Force Draw Downs

I do discuss force draw downs in my book America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. It is in Chapter 19 called “Withdrawal and War Termination” (pages 237-242). To quote from parts of that chapter:

The missing piece of analysis in both our work and in that of many of the various counterinsurgent theorists is how does one terminate or end these wars, and what is the best way to do so? This is not an insignificant point. We did propose doing exactly such a study in several of our reports, briefings and conversations, but no one expressed a strong interest in examining war termination…..

In our initial look at 28 cases, we found only three cases where the counterinsurgents were able to reduce or choose to significantly reduce force strength during the course of an insurgency. These are Malaya, Northern Ireland and Vietnam. With our expanded database of 83 cases, these are still the only three cases of such.

Let us look at each in turn. The case of Malaya is illustrated below:

The most intense phase of the insurgency was from 1958 to 1952. Peak counterinsurgent deaths were 488 in 1951, with 272 in 1952 and only 95 in 1953. Over the course of 1959 and 1960, there were only three deaths.

When one looks at counterinsurgent force strength over that period, one notes a large decline in strength, but in fact, it is a decline in militia strength. Commonwealth troop strength peaked at 29,656 in 1956, consisting of UK troops, Gurkhas and Australians. It declined to 16,939 in 1960. Basically, even with no combat occurring for two years, the troop strength of the intervening forces (“UK Combat Troops” on the first graph) was reduced by one half and only during last couple of years. The decline is Malayan strength is primarily due to police force declining after 1953 and the “Special Constabulary” declining after 1952 and eventually being reduced to zero. There was also a Malayan Home Guard that was briefly up to 300,000 people, but most of them were never armed and were eventually disbanded.

This is the best case we have of a force draw down, and it was only done to any significance late in the war, where the insurgency was pretty much reduced to 400 or so fighters sitting across the narrow border with Thailand and scattered remnants being policed inside of Malaya.

Northern Ireland is another case in which the degree of activity was very intense early on. For example:

On the other hand, force strength does not draw down much.

In this case the peak counterinsurgent strength was 48,341 in 1972, and the counterinsurgent strength is still 22,691 in 2002. These two cases show the limitation of a draw down.

In the case of Vietnam, there was a four-year-long massive build up, and then four years of equally hasty withdrawal. This is clearly not the way to conduct a war and is discussed in more depth in Chapter Twenty-Two. Vietnam is clearly is not a good example of a successful force drawn down.

Besides these three cases, we do not have any other good examples of a force draw down except that which occurs in the last year of the war, and agreements are reached and the war ended. In general, this strongly indicates that draw downs are not very practical until you have resolved the war.

A basic examination needs to be done concerning how insurgencies end, how withdrawals are conducted, and what the impact of various approaches towards war termination is. This also needs to address long-term outcome, that is, what happened following war termination.

We have nothing particularly unique and insightful to offer in this regard. Therefore, we will avoid the tendency to pontificate generally and leave this discussion for later. Still, we are currently observing with Afghanistan and Iraq two wars where the intervening power is withdrawing or has withdrawn. These are both interesting cases of war termination strategies, although it we do not yet know the outcome in either case.

The bolding was added for this post.

Comparative Tank Exchange Ratios at Kursk

Now, I don’t know what percent of German or Soviet tanks at Kursk were killed by other tanks, as opposed to antitank guns, mines, air attacks, infantry attacks, broken down, etc. The only real data we have on this is a report from the Soviet First Tank Army which states that 73% of their tanks were lost to AP shot.

Artillery Effectiveness vs. Armor (Part 2-Kursk)

Do not know what percent of the AP shots was fired from tanks vice towed AT guns. I would be tempted to guess half. So maybe 36% of the Soviet tanks destroyed was done by other tanks? This is a very rough guess. Suspect it may have been a lower percent with the Germans.

Still, it is natural to want to compare tank losses with tank losses. The Germans during the southern offensive at Kursk had 226 tanks destroyed and 1,310 damaged. This includes their self-propelled AT guns (their Marders).

German Damaged versus Destroyed Tanks at Kursk

The Soviet units during the southern offensive at Kursk had 1,379 tanks destroyed and 1,092 damaged. This includes their self-propelled AT guns, the SU-152s, SU-122s and the more common SU-76s. If I count SU-76s in the Soviet tank losses, then I probably should count the Marders in the German losses.

Soviet Damaged versus Destroyed Tanks at Kursk

So….comparing total losses to total losses results in 1,536 German tanks damaged or destroyed versus 2,471 Soviet tanks damaged or destroyed. This is a 1-to-1.61 exchange ratio.

On the other hand, some people like to only compare total destroyed. This comes out to a rather lop-sided 1-to-6.10 exchange ratio.

A lot of sources out there compare only lost tanks to lost tanks. This provides, in my opinion, a very distorted figure of combat effectiveness or what is actually occurring out on the battlefield.

Added to this some sources have been known to remove German command tanks from their counts of strengths and losses, even though at this stage the majority of command tanks were armed. The Germans sometime don’t list them in their own daily reports. Of course, Soviet command tanks are always counted (which are armed). Some have been know to remove German Panzer IIs and other lighter tanks from their counts, even though at Kursk on 4 July, 23% of Soviet tanks were the lighter T-60s, T-70s and M-3 Stuarts (see page 1350 of my book). Many counts remove the German self-propelled AT guns from their counts, but not sure if they have also removed the Soviet SU-152, SU-122s and SU-76s from their counts. Finally, a number of counts remove German assault guns from their comparisons, even though at Kursk they were often used the same as their tank battalions and sometimes working with their tank battalions. They were also better armed and armored than some of their medium tanks. In the later part of 1943 and after, some German tank battalions were manned with assault guns, showing that the German army sometimes used them interchangeably. So there are a lot of counts out there on Kursk, but many of them concern me as they do not give the complete picture.

U.S. Army Doctrine and Future Warfare

Pre-war U.S. Army warfighting doctrine led to fielding the M10, M18 and M36 tank destroyers to counter enemy tanks. Their relatively ineffective performance against German panzers in Europe during World War II has been seen as the result of flawed thinking about tank warfare. [Wikimedia]

Two recently published articles on current U.S. Army doctrine development and the future of warfare deserve to be widely read:

“An Army Caught in the Middle Between Luddites, Luminaries, and the Occasional Looney,”

The first, by RAND’s David Johnson, is titled “An Army Caught in the Middle Between Luddites, Luminaries, and the Occasional Looney,” published by War on the Rocks.

Johnson begins with an interesting argument:

Contrary to what it says, the Army has always been a concepts-based, rather than a doctrine-based, institution. Concepts about future war generate the requirements for capabilities to realize them… Unfortunately, the Army’s doctrinal solutions evolve in war only after the failure of its concepts in its first battles, which the Army has historically lost since the Revolutionary War.

The reason the Army fails in its first battles is because its concepts are initially — until tested in combat — a statement of how the Army “wants to fight” and rarely an analytical assessment of how it “will have to fight.”

Starting with the Army’s failure to develop its own version of “blitzkrieg” after World War I, Johnson identified conservative organizational politics, misreading technological advances, and a stubborn refusal to account for the capabilities of potential adversaries as common causes for the inferior battlefield weapons and warfighting methods that contributed to its impressive string of lost “first battles.”

Conversely, Johnson credited the Army’s novel 1980s AirLand Battle doctrine as the product of an honest assessment of potential enemy capabilities and the development of effective weapon systems that were “based on known, proven technologies that minimized the risk of major program failures.”

“The principal lesson in all of this” he concluded, “is that the U.S. military should have a clear problem that it is trying to solve to enable it to innovate, and is should realize that innovation is generally not invention.” There are “also important lessons from the U.S. Army’s renaissance in the 1970s, which also resulted in close cooperation between the Army and the Air Force to solve the shared problem of the defense of Western Europe against Soviet aggression that neither could solve independently.”

“The US Army is Wrong on Future War”

The other article, provocatively titled “The US Army is Wrong on Future War,” was published by West Point’s Modern War Institute. It was co-authored by Nathan Jennings, Amos Fox, and Adam Taliaferro, all graduates of the School of Advanced Military Studies, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and currently serving U.S. Army officers.

They argue that

the US Army is mistakenly structuring for offensive clashes of mass and scale reminiscent of 1944 while competitors like Russia and China have adapted to twenty-first-century reality. This new paradigm—which favors fait accompli acquisitions, projection from sovereign sanctuary, and indirect proxy wars—combines incremental military actions with weaponized political, informational, and economic agendas under the protection of nuclear-fires complexes to advance territorial influence. The Army’s failure to conceptualize these features of the future battlefield is a dangerous mistake…

Instead, they assert that the current strategic and operational realities dictate a far different approach:

Failure to recognize the ascendancy of nuclear-based defense—with the consequent potential for only limited maneuver, as in the seventeenth century—incurs risk for expeditionary forces. Even as it idealizes Patton’s Third Army with ambiguous “multi-domain” cyber and space enhancements, the US Army’s fixation with massive counter-offensives to defeat unrealistic Russian and Chinese conquests of Europe and Asia misaligns priorities. Instead of preparing for past wars, the Army should embrace forward positional and proxy engagement within integrated political, economic, and informational strategies to seize and exploit initiative.

The factors they cite that necessitate the adoption of positional warfare include nuclear primacy; sanctuary of sovereignty; integrated fires complexes; limited fait accompli; indirect proxy wars; and political/economic warfare.

“Given these realities,” Jennings, Fox, and Taliaferro assert, “the US Army must adapt and evolve to dominate great-power confrontation in the nuclear age. As such, they recommend that the U.S. (1) adopt “an approach more reminiscent of the US Army’s Active Defense doctrine of the 1970s than the vaunted AirLand Battle concept of the 1980s,” (2) “dramatically recalibrate its approach to proxy warfare; and (3) compel “joint, interagency and multinational coordination in order to deliberately align economic, informational, and political agendas in support of military objectives.”

Future U.S. Army Doctrine: How It Wants to Fight or How It Has to Fight?

Readers will find much with which to agree or disagree in each article, but they both provide viewpoints that should supply plenty of food for thought. Taken together they take on a different context. The analysis put forth by Jenninigs, Fox, and Taliaferro can be read as fulfilling Johnson’s injunction to base doctrine on a sober assessment of the strategic and operational challenges presented by existing enemy capabilities, instead of as an aspirational concept for how the Army would prefer to fight a future war. Whether or not Jennings, et al, have accurately forecasted the future can be debated, but their critique should raise questions as to whether the Army is repeating past doctrinal development errors identified by Johnson.

Soviet Damaged versus Destroyed Tanks at Kursk

This is the other half of the comparison discussed here:

German Damaged versus Destroyed Tanks at Kursk

Here is the data I have for Kursk in July 1943 (from pages 1365, 1366, and 1367 of my Kursk book):

Unit…………….Tanks Destroyed……..Tanks Damaged……..Percent Destroyed

II TC                   91                               103                          47%

II GTC                82                               141                           37

X TC                   69                                39                           64

XVIII TC             37                               130                           22

XXIX TC           109                                 97                          53

III MC                132                                99                           54

V GMC              109                                50                           69

V GTC               131                                85                           61

VI TC                 118                                33                           78

XXXI TC            110                                70                           61

Truf Det.              23                                  6                           79

Tank Bdes         157                              164                           46

Tank Rgt            153                                64                           65

SP Art Rgts          58                                11                           84

Total                1,379                           1,092                           55%


There figures include assault guns and self-propelled artillery (SU-76s, SU-122s and SU-152s).

Amphitheater, 9 – 11 September 1943

There used to be an engagement called “The Amphitheater, 9-11 July 1943′ in our databases. It was in the Land Warfare Data Base (LWDB) and we moved it over to our Division-Level Engagement Data Base (DLEDB). We did revise it. It now consists of two engagements:

Amphitheater Beachhead, 9 September: Created for EPW Study by Richard Anderson on 30 September 1998.

Amphitheater (rev), 10-11 September: Extensively revised 30 October for EPW study by Richard Anderson. Original engagement no. 3940 deleted.

Amphitheater Beachhead:

Engagement No:    23002

Duration:                  1 Day

Front Width:             3.5 km

Force Name:            Br 56th Infantry Division       Ger KG Stempel, 16th PzD

Total Strength:         12,480                                   5,241

Total Armor:                    52                                        27

Artillery Pieces:             110                                        36

Total Casualties:           444                                      142

Armor Losses:                 10                                         3

Artillery Losses:                 4                                       14

Enemy Captured:            54                                     120

Amphitheater (rev):

Engagement No:      23005

Duration:                   2 Days

Front Width:              13 km

Force Name:             Br 56th Infantry Division       Ger KG Stempel (+), 16th PzD

Total Strength:          12,036                                  10,271

Total Armor:                     42                                         90

Artillery Pieces:              106                                         38

Total Casualties:         1,213                                       478

Armor Losses:                   7                                          44

Artillery Losses:                 1                                         —

Enemy Captured:            23                                        725

This is response to the discussion under this post:

More on the QJM/TNDM Italian Battles

The DLEDB consists of 752 division-level engagements from 1904 to 1991. There are 121 fields per engagement, including 5 text fields. It is programmed in Access. It is company proprietary.

Cost of Creating a Data Base

Dupuy’s Verities: Fortification

The Maginot Line was a 900-mile long network of underground bunkers, tunnels and concrete retractable gun batteries. Its heaviest defenses were located along the 280-mile long border with Germany. [WikiCommons]

The sixth of Trevor Dupuy’s Timeless Verities of Combat is:

Defenders’ chances of success are directly proportional to fortification strength.

From Understanding War (1987):

To some modern military thinkers this is a truism needing no explanation or justification. Others have asserted that prepared defenses are attractive traps to be avoided at all costs. Such assertions, however, either ignore or misread historical examples. History is so fickle that it is dangerous for historians to use such words as “always” or “never.” Nevertheless I offer a bold counter-assertion: never in history has a defense been weakened by the availability of fortifications; defensive works always enhance combat strength. At the very least, fortifications will delay an attacker and add to his casualties; at best, fortifications will enable the defender to defeat the attacker.

Anyone who suggests that breakthroughs of defensive positions in recent history demonstrate the bankruptcy of defensive posture and/or fortifications is seriously deceiving himself and is misinterpreting modern history. One can cite as historical examples the overcoming of the Maginot Line, the Mannerheim Line, the Siegfried Line, and the Bar Lev Line, and from these examples conclude that these fortifications failed. Such a conclusion is absolutely wrong. It is true that all of these fortifications were overcome, but only because a powerful enemy was willing to make a massive and costly effort. (Of course, the Maginot Line was not attacked frontally in 1940; the Germans were so impressed by its defensive strength that they bypassed it, and were threatening its rear when France surrendered.) All of these fortifications afforded time for the defenders to make new dispositions, to bring up reserves, or to mobilize. All were intended to obstruct, to permit the defenders to punish the attackers and, above all to delay; all were successful in these respects. The Bar Lev Line, furthermore, saved Israel from disastrous defeat, and became the base for a successful offensive.[p. 4]

Will field fortifications continue to enhance the combat power of land forces on future battlefields? This is an interesting question. While the character of existing types of fortifications—trenches, strongpoint, and bunkers—might change, seeking cover and concealment from the earth might become even more important.

Dr. Alexander Kott, Chief Scientist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, provided one perspective in a recently published paper titled “Ground Warfare in 2050: How It Might Look.” In it, Kott speculated about “tactical ground warfighting circa 2050, in a major conflict between technologically advanced peer competitors.”

Kott noted that on future battlefields dominated by sensor saturation and long-range precision fires, “Conventional entrenchments and other fortifications will become less effective when teams of intelligent munitions can maneuver into and within a trench or a bunker.” Light dismounted forces “will have limited, if any, protection either from antimissiles or armor (although they may be provided a degree of protection by armor deployed by their robotic helpers… Instead, they will use cluttered ground terrain to obtain cover and concealment. In addition, they will attempt to distract and deceive…by use of decoys.”

Heavy forces “capable of producing strong lethal effects—substantial in size and mounted on vehicles—will be unlikely to avoid detection, observation, and fires.” To mitigate continuous incoming precision fires, Kott envisions that heavy ground forces will employ a combination of cover and concealment, maneuver, dispersion, decoys, vigorous counter-ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) attacks, and armor, but will rely primarily “on extensive use of intelligent antimissiles (evolutions of today’s Active Protection Systems [APSs], Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar [C-RAM], Iron Dome, etc.)”

Conversely, Kott does not foresee underground cover and concealment disappearing from future battlefields. “To gain protection from intelligent munitions, extended subterranean tunnels and facilities will become important. This in turn will necessitate the tunnel-digging robotic machines, suitably equipped for battlefield mobility.” Not only will “large static assets such as supply dumps or munitions repair and manufacturing shops” be moved underground, but maneuver forces and field headquarters might conceivably rapidly dig themselves into below-ground fighting positions between operational bounds.

Comparing Force Ratios to Casualty Exchange Ratios

“American Marines in Belleau Wood (1918)” by Georges Scott [Wikipedia]

Comparing Force Ratios to Casualty Exchange Ratios
Christopher A. Lawrence

[The article below is reprinted from the Summer 2009 edition of The International TNDM Newsletter.]

There are three versions of force ratio versus casualty exchange ratio rules, such as the three-to-one rule (3-to-1 rule), as it applies to casualties. The earliest version of the rule as it relates to casualties that we have been able to find comes from the 1958 version of the U.S. Army Maneuver Control manual, which states: “When opposing forces are in contact, casualties are assessed in inverse ratio to combat power. For friendly forces advancing with a combat power superiority of 5 to 1, losses to friendly forces will be about 1/5 of those suffered by the opposing force.”[1]

The RAND version of the rule (1992) states that: “the famous ‘3:1 rule ’, according to which the attacker and defender suffer equal fractional loss rates at a 3:1 force ratio the battle is in mixed terrain and the defender enjoys ‘prepared ’defenses…” [2]

Finally, there is a version of the rule that dates from the 1967 Maneuver Control manual that only applies to armor that shows:

As the RAND construct also applies to equipment losses, then this formulation is directly comparable to the RAND construct.

Therefore, we have three basic versions of the 3-to-1 rule as it applies to casualties and/or equipment losses. First, there is a rule that states that there is an even fractional loss ratio at 3-to-1 (the RAND version), Second, there is a rule that states that at 3-to-1, the attacker will suffer one-third the losses of the defender. And third, there is a rule that states that at 3-to-1, the attacker and defender will suffer the same losses as the defender. Furthermore, these examples are highly contradictory, with either the attacker suffering three times the losses of the defender, the attacker suffering the same losses as the defender, or the attacker suffering 1/3 the losses of the defender.

Therefore, what we will examine here is the relationship between force ratios and exchange ratios. In this case, we will first look at The Dupuy Institute’s Battles Database (BaDB), which covers 243 battles from 1600 to 1900. We will chart on the y-axis the force ratio as measured by a count of the number of people on each side of the forces deployed for battle. The force ratio is the number of attackers divided by the number of defenders. On the x-axis is the exchange ratio, which is a measured by a count of the number of people on each side who were killed, wounded, missing or captured during that battle. It does not include disease and non-battle injuries. Again, it is calculated by dividing the total attacker casualties by the total defender casualties. The results are provided below:

As can be seen, there are a few extreme outliers among these 243 data points. The most extreme, the Battle of Tippennuir (l Sep 1644), in which an English Royalist force under Montrose routed an attack by Scottish Covenanter militia, causing about 3,000 casualties to the Scots in exchange for a single (allegedly self-inflicted) casualty to the Royalists, was removed from the chart. This 3,000-to-1 loss ratio was deemed too great an outlier to be of value in the analysis.

As it is, the vast majority of cases are clumped down into the corner of the graph with only a few scattered data points outside of that clumping. If one did try to establish some form of curvilinear relationship, one would end up drawing a hyperbola. It is worthwhile to look inside that clump of data to see what it shows. Therefore, we will look at the graph truncated so as to show only force ratios at or below 20-to-1 and exchange rations at or below 20-to-1.

Again, the data remains clustered in one corner with the outlying data points again pointing to a hyperbola as the only real fitting curvilinear relationship. Let’s look at little deeper into the data by truncating the data on 6-to-1 for both force ratios and exchange ratios. As can be seen, if the RAND version of the 3-to-1 rule is correct, then the data should show at 3-to-1 force ratio a 3-to-1 casualty exchange ratio. There is only one data point that comes close to this out of the 243 points we examined.

If the FM 105-5 version of the rule as it applies to armor is correct, then the data should show that at 3-to-1 force ratio there is a 1-to-1 casualty exchange ratio, at a 4-to-1 force ratio a 1-to-2 casualty exchange ratio, and at a 5-to-1 force ratio a 1-to-3 casualty exchange ratio. Of course, there is no armor in these pre-WW I engagements, but again no such exchange pattern does appear.

If the 1958 version of the FM 105-5 rule as it applies to casualties is correct, then the data should show that at a 3-to-1 force ratio there is 0.33-to-1 casualty exchange ratio, at a 4-to-1 force ratio a .25-to-1 casualty exchange ratio, and at a 5-to-1 force ratio a 0.20-to-5 casualty exchange ratio. As can be seen, there is not much indication of this pattern, or for that matter any of the three patterns.

Still, such a construct may not be relevant to data before 1900. For example, Lanchester claimed in 1914 in Chapter V, “The Principal of Concentration,” of his book Aircraft in Warfare, that there is greater advantage to be gained in modern warfare from concentration of fire.[3] Therefore, we will tap our more modern Division-Level Engagement Database (DLEDB) of 675 engagements, of which 628 have force ratios and exchange ratios calculated for them. These 628 cases are then placed on a scattergram to see if we can detect any similar patterns.

Even though this data covers from 1904 to 1991, with the vast majority of the data coming from engagements after 1940, one again sees the same pattern as with the data from 1600-1900. If there is a curvilinear relationship, it is again a hyperbola. As before, it is useful to look into the mass of data clustered into the corner by truncating the force and exchange ratios at 20-to-1. This produces the following:

Again, one sees the data clustered in the corner, with any curvilinear relationship again being a hyperbola. A look at the data further truncated to a 10-to-1 force or exchange ratio does not yield anything more revealing.

And, if this data is truncated to show only 5-to-1 force ratio and exchange ratios, one again sees:

Again, this data appears to be mostly just noise, with no clear patterns here that support any of the three constructs. In the case of the RAND version of the 3-to-1 rule, there is again only one data point (out of 628) that is anywhere close to the crossover point (even fractional exchange rate) that RAND postulates. In fact, it almost looks like the data conspires to make sure it leaves a noticeable “hole” at that point. The other postulated versions of the 3-to-1 rules are also given no support in these charts.

Also of note, that the relationship between force ratios and exchange ratios does not appear to significantly change for combat during 1600-1900 when compared to the data from combat from 1904-1991. This does not provide much support for the intellectual construct developed by Lanchester to argue for his N-square law.

While we can attempt to torture the data to find a better fit, or can try to argue that the patterns are obscured by various factors that have not been considered, we do not believe that such a clear pattern and relationship exists. More advanced mathematical methods may show such a pattern, but to date such attempts have not ferreted out these alleged patterns. For example, we refer the reader to Janice Fain’s article on Lanchester equations, The Dupuy Institute’s Capture Rate Study, Phase I & II, or any number of other studies that have looked at Lanchester.[4]

The fundamental problem is that there does not appear to be a direct cause and effect between force ratios and exchange ratios. It appears to be an indirect relationship in the sense that force ratios are one of several independent variables that determine the outcome of an engagement, and the nature of that outcome helps determines the casualties. As such, there is a more complex set of interrelationships that have not yet been fully explored in any study that we know of, although it is briefly addressed in our Capture Rate Study, Phase I & II.


[1] FM 105-5, Maneuver Control (1958), 80.

[2] Patrick Allen, “Situational Force Scoring: Accounting for Combined Arms Effects in Aggregate Combat Models,” (N-3423-NA, The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, 1992), 20.

[3] F. W. Lanchester, Aircraft in Warfare: The Dawn of the Fourth Arm (Lanchester Press Incorporated, Sunnyvale, Calif., 1995), 46-60. One notes that Lanchester provided no data to support these claims, but relied upon an intellectual argument based upon a gross misunderstanding of ancient warfare.

[4] In particular, see page 73 of Janice B. Fain, “The Lanchester Equations and Historical Warfare: An Analysis of Sixty World War II Land Engagements,” Combat Data Subscription Service (HERO, Arlington, Va., Spring 1975).

German Damaged versus Destroyed Tanks at Kursk

In his last post Niklas Zetterling notes that around 20% of German tanks lost in battle were destroyed. Here is the data I have for Kursk in July 1943 (pages 1336, 1337, and 1339 of my Kursk book):

Unit……………….Tanks Destroyed……..Tanks Damaged……..Percent Destroyed

3rd PzD                  12                                  70                            15%

GD PzGrD              26                                144                            15

Panthers                 42                                188                            18

11th PzD                 13                                124                              9

LSSAH PzGrD        20                                138                            13

DR SS PzGrD         18                                129                            12

T SS PzGrD            18                                121                            13

6th PzD                   18                                  87                            17

7th PzD                   26                                103                            20

19th PzD                 23                                  89                            21

503rd “T” Bn             5                                  70                              7

StuG units                 5                                  47                           10

Total                      226                              1310                           15%


Note that my count of tanks damaged/destroyed include those that broke down in combat. This is not an insignificant portion. It does not include tanks that were damaged or broken down during the day but were back in the action before they reported towards the end of the day a count of tanks ready-for-action. Rarely do we have reports of tanks damaged, mostly just reports of the number ready-for-action each day.

These figures include assault guns. Also, these figures include Marders (self-propelled anti-tank guns), which is why they differ slightly from the figures in my previous posts.

The units are listed from left to right (west to east) as they were deployed on 5 July 1943. They were organized into three panzer corps.

Also see:

III Panzer Corps Tank Loss Reports 9-21 July 1943


The 10th Panzer Division Tank Losses in October 1941

The 10. Pz.Div. was one of the spearheads in Operation Taifun, the German attempt to capture Moscow in October 1941. Its tank component was the Pz.Rgt. 7, whose war diary has survived, in file (BA-MA RH 39/99). All data presented below is taken from that source.

On 1 October, the panzer regiment had 41 Pz II, 82 Pz III, 19 Pz IV and 10 Bef.Wg. operational. Ten days later this had shrunk to 29 Pz II, 66 Pz III, 21 Pz IV and 8 Bef.Wg All in all, a reduction from 152 to 124, despite the slight increase in the number of Pz IV operational.

On 21 October it had been reduced to 22 Pz II, 35 Pz III, 12 Pz IV and 6 command tanks. It seems that the workshops did manage to put tanks back in running order, as the number of operational tanks rose to 22 Pz II, 43 Pz III, 14 Pz IV and 10 command tanks on 1 November.

It would have been good to compare this to the daily tank losses (irrevocable losses), as they are given in a table in the annexes. Unfortunately, the copy I have received does not extend to the left margin. Thus, I can only see the month, not the date, which is given in the leftmost column of the table. However, it can be concluded that the losses in October amounted to 8 Pz II, 15 Pz III, 1 Pz IV and 1 Command tank. It should be noted that the table gives all tank losses from the beginning of Operation Barbarossa to April 1942, even showing in which company each individual tank loss occurred.

We could see that between 1 October and 21 October, the number of operational tanks shrunk from 152 to 75, a reduction of 77. During the entire month of October 25 tanks were lost irrevocably. Most likely, some of those were lost after 21 October and also some vehicles were most likely repaired between 1 and 21 October. We saw that the number of operational tanks rose by 14 between 21 October and 1 November. Given a similar effort from the repair services, around 25 tanks could have been repaired between 1 and 21 October.

With this in mind, it would seem that for each German tank destroyed, around 4 were rendered temporarily inoperable. This is a ratio consistent with other operations, as long as the Germans were able to tow away their damaged tanks (which includes tanks suffering from mechanical problems).