Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Permanent Losses

If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you ought to know that the German army and the Red Army counted their losses differently. Whereas the German army considered a vehicle lost when it is both destroyed and irrecoverable, the Red Army considered a vehicle lost even if it was repairable, including vehicles that got stuck in mud, fell off a bridge, etc. A question naturally arises: how do you compare the two numbers? The short answer is "you can't", but the long answer is "let's estimate the ratio of temporary to permanent losses". Here is a table from the 1st Belorussian Front report (CAMD RF 233-2309-165), giving us the ability to do just that.

"Combat losses during past operations

Operation
Month and year
% lost in combat
% permanent losses
Orel-Kursk
July 1943
42
11.6
August 1943
61
17.7
Sevsk
September 1943
40.5
11.4
Gomel-Rechitsy
November 1943
54
14
Mozyr
December 1943
37.2
13.7
Rogachev
January 1944
19.5
-
February 1944
32
-
Summer
1st period
July1944
17
23
June 1944
16.3
9.7
August 1944
13.6
7.1
2nd period (Narva)
September 1944
22
6.5
October 1944
21.2
7.4

The mean of the permanent losses is a mere 12.2%. When comparing Soviet losses to German losses, the reduction is nearly by an order of magnitude! 

Additionally, let's take a look at what contributed to those permanent losses.

"Combat damage to tanks in the Orel-Kursk operation
  • Participated in battle: 7942
  • Lost: 2971 (37.4%)
    • Artillery fire: 1393 (47%)
    • Fire: 949 (32%)
    • Mines: 209 (7%)
    • Aircraft fire: 187 (6.3%)
    • Technical breakdowns: 127 (4.3%)
    • Drowned: 29 (1%)
    • Abandoned on the battlefield: 55 (1.8%)"
Even in what is known as the world's largest tank battle, losses from things other than tanks are very significant, driving yet another nail into the coffin of comparing tank losses as some kind of measure of performance. 

4 comments:

  1. Fires huh? Is this the type of fires they are writing about?
    http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2013/07/gas-tanks-fires-and-explosions.html

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  2. To me this is a very important piece of information.

    If you multiply the rate of permanent loss with the total number of losses, one finds out that the loss of the Soviets is in fact comparable to that of the Germans.

    A punch in the faces of the Wehrabingos who claims that Germans have a K/D ratio of 5 to 1 or even 10 to 1 :)

    BTW are you very sure that the Germans are counting the permanent losses only? I haven't seen any documents regarding this, it would be best if you can post something about that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never mind, after a more careful look at you archives I found plenty of documents supporting this point of view.

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    2. Here's one from off-site: https://tankandafvnews.com/2015/07/03/from-the-vault-differences-in-counting-tank-losses/

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