Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

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historygeek2021
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Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by historygeek2021 » 11 Mar 2021 06:14

It is commonly stated that Germany used 600,000 trucks in Operation Barbarossa.

The YouTube channel Military History Visualized, citing Rolf-Dieter Müller's Hitler's Wehrmacht, lists the number of trucks in a standard German infantry division as 615, and in a motorized division as 1687.

https://youtu.be/3PlqLX0HhX8?t=154

There were 150 divisons used in Operation Barbarossa, of which 30 were panzer/motorized divisions.

Even if Germany increased the truck allocation to 2000 trucks per panzer/motorized division and 1000 trucks per infantry division, that is still only 180,000 trucks total.

Obviously a lot of trucks were used to deliver supplies back and forth to the advancing armies, but I doubt there were 420,000 trucks used for this purpose.

Does anyone have any insight into how the 600,000 trucks were used?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by Sid Guttridge » 11 Mar 2021 07:44

Hi historygeek,

Are we talking actual trucks, or motor vehicles generally? The latter could include motorcycles, staff cars, kubelwagens, etc.

I recall Field Marshal Slim writing that he got a question wrong in training because he forgot that trucks need other trucks to fuel and maintain them and that these themselves needed more trucks to fuel and maintain them, which in turn needed even more.......

Given at least 600,000 drivers and diminishing numbers of motor vehicles, it is a wonder that there weren't entire divisions of redundant chauffeurs formed later in the war - everyone else was doing it!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by Art » 11 Mar 2021 08:33

The German Army didn't have 600,000 trucks in the first place, even when motor vehicles of the Luftwaffe are added.
trucks.png
If you sum up all motor vehicles (trucks, cars, motorcycles, halftracks) in all branches than you probably arrive to something like 600,000.
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by Sid Guttridge » 11 Mar 2021 08:47

Hi Art,

Interesting.

From the fact that the German Army had twice as many trucks in September 1942 (382,207) as it had had in when it invaded the USSR in June 1941 (194,414), one has to wonder whether it was as fully motorized at the outbreak of Operation Barbarossa as it might have been.

I guess the number of tactical AWD trucks may have been the main obstacle in motorising more divisions, because they could usually not be mobilised from the civilian sector?

Are there similar statistics for the number of motor vehicles written off or otherwise lost each month?

When did the total number of trucks start to decline?

Cheers,

Sid.

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stg 44
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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by stg 44 » 11 Mar 2021 16:08

historygeek2021 wrote:
11 Mar 2021 06:14
It is commonly stated that Germany used 600,000 trucks in Operation Barbarossa.

The YouTube channel Military History Visualized, citing Rolf-Dieter Müller's Hitler's Wehrmacht, lists the number of trucks in a standard German infantry division as 615, and in a motorized division as 1687.

https://youtu.be/3PlqLX0HhX8?t=154

There were 150 divisons used in Operation Barbarossa, of which 30 were panzer/motorized divisions.

Even if Germany increased the truck allocation to 2000 trucks per panzer/motorized division and 1000 trucks per infantry division, that is still only 180,000 trucks total.

Obviously a lot of trucks were used to deliver supplies back and forth to the advancing armies, but I doubt there were 420,000 trucks used for this purpose.

Does anyone have any insight into how the 600,000 trucks were used?
600,000 motor vehicles, not trucks. Trucks were actually about 180,000 as you calculated. The rest were cars, prime movers, motorcycles, etc.

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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by Art » 11 Mar 2021 20:16

Sid Guttridge wrote:
11 Mar 2021 08:47
Are there similar statistics for the number of motor vehicles written off or otherwise lost each month?
Sure, page 314:
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... up&seq=314
There are nearly identical figures in OKH files, for example NARA T78 R165.
An abrupt drop in numbers at the start of 1944 suggests that some of these trucks existed only on paper by that moment.

KDF33
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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by KDF33 » 14 Mar 2021 19:32

historygeek2021 wrote:
11 Mar 2021 06:14
Does anyone have any insight into how the 600,000 trucks were used?
According to Nigel Askey, Operation Barbarossa: the Complete Organisational and Statistical Analysis, the Germans used for Barbarossa, including Finland and units in the theater reserve:

Organic to units:
-150,088 trucks
-84,880 light transports
-10,748 half-track prime movers

Services of supply:
-299,912 trucks
-42,328 light transports

For a grand total of 587,956 motor vehicles, of which 450,000 were trucks.
Art wrote:
11 Mar 2021 08:33
The German Army didn't have 600,000 trucks in the first place, even when motor vehicles of the Luftwaffe are added.
Hi Art,

I am fairly confident that these figures are exclusively for Heer and do not account for impounded vehicles, for instance from France, which constituted a large share of the Barbarossa truck park.

Richard Anderson
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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Mar 2021 23:00

"Trucks" as given by the USSBS in Appendix Table 109 refer to LKW, what some call "lorries". "Cars" refer to PKW, which included both passenger "cars" and "trucks" configured for troop transport. The result of taking "trucks" and "cars" literally leads to considerable confusion. Askey apparently decided that LKW were "trucks" and PKW "light transports". Further confusion may be because the USSBS is for motor vehicles under Heer cognizance and so does not include those of the Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, or, most importantly, the NSKK.
"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

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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by Art » 15 Mar 2021 06:25

KDF33 wrote:
14 Mar 2021 19:32
I am fairly confident that these figures are exclusively for Heer
Definitely
do not account for impounded vehicles, for instance from France, which constituted a large share of the Barbarossa truck park.
Why?

KDF33
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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by KDF33 » 16 Mar 2021 09:15

Art wrote:
15 Mar 2021 06:25
Why?
Three things. The first is that the numbers don't mesh with other sources. The second is that, if true, it would imply that the German truck park grew as the war progressed, which goes against almost everything I've ever read. The third is that the source (Der Rüstungsstand des Heeres) doesn't include foreign equipment among the different categories of armament.

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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by Art » 16 Mar 2021 12:01

French production is explicitly mentioned as one of the sources of trucks for the army, as well as "Special purchase" (no idea what it was)
0887.jpg
That very large increase of the number of trucks (from 200 to 400 thousand in 1.5 years) looks surprising indeed. It is clear that it cannot be reconciled with numbers of German production of new trucks. That means that other sources, like foreign purchase and trophies, were most likely included in these stats.
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 Mar 2021 12:41

Hi Art,

"Special purchase" may mean the front companies the Germans set up to buy second-hand trucks in France. One company, I think it was Melchiore Brothers (Italians based in Monaco), reportedly bought 15,000 trucks in Vichy France for the Wehrmacht during the war years. There were quite a lot of trucks in the south of France because the French Army had set up a number of "civilian" trucking companies to hide vehicles that Vichy's 100,000 man army was not allowed to possess.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by Art » 16 Mar 2021 16:28

Thanks, that is what I expected.

Worth to add that according to Müller-Hillebrand the Ostheer in 1941 had some 500,000 transport vehicles (trucks, cars, motorcycles, halftracks etc), of which 106,000 were lost by the end of the year. If Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine etc are included the totals must be close to a common number of 600,000, quoted by the topicstarter.

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Re: Number of Trucks in Operation Barbarossa

Post by Art » 20 Mar 2021 09:13

Losses of motor vehicles of the 1st Panzer Group in 1941:
Pzr-AOK 1 vehicles losses by 3Aug41.jpg
It can be calculated that the group with 10 divisions and non-divisional units had circa 15,000 motorcycles, 12,000 cars, 22,000 trucks and 1,800 half-track tractors or total some 50,000 motor vehicles. That seems proportional to 500,000 motor vehicles in the entire Ostheer composed of 150 divisions.
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