The tank battle of Lauban, 1-8 March 1945

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mars
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Post by mars » 28 May 2007 01:20

Alex Yeliseenko wrote:Excellent example, Kamen.

I shall add: to compare German and Russian losses in tanks not so correctly. I saw in a photo almost completely destroyed German tanks, they appeared in the column " long repair ". With such damages nobody sent the Soviet tanks in repair. Them sent in breakage.

Regards/


Alex, correct me if I was wrong, those tanks "sent to rear for long time repair" were counted as "totally loss" in the Soviet losses statistics

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Alex Yeliseenko
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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 28 May 2007 02:31

Not absolutely so. Criteria of an estimation " completely destroyed tank " were different. Soviet considered, that it is sometimes better to send damaged tanks in irreparable losses, than to repair it. Was sometimes cheaper to make the new tank, than to repair it.

mars
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Post by mars » 28 May 2007 02:44

Alex Yeliseenko wrote:Not absolutely so. Criteria of an estimation " completely destroyed tank " were different. Soviet considered, that it is sometimes better to send damaged tanks in irreparable losses, than to repair it. Was sometimes cheaper to make the new tank, than to repair it.


I understand that, my point is those tanks indeed send to rear for "long time repair" were counted as "completely losses" by soviet

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Alex Yeliseenko
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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 28 May 2007 06:54

mars wrote:
Alex Yeliseenko wrote:Not absolutely so. Criteria of an estimation " completely destroyed tank " were different. Soviet considered, that it is sometimes better to send damaged tanks in irreparable losses, than to repair it. Was sometimes cheaper to make the new tank, than to repair it.


I understand that, my point is those tanks indeed send to rear for "long time repair" were counted as "completely losses" by soviet


OK. In the evening I shall result a fragment from the Russian book about a technique of the account of irreparable losses.

GaryD
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Post by GaryD » 28 May 2007 09:03

Kamen Nevenkin wrote:That 162:10 definitely do not represent the results from the actual tank-kills "scoreboard".

1.After every such tank battle it was of crucial importance who possess the battlefield. In that situation the Soviets withdrew and therefore were not in position to take with them the heavily damaged AFVs. In a vice versa situation the loses of the German side would have been many times higher.


It's true that the side which withdraws from the battlefield will not be able to recover damaged tanks, thus making them permanently lost, but that doesn't make the final loss ratio any less valid. I don't think we know if the Germans are coming up with the 162 number by counting hulks on the battlefield or if 162 is from the claims of their units. If the former, then it's a solid number; if the latter, then there is the usual exaggerated claims issue, plus the Germans might not know if a tank was truly destroyed or merely damaged. (I've read that it was standard German practice to keep hitting a tank until it blew up or caught on fire, but I don't know how wide-spread this was.)

2.The German Command tolerated the vicious practice of reporting only the total write-offs as losses. Recently I came across a very interesting document (Morgenmeldung from early Feb 45) that says literally the following: "Today we repulsed a strong Russian tank attack and destroyed 23 enemy tanks at the cost of only one friendly." At the bottom of the document, however, there is a remark saying that as a result of that action "22 friendly tanks were damaged". So, if we follow the official result the score was 23:1 in favor of Germans, but in reality it was 23:23 and maybe the final result was even in favor of the Russians because those 23 Russian tanks were only claims, and moreover, no one can tell whether they were reparable or not. But this approach was adopted by the postwar western historians, in which books the Russian tanks are burning by hundreds and the German losses were always symbolic or due to mechanical breakdowns. I'm almost 100% sure that if one access the diaries of 3 GTA he will find claims that at least 100 German tanks had been knocked out. So we can only guess about the actual German losses during the Lauban battle, but despite the fact that the repairable losses are still unknown, it could be safely concluded that the German armor losses (as reported tank kills) were several times higher than ten.


One should try and stick to the simple rule that, to the extent possible, German documents should be used for German losses and Soviet documents for Soviet losses. That would eliminate the exaggerated claims issue. In your example, IF the Soviets truly did suffer 23 permanent losses, then the 23:1 ratio is accurate. If you want to include damaged German tanks, then you have to include damaged Soviet tanks too.

Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 28 May 2007 09:10

Note please that I posted the OKW KTB info for informational purposes. I believe it to be an accurate reflection of the truth as much as I believe that Santa is bringing Christmas presents. Well, I think it is more likely that Santa exists, actually.

All the best

Andreas

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AMVAS
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Post by AMVAS » 28 May 2007 15:32

Alex Yeliseenko asked me to post his message here, as he can't enter right now
********************************************************************************************
It will be the long story..... It is a pity, my poor English....

It will be an example on the basis of data on Kursk fight. It from book «Prokhorovka - unknown battle of Great war». The author - Valery Zamulin, possibly best researcher of history of battle near Kursk.

Pages 621-622.

" Especially big interest to a theme of losses show western historian. They name various figures of the general losses. Thus they refer to one source - Federal military archive of Germany. Here examples.

- Zitterling and Frankson approve, that for 13 day (7.5-7.17) GA " South " has lost 190 tanks and assault guns. 2 PzK SS and 3 PzK from July, 11 till July, 17th - have lost 17 and 37 tanks and assault guns.

Engelmann informs on loss by July, 12th of 163 tanks and assault guns.

K.G.Frizer approves, that in fight on July, 12th three divisions SS have lost irreparably 5 tanks. 42 more tanks and 12 assault guns have been sent in long-term repair.

The similar disorder of figures speaks the several reasons. The first is a form of the account of losses in the German army. Germans carried to losses only those tanks which were or completely destroyed, or captured the opponent. All the others were registered in repair fund. Damaged armour in documents it was brought in the column "long-term" and " short-term repair ". Territory Prokhorovka till July, 17th was supervised by the enemy. Germans could evacuate and repaire the damaged AFV. Our technics which has remained on a battlefield at a withdrawal, enemies blew up. From here there are ridiculous statements about losses of only five tanks under Prokhorovka ". Further Zamulin speaks, that the tanks sent in long-term repair should be considered in losses. As they in battle under the Kursk any more did not accept any participation.

To be continued....
****************************************************************

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Post by GaryD » 28 May 2007 17:45

AMVAS wrote:The similar disorder of figures speaks the several reasons. The first is a form of the account of losses in the German army. Germans carried to losses only those tanks which were or completely destroyed, or captured the opponent. All the others were registered in repair fund. Damaged armour in documents it was brought in the column "long-term" and " short-term repair ". Territory Prokhorovka till July, 17th was supervised by the enemy. Germans could evacuate and repaire the damaged AFV. Our technics which has remained on a battlefield at a withdrawal, enemies blew up. From here there are ridiculous statements about losses of only five tanks under Prokhorovka ". Further Zamulin speaks, that the tanks sent in long-term repair should be considered in losses. As they in battle under the Kursk any more did not accept any participation.


This is certainly an issue to be considered, but I'd like to hear from someone who knows more specifically about German repair and reporting practices, if there is such a person on this forum. This is internal reporting on the German side, so why would they report heavily damaged tanks as repairable if they were in fact not? In the context of the war, they would have been deceiving only themselves.

Another related issue is this: during the Kursk Soviet offensive phase, if the advancing Soviet Army overran 4TA workshops, thus capturing tanks which were damaged during Citadel, how were those losses registered, if at all? Sorry if we're getting off-topic!

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Kamen Nevenkin
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Post by Kamen Nevenkin » 28 May 2007 17:52

One should try and stick to the simple rule that, to the extent possible, German documents should be used for German losses and Soviet documents for Soviet losses. That would eliminate the exaggerated claims issue. In your example, IF the Soviets truly did suffer 23 permanent losses, then the 23:1 ratio is accurate. If you want to include damaged German tanks, then you have to include damaged Soviet tanks too.


In their after-action reports the Germans usually used abgeschossen insted of zerstört while submitting their tank kill claims. Abgeschossen literally means "shot", but this word allows very flexible use - from shot in the tracks to "shot to pieces". Apparently, in that situation the German commander reported everything that his troops had claimed as "shot" (in "my" example - 23 Panzer abgeschossen). It was not his business to investigate the fate of every single Soviet tank. Anyway, my goal was to show how misleading the German reports could be, not to investigate a given tank battle. The members of this forum are mature enough to draw their own conclusions.

Martin Block
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German tank losses Lauban area early March 1945

Post by Martin Block » 29 May 2007 00:27

Attempt to establish the true tank losses of the Führer-Begleit-Division:

I. Tank status of Führer-Begleit-Div. according to its 'Ist-Gliederung' dated 1.3.1945 (from copy of original document obtained from BA-MA Freiburg):
8 Pz. IV L/48 (3 operational)
20 Pz. IV/70(A) (9 operational)
23 Pz. V (9 operational)
40 StuG III (5 operational)
9 StuH 42 (2 operational)
6 Flakpz. IV (2cm & 3,7cm) (1 operational)

It proved to be impossible to establish the exact number of tanks in long term repair.
With the 'Ist-Gliederung' came a 'Zustandsbericht' giving the following 'Materielle Lage' for 1.3.1945:
10 Stu.Gesch. operational, 19 in short term repair (Stu.Gesch. here include StuG III and StuH)
16 Pz. IV operational, 23 in short term repair (Pz. IV here include L/48, L/70, Flakpz.)
10 Pz. V operational, 10 in short term repair
The 'Materielle Lage ' in a German 'Zustandsbericht' does not include any tanks in long term repair, but from comparing the 'Ist-Gliederung' with the 'Zustandsbericht' one can often calculate their numbers. But in this case one immediately runs into trouble. The numbers of operational tanks don't match and the Pz. IV type tanks even exceed the total from the 'Ist-Gliederung' by 5.
So one can only estimate the number of tanks in long term repair to about little over 20, the vast majority of them StuG/StuH.

Note: Allocation records show no Pz./Jagdpz./StuG replacements shipped during the following week to the division, infact none during the whole month of March 1945

II. Tank status of Führer-Begleit-Div. according to 'Reisebericht über Besuch der Führer-Gren.- und Führer-Begl.Div.' dated 8.3.1945 (from copy of original document obtained from BA-MA Freiburg):

8 Pz. IV L/48 (6 operational, 0 short term repair, 2 long term repair, 0 G.K.Mot.pp., 0 total write-offs)
2 Pz.Bef. IV (0 operational, 0 short term repair, 2 long term repair, 0 G.K.Mot.pp., 0 total write-offs)
20 Pz. IV/70(A) (3 operational, 5 short term repair, 12 long term repair, 0 G.K.Mot.pp., 0 total write-offs)
20 Pz. V (6 operational, 4 short term repair, 9 long term repair, 1 G.K.Mot.pp., 0 total write-offs)
2 Bergepz. V (0 operational, 0 short term repair, 2 long term repair, 0 G.K.Mot.pp., 0 total write-offs)
39 StuG III (8 operational, 6 short term repair, 24 long term repair, 0 G.K.Mot.pp., 1 total write-off)
8 StuH 42 (0 operational, 1 short term repair, 4 long term repair, 0 G.K.Mot.pp., 3 total write-offs)
2 Flakpz. IV (3,7cm) (0 operational, 0 short term repair, 2 long term repair, 0 G.K.Mot.pp., 1 total write-off)
3 Flakpz. IV (2 cm) (2 operational, 1 short term repair, 0 long term repair, 0 G.K.Mot.pp., 0 total write-offs)

I have a few small problems with this listing:
a) I do not exactly know what "G.K.Mot.pp." stood for, but apparently it was something between long term repair and total write-off.
b) I do not exactly know when the total write-offs listed in II. occured, but apparently it happened in recent days rather than since 1.3.1945 because the 'Reisebericht' covered only 5.3. - 8.3.1945.
c) I do not know why the 2 Pz.Bef. IV from listing II. did not appear in listing I.. As already said no tanks of any kind were delivered in the meantime. I only can assume they were for some reason forgotten to be included in the 'Ist-Gliederung' dated 1.3.1945. But at least it helps reducing the difference in numbers of Pz. IV type tanks in listing I from 5 to 3.

Anyway, comparing listing I. and II. leads to the following tank losses suffered by FBD between 1.3 and 1.8.1945:

Pz. IV L/48 and Pz.Bef. IV: Total write-offs = unknown, from 0 to 3 at maximum
Pz. IV/70(A): Total write-offs = 0
Pz. V: Total write-offs = 3
Bergepz. V: Total write-offs = unknown, probably 0
StuG III: Total write-offs = 1
StuH 42: Total write-offs = 3
Flakpz. IV: Total write-offs = 1

Total Pz./Jagdp./StuG write-offs = 8 to 11
Total Pz./Jagdp./StuG badly damaged = about 30 (i.e in need for major repairs taking at least 2 weeks)

Question still remains how many of the tanks in long term repair actually had suffered major battle damage and how many of them had just developed serious mechanical troubles. For instance a completely broken down motor of a tank could AFAIK be replaced in relatively short time - if one was available. I have for example several reports from the 23. Pz.Div. from early 1945 which list up to 17 otherwise fully combat ready Panther tanks in long term repair because they had no replacement motors available and none were delivered.



Attempt to establish the true tank losses of the Führer-Grenadier-Division:

I. Tank status of Führer-Grenadier-Div. according to its 'Ist-Gliederung' dated 1.3.1945 (from copy of original document obtained from BA-MA Freiburg):
3 Pz. IV L/48
8 Pz. IV/70(V)
27 Pz. V (for unknown reasons 2 Pz.Bef. V seem to be missing here, see 6.3.1945)
10 Jagdpanther
20 StuG III (equipment of Stu.G.Brig. 911, for unknown reasons 3 StuH 42 and 3 recently delivered Pz. IV/70(A) seem to be missing here, see 6.3.1945)
17 StuG IV
4 Flakpz. IV (3,7cm)
For unknown reasons also not shown are 5 Pz.Beob. IV which had been delivered in Dec. 1944 and were still there (see 6.3.1945).
The 'Ist-Gliederung' does not show how many of these tanks were operational.

The 'Zustandsbericht' coming with the 'Ist-Gliederung' dated 1.3.1945 gives the following 'Materielle Lage':
22 Stu.Gesch. operational, 11 in short term repair (Stu.Gesch. here apparently include StuG III/IV and Pz. IV/70)
3 Pz. IV operational, 2 in short term repair (Pz. IV here apparently include Pz.Beob. IV)
1 Flakpz. IV operational, 2 in short term repair
10 Pz. V operational, 7 in short term repair
4 Jagdpanther operational, 3 in short term repair
From this one can calculate the number of tanks in long term repair to 29 of all types.

One more word on the German monthly 'Zustandsbericht' in general. These were pre-fabricated forms used by all kinds of units from company to divisional size. The 'Materielle Lage' section on these forms had only 7 colums for armored vehicles labelled "Stu.Gesch./III/IV/V/VI/Schtz.Pz.,Pz.Sp.,Art.Pz.B./Pak SF".
So regardless what the actual equipment of a unit was it had to fit into these columns. Although numerous smaller units made type- or handwritten changes to the column headers to better match their actual equipment many larger units with lots of different vehicle types did not. This can lead to confusion because it is not always clear what type of tanks were summed up in the particular column. This is just to explain why at times some guesswork or reading between the lines needs to be employed to explain these 'Zustandsberichte'.
For the German High Command it was not really relevant if a vehicle appearing in the Stu.Gesch. column actually was a StuG or some kind of Jagdpanzer. This only matters to 'crazies' like me some 60 years later :wink:

Note: Allocation records show no Pz./Jagdpz./StuG replacements shipped during the following week to the FGD.

II. Tank status of Führer-Grenadier-Div. according to 'Reisebericht über Besuch der Führer-Gren.- und Führer-Begl.Div.' dated 8.3.1945 (from copy of original document obtained from BA-MA Freiburg):

In contrast to FBD the date for the tank status of FGD in this report is given as 6.3.1945.
3 Pz. IV L/48 (1 operational, 1 in short term repair, 1 in long term repair)
5 Pz.Beob. IV (3 operational, 1 in short term repair, 1 in long term repair)
26 Pz. V (4 operational, 10 in short term repair, 12 in long term repair)
2 Pz.Bef. V (2 operational, 0 in short term repair, 0 in long term repair)
9 Jagdpanther (5 operational, 2 in short term repair, 2 in long term repair)
15 StuG III (4 operational, 4 in short term repair, 7 in long term repair)
3 StuH 42 (2 operational, 1 in short term repair, 0 in long term repair)
27 StuG IV (apparently this included the Pz. IV/70(V) and (A)!) (6 operational, 13 in short term repair, 8 in long term repair)
4 Flakpz. IV (2 operational, 1 in short term repair, 1 in long term repair)

Comparing listing I. and II. plus some additional documents leads to the following tank losses suffered by FGD between 1.3 and 6.3.1945:

Pz. IV L/48 and Pz.Bef. IV: Total write-offs = 0
Pz. V and Pz.Bef. V: Total write-offs = 1
Jagdpanther: Total write-offs = 1
StuG III: Total write-offs = 5
StuH 42: Total write-offs = 0
StuG IV and Pz. IV/70: Total write-offs = 1
4 Flakpz. IV (3,7cm): Total write-offs = 0

Total Pz./Jagdp./StuG write-offs = 8
Total Pz./Jagdp./StuG badly damaged = about 3 (i.e in need for major repairs taking at least 2 weeks)

But to make matters more complicated a few days later FGD reported to Gen.Insp.d.Pz.Tr. the "Eigene Ausfälle in den Kämpfen im Raum Lauban" as:
4 Pz. V
2 Jagdpz. V
3 StuG III
3 StuG IV
So that would mean total Pz./Jagdp./StuG write-offs = 12 (although the time period here may have been 1.3. - 8.3.1945)

This report came with another complete tank status of FGD dated 8.3.1945, but since it not really helps to fully clear out confusion I will not present it here. Let me just state that IMHO the true tank losses of FGD must have been somewere between the two figures given above.


To be continued ........

Martin Block

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German tank losses Lauban area early March 1945

Post by Martin Block » 01 Jun 2007 20:22

Attempt to establish the true tank losses of the 8. Pz.Div.:

I. Tank status of 8. Pz.Div. gathered from its 'Zustandsbericht' with 'Ist-Gliederung' and a report 'Bestand an gep.Kfz.' all dated 1.3.1945 (from copies of original documents obtained from BA-MA Freiburg):
36 Pz. IV L/48 (14 operational, 11 in short and 11 in long term repair)
17 Pz. V and Pz.Bef. V (6 operational, 7 in short and 4 in long term repair)
10 Jagdpz. IV L/48 (4 operational, 5 in short and 1 in long term repair)
9 Jagdpz. 38 (7 operational, 1 in short and 1 in long term repair)
4 Marder type s/p guns (4 operational, 0 in short and 0 in long term repair)
1 Pz.Beob. III (in short term repair)
1 Pz.Beob. IV (operational)

The number of tanks in long term repair amounted to 17 of all types.

Allocation records show that an additional
10 Pz. IV/70(V) and
15 Pz. V
had been shipped as replacements to the division. The arrival of 10 Pz. IV/70(V) and 8 Pz. V was recorded on 4./5.3.1945. Although the other 7 Pz. V had been reported as arrived already on 28.2.1945 I'm not 100% sure if they actually were already included in the 1.3.1945 status report.
On 8.3.1945 H.Gr. Mitte issued orders to disband Pz.Brig. 103. The 6 remainig Jagdpanthers of that unit were allocated to 8. Pz.Div..

II. Tank status of 8. Pz.Div. according to OKH quartermaster general report 'Pz.- u. Stu.Geschütz-Lage an allen Fronten Stand 15.3.1945' (from copy of original document obtained from BA-MA Freiburg):

Unfortunately the earliest available report I know about for 8. Pz.Div. after the battle around Lauban is dated 15.3.1945. It is not even from the division itself but from a large compilation prepared by the quartermaster general. This as you will see contains a few mysteries that I have trouble to explain.
27 Pz. IV L/43 (0 operational, 27 in repair) and 15 Pz. IV L/48 (11 operational, 4 in repair) L/43 and a total of 6 tanks more than on 1.3.1945? That's already mystery no. 1!
30 Pz. IV/70 (6 operational, 24 in repair) That's 20 to many, none were shipped, none taken over => mystery no. 2!
10 Pz. V and Pz.Bef. V (9 operational, 1 in repair) Could it be that Pz. V and Pz. IV/70 figures were mistakenly exchanged in this report? That would fit much better!
with I./39: 23 Pz. V and Pz.Bef. V (4 operational, 19 in repair) Mystery no. 3 because AFAIK the I./39 was under orders to join 17. Pz.Div.!
6 Jagdpanther (2 operational, 4 in repair)
10 Jagdpz. IV L/48 (2 operational, 8 in repair)
8 Jagdpz. 38 (3 operational, 5 in repair)
3 Marder type s/p guns (3 operational, 0 in repair)
0 Pz.Beob. III
1 Pz.Beob. IV (operational)
The compilation does not distinguish between short and long term repair!

Comparing listing I. and II. plus some additional documents leads to the following tank losses suffered by 8. Pz.Div. between 1.3. and 15.3.1945:
Pz. IV L/48 and Pz.Bef. IV: Total write-offs = ???
Pz. V and Pz.Bef. V: Total write-offs = 22 (??? comparing with 1.4.1945 report below this figure is impossible!)
Pz. IV/70(V): Total write-offs = ???
Jagdpanther: Total write-offs = 0
Jagdpz. IV L/48: Total write-offs = 0
Jagdpz. 38: Total write-offs = 1
Marder s/p guns: Total write-offs = 1
Pz.Beob. III: Total write-offs = 1
Pz.Beob. IV: Total write-offs = 0

To get closer to the number of actually lost Pz. IV L/48, Pz. IV/70(V) and Pz. V one has to consult a number of other records, among them allocation records and status report as of 1.4.1945.
On 1.4.1945 the 8. Pz.Div. reported the following of these tanks on hand:
Pz. IV L/48 and Pz.Bef. IV = 30
Pz. V and Pz.Bef. V = 24
Pz. IV/70(V) = 9

Apart from the already mentioned 10 Pz. IV/70(V), 15 Panthers and 6 Jagdpanthers there were no more tank deliveries during the month of March 1945, and as far as I could establish none were taken over from other units.
Leaving out that confusing 15.3.1945 report leads to
Pz. IV L/48 and Pz.Bef. IV: Total write-offs = 6
Pz. V and Pz.Bef. V: Total write-offs = 1 to 8 (depends on wether the 7 reported arrived on 28.2.1945 were in the 1.3.1945 report or not).
Pz. IV/70(V): Total write-offs = 1
during the whole month.

In the end I can only guess the losses of 8. Pz.Div. in the Lauban area:
Up to 1 Jagdpz. 38, 1 Marder, 1 Pz.Beob. III (assuming all losses until 15.3.1945 happened in the Lauban area)
Up to 4 Pz. IV and 1 - 6 Pz. V (assuming 2/3 of the losses during the month happened in the Lauban area and depending on wether or not the 7 mentioned Panthers were included in the 1.3.1945 report)
Total Pz./Jagdpz./sp guns badly damaged = impossible to tell from available records

That's unfortunately the best I can come up with in this case.


to be continued ....

Martin Block

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German tank losses Lauban area early March 1945

Post by Martin Block » 06 Jun 2007 19:47

Attempt to establish the true tank losses of the 16. Pz.Div.:

I. Tank status of 16. Pz.Div. gathered from 'Abschlussbericht über die Neuaufstellung der 16. Pz.Div. unter Eingliederung der Pz.Div. Jüterbog" dated 8.3.1945 (from copy of original document obtained from BA-MA Freiburg):
The paperwork incudes a tank status report dated 4.3.1945, 2 a.m.:
14 Pz. V and Pz.Bef. V (11 operational, 2 in short and 1 in long term repair)
4 Pz. IV L/48 (1 operational, 1 in short and 2 in long term repair)
17 Pz. V/70(V) (14 operational, 2 in short and 1 in long term repair)
36 StuG III (32 operational, 2 in short and 2 in long term repair)
1 StuG IV (in short term repair)
A more detailed report from the following day shows in addition to that:
11 Jagdpz. 38 (operational) Note: These belonged to Stab and 1 company of Pz.Jg.Abt. Jüterbog. 2 more companies 20 more Jagdpz. 38 were still on the way.
9 s/p guns (operational) Note: Actually these were 3 Sd.Kfz. 234/4 and 6 Sd.Kfz. 251/22.
1 Pz.Beob. III (operational)

The number of tanks etc. in long term repair amounted to 6 of all types.

Allocation records show that an additional
7 Pz. V were already on the way to the division. Date of arrival is recorded as 5.3.1945

A battlegroup of the 16. Pz.Div. consiting of Pz.Gren.Rgt. 64 and the III./Pz.Rgt. 2 joined the battle around Lauban early on 5.3.1945 while the remainder of the division already prepared for the rail transport to Mährisch-Ostrau.

II. Tank status of 16. Pz.Div. according to OKH quartermaster general report 'Pz.- u. Stu.Geschütz-Lage an allen Fronten Stand 15.3.1945' (from copy of original document obtained from BA-MA Freiburg):

Like with 8. Pz.Div. the earliest available report I have for 16. Pz.Div. after the battle around Lauban is the OKH quartermaster general Pz.Lage compilation dated 15.3.1945. According to that list the 16. Pz.Div. had:
14 Pz. V and Pz.Bef. V (10 operational, 4 in repair) Actually listed in the wrong column as Pz. VI!
4 Pz. IV L/48 (0 operational, 4 in repair)
16 Pz. IV/70 (8 operational, 8 in repair)
22 StuG III (8 operational, 14 in repair)
1 StuG IV (operational?)
24 Jagdpz. 38 (18 operational, 6 in repair)
? s/p guns (Not given in this report, but on 1.4.1945 3 Sd.Kfz. 234/4 and at least 4 Sd.Kfz. 251/22 were still available. The missing 2 251/1 were either lost or transferd to the Pz.Aufkl.Kp., that's not exactly clear).
1 Pz.Beob. III (operational)
The compilation does not distinguish between short and long term repair!

Comparing listing I. and II. plus allocations leads to the following tank losses suffered by 16. Pz.Div. between 1.3. and 15.3.1945:
Pz. IV L/48: Total write-offs = 0
Pz. V and Pz.Bef. V: Total write-offs = 7
Pz. IV/70(V): Total write-offs = 1
StuG III: Total write-offs = 14
StuG IV: Total write-offs = 0
Jagdpz. 38: Total write-offs = 7
s/p guns: Total write-offs = ? (2 at maximum if any at all)
Pz.Beob. III: Total write-offs = 0

As far as I could establish it seems that only the III./Pz.Rgt. 2 (= ex Pz.Abt. Jüterbog with 31 StuG III and 10 Pz. IV/70(V)) participated in the attack on Lauban. The divisional history mentions 'heavy' losses suffered by the III./2 due to it's combat inexperience. So only the losses in StuG III and perhaps Pz. IV/70(V) - the I./2 also had a company of them - count.
Already a week later the division was again engaged in heavy combat 200 km away near Schwarzwasser losing quite a number of tanks. If I now assume - and that's all I can do at the moment with the limited documentation available - 2/3 of the losses of III./2 happened near Lauban on 5./6.3.1945, that would equal some 9 StuG III and perhaps 1 Pz. IV/70(V) at maximum.

I'm afraid that's the best I can come up with in this case.

To be continued ....

Martin Block

Martin Block
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German tank losses Lauban area early March 1945

Post by Martin Block » 13 Jun 2007 21:00

Attempt to establish the true tank losses of the 17. Pz.Div.:

I. Tank status of 17. Pz.Div. gathered from divisional 'Zustandsbericht' and 'Kriegsgliederung' dated 1.3.1945 (from copy of original document obtained from BA-MA Freiburg):
1 Pz.Bef. III (operational)
3 Flakpz. IV 'Wirbelwind' (operational)
10 Pz. IV L/48 (4 operational, 6 in short and 0 in long term repair)
21 Pz. V/70(V) (11 operational, 10 in short and 0 in long term repair)
11 s/p anti tank guns (? operational, ? in short and ? in long term repair)
Note: These s/p guns were Sd.Kfz. 251/22. 12 of these vehicles had been delivered in early February 1945 to the 3./Pz.Jg.Abt. 27. There is some confusion in the records about the operational status about these vehicles vehicles on 1.3.1945. The 'Zustandsbericht' says 8, the 'Kriegsgliederung' only 4.
It also seems that a Marder III(7,5 cm) was somehow forgotten to be included in the report, see 8.3.1945.

There were no tank/assault gun/tank destroyer shipments to the division recorded in the allocation files during the next week. I'm also not aware that any armor was taken over from other units. The I./Pz.Rgt. 39 with some 20 Panthers arrived only during the second half of the month.

II. Tank status of 17. Pz.Div. according to 'Bestand an gepanzerten Kraftfahrzeugen der 17. Pz.Div. Stand 8.3.1945' and 'Waffen-Bestand der 17. Pz.Div. Stand 7.3.1945' (from copy of original document obtained from BA-MA Freiburg):
1 Pz.Bef. III
3 Flakpz. IV 'Wirbelwind'
9 Pz. IV L/48
20 Pz. V/70(V)
12 s/p anti-tank guns (1 Marder III (7,5cm) and 11 Sd.Kfz. 251/22)
Unfortunately none of the listings gives the operational status of the tanks.
Note: Unless it was picked up from somewhere or returned from factory maintenance or something in the meantime, the single Marder III(7,5cm) must have been forgotten to be included in the 1.3.1945 report. Two months earlier, by 30.12.1945 the 17. Pz.Div. had reported 7 of these vehicles available.

Comparing listing I. and II. leads to the following tank losses suffered by 17. Pz.Div. between 1.3. and 8.3.1945:
Pz.Bef. III: Total write-offs = 0
Flakpz. IV: Total write-offs = 0
Pz. IV L/48: Total write-offs = 1
Pz. IV/70(V): Total write-offs = 1
s/p anti tank guns: Total write-offs = 0

To be continued ....

Martin Block

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Kamen Nevenkin
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Location: Sofia, Bulgaria

Post by Kamen Nevenkin » 16 Jun 2007 16:09

Just found out: Colonel Alexander Golovatchev, born 1909, the highly decorated (Hero of the Soviet Union, 2 Orders of Lenin, 3 Orders of the Red Banner, 2 Orders of Suvorov, Order of the Red Star and many medals - wow !!!) commander of 23rd Guards Rifle Motorized Brigade of 7th Guards Mechanized Corps, was KIA on 6.03.1945 during the battle for Lauban. This dude definitely had been a real ace - on 6.4.45 he was posthumously awarded second Gold Star of a Hero of Soviet Union because of the successful actions of his brigade during the Vistula-Oder Operation.

Kamen

Andreas
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Location: Europe

Post by Andreas » 17 Jun 2007 10:24

Just wanted to thank everyone who keeps contributing here, but in particular Martin who is doing a superb job at shedding some light on the question of German losses.

Thanks a lot!

All the best

Andreas

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