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2nd SS Panzer division and 3,000 + Tank Claim

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Wolfy, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    I remember running into the figure a few time before- that the 2nd SS Panzer division totaled over 3,000 enemy tank kills during the war.

    This is probably an overclaim- people who have a lot of statistics on tank battles (ie. M Kenny), say that it generally good to cut off tank kills claims in half.

    So, if, at minimum- the 2nd SS Pz division destroyed 1,500 Allied tanks...how many Panzers served with this outfit during WW2? This unit was certainly destroyed many times in WW2. Off the top of my head, I think of its destruction at Moscow 1941, decimation at Kharkov 1943, decimation at Kursk 1943, decimation at Normandy 1944, decimation at Ardennes 1944, etc.

    Benchmark- mid-1944 official establishment- 76 Panzer IVs, 76 Panthers, 31 JgPzrs
    Late 1944 official establishment is 50% of this.


    " In March 1945, Barkmann was once again fighting with Soviets, near Stuhlweissenburg, where he knocked out four T-34s and brought the total score of the Das Reich Division for the war so far to 3000 enemy tanks destroyed."

    Ernst Barkmann - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  2. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    Depends if it really was claims or confirmed kills awarded by OKH or whoever did confirmations. All sides over confirmed, so I doubt they got 3000 either way. If its confirmed than it will be under but probably not by horribly much, give or take a few hundred I would say. Claims, yeah automatic 50% reduction was what the Germans did so I can agree with slapping the 3000 figure with a 50% reduction if they are claims.
     
  3. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    1500 or even more kills does not look unreasonable, after all total Soviet tank production and losses were huge and there were less than 50 mecanized German divisions East.
    On the other hand Soviet sources claim T-34 were often "rebuilt" four of five times so what is really a Kill ?
    And AFAIK a lot of tanks, especially when retreating, were lost to mecanical breakdown not enemy action.
     
  4. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    I guess for fun I might as well point out there are no US documents to prove Barkmann's corner ever happened. Three big stories from Normandy of single German tigers/Panthers stoppind cold an allied advance. Villers-bocage is about the only one with allied documents to prove it happened, even then Witmans role is overblown and his kills inflated. Barkmann's corner has nothing but his word, same goes for Will Fey.
     
  5. Drucius

    Drucius Member

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    Indeed, German propaganda does show a willingness to include Bren carriers and other lightly-armoured vehicles as "tanks".
     
  6. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    There was also the problem that armies tended to count their losses in armour differently.
    Germany only counted tanks as losses when they were either totally destroyed or had to be sent back for major rebuilds, any tank that could be repaired locally was not counted as a loss, while Allied units tended to count all tanks unserviceable at the end of the day as losses, even if it could be repaired within 24 hours.
    For example; It is often stated that the British lost 493 tanks in Operation Goodwood, but of these 132 were repaired within 24 hours.
     
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  7. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    Or make stuff up completely..

    I saw a German newsreel for the first stage of the Battle of the Bulge- they claim that 1,600 US tanks were destroyed. In reality, only 800 US tanks were.
     
  8. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    I have to agree its pretty hard to compare losses. To complicate matters the Germans didnt count lightly wounded in their totals, only men who had to be sent father back than frontline aid stations were wounded. Not only did the western allies count lighly wounded in their casualty lists, I believe for the British and commonwealth armies you had combat stress casualties included, men who had to be sent to rear areas for a few days to get back their nerves.

    The guys who wrote these things were not thinking of how people would use them post war to determine levels of uberness.
     
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  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    They were not the only ones, the British routinely counted the Italian L3 that was in the same weight class as the the carriers as a tank and the Italian 20mm HMG that were much closer to an allied Browning HB HMG than to a Flak 38 or an Oerlikon, as guns.

    The huge initial Soviet tank park of over 20.000 vehicles existing in 1941 was almost completely destroyed and so were a lot of the roughly 100.000 tanks built during the war (and I'm not counting LL though I'm not sure if the figures includes rebuilds). Somebody must have done it, assuming a significant part of the losses were in tank combat there were not that many German armoured units.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I believe after summer 1943 it was not very accurate for the Germans to count the kills as they did not win much ground after that. The Allied could count the kills and also the tanks the enemy left behind. So until 1943 it was the other way round, I think.
     
  11. Drucius

    Drucius Member

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    The fools!!
     
  12. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    This reminds me of the German numbers for Kursk. They seem more in line with a tactical victory, but...:

    Red Army armor losses, again according to Krivosheev, were 1,614 tanks and assault guns destroyed

    "German tank write-offs were between 278 and 323. Yet the numbers of destroyed tanks alone does not tell the entire story. For example, Zetterling and Frankson list only 33 tanks destroyed for the three divisions of the SS Panzer Corps as of 17 July, but the number of operational tanks on 17 July as of 19:15 had dropped by 139, leading one to assume that 106 tanks were damaged and not able to take part in the battle, at least temporarily"
     
  13. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Any attempt at counting tank losses runs a huge risk of comparing apples with oranges.
    One one hand tanks are very tough beasts that, as long as you retain control of the battlefield can very often be repaired even after taking multiple hits.
    On the other they are at the same time extremely complex pieces of engineering and hard to mantain due to the massive weight of some components that requires special equipment.
    It was far from uncommon for battlewothy vehicles to be below 50% of available strength even for uncommitted units (some models were worse than others but all models had ridiculously low availability compared to a modern car), add combat attrition to that and .....
     
  14. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    have always wondered if the end result tally included the kills by D.R.'s Panzerjäger Abteilung ........ ? Stugs and it's Pak 40's
     

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