Tanks destroyed by air attack

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James A Pratt III
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Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by James A Pratt III » 12 Nov 2021 20:36

I am looking for information on actions where tanks/Panzers on both sides were destroyed by air attack in large numbers. I should say real instances where this happened not claims. I think the Allies in Normandy did a survey didn't find that many panzers knocked out by air attack .

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Art » 14 Nov 2021 08:38

Classics: 8 July 1943 at Prokhorovka-Belenikhino. VIII FliegerKorps claimed more than 80 tanks destroyed on that day IIRC. While actual losses were, of course, smaller they were still considerable.

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by stg 44 » 14 Nov 2021 15:52

James A Pratt III wrote:
12 Nov 2021 20:36
I am looking for information on actions where tanks/Panzers on both sides were destroyed by air attack in large numbers. I should say real instances where this happened not claims. I think the Allies in Normandy did a survey didn't find that many panzers knocked out by air attack .
2nd Kharkov. I don't know if there is any surviving German records that confirm claims by assessing damage on the ground, but the several books that cover it consistently mention hundreds of vehicles and AFVs destroyed by air attack.

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 14 Nov 2021 16:32

The Allied surveys/ground counts were at Mortain and Falaise.
Last edited by Cult Icon on 14 Nov 2021 16:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 14 Nov 2021 16:39

Art wrote:
14 Nov 2021 08:38
Classics: 8 July 1943 at Prokhorovka-Belenikhino. VIII FliegerKorps claimed more than 80 tanks destroyed on that day IIRC. While actual losses were, of course, smaller they were still considerable.
There were a lot of specialized tank hunting aircraft equipped by this Korps. July 5th had 196 fighters, 106 recon, 426 ground attack and 293 bombers operational. :

Fliegerkorps VIII (Generalmajor Hans Seidemann)
Stab., I., II./Kampfgeschwader 3 (Ju-88A)
Stab., I., II., III./Kampfgeschwader 27 (He-111H)
Stab., II., III./Kampfgeschwader 55 (He-111H)
I./Kampfgeschwader 100 (He-111)
Stab., I., II., III./Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 (Ju-87D)2
Panzerjägerstaffel/Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 (Ju-87D)
Stab., I., II., III./Sturzkampfgeschwader 77 (Ju-87D)
Stab., I., II./Schlachtgeschwader 1 (Fw-190A-5/Hs-123)
Panzerjägd-Kommando/Schlachtgeschwader 1 (Hs-129 B-2)
4.(Pz), 8.(Pz)/Schlachtgeschwader 1 (Hs-129 B-2)
4.(Pz), 8.(Pz)/Schlachtgeschwader 2 (Hs-129 B-2)
Panzerjägerstaffel/Jagdgeschwader 51 (Hs-129B-2)
Stab., I., II., III./Jagdgeschwader 52 (Bf-109G)
II., III./Jagdgeschwader 3 (Bf-109G)
Hungarian 5/I. Fighter Group (Puma) (Bf-109F)

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Art » 14 Nov 2021 17:28

There were complains about antitank airplanes as early as the spring of 1943:
During the period of combat operations from 13 to 21.III.43 the brigade suffered the following losses: T-34 tanks - 41, including destroyed by aircraft - 22, by long-range artillery - 2, T-70 tanks - 17, including 8 by hostile aircraft.
..
4. Employment of tanks is impossible without having anti-aircraft weapons in the brigade. Both medium and light tanks are defenseless in the attack. Junkers and Messerschmidt type airplanes were flying virtually on the height of tanks turrets, strafing tanks with cannons and dropping bombs. Hostile aircraft have a cannon with a rocket projectile which easily penetrates the frontal armor and turret of the T-34.
(from after-action report of the 18 Guards Tank Brigade)
In this case the effect of airplanes was multiplied by absence of own fighter protection.

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Nov 2021 18:44

For the period 4-18 July 1943, 1st Tank Army reported 11 tanks of all types were lost to air attacks, versus 84 to artillery fire, out of a total of 648. However, the report may not have included 9 reported lost to air attack by the 86th Tank Brigade, so the total may be 20 out of 648 or c. 3.1%. Overall, in a set of six distinct cases, the percentage of losses caused by air varied from zero to c. 47.4% and may have averaged c. 7.4%.
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American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
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Hitler's Last Gamble
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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Sheldrake » 15 Nov 2021 10:00

Cult Icon wrote:
14 Nov 2021 16:32
The Allied surveys/ground counts were at Mortain and Falaise.
They covered the Normandy campaign as a whole up to the Seien crossings with some more detailed examinations of sites at Falaise, Mortain and a pockt @La Haye?) after Cobra.

There was a lso a report on the northern half of the Argennes. The latter investigated the locations of claims of AFVs KO'd from the air, often finding hulks that had been attacked several times.

SoThere was a sim ilar pattern in the 1990s over attacks on Serbian AFVs in Kosevo. Massive overclaiming and the same explanations - "the enemy must have recovered the hulk"

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 15 Nov 2021 14:58

La Baleine count: 2 tanks by rockets, 3 destroyed by crew, 3 abandoned out of 25 tanks and vehicles.

Roncey Pocket count (combined destruction of US ground and air units): 66 tanks, 204 vehicles, 11 guns destroyed. 56 tanks and 55 vehicles damaged.

The Allied counts are fairly consistent with the OR research on the matter that the rockets and bombs of Allied fighter bombers were inaccurate area weapons that were much better at destroying soft vehicles than tanks. The 3-inch rocket required a direct hit to take out a tank, misses did not disable them. However there was a morale effect of close air support, leading to some tank crews abandoned/destroying their own AFVs rather than provoke another air attack out of desire for self-preservation.

The studies indicate that the machineguns and the cannons of the fighters were quite accurate, however the former (50. cal.) lacked the penetrative power to destroy tanks. The best Anti-tank weapon was the cannon, which incidently equipped in mass by the Luftwaffe with their cannon equipped Stukas and HS- 129 units.

Also columns stuck in traffic jams in the roads were particularly favorable targets compared to scattered and moving vehicles, which lead to big successes at Mortain and Falaise.

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 15 Nov 2021 15:35

12-20 August 1944, Mortain was inspected by No. 2 ORS and ORS 2nd TAF. They counted 46 tanks destroyed.

Out of this number, 7 destroyed by rockets, 2 destroyed by bombs, 7 abandoned, 4 destroyed by crew, 20 destroyed by US Army, 6 unknown.

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 15 Nov 2021 16:48

In the OR inspection they found very few tanks and SPGs destroyed by air attack but a high number of soft vehicles destroyed. The greatest factor, however, was mass abandonment of vehicles of all types. Some related aspects to be considered, particuarly from Falaise (pocket, shambles, chase) leading to the abandonment of tanks and SPGs:

-morale effect, crews spooked, delays
-destruction of soft vehicles blocking off and creating traffic jams on the roads
-destruction of fuel trucks leading to no fuel for the tanks/SPGs

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 15 Nov 2021 19:20

ORS survey in the Ardennes (101 tank and SPG sample)

7 out of 101 tanks/SPGs destroyed by air attack
22 abandoned
17 by "demolition"
10 unknown cause
44 AP/HE
2 other causes

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by James A Pratt III » 06 Dec 2021 20:28

Thanks everyone! I have some other comments ect. A large part of the German and Soviet military used horse drawn transport which was extremely vunerable to air attack. On the Popov archive which has since been lost there was a film clip of the German army in the Spring of 1944 in Rumania. Horse drawn vehicles as far as the eye can see.

Form my notes from the book Tigers in Combat Volume I Wolfgang Schneider
503 SPzAbt 18 Jul 44 Operation Goodwood 13 Tigers K/Od by 4 engine bombers
12 Aug 44 several K/Od by air attack in Normandy

Vol II
GDPD Jun 44 2 destroyed by VVS fighter bombers
Oct 44 5 k/od by friendly air attack
The volumes mentions Tigers lost , blown up, stuck ect but this is all on air attack

The Devils virtuosos David Downing p218 has General Bayerlein CG of the PL PD has on 7 Jun 44:
"By the end of the day I had lost 40 tank trucks carrying fuel, and 90 others. Five of my tanks were knocked out, and 84 half-tracks, prime movers and self-propelled guns."

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Soviet 1 Tank Army

Post by EugE » 24 Dec 2021 13:02

Richard Anderson wrote:
14 Nov 2021 18:44
For the period 4-18 July 1943, 1st Tank Army reported 11 tanks of all types
I'll add not for tanks - Army lost 329 different cars from July 5th to September 1st.

5 g.TA has lost 24 T-34 and 5 T-70 from August 3 to 10.
Look for it and you will find it...

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 24 Dec 2021 14:38

2nd Tank Army losses to Air attack July 6-15th 1943: 19 tanks

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