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WW2 German tank repair crews, how many hours a day did they work?

Discussion in 'The Tanks of World War 2' started by Todd W Secrest, May 5, 2021.

  1. Todd W Secrest

    Todd W Secrest New Member

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    I'm guessing on the ww2 German front lines there was always a tank, somewhere, that needed repairs or maintenance.
    Would the German tank repair crews work sun up till sun down, 7 days a week?
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    During the early war the tanks were sent to main Germany to be repiaired. Later on they had after the beinning of Barbarossa created local repair crews which were, as I understand, quite efficient.No numbers to give,though.
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Threre's not much out there about day-t-day work of tank repair crews ( Axis or Allied ). But from what I've read about front-line Panzer operations the urgency and pressure was so great that they worked until the job was done. I've certainly read thatt his was the case on the Eastern Front and in the Ardennes.
     
  4. Todd W Secrest

    Todd W Secrest New Member

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    I've always assumed that the vehicle repair guys willingly worked long hours, otherwise they might have to swap their tools for a Mauser 98.
     
  5. Black6

    Black6 Member

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    The German Army had a 4 level tank repair process. Level 1 and 2 were done in the field, either by the Pz Kompanie repair team (platoon) or at the Bn level by a repair Kompanie. Level 3 was Depot level by Army or Army Group, level 4 was factory. It was actually a good system, just constrained by rail capacity (bringing parts forward or retrograde of equipment to depot or factory).
    Either way, the mechanics in the field likely worked a lot and were in very high demand. Even if there wasn't a tank to repair, there was a truck, generator, trailer, something to weld or fabricate, etc.
     
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  6. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    The Germans were really good at recovery and even recovery of enemy tanks. Going as far as repairing and using enemy tanks. The Russians as well doing all those panzer III conversions. In my book has pics of a panther remanufacturing factory, like a dozen or more turrets in the yard stacks of tracks and like six or seven on the assembly line. The Germans were good at getting tanks back into action. Tiger one recovery vehicle a crane in place of the gun but the Panther remove turret and build wooden box structure. Like how cheap
     
  7. Todd W Secrest

    Todd W Secrest New Member

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    Thank you.
     
  8. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Prospero Quevedo - what book? Did you write it?
     
  9. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Before he died, American "historian" Stephen Ambrose stated in one of his works and on a video interview that one of the reasons Germany lost to war was that it didn't have much in the way of tank repair facilities. When I heard that I almost fell out of my chair because I had been reading references to German tank repair crews in N. Africa and in Russia. These references admitted that the German crews retrieved damaged tanks under the noses of their enemy and repaired them-often quickly.

    How Ambrose could come up with such a claim is beyond me since no tank force could exist for long without one. It was after that I threw away all of Ambrose's books I had. I think I had two, given to me as gifts. I never again considered him a real historian.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Some data is only available in one or two sources only. That makes it hard to believe. Like Hitler's doctor injecting all kinda stuff into him starting from amphetamine while he blames Göring for using cocaine. Sometimes it is just useful data to consider, not believe. But it can give info that is at least partly true? A bit of salt included. Cheers.
     
  11. ltdan

    ltdan Member

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    The problem was not with the repair and maintenance units, but with the severe lack of spare parts:
    There were always too few of these in favor of produced vehicles.
    Also they had to be transported over very long supply routes, where losses occured during transport due to the effects of war.

    Therefore, it was unavoidable in the area near the front to obtain spare parts by cannibalization and salvage, which is significantly more
    ineffective and time consuming than being able to draw from a pool of ready-to-assemble parts
    The mechanics there then toiled until they fell over, if necessary: Regular working hours as in the civilian sector did not exist.
     
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  12. Ricky

    Ricky Active Member

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    The only book I know of that talks about tank repair crews is Belton Y Cooper's book about his work in an American tank repair company. It has been a while since I read it (and I had borrowed it from a friend), but from memory he devotes far more time to trash-talking the Sherman than he does to discussing the work he does.

    But then, he spent his war repairing tanks full of bits of dead crew, I can understand how that would colour his perception
     
  13. Ricky

    Ricky Active Member

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    Yeah I share your view after reading 'D-Day'. basically a long rant about how awful the British were and how great Americans were. I gritted my teeth through many odd claims, like how the British landing craft designs were only worthwhile because Americans built them, but finally gave up when he claimed that the British units involved were worthless because they were not veterans, but that the American units were ideal for the job because they were not veterans...
     
  14. harolds

    harolds Member

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    This was because Hitler and the nazi bureaucrats always emphasized production numbers (tanks off the assembly lines) and ignored the actual number of serviceable tanks at the front. This meant fewer spare parts available. It also didn't help that the German engineers were always tinkering with the design and introducing new parts on the assembly line. This made it possible for a tank unit to have tanks with three or four different versions of a part. None of which were interchangeable! These were some of the reasons Guderian was called back and made Inspector of Armored Forces.
     
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  15. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The short answer is that like all soldiers they worked for as little as they could get away with, bit longer than they wanted.

    I'll get my coat....

    But seriously. There was a difference between maintenance and repairs.

    Maintenance was undertaken on the tank by its crew. You can see the list of tasks in publications such Tiger Fibel and Panther Fibel. This was true of all armies. We know that the M4 required fewer hours to maintain than the Cromwell which in turn required fewer than the Centaur or Covenentor. This was largely because there was a lot more that tended to go wrong. I don't know how many hours work it took to carry out the maintenance tasks on the different types of German armoured vehicles. I suspect the Tiger may have taken more than a Panzer IV. Post war interviews with the German staff estimated that 20% of vehicles broke down than after each move in the Ardennes Offensive. Around this time only 1% of M4s would break down. .

    Bruno Frieser in Panzer Gunner wrote that maintenance on the Panzer Jaeger IV was a task for the Driver, who was excused radio or ground sentry duties. So it was probably around two-four hours a day.

    Repairs were undertaken by the repair organisation. There was a workshop section in each Panzer Regiment. Panzerwerkstattzug Panzerwerkstattzug If the vehicle could not be repaired within the unit it would be recovered to some sort of base workshop. The tank crew accompanied the tank. This would be generally a rest time for the crew, behind the lines, not a lot of military duties.
     
  16. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    Yeah the guys to listen to are the vets who were there and talk about moving forward knowing the enemy were dug in and hiding waiting to kill them. Tanks getting knocked out all around them but they kept attacking just made them want to get them more. They knew what their tanks could do and used them to the best of their ability they didn't worry about what the enemy could do just finding them first and get the first shots in. You listen to those guys and most were proud of their tanks they didn't complain that they were bad or inferior only that the Germans did have better tanks but they just had to fight better and smarter. Look at Pattons boys they went out and engaged the enemy when and where ever possible they didn't back down and they had a high kill ratio. They would fire and knock out tanks that were superior to them but they would lit manuver and sometimes out shoot the enemy. They had disadvantages but they didn't cry about it just looked for ways to get their enemy where they wanted and take them out. It's amazing to hear how they would use the weak points of the enemy like the panther As and Ds and shoot for the lower gunsheild and glance the shot down on the weak deck and disable them long enough to get a side shot or shooting that weak point of the turret ring and taking out tiger Is. Tankers seem to be a tough breed of men who loved their tanks and never faulted them for any short comings just cussed about fuel and ammo shortages. Even the Canadians and Brits loved them rare ever heated any of them complain about the Sherman's. But as for the hours of work I've heard stories of repair crews working thru nights as well as days to repair tanks and get them back in action, sometimes tank crews working on tanks as we'll trying to get as many in action as they could.
     

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