46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

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Geoffrey Cooke
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Geoffrey Cooke » 07 Sep 2023 19:26

Ok, I think I get it now, although can’t be to sure since I’m always playing catch-up with people like Michate, Richard Anderson, etc that are way smarter than me. :lol:
viewtopic.php?f=54&t=220721&p=2026061&h ... e#p2026061
#35
As someone who has studied German casualty reports for years I can say that those wounded that were treated at divisional facilities, or remained with the troops were reported, though the exact reporting practice in this aspect varied from army to army, and sometimes from period to period.

They were not included in the Abgänge figures, but these explicitly refer to "wounded and ill, who are transported off theatre and transferred to the replacement army".
So if I’m understanding, its just the Abgänge (evacuated) figures that don’t include lightly wounded. Since the meldung I posted does explicitly mention “verluste und sonstige abgange” (losses and others evacuated) that seems to settle that, although it couldn’t be that much of a difference if the ratio is already pretty similar to the American figures when accounting for “tote” being more than just “Gefallen”, unless I missed something. Based on that, is it possible the abgange figures in this case are just referring to the other and sick, but that the wounded includes more than just evac? It would make more sense with the ratio.

Anyways the question relevant to me is: by and large, do the Heeresarzt 10-day Army reports just use Abgänge for their wounded numbers or the “true wounded” figure? I get that Michate is saying “it varies” but what was common. I’m a bit confused. :oops:

EDIT: according to Qvist on another thread, IVb was the only one recorded centrally…it is neccessarily from something based on reports through the IVb channel, because these were the only ones who were compiled into overall data at the central level. Looks like i’ve had a conversation entirely with myself. Wouldn't be the first time… :oops: :oops: :oops:

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Sep 2023 10:21

Geoffrey Cooke wrote:
07 Sep 2023 09:59
Not trying to be annoying, legit trying to correct my thinking if needed but I want to understand how exactly this works in terms of how it effected the reporting pipeline, because the info I see is contradictory, if someone with better understanding could explain.
Hi Geoffrey,

Thanks for raising the question again, I'm still not entirely sure that my poor simple mind follows all the twists and turns of the casualty statistics issue - I'm not sure I ever will either! One of the other elements that is not much talked about is sickness - the figures for 10 British Corps in the Salerno bridgehead battle are a good example. Should the soldier who is out of the line because of malaria or VD be counted alongside the lightly wounded? I've seen sickness statistics used as a proxy for morale (why take your malaria tablets if by not doing so you can escape the line without having to go AWOL or desert?) which seems reasonable. That also suggests that all was not entirely well with the British units in 10th Corps. A good research study would be to compare sickness rates for British units under American command in Italy and those under 8th Army. It would also be interesting to compare with the German sickness statistics.

Also thanks for the link to the Robin Prior article which, I suppose, is an extract from his book covering Churchill's World Crisis as History. I've rummaged around to find a copy for a while but the prices asked are staggering, so that will have to wait for a lottery win! My only slight concern would be whether we can assume the total impartiality of the German historical section - it would be interesting to see how Churchill's question was phrased. I think I've read somewhere that the German official histories weren't necessarily completely objective - whose are?

One method I have thought about is tracking the number of German dead through the reports on Ancestry and seeing how well they align to the records in the German documents. I was going to compare that with the British Commonwealth War Grave Commission records to see if there was a pattern of peaks and troughs reflected on both sides as the intensity of the battle fluctuated. I don't know if it would be as easy to search US graves records by date, place or unit.

I started to do this for the Salerno battle but then life got in the way. Hopefully I'll get more time to return to that next year. One thing it already revealed was the number of German deaths (FJR 6 (Sturm Regiment) inflicted by the Italian army on 9 September 1943, which was something I had never realised before. It's also interesting to compare losses between different German formations around the bridgehead reflecting both the Allied and German priorities in effort.

I'll try to post up a couple of examples over the next week or two to show any interesting points the statistics are showing. One caveat, as always, is that the Ancestry records are probably not complete and the cards are handwritten so do take quite a bit of time to understand.

Regards

Tom

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Urmel
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Urmel » 10 Sep 2023 16:53

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
09 Sep 2023 10:21
It would also be interesting to compare with the German sickness statistics.
Not sure that would provide much insight beyond the headline numbers. From all I have seen, the German medical system was so different, and in the desert so vastly inferior to the Empire system, that it should not be comparable.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 11 Sep 2023 10:34

Urmel wrote:
10 Sep 2023 16:53
Not sure that would provide much insight beyond the headline numbers. From all I have seen, the German medical system was so different, and in the desert so vastly inferior to the Empire system, that it should not be comparable.
You are probably right. Ideally, both sides would have produced the sort of statistics which are included in the British official medical history of the Sicily campaign - that goes into details of types of injuries and sickness and breaks down the larger statistics into formation level figures.

I guess we can only work with what we've got - and admit the challenges of the data.

Regards

Tom

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