men hospitalized and second, the greatest losses of MIA were suffered in the second part of 1944 (Bagration, Yassy-Kishiniov, etc.), while the increase in number of hospitalized occured allready before the mid-year. At any rate thank you for your opinion and remarks.
Well no, not quite - it was only in 1944 that combat losses reached the level of around 2 million. There were some 830,000 in 1941, 1.1 million in 1942 and 1.6 million in 1943. But yes, you are correct that the Missing in Action proportion increased very markedly, though the number of wounded increased also.

Monthly wounded figures (EF only) from the WFSt summaries (and I don't even have Excel, or a functioning printer at the moment, so here apologies for the formatting are truly in order):

41
Juni 29454
Juli 125579
August 147748
September 106826
Oktober 87224
November 66211
Dezember 58226
Total 621268
42
Januar 61933
Februar 64520
März 74076
April 43983
Mai 57833
Juni 67576
Juli 74930
August 119766
September 100340
Oktober 52815
November 35204
Dezember 61203
814179
43
Januar 36610
Februar 61712
März 85199
April 27358
Mai 30375
Juni 28047
Juli 147053
August 134283
September 86985
Oktober 110146
November 76701
Dezember 76948
901417
44
Januar 92706
Februar 99454
März 78836
April 73001
Mai 88387
Juni 33526
Juli 77006
August 61983
September 170009
Oktober 115342
November 64035
Dezember 55125
1009410

Don't trust the monthly breakdown in II half 1944 too much, there were numeous Nachmeldungen during the autumn that pertain to the summer fighting, also for the wounded.

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Post by banivechi » 28 Jul 2007 22:00

It is very impressive and speaks for itself that Romanians, who fought first as Axis and later with Allies, lost 381.000 with the Axis side and 170.000 with the Allies.... This means alot!!!
This means that between 21'th June 1941-23 August 1944 were 1150 days of war for Romania as Axis force (331.3 deaths/day), and between 24'th August 1944-8'th May 1945 were 258 days as Allies force (658.9 deaths/day). And for that it is only one explanation: Romanians were used as "gun flesh" by Soviet command.

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Post by Andreas » 29 Jul 2007 00:12

That is a conclusion which rests on a very shaky basis, and I don't think has much merit.

All the best

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Re: Russians simply won by the power of numbers

Post by GaryD » 01 May 2008 08:42

Here is a chart taken from a on-line article at http://journal.kurtukov.name/?p=35. It shows the Germans' view of the balance of forces on the Eastern Front as of 14 October 1943. As the article notes, the German intelligence picture of the Russian forces is fairly accurate. One wonders why the Germans fought on against such odds.

Would it be correct to assume that the German numbers include all ground forces in the Army Group areas, including German allies (what was left of them)?

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