The Axis forces monthly strength 1941 Project

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Victor
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The Axis forces monthly strength 1941 Project

Post by Victor » 03 May 2005 20:09

Many of us own a copy of David Glantz and Jonathan House's very good When Titans Clashed. However, the book has some flaws regarding the strength of Axis forces (especially non-German Axis) presented in the tables at the end. It would be interesting IMO to try to establish morerect figures, especially for the first year of operations on the Eastern Front, but this will require some teamwork, given the fact that we are talking about troops of 5 Axis nations + Finland.

What do you think?

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 03 May 2005 22:43

That would be interesting.

I think I have never seen monthly strengths of the Finnish armed forces, only strength in June 1941. The disbanding of the oldest reservists was started gradually already in October. Together with considerable combat losses (KIA, WIA, MIA) it meant the decrease of tens of thousands men by the end of the year. But lets see if someone can provide these figures.

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Post by Mikko H. » 04 May 2005 07:07

I think there are monthly totals somewhere in the official Jatkosodan historia, in vol. 4 IIRC. They might have been only for the year 1941, however.

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Post by Michate » 04 May 2005 07:37

What do you think?
Great idea!

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 04 May 2005 08:06

Terrific idea!

Why confine it to just 1941 though?

cheers

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 04 May 2005 13:04

which kind of stuff do you need?

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 04 May 2005 21:55

I was thinking of the numbers of troops serving on the Eastern front, both army and air force for all. I believe that the rear echelon troops (occupation forces) should be mentioned seprately. I am not sure if we shopuld also include Navy personnel, because I don't know if the Soviet military districts also included the Navy. Optionally we could also make a count of the divisions serving on the front.

I think we should establish these several criterias first, before starting to add up numbers.

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 04 May 2005 22:23

How do you consider the logistic train?

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 05 May 2005 07:59

It all comes down to what the numbers given by Glantz about the Soiet strength represent and how were they calculated, because that is the basis for comparison. I don't know how they were calculated, but hopefully someone does.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 05 May 2005 19:10

Victor, perhaps it would be best if everyone just contribute whatever figures they do have, and just take care to clarify what they include and what they don't? It is always best to have as much information as possible, and then the correct selection of elements to compare to the Soviet figure can be made later.

Generally to force comparison:
June 41 comparisons are IMO inherently tricky, because such a large portion of both sides forces were not immediately committed to the operational commands, but were added to them at a very high rate in the period immediately after the outbreak of hostilities. Generally, if comparison is made to the Red Army forces present in the Western MDs on 22 June, then one should I think only include elements that were under the command of the three Heeresgruppen on that day (ie, omitting f.e. the OKH reserves and also, if I remember correctly, most of the Romanian units that saw action in '41). It is clear from Glantz's tables in Colossus Reborn that his 22 June Western MD figure does not include Border Guards/NKVD, which were numerous (379,782 altogether, of whom border guards were 167,582. 127,000 of these were in the Western MDs in June, as were significant portions of the 63,700 railroad security forces, 38,300 convoy security forces, 29,300 Installation security forces and possibly also of the 44,600 "other" forces). Also, it does not seem that they include the Red Navy (Soviet figures for Operating Fronts generally do not).

Rear elements
I think it's hard to make any general dividing line for inclusion or non-inclusion here by type of function rather than type of command. For land forces, perhaps a good general rule would be that anything under the command of one of the Heeresgruppen is counted on the axis side, and anything under comand of one of the Fronts is counted on the Soviet side? Air forces are of course trickier, with some (but not all) corresponding Soviet elements being inlcuded in the Fronts figures.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 05 May 2005 19:21

OK, let's get to work.

Here is an excerpt from Armata Romana in al doilea razboi mondial (1941-45) – Dictionar Enciclopedic by col. dr. Alesandru Dutu, Florica Dobre, col. dr. Leonida Loghin, Bucharest 1999, page 213
On 22 June 1941, Romania could potentially mobilize 2,200,000 men (16.2% of the 13,535,757 population and 32.9% of the number of men). In the mobilization plan were included 1,431,540 soldiers. In the following years the situation presented it self in the following manner: 1,437,657 men in 1942 and 1,447,690 in 1943, of which officers 52,000/59,038, NCOs 53,840/56,993, soldiers 1,331,817/1,431,659. At the moment the conflict started 625,524 men were mobilized, of which 274,505 (44%) took part in the first phase of operations.
On 22 June 1941, the Romanian 3rd Army (and the troops directly subordinated to the German 11th Army), 4th Army and the 2nd Corps, which were all deployed on the Romanian-Soviet frontier, totaled 325,685 men.

For the other months in 1941 we have:
July: 342,123
August: 346,821
September: 306,038
October: 386,752
November: 62,611* (and 103,358 as occupation forces in Trans-Dnestra)
December: 60,661 (and 112,811 as occupation forces in Trans-Dnestra)

*after the fall of Odessa on 16 October 1941, the bulk of 4th Army returned back to Romania, leaving on the front only the 3 cavalry and 3 mountain brigades of the 3rd Army.

ARR (Aeronautica Regala Romana=Romanian Royal Aeronautics) had on 22 June 1941 1,066 pilots, 385 observers, 129 radio operators, 83 on-board mechanics and 284 machine-guners. In total 1,947 flight crew.

The number of troops subordinated to the ARR command was 61,592: 3,247 officers, 2,864 NCOs, 2,363 technical crew, 1,044 civilian clerks, 52,074 soldiers.

The Romanian Royal Navy had 15,113 men.
Last edited by Victor on 05 May 2005 20:08, edited 2 times in total.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 05 May 2005 19:26

Qvist wrote:
Why confine it to just 1941 though?

cheers
Let's see how this works for 1941 and then we can move on to 1942,43,44 etc.

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Post by Harri » 05 May 2005 20:22

Should there be total number and separate figures for land forces, naval forces, air force and additional forces like home troops? They although make finding the correct figures more difficult.

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Post by Qvist » 05 May 2005 21:38

There's a general problem with the German monthly strength figures in 1941, namely that there aren't any. :) That is, regular reporting of Iststärke apparently only commenced in the summer of 1942, and before that time, there are no comparably handy overall strength figures for the Ostheer. Possibly some can be found in FHO overviews, but I have never seen or heard of any for this period, and I suspect that the production of these were one of Gehlen's additions after he took over. Also, strength figures given for the start of Barbarossa almost invariably include all of the OKH reserves, which clearly should not be included in any comparison with the Soviet strength in the Western MDs on 22 June. Thus, it is neccessary to resort to further discussion for the 22 June German strength, and German strength for later points in the year can AFAIK only be estimated, on the basis of losses, replacements and unit movements to and from the East. That is, again, sadly only feasible on a somewhat approximate level. The below text is hopefully nevertheless at least a starting point for such a discussion. As you will see it refers to a quarterly format rather than a monthly, but I have otherwise tried to amend the text to suit this particular discussion as much as possible. In principle the same exercise is possible on a monthly basis, though naturally the insecurities multiply more the smaller the time unit is.
----------------

Special problems pertain to the German strength figures before July 1942. Until that time, the OKH apparently did not keep track of Iststärke in any systematic way that can be compared to the practice from that time on. This means that unlike for later periods, there are no systematic figures that can be fairly conveniently derived from documentary records. Inevitably, this puts the German figures on a less secure basis. As a consequence, the information that can be found in published sources are both more scarce, more unclear and more frequently questionable than is the case for subsequent periods

Fortunately, there is much material available that allows us to gauge the development of the German strength during the period. There are adequate figures for both losses and replacements for the whole 12 month period. Also, the movement of divisions to and from the Eastern front is well established, among other places in DRZW 5/1. The following shows how the German strength figures up to 3q 1942 have been estimated by these means. It should be borne in mind that such an exercise can never produce figures that are more than approximate, but in this case the totality of the figures do provide a very close match. The most uncertain part is the figures given for average quarterly strength, as this can strictly speaking not be deduced from the strength at the beginning and end of each quarter. However, there is only a fairly limited variation in the German strength, and the estimates for these quarterly averages can be regarded as reasonably accurate.

Something that merits separate comment is the figures provided for German strength on 22 June 1941. There does exist systematic and detailed material for German strength at this point, but here, as always, it is vital to keep a firm grasp on the inclusiveness of the figures.

The German forces who were part of the three Heeresgruppen that went into action on 22 June 1941 numbered 121 divisions. Additionally, there were 14 divisions and 1 Brigade who were OKH reserves already designated to a specific Heeresgruppe and located in the operational area, but not yet released to the HG commands (HG N 2, HG M 6+1 Brig, HG S 6). OKH also had at its disposal 14 divisions who were not yet physically in Eastern Europe on 22 June. Of these, 2 were at the disposal of OKH in Germany without being earmarked for the East, while 12 were scattered around German occupied Europe, but already earmarked for the East (of whom only 1 had arrived in Wehrkreis VIII (Schlesien) by 4 July). So, the general distribution of the German forces associated with the OKH on 22 June can be summarised thus:

Under operational commands in the East:……………………….121
OKH reserves in East and designated to Heeresgruppen:…14 + 1 Brig
OKH reserves earmarked for East but not yet present:…….12
Under OKH command in Germany:………………………………………2
TOTAL………………………………………………………………………….…….149 + 1 Brig

This according to OKH GenStdH./Op.Abt.(III), (Prüf-nr. 16270) quoted in DRZW 5/1, p. 1002. Christoph on his excellent website reproduces an essentially similar but more detailed OOB (Kriegsgliederung Barbarossa" (B-Tag) OKH GenStdH./Op.Abt.(III) Prüf-Nr.15801), which diverges in the total given for the number of divisions, but this appears to be due partly to error and partly to an odd variation in inclusiveness (which may also be an error). The total in that overview is 145 divisions. However, the 3 Sicherungsdivisionen with HG Nord have for some reason not been included in the divisional count (unlike those of the two other HGen, and unlike in the former document). Also, there should be 2 SS divisions (LAH and Wiking) in HG Süd rather than 1, and a total of 5, not 4, SS divisions, if the Polizei division is counted as an SS division (which it specifically is in this document, but specifically not in the other). Thus, the total of divisions, and their distribution, indicated by the two documents is in reality the same.

What then was the strength of these forces? There is, quoted in DRZW 5/1 on p.1061, a document providing a Heer personnel strength on 20 June 1941 in the East of 3,050,000 men. (BA-MA RH 2/v. 1326). A problem here however is that it refers to 143 divisional formations, not 149. It is of course not possible to be positive about exactly why this is so without even having seen the document in question, but I think a very plausible explanation is that this particular OKH document refers to the Heer only and thus omits the four SS divisions, with “Polizei” still technically being carried on army strength – it is not listed as an SS division in the former of the two force overviews quoted above, and that it also does not include the two divisions under OKH command in Germany that were not earmarked for service in the East.

We will return to that, but our first problem is that this figure includes 26 divisions who was not actually a part of the German field commands on 22 June but were rather operational reserves. As such, they ought not to be included in the German strength on 22 June, but rather be added at the time of their commitment to the main field commands. It is worth noting that the last of these divisions (2.PzD) were not committed until late in the autumn, though most were committed much earlier. The OKH reserves did not include just these large formations, but also an army command (AOK 2), several Corps commands and numerous smaller units of various types. Thus, there appears to be good reason to use a higher estimate than the normal divisional strengths alone. If the their divisional slice is put at around 17,000 men (taking account of these non-divisional elements), these can be estimated at approximately 450,000 men, which would imply a 22 June strength of ~2,650,000. To this must be added the four SS divisions, none of whom were part of the OKH reserves. If these are estimated at ~20,000 apiece, we arrive at an overall strength of the three Heeresgruppen of not much less than 2,750,000 on 22 June, and the total strength of the forces committed during the third quarter of 1941 at between 3.15 and 3.2 million men (bearing in mind that only 25 of the 26 OKH reserve divisions included among the 143 were committed within this timespan).

These forces suffered 708,370 casualties of all types during the 3rd quarter and received only 277,000 replacements. Thus, the strength of the Ostheer on 1 October should be 447,370 lower than 3,150,000, ie, around 2,700,000. This would indicate that for the quarter as a whole, the arrival of units and replacements added strength at an almost similar level that losses reduced it, and that the average strength of the Ostheer during 3q 41 was ~2,725,000.

During 4q 1941, total losses were 508,905, while replacements totalled 232,000, a shortfall of 276,905. A total of seven divisions (212., 215., 223., 227. and 707. ID, 2.PzD, 7.Flieger-D.) arrived in the East during the quarter, while an equal number were withdrawn from the East (8., 5., 28., 71., 113. ID, 99.Leichte, 1.KD). We can estimate the strength of the arriving divisions at around 105,000 (ie, 15,000 apiece). Estimating those withdrawn is a more uncertain affair. Normally divisions withdrawn from the East were very weak, and they also often left behind significant elements. This was however probably not the case with any of these divisions except possibly 71.ID. 113.ID returned to the East already after three months (and spent two of its three months away from the East in Serbia), which does not indicate that it was extensively rebuilt. The remainder were all withdrawn to be converted to different types (5., 8. and 28.ID to Leichte Divisionen, 99.Leichte to a Gebirgsjägerdivision and 1.K.D. to serve as the nucleus for 24.PzD), and thus probably not because they had been severely damaged. Equally important, this makes it much more unlikely that they left behind any significant elements. It may therefore be justified to use a high estimate of their strength, in which case divisional movements would not represent a net addition of more than perhaps 30-40,000 men. If so, it can also be estimated that the German strength in the East on 1 January 1942 was probably around 2.5 million.

Here is the raw monthly data, as quoted in DRZW 5/1 p.1020, based on a number of OKH documents and also on information from Halder’s war diary:

CL- Combat losses
NCL – Non-combat losses
Ers – Replacements (including returning convalescents)
* - Estimated

Month….CL……………..NCL….…Total…..........Ers
Jun……41,058……..54,000….95,058……………...0
Jul…….164,988…..17,000…..181,988…...65,000
Aug….189,813…..30,000*….219,813….110,000
Sep….131,687……56,800…..188,487…..102,000
Oct…..113,762…..62,000*…175,762…...78,000
Nov……84,051……73,092……157,143…….55,000
Dec……77,093……90,907……168,000….…99,000


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Victor
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Post by Victor » 15 May 2005 07:55

Any help from the Italian, Hungarian and Finish members?

From what I read, the number of Slovak forces sent to the Soviet Union in July 1941 was around 45,000.

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