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Getting German Tanker results

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Originally posted by coe:

I hesitate to say this but KO 110000 allied tanks - does that include knockout and return to duty then get knocked out again - does that count as a single KO....

110 000 as total write-offs. your example counts as a single KO.

it's practically impossible to get total non-permanent tank loss figures. the needed data is available just for some fronts or battles. for example in the Winter War the Soviet ratio of total write-offs to non-permanent losses was up to 1:10.

EDIT: i am not suggesting 1:10 would be a common ratio. it's likely closer to 1:3, depending if we are talking about all losses or just losses caused by the enemy.

EDIT #2: made a quick check regarding Winter War Soviet tank losses, and the available permanent-to-non-permant tank loss ratio actually peaks at 1:15 (20th Tank Brigade), goes lowest at 1:3 (40th Tank Brigade), and the average ratio is 1:8 (7th and 13th Army totals).

[ January 23, 2007, 02:09 AM: Message edited by: undead reindeer cavalry ]

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Here is an example of German tactics that you might find interesting:


Tigers In The Mud by Otto Carius. - The Ambush, July 1944

Behind the village (Malinava), an assault gun battalion has already suffered heavy casualties (7). It would be too dangerous for us to attack the village on line. Two tanks will drive into the village at full speed and surprise Ivan. He must not be allowed to fire a shot. Lt. Nienstedt will bring the remaining six tanks. Herr Nienstedt! You will remain on the reverse slope until I give you further orders. Let's just hope that the patron saint of radios isn't sleeping! Remember one thing more than anything else: as long as you are patient, everything will work. The first two are Kerscher and me. Everything else should be obvious. What will happen later will be determined by the situation as it develops.

I then took my trackmate (Kerscher) aside and discussed everything with him that was important. I'll lead and both of us will advance to the center of the village as quickly as possible where we will quickly get our bearings. You will orient to the rear, and I'll orient to the front. We will then take care of anything that stands in our way. I estimate that at least one company is in the village, unless the rest of the Russian battalion has closed in the meantime.

We quickly checked our radios, and the engines were started up. In a flash, we were over the rise, and in the Russians' line of sight. My driver got everything out of our crate that he could. Each of us knew at that point that only speed was decisive. Both of the Russian tanks covering toward our side didn't initially react at all. Not a shot was fired. I immediately drove just past the center of the village. Kerscher, who had approached the village about 150 me behind me, noticed that the turrets of both Russian tanks were moving. HE immediately stopped, and knocked out both of them. At the same instant, I also began to mop up on the other end of the village.

After Kerscher had closed on me, he radioed and pointed to the right. A Stalin tank was broadside to us next to a barn. It was a vehicle that we hadn't yet seen. We were startled for a moment, because the tank was outfitted with an extremely long 122 mm cannon.

This was the first Russian tank cannon with a muzzle brake. More-over, the Stalin tank looked somewhat similar in its shape to our King Tiger. After I initially hesitated, just as Kerscher did, it occurred to me immediately that only the running gear was typically Russian. I fired and the tank burst into flames. After this short digression, we finished off all of Ivan's vehicles in the village (17 Stalins, and 5 T34s). There had been no Russian infantry in the village. To judge by the lack of movement they (1st Tank Brigade, "Joseph Stalin") had felt completely safe, and the drivers and radio operators had already gone into the houses when we suddenly appeared.

At the same time I started firing in the village, I gave Lt. Mienstedt the order to move slowly over the high ground. He was to ensure that no Russians could flee from the village. They could have then warned the main body of the enemy, which was closing. This measure proved of great importance for the later conduct of our operation.

The entire affair in the village hadn't lasted a quarter of an hour. Only two Russian tanks tried to flee to the east. None of the others found any opportunity to move. The surprise attack had succeeded without a hitch because we had arrived at precisely the right time. As it turned out, the Russians had reported to their unit that everything was in order on the road. The main body could proceed without alarm.

Time was pressing, and I had the six Tigers go into position as quickly as possible behind a small rise in the ground. They were set up in such a manner that they had a field of fire onto the road where we expected Ivan. The position was magnificently camouflaged by my men. We controlled the road for a length of about two to three kilometers. It disappeared behind a rise to the left of us.

We were in the greatest suspense for the next half hour. We finally recognized some dust clouds to the east. Using my scope, I was soon able to identify the tanks that were slowly approaching. Ivan didn't know anything about the bad luck of his advance guard because infantry was sitting on the tanks, the cannons were in the travel position, and the Russians were moving as if on a road march behind the front. We could also make out trucks between the tanks. These were most likely transporting fuel and munitions.

Those guys were moving past us, at most, they were a kilometer away. Ten to fifteen men were standing or sitting on every tank. Just as the first Russian tank wanted to disappear behind the protective high ground, I gave the order to fire. What then took place would make the heart of every tanker beat faster. I was so beside myself, that I jumped out of the tank to better view the spectacle.

The panic was unimaginable. Not a single shot was fired from a Russian tank. Naturally, we didn't have any time to spend with the fleeing Russian infantry. After we finished off all the vehicles the entire column was burning. Some of the trucks were overturned. Twenty-eight tanks were in front of us, burning and smoldering. With each passing moment, a fuel tank exploded; the ammunition rattled and ripped the turrets apart. We then withdrew our tanks back to the village.

So, he got a good kill rate.

But what would he have done, if


  • There had been a minefield? He would have charged all his tanks into it, all at once</font>
  • There had been an infantry screen with Bazooka type weapons?</font>
  • There had been AT guns on the flanks of the village (facing the village from a distance)?</font>

This type of attack really isn't all it is cracked up to be.

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I also have read Carius' book, and some of the things he does do seem rather unreal. However, TO be a company commander in a Tiger battalion was a pretty prestigious posting, therefore attracting the best and brightest of Panzer crews, for the first couple of years at least. As for the bulleted "what ifs", I can really only even guess at the second, where you ask what if the infantry had bazooka type weapons. As a talented Panzer commander, Carius most likely would have known that Russian infantry had no weapons at the time that could threaten his tanks? Ah, but I forget when the first RPG came out, it might indeed be before this particular action, however one would assume that if he knew of the weapons he would have taken steps to avoid them. Then again, the answers to all of these questions might be that he was a typical German Ubermenschen who beleived he was unstoppable? I'm sure more than one Panzer crew member lost his life because he underestimated his enemy.

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There were repeat KOs, there were also mechanical losses never KOed in the allied loss total. And losses to infantry weapons, mines, arty, air, etc. On the ammo side, some was lost in dumps, others with the weapons when they were destroyed themselves. But plenty of it was fired.

Sometimes it took multiple hits to kill a tank - but Normandy OR shows it was around 2 hits average. Earlier in the war with lighter weapons, or at longer ranges, probably a bit more. But not an order of magnitude more.

The average *kill* might have occurred in engagements with 17 shots fired per - a perfectly believable figure. Roughly 10% achieved hit rates and a couple hits to kill, would be typical. But there would also be outlier engagements in which lots of ammo was expended for little result, firing under conditions of only a few percent accuracy.

As for the fanboy Signal mag view of the war, you might as well read Sergeant Rock comics...

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For the record, I didn't read Carius' book. I just stole the above from tanknet as an example of how unreal some of the "German tanker experience" actually is and why it shouldn't be used for modeling reference.

I tried reading the book but put it down after a couple pages because it was too much nonsense for my taste.

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Haha the book seemed rather similar to propaganda that's for sure. The main point of the narrative, besides of course recounting the superhuman heroics of Carius himself, seems to be complaining about the German people "abandoning" the Army after the war. Obviously the book must be taken with a grain of salt, but I feel that exaggeration of one's own role/importance to be merely human nature, and we cannot castigate former members of the armed forces of any nation for putting down their personal recollections down for posterity. Lastly, I would like to address Jason's claim of fanboy etc. etc. You know, most people don't have the time to do the amount of reading as you on the Second World War, and I think to dismiss any miisunderstandings of the truth as fanboy folly is wrong, not to mention extremely rude. Nothing discourages discussion more than insults to intelligence.

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Well, other German accounts are not nearly as annoying as Carius'. And you don't have to go with the more modest accounts a'la Panzer Commander.

For example, the division history of 12th SS is excellent and points out what they consider execellent performance and isn't exactly politically correct - but without getting ridiculous or constantly violating the laws of physics and probability.

Do I doubt that Club Carius overran a lot of overly confident Soviet units? Sure. Can you take his actual descriptions serious? I don't think so.

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To be fair to him, he was writing quite some time after the fact I beleive. I don't have the book at the moment, so I don't know when it was written or printed, but there might even be historical or political reasons behind his accounts. If I had the details in front of me I could make a somewhat intelligent guess, but I don't, so I won't.

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Originally posted by jwatts:

most people don't have the time to do the amount of reading as you on the Second World War, and I think to dismiss any miisunderstandings of the truth as fanboy folly is wrong, not to mention extremely rude.


Well the reading I have done shows me that from a small sample of 50 destroyed Allied tanks surveyed in July 1944:

RGd 24: Report No.12.

Canadian 2nd Army.Analysis of 75mm Sherman Tank Casualties 6th June-10th July.

25 were hit x1.

11 were hit x2.

2 were hit x3.

1 was hit x4.

1 was hit x8.

The sample gives 64% of kills by one round.

If anyone has an OR Survey that gives other results then I would like to see the details.

A further 124 tanks were inspected and between them they had 83 hits that failed to penetrate.


For nonenemy losses the figures in ORO T-117 seem rather odd.


14% for Western Europe. (sample 2579)

32% in 1942 N.Africa but 17% in 1943.

19% in Sicily.

38% in Italy 1943 and 25% in 1944.


W.Europe 2% (sample 1103)

N.Africa 0.1% (sample 1123)

Sicily 0

Italy 5.5-3.5% 1943-1944


W.Europe 22% (sample 473)

Scily 20% (4 tanks!)

Italy 1943 33%, 1944 50%

Originally posted by jwatts:

. Nothing discourages discussion more than insults to intelligence.

Now I know you are not a great fan of statistics and I confess neither am I. However they are useful for setting 'limits' on either sides kill claims.

Originally posted by JasonC:

Are chapter and verse really necessary -

indispensable I would say.

Originally posted by JasonC:

isn't this tolerably obvious to everyone

I am sure that giving a reference is a much better way to aid undestanding .

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Hm, I think the topic might have turned to why I am wrong. That's fine, I understand. My point though, was to maybe find a nice middle ground between Nazi apologists and anti-Nazi fanatics. Atrocities happen in all wars and are carried out by all sides. To be fair, the German atrocities in World War Two (and I'm talking by front-line troops) were more numerous and heinous, but to completely discount anything that side says as untrue because of it is I think a huge mistake. Even some of the Germans who were die-hard Nazis were good people. Nazism didn't attract so many followers by being a clearly and inherently evil political ideology. Without hindsight, much of what Hitler accomplished in Germany can be praised. Please don't get me wrong and claim I support the Holocaust or anything like that either. I'm just trying to open up some objective discussion, and as I have said before, rudeness inhibits discussion. So if I am wrong, and I'm sure I am, tell me why that's the case instead of completely discounting anything I might say.

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According to Mr. Kenney's stats the tanks in question took about 1.625 hits on average to KO - so since you can't have 1.625 hits on a tank (hits are discrete) so it tends to about 2 hits... hmmm 8 hits on a tank? I wonder was that hit repeatedly because the other team thought it was still alive, or tried to set it on fire? Or was it just lucky until the 8th hit?

Stay warm, it's cold out.

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Or it just ran alone into multiple shooters, e.g. a PaK front, was the last tank moving in a lost battle.

Nevertheless - that tank doesn't matter. Whether it is 64% or 67% for the one hit wonders is likely less than the sample bias.

What does matter is the underlying question if the other tanks hit more than once were already ko'ed with the first shot and the following rounds were just trying to ensure TWOs. This could significantly raise the percentage for one hit kills.



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On the Carius story - reminds me of Villers Bocage. One of those lucky moments were you catch the enemy with his pants down. If it works, you are the hero, it it doesn't work you were an uninformed over-confident i%$, but most likely dead anyway (Graebner's ride comes to mind)

If you want an encounter like that in CM, spend a massive prep barrage to get some buttoned and shocked tank crews, then head into the village. CM does not model the outliers and it does not model surprise attacks.



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