Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by AriX » 10 Dec 2021 15:04

In the case of "Citadell" cancelation Wehrmacht would be in more favorable situation : defend against an enemy with 2x numberical superiority in manpower and armor is easy than advance against it.
Also, Panzerwaffe on the East , in this scenario, didn't sustain high losses during the offfensive phase. As I remember Wehrmacht had 2800 operational panzer and Stugs on 5th July, 1943 and c.1400 on 20th July. Not all of them , however, been destroyed, a lot were damaged and neede repair. AFAIK, mostly doe to the russian minefields.

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by Cult Icon » 20 Dec 2021 05:22

Minimal write-offs (real figure higher) for the Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front from Black Cross/Red Star V5:

April 1943: 150

May 1943: 234

June 1943: 172

July 1943: 453

Total: 1009

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by Cult Icon » 21 Dec 2021 00:20

footage shows Stukas attacking trench systems, I wonder if this footage was taken in July-August 1943?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVyzWdPGV-g


Kharkov 1942 newsreel bit with Stuka attacks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC9Lmr5mjJQ

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by Cult Icon » 21 Dec 2021 03:06


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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Dec 2021 03:45

September 1944... Deutsche Wochenschau still flakking for Endsieg. Reminds me of listening to Cheney and Rumsfeld rattling on about the imminent collapse of Iraqi insurgency circa 2005.
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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Dec 2021 04:02

History Learner wrote:
01 Dec 2021 01:09

At Orel, the Germans achieved a 7:1 AFV loss rate in their favor; at Kursk it was roughly 5:1.
I'd mentally bookmarked this comment, meaning to return to it. In an appearance on the Youtube Channel WW2TV, Prit Bhutar remarked that the Germans didn't count their abandoned AFV in their tallies of total losses. That doesn't seem quite right but is consonant with the intuition behind my remark: Ostheer lost many more tanks to breakdown/abandonment when retreating than when advancing or holding ground. Bhutar backs up his comment by appealing to a high level intuition that makes sense to me: Soviet/German AFV production wasn't hugely disproportationate in 1943-44; Germany lost most of its AFV's in the East. Unless German tank drivers somehow were accidentally destroying German tanks as quickly as their pilots were crashing aircraft, the total armored losses East couldn't have been anything approaching 7:1. Harder for a poorly-trained driver to ruin a tank, though, than for a bad pilot to ruin an airplane.

I hazily intended to do read more on this and even got some of Bhutar's books but they don't really hold my attention. Nothing against him but I get distracted by statements on economics/logistics that, while broadly accepted by many smart historians, I just can't abide. For somebody with a tenuous interest in operational/tactical history in which material/demographic destinies dominate the broad scope of events, I rapidly lose interest and want to get back to reading about factories and labor forces.

Anyway, a long way asking whether Bhutar has a point here. Are German AFV loss reports in the defensive battles particularly understated?
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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by Cult Icon » 21 Dec 2021 04:32

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Dec 2021 04:02
Prit Bhutar remarked that the Germans didn't count their abandoned AFV in their tallies of total losses. That doesn't seem quite right
That doesn't sound right. Never heard of it in fact and I collect a lot of unit histories of armored units.

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by Cult Icon » 21 Dec 2021 04:47

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Dec 2021 04:02
For somebody with a tenuous interest in operational/tactical history in which material/demographic destinies dominate the broad scope of events, I rapidly lose interest and want to get back to reading about factories and labor forces.
The tactical/operational is linked to the strategic, you would be able to see how the economic/strategic position is effecting the tactical environment and vice versa.

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by Michael Kenny » 21 Dec 2021 06:00

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Dec 2021 04:02
Prit Bhutar remarked that the Germans didn't count their abandoned AFV in their tallies of total losses. That doesn't seem quite right but is consonant with the intuition behind my remark: Ostheer lost many more tanks to breakdown/abandonment when retreating than when advancing or holding ground. Bhutar backs up his comment by appealing to a high level intuition that makes sense to me..................Anyway, a long way asking whether Bhutar has a point here. Are German AFV loss reports in the defensive battles particularly understated?
Link to Youtube section : https://youtu.be/bm7twFaUaIg?t=1575


This subject has been discussed at length on the forum in the last decade. There is a wealth of detail waiting for anyone who cares to go looking for it.
KISS version:
For a variety of reasons the Germans would recover every tank wreck that looked as if it might at least be a source of spare parts and thus these wrecks would appear on their tank states as 'in repair'. A good number of these wrecks were never repaired and thus at a later date would simply disappear from the count when the Unit moved and could not carry the wrecks with them. Thus a tank knocked out and destroyed in (say ) June might have to be left behind when the Unit had to retreat in August and the loss would be then be marked as 'abandoned/self-destroyed'. This known problem with German tank numbers has been exploited by those who are 'admirers of the German military' who simply count any tank not listed as a total loss as still operational. The picture is further manipulated by the way only the German tanks listed as 'total losses' in an engagement are compared to the total of all Allied tanks reported as lost/damaged. The best way to work out actual German losses is to compare the daily totals and note the drop in runners as the battle unfolds. For 'Kursk' the running totals are very revealing:

July 17th
SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "'Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler":
60 operational tanks compared to 120 on 5 July (4 Panzer II,
5 Panzer III, 42 Panzer IV, 9 Panzer VI).

SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division " Das Reich":
92 operational tanks compared to 147 on 5 July (36 Panzer III, 24 panzer IV,
9 Panzer V, 17 T34s and 6 command tanks).

SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Tofenkopf":
68 operational tanks compared to 141 on 5 July (31 panzer III, 5 short-barrelled Panzer IV, 25 long-barrelled Panzer IV, 7 Panzer VI and
7 command tanks).
Last edited by Michael Kenny on 22 Dec 2021 02:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by stg 44 » 21 Dec 2021 14:53

Michael Kenny wrote:
21 Dec 2021 06:00
For 'Kursk' the running totals are very revealing:

July 17th
SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "'Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler":
60 operational tanks compared to 120 on 5 July (4 Panzer II,
5 Panzer III, 42 Panzer IV, 9 Panzer VI).

SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division " Das Reich":
92 operational tanks compared to 147 on 5 July (36 Panzer III, 24 panzer IV,
9 Panzer V, 17 T34s and 6 command tanks).

SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Tofenkopf":
68 operational tanks compared to 141 on 5 July (31 panzer III, 5 short-barrelled Panzer IV, 25 long-barrelled Panzer IV, 7 Panzer VI and
7 command tanks).
That reveals nothing. It is a single data point from your chosen date without any source cited. A running tally from the 5th to 30th would be much more useful.
Like this researcher did:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10 ... 21.1889278
Remarkably, the author can also state for the first time that the II SS Panzer Korps lost just 7.5% (41 AFV) of its pre-Operation Citadel AFV inventory during the entire operation. In addition, it is clear that the battle of Prokhorovka had no long-term impact on German AFV operational readiness. In the early hours of 11.7.43 (the day prior to the battle) the II SS Panzer Korps possessed 339 operational AFV while on the evening of 18.7.43 the Korps could call on 350 operational AFV. Therefore, the Korps operational strength actually increased over this short period by 11 AFV (a maximum of 4 new AFV were received by the II SS Panzer Korps between 5–18.7.43).6
350 operational out of 510-12 on hand.

and another interesting point:
The second article ‘Surviving Prokhorovka: German Armoured longevity on the Eastern Front 1943–1944ʹ highlighted the fact that the vast majority of the German armour present with the main participants the LSSAH and DR, had survived the battle and indeed many of these AFV were still in existence well into the winter of 1943/44.13

The article therefore explored the long-term impact of the battle of Prokhorovka. In regards to DR this was largely achieved by matching the chassis numbers of its AFV (including 52 ex-LSSAH panzers received on 28.7.43–51 were present at Prokhorovka) before and after the battle (from October 1943) in the monthly divisional inventories. After Operation Citadel the LSSAH did not see action again until November 1943. As a result it was relatively straightforward to establish in the post-Operation Citadel records which of the LSSAH’s AFV were of Prokhorovka vintage. In addition, even though SS-T did not, to any great extent, participate in the battle of Prokhorovka, the division’s post-Operation Citadel AFV losses were also chronicled primarily as on 28.7.43 SS-T received 42 ex-LSSAH panzers (38 of which were present at Prokhorovka).14
They weren't even overrun in August-September 1943, so had to be operational or at least repairable enough to be evacuated.

I have no idea where your numbers came from, but the paperwork says they're wildly incorrect.

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by Cult Icon » 21 Dec 2021 15:15

Looking at Zetterling's Kursk Stats.

The Luftwaffe claim for tanks destroyed by aircraft (at Citadel) were:

North: 75
South: 161

Highest daily claim was July 8: 84.

On this day there was a raid by HS-129s in the South against 2nd Guards Tank Corps. In the North only a small portion of the LW claims are confirmed by the 2nd Tank Army losses, the real number is still up in the air in seems (even in the TDI book IIRC).

Besides the Soviet armored tactics contributing to their higher losses vs the German another aspect (???) I wonder is what role abandoned Soviet armor (due to destruction of supporting vehicles by the LW like fuel trucks etc. and general advances by the Germans leading to mass abandonment) and the supply of spare parts/repair capability played.

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by Michael Kenny » 21 Dec 2021 15:34

stg 44 wrote:
21 Dec 2021 14:53

That reveals nothing. It is a single data point from your chosen date without any source cited. A running tally from the 5th to 30th would be much more useful.
It reveals quite a lot-the number of German tank casualties rather than the usual trick of only counting German total losses. 408 operational panzers on July 5th and by July 17 this is down to 220 operational. That is 188 tank casualties.
stg 44 wrote:
21 Dec 2021 14:53

I have no idea where your numbers came from, but the paperwork says they're wildly incorrect.
Then it should be easy for you to publish the 'correct' counts for July 5th-17th and prove the numbers I gave as 'wrong' but strangely you did not do that. Care to post what numbers you prefer for those dates?

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by Cult Icon » 21 Dec 2021 16:17

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Dec 2021 03:45
September 1944... Deutsche Wochenschau still flakking for Endsieg. Reminds me of listening to Cheney and Rumsfeld rattling on about the imminent collapse of Iraqi insurgency circa 2005.
The Worchenshau had a knack for turning WW2 into action-entertainment and the narrator always speaks like that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1V3jhaBHKg

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by Michael Kenny » 21 Dec 2021 16:18

stg 44 wrote:
21 Dec 2021 14:53


I have no idea where your numbers came from, but the paperwork says they're wildly incorrect.
I think you should have read your source more carefully. For example the tank totals I gave for July 5th were 408. Your source says 399.
I gave a 220 total for July 17 and your source for July 18 says 240. Note that the biggest discrepancy is in 1st SS where my count includes Pz IIs (none counted in your source) and the Bef. are counted in your source but not mine.

It would appear it your claim of 'wildly incorrect' is actually very wildly incorrect.

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Re: Operation Citadel cancelled in late June

Post by PunctuationHorror » 21 Dec 2021 16:49

Please. A decline in operational tanks from 408 to 220 just means 188 were not operational in that given time interval. Not operational doesn't equal casualty or total loss. Casualties and total losses are unknown unless there are reports that state 'x tanks got destroyed' or 'y tanks are a total loss'. However, a tank that got reported as 'destroyed' sometimes could be repaired, which makes the 'destroyed' accounting unreliable. And there is your nice example of procrastination of total losses which gives pretty useless numbers for analysis. While this is rooted more in thinking 'We can repair the tank, but we haven't had time to do it yet.' than in the motivation of deliberatly clouding accounts, it boils down to the same for a person who wants accurate tank losses for his analyses.

'Not operational' means 'not operational' just like 'operational' means 'operational'.
'Not operational' can mean:
  • tank was hit, is a total loss
    tank was hit, is not yet in repair
    tank gets salvaged while the report is written, but is not in repair yet
    tank is damaged, not yet in repair
    tank is in repair for any reason. Maybe it turns out later that the tank is irreparable and it becomes a total loss. Or the other way round: turns out the 'irreparable' tank can be repaired despite its initial label.
    tank has no complete crew available (dead, injured, sick, on vacation, missing for whatever reason ...)
    tank needs critical spare parts which are not in supply at the moment
    tank is out of fuel
    tank is out of ammo
    tank has not returned yet
    tank is in transfer to somewhere else
    tank gets reported as 'not operational' because the commander of the Regiment, Abteilung, ... wants to keep some as a reserve
    tank gets reported as 'non operational' for any other reason.
Of course, one can assume that most not operational tanks were hit and damaged but this is an assumption and not backed up by hard numbers.

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