More on the QJM/TNDM Italian Battles

Troops of the U.S. 36th Infantry Division advance inland on Red Beach, Salerno, Italy, 1943. [ibiblio/U.S. Center for Military History]

[The article below is reprinted from December 1998 edition of The International TNDM Newsletter.]

More on the QJM/TNDM Italian Battles
by Richard C. Anderson, Jr.

In regard to Niklas Zetterling’s article and Christopher Lawrence’s response (Newsletter Volume 1, Number 6) [and Christopher Lawrence’s 2018 addendum] I would like to add a few observations of my own. Recently I have had occasion to revisit the Allied and German records for Italy in general and for the Battle of Salerno in particular. What I found is relevant in both an analytical and an historical sense.

The Salerno Order of Battle

The first and most evident observation that I was able to make of the Allied and German Order of Battle for the Salerno engagements was that it was incorrect. The following observations all relate to the table found on page 25 of Volume 1, Number 6.

The divisional totals are misleading. The U.S. had one infantry division (the 36th) and two-thirds of a second (the 45th, minus the 180th RCT [Regimental Combat Team] and one battalion of the 157th Infantry) available during the major stages of the battle (9-15 September 1943). The 82nd Airborne Division was represented solely by elements of two parachute infantry regiments that were dropped as emergency reinforcements on 13-14 September. The British 7th Armored Division did not begin to arrive until 15-16 September and was not fully closed in the beachhead until 18-19 September.

The German situation was more complicated. Only a single panzer division, the 16th, under the command of the LXXVI Panzer Corps was present on 9 September. On 10 September elements of the Hermann Goring Parachute Panzer Division, with elements of the 15th Panzergrenadier Division under tactical command, began arriving from the vicinity of Naples. Major elements of the Herman Goring Division (with its subordinated elements of the 15th Panzergrenadier Division) were in place and had relieved elements of the 16th Panzer Division opposing the British beaches by 11 September. At the same time the 29th Panzergrenandier Division began arriving from Calabria and took up positions opposite the U.S. 36th Divisions in and south of Altavilla, again relieving elements of the 16th Panzer Division. By 11-12 September the German forces in the northern sector of the beachhead were under the command of the XIV Panzer Corps (Herman Goring Division (-), elements of the 15th Panzergrenadier Division and elements of the 3rd Panzergrenadier Division), while the LXXVI Panzer Corps commanded the 16th Panzer Division, 29th Panzergrenadier Division, and elements of the 26th Panzer Division. Unfortunately for the Germans the 16th Panzer Division’s zone was split by the boundary between the XIV and LXXVI Corps, both of whom appear to have had operational control over different elements of the division. Needless to say, the German command and control problems in this action were tremendous.[1]

The artillery totals given in the table are almost inexplicable. The numbers of SP [self-propelled] 75mm howitzers is a bit fuzzy, inasmuch as this was a non-standardized weapon on a half-track chassis. It was allocated to the infantry regimental cannon company (6 tubes) and was also issued to tank and tank destroyer battalions as a stopgap until purpose-designed systems could be brought into production. The 105mm SP was also present on a half-track chassis in the regimental cannon company (2 tubes) and on a full-track chassis in the armored field artillery battalion (18 tubes). The towed 105mm artillery was present in the five field artillery battalions present of the 36th and 45th divisions and in a single non-divisional battalion assigned to the VI Corps. The 155mm howitzers were only present in the two divisional field artillery battalions, the general support artillery assigned to the VI Corps, the 36th Field Artillery Regiment, did not arrive until 16 September. No 155mm gun battalions landed in Italy until October 1943. The U.S. artillery figures should approximately be as follows:

75mm Howitzer (SP)

2 per infantry battalion


6 per tank battalion



105mm Howitzer (SP)

2 per infantry regiment


1 armored FA battalion[2]


5 divisional FA battalions


1 non-divisional FA battalion



155mm Howitzer

2 divisional FA battalions

3″ Tank Destroyer

3 battalions


Thus, the U.S. artillery strength is approximately 272 versus 525 as given in the chart.

The British artillery figures are also suspect. Each of the British divisions present, the 46th and 56th, had three regiments (battalions in U.S. parlance) of 25-pounder gun-howitzers for a total of 72 per division. There is no evidence of the presence of the British 3-inch howitzer, except possibly on a tank chassis in the support tank role attached to the tank troop headquarters of the armor regiment (battalion) attached to the X Corps (possibly 8 tubes). The X Corps had a single medium regiment (battalion) attached with either 4.5 inch guns or 5.5 inch gun-howitzers or a mixture of the two (16 tubes). The British did not have any 7.2 inch howitzers or 155mm guns at Salerno. I do not know where the figure for British 75mm howitzers is from, although it is possible that some may have been present with the corps armored car regiment.

Thus the British artillery strength is approximately 168 versus 321 as given in the chart.

The German artillery types are highly suspect. As Niklas Zetterling deduced, there was no German corps or army artillery present at Salemo. Neither the XIV or LXXVI Corps had Heeres (army) artillery attached. The two battalions of the 7lst Nebelwerfer regiment and one battery of 170mm guns (previously attached to the 15th Panzergrenadier Division) were all out of action, refurbishing and replenishing equipment in the vicinity of Naples. However, U.S. intelligence sources located 42 Italian coastal gun positions, including three 149mm (not 132mm) railway guns defending the beaches. These positions were taken over by German personnel on the night before the invasion. That they fired at all in the circumstances is a comment on the professionalism of the German Army. The remaining German artillery available was with the divisional elements that arrived to defend against the invasion forces. The following artillery strengths are known for the German forces at Salerno:

16th Panzer Division (as of 3 September):

14 75mm infantry support howitzers
11 150mm SP infantry support howitzers
10 105mm howitzers
8 105mm SP howitzers
4 105mm guns
8 150mm howitzers
5 150mm SP howitzers
5 88mm AA guns

26th Panzer Division (as of 12 September):

15 75mm infantry support howitzers
12 150mm infantry support howitzers
6 105mm SP howitzers
12 105mm howitzers
10 150mm SP howitzers
4 150mm howitzers

Herman Goring Parachute Panzer Division (as of 13 September):

6-8 75mm infantry support howitzers
8 150mm infantry support howitzers
24 105mm howitzers
12 105mm SP howitzers
4 105mm guns
8 150mrn howitzers
6 150mm SP howitzers
6 150mm multiple rocket launchers
12 88mm AA guns

29th Panzergrenadier Division

106 artillery pieces (types unknown)

15th Panzergrenadier Division (elements):

10-12 105mm howitzers

3d Panzergrenadier Division

6 150mm infantry support howitzers


501st Army Flak Battalion (probably 20mm and 37mm AA only)
I/49th Flak Battalion (probably 8 88mm AA guns)

Thus, German artillery strength is about 342 tubes versus 394 as given in the chart.[3]

Armor strengths are equally suspect for both the Allied and German forces. It should be noted however, that the original QJM database considered wheeled armored cars to be the equivalent of a light tank.

Only two U.S. armor battalions were assigned to the initial invasion force, with a total of 108 medium and 34 light tanks. The British X Corps had a single armor regiment (battalion) assigned with approximately 67 medium and 10 light tanks. Thus, the Allies had some 175 medium tanks versus 488 as given in the chart and 44 light tanks versus 236 (including an unknown number of armored cars) as given in the chart.

German armor strength was as follows (operational/in repair as of the date given):

16th Panzer Division (8 September):

7/0 Panzer III flamethrower tanks
12/0 Panzer IV short
86/6 Panzer IV long
37/3 assault guns

29th Panzergrenadier Division (1 September):

32/5 assault guns
17/4 SP antitank
3/0 Panzer III

26th Panzer Division (5 September):

11/? assault guns
10/? Panzer III

Herman Goering Parachute Panzer Division (7 September):

5/? Panzer IV short
11/? Panzer IV long
5/? Panzer III long
1/? Panzer III 75mm
21/? assault guns
3/? SP antitank

15th Panzergrenadier Division (8 September):

6/? Panzer IV long
18/? assault guns

Total 285/18 medium tanks, SP anti-tank, and assault guns. This number actually agrees very well with the 290 medium tanks given in the chart. I have not looked closely at the number of German armored cars but suspect that it is fairly close to that given in the charts.

In general it appears that the original QJM Database got the numbers of major items of equipment right for the Germans, even if it flubbed on the details. On the other hand, the numbers and details are highly suspect for the Allied major items of equipment. Just as a first order “guestimate” I would say that this probably reduces the German CEV to some extent; however, missing from the formula is the Allied naval gunfire support which, although negligible in impact in the initial stages of the battle, had a strong influence on the later stages of the battle.

Hopefully, with a little more research and time, we will be able to go back and revalidate these engagements. In the meantime I hope that this has clarified some of the questions raised about the Italian QJM Database.


[1] Exacerbating the German command and control problems was the fact that the Tenth Army, which was in overall command of the XIV Panzer Corps and LXXVI Panzer Corps, had only been in existence for about six weeks. The army’s signal regiment was only partly organized and its quartermaster services were almost nonexistent.

[2] Arrived 13 September, 1 battery in action 13-15 September.

[3] However, the number given for the 29th Panzergrenadier Division appears to be suspiciously high and is not well defined. Hopefully further research may clarify the status of this division.

15 thoughts on “More on the QJM/TNDM Italian Battles

  1. The artillery and armour details laid out in this article for the British are still wrong. Both British infantry divisions had a medium regiment in support and each also had an armoured regiment in support. There was also a 25-Pdr SP regiment split between them.

    I hope you didn’t use these figures in your latest update to the Italian modelling.

    • Just to add a few more details – the Scots Greys landed with 49 Sherman’s, 3 Grants and one Stuart; 40 RTR had only 50 tanks (I assume all Sherman). Thus the British landed with 99 gun tanks.

      I’d be interested to know how details such as this impact on final outcome of the model. Does artillery strength have a greater impact than armour?



      • Thank you for the comments. Can you provide the sources for your figures? It would help determine the reasons for the discrepancies in the data.

        Changes in the weapons totals would have an impact on the QJM/TNDM outputs, depending on how great the differences were. I would have to defer to Chris regarding the question of whether artillery or armor totals have more influence on the QJM/TNDM calculations. Artillery tends to have a large OLI total, but numbers of armored vehicles affects the models in more ways.

        After this article was published, TDI reanalyzed the Italian campaign combat data for another study. That analysis did not involve the QJM or TNDM. It was purely an assessment of the data. The results are summarized here: “Measuring Human Factors in Combat-Part of the Enemy Prisoner of War Capture Rate Study” (August 31, 2000). They are also discussed in detail in Chapter 5 of War by Numbers.

        This later analysis, using revised Italian campaign data, essentially confirmed the findings of Dupuy’s original analysis. If there were undercounts of British tanks and guns in the revised data, I believe the net result would likely be to increase the German combat effectiveness advantage somewhat respective to the British found in both analyses.

  2. Hi Shawn,

    Many thanks for the reply and additional information.

    Sources for tank numbers are:
    WO169/9314 – war diary of Royal Scots Greys – 1943
    WO169/9370 – war diary of 40 RTR – 1943

    Sources for medium artillery regiments are:
    WO169/9583 – 5 Medium Regiment, RA (supporting 46 Division)
    WO1699594 – 69 Medium Regiment, RA (supporting 56 Division)

    In fact, and contrary to both the initial and revised data, both of these units were equipped with 16 x 5.5″ guns.

    I noted that in Rich Anderson’s 1998 article he points out that the number of guns available to the British divisions at Salerno was over-stated and it is also the case that, even now that I have pointed out that the British initially landed two armoured regiments, the armour figure for the British in the initial analysis was overstated by 100% (i.e. around 100 Sherman tanks to support the two infantry divisions during the early period at Salerno rather than the stated 194 (and, of course, only one light tank, rather than the 55 stated in the initial report).

    Despite recognising the validity of the work to recalculate the available German artillery, I must confess, therefore, to some doubt when the “reworked” results laid out in Chapter 5 of War by Numbers indicate that the British performance at Salerno was even worse than first calculated despite this large reduction in terms of supporting arms. Unfortunately, none of the sources you point to contains sufficient detail to understand if my doubts are justified as that would require sight of the new “strength” data that was used and where it was sourced from.

    It would also be interesting to understand the comparative influence of such issues as tank strength, artillery strength, mission success, casualty taking and inflicting, ground gained, etc. Is there a simple ranking to understand that?

    I also noticed from the presentation that you linked to that the casualty exchange ratio of the UK forces in the campaign study conflicted with that calculated during the operations study. Have I got that right? I was amused to note that amongst the “possible reasons” for this disparity none included the “possibility” that 8th Army operations in Italy were conducted “better” than those of 5th Army.

    Kind regards


    • Tom,

      Thank you for the references. I will see if Rich Anderson can take a look at them. He was TDI’s primary specialist on the Italian campaign engagements. He is retired now but still remains interested in the data.

      As for your other questions regarding the capture rate study, I am going to defer to Chris. It was done before I joined TDI and I am not as familiar with it as he is. He would be better able to address the issues you raise.



      • Shawn,

        Thanks for the reply. I’ve discussed some of these issues with Rich already on The Axis History Forum and he pointed me to this blog to find out more.



    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your reply and please don’t worry about not being able to reply immediately.

      Rich Anderson sent me a link to this site which I have found full of interesting information, so I’m already very happy.



    • Just to add a little research I’ve done over the last week, I make 56 Inf Div’s strength on landing at Salerno: 12,917 men (inc attached Greys, 69 Med Regt, 506 SP Bty), 96 artillery pieces (25 pdr and 5.5”), 49 Sherman tanks.

      One troop of Greys tanks and one of the 25 pdr SP troops were lost at sea on the run into the beach.

      I noted from some of the reports online that the original HERO database agreed with my manpower figures but not for those of tanks and artillery, whilst the subsequent LFW team research nearly doubled the manpower of 56 Inf Div (perhaps by including all of the Beach Groups?) and still over-counted armour and artillery.



  3. Tom,

    Taking a breather from the editing.

    The original Italian campaign engagements were assembled by HERO researchers back in the 1970s/1980s. None of us were around at that time. They eventually created a computer database for those engagements around 1986 or so. We (Susan Rich, Jay Karamales and I) then updated that database to Access in the mid-1990s. Richard Anderson wrote the article in 1998….I was not involved in it.

    We then used the Italian engagements as part of our analysis of the EPW studies (Enemy Prisoner of War studies) in 2000. We did note some problems with some of the engagements and tagged it as something to address further when we had time.

    Richard and I then went over to the PRO (Public Records Office) a couple of times around 2002 or so, and pulled up the records for this (Richard did for the Italian Campaign). We then revisited the Italian Campaign engagements, correcting some of them (I think about 1/3rd…but I would need to compare and count them again). All the British ones had to be corrected, because the original researchers had made some estimates for the some of the British data. I think is because they were relying heavily on official histories and other secondary sources. We then updated the engagements in our database based upon unit records from PRO.

    When it came time to do my book, War by Numbers, I had to completely re-write the section on the Italian Campaign. The original discussion was done in our EPW report using the old data. I had to re-do all the numbers based upon our revised data. While every number changed, the relationship and results did not.

    Now….if you want to track the difference, you can pull up the write-up on the subject done for the EPW study (it is in report E-4, which is available on line) and compare it to what was done in War by Numbers.

    One final note……my comparison was a simple statistical comparison. It was not based upon any model, model runs, or the QJM. I ended up with similar results, using revised data, as Trevor Dupuy produced using his model. Two independent efforts, by different analysts, using different methodologies, slightly different data, and coming up with similar results.

    I do have the revised figures we used for each engagement in our database. It there is a specific engagement you want to look at, let me know.

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for the reply and the description of what has clearly been a long process.

      I’ve collected war diaries for all units of 56 Division for Salerno and for 10 Corps, and also the German war diaries for 16 Pz Div and at Corps and Army level. It would be fantastic if you could let me see the data that you used for the first Salerno engagement – I think you term it ‘The Amphitheater – 9-11 Sep 43’.



  4. My father was a Lance Bombardier on a 6 pdr in the Royal Artillery at Salerno. He was the bren gunner in his crew and he related how they were dive-bombed by Fw 190’s on the way in and an adjacent LCT was hit and “just folded up and disappeared”. He told me that after landing, his gun was firing across water and stopped several panzers, one by jamming the turret. It backed off and the next one fired at them and one of his crew was killed and another had his legs blown off. My father had his right eardrum blown out and was deaf in that ear for the rest of his life. I didn’t see any 6pdr’s mentioned in your table.

    • John, many thanks for posting, it sounds like your father had a pretty awful time at Salerno. Do you know which unit he was with? It I’ve been researching Salerno for 3-4 years now, and have amassed a wide selection of war diaries so could probably help you if you would like more information.

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