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TOE for maintenance company 1943 (in tank division) and perfomance metrics

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  • amvas
    replied
    Some figures for tank losses and repair figures in different operations I found in the book "Stroitelstvo i boyevoye primeneniye sovetskikh tankovykh vojsk v gody velikoy otechestvenoi voyny", Moscow, 1979


    For the Belgorod-Kharkov operation for example figures are the next (see attached table)
    Time period: 29 days
    Overall losses: 185
    irreparable: 51.4%
    Average losses per day (overall/irrepairable): 6.4%/1.8%
    Repairable losses (Combat damages/breakages and stuck in mud): 55.5%/44.5%

    regards
    Alex

    Leave a comment:


  • amvas
    replied
    Originally posted by redsoldier View Post
    Thanks a bunch, I've written it down and will look into them! THANKS!
    A small correction.
    Surname of the author is ZAMULIN

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  • redsoldier
    replied
    Originally posted by amvas View Post
    Before writing it take a look at Zaumiln's series of boks. It contains excellent details..

    Regards
    Alex
    Thanks a bunch, I've written it down and will look into them! THANKS!

    Leave a comment:


  • amvas
    replied
    Originally posted by redsoldier View Post
    really, really fantastic material here guys, I think I'm going to write all this down for use in my next book, which will be about Kursk.

    In a similar vein of referance, If you haven't read it, there is an excellant book called "Trhough the Maelstrom" by Boris Gorbachevsky, and while he was primarily infantry, he does discuss the recovery troops several times throughout the book.
    Before writing it take a look at Zaumiln's series of boks. It contains excellent details..

    Regards
    Alex

    Leave a comment:


  • redsoldier
    replied
    really, really fantastic material here guys, I think I'm going to write all this down for use in my next book, which will be about Kursk.

    In a similar vein of referance, If you haven't read it, there is an excellant book called "Trhough the Maelstrom" by Boris Gorbachevsky, and while he was primarily infantry, he does discuss the recovery troops several times throughout the book.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kardon
    replied
    Originally posted by pamak View Post
    First of all thank you all for the replies.

    Regarding the quote i point, i wonder if this calculation comes from daily reports about tank status.
    No, they are real repair rates are taken from A. I . Radzievskii's book Tankovyi udar, Moscow, 1977, p. 228, and V. A. Syropyatov's Tankotekhnicheskoe obespechenie..., Moscow, 1981. Remember that these are only averages, and like all averages they hide a great deal of variability. For example, during the Sandomir-Silesia operation the 4th Guards Tank Army daily repaired between zero and 68 tanks. The average was 19 tanks per day (Syropyatov, p. 243).

    If it does, the problem with this approach is that it does not capture the real productivity of tank repair formations.
    For example, i am pretty sure (see end of my post) that there is a considerable amount of damaged tanks (from all cause) put back into action in less than 24 hours.
    If this amount equals to the number of tanks put out of action in the same time period (one day), then two successive daily reports will give the same number of tanks ready for action , or in repair.

    Obviously the two reports combined together, do not show that there was "zero repaired tanks" and we can not use them to deduct conclusions about the number of repairs which took place in between those daily reports( or the number of tanks put out of action during the same period).
    You are quite right. As long as combat is going on there is a constant stream of tanks going out of service due to battle damage and technical reasons. But as long as there are tanks to repair, then there is an opposite flow of tanks coming back to the combat units. This is why an effective tank repair system is absolutely essential to an armored unit. So yes, knowing the number of operational tanks on two consecutive days tells you nothing about the number of tanks destroyed, damaged, or repaired.

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  • pamak
    replied
    Very broadly speaking, and taking into account that the data is far from complete, the average tank/SU repair rate in the tank armies in early/mid-1943 was around 25 per day. By mid-1944 this increased to around 35 per day, and in early 1945 it reached approximately 40 per day. Naturally, there were a lot of variables
    First of all thank you all for the replies.

    Regarding the quote i point, i wonder if this calculation comes from daily reports about tank status.

    If it does, the problem with this approach is that it does not capture the real productivity of tank repair formations.
    For example, i am pretty sure (see end of my post) that there is a considerable amount of damaged tanks (from all cause) put back into action in less than 24 hours.
    If this amount equals to the number of tanks put out of action in the same time period (one day), then two successive daily reports will give the same number of tanks ready for action , or in repair.

    Obviously the two reports combined together, do not show that there was "zero repaired tanks" and we can not use them to deduct conclusions about the number of repairs which took place in between those daily reports( or the number of tanks put out of action during the same period).




    I do not have data for wwii, but i have a document from US general staff army college during cold war period , that gives a rule of thumb for logistics regarding the distribution of repair jobs at different levels.
    Without having the document in front of me, from what i recall ,the lowest level is jobs needing 0-4 hours for completion .
    The mid level is jobs requiring 4-12 hours
    The next level is jobs requiring more than 12 hours.
    Roughly speaking, it allocates 1/3 of total repairs to each level.

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  • Michate
    replied
    Exactly right: the totals of various kinds of losses will be different based on the level at which they are compiled. At the lowest unit level (independent regiment or brigade) 'permanent loss' tanks are any tanks blown up, burned out, left behind on a battlefield controlled by the enemy, OR evacuated to higher maintenance level: Corps, Army, Front, or back to the factory (the last was actually pretty common in the Wehrmacht)
    For the German evacuation to factories was common only during the first years of the so called Blitzkrieg campaigns, but the system was modified when longer duration of the war became clear.

    Thus, in 1943-44, only 5% of all damages were repaired at factories in Germany, while the rest was repaired at the front.

    Data and some figures can be found in Mueller-Hillebrand, "Das Heer", and Zetterling, "Kursk 1943".

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  • Sharposhnikov
    replied
    Exactly right: the totals of various kinds of losses will be different based on the level at which they are compiled. At the lowest unit level (independent regiment or brigade) 'permanent loss' tanks are any tanks blown up, burned out, left behind on a battlefield controlled by the enemy, OR evacuated to higher maintenance level: Corps, Army, Front, or back to the factory (the last was actually pretty common in the Wehrmacht). At Front or Army level, a lot smaller percentage of tanks are going to be evacuated further, so that component of 'permanent' losses is smaller. On the other hand, the higher headquarters may take several days to get all the information from the lower units, so the numbers may change in daily/weekly reports to higher headquarters without any input from the enemy!
    This last effect is particularly noticeable in personnel casualties. In researching losses at Kursk, I found that the daily loss reports from the various mech brigades or rifle divisions were very inaccurate because they counted every man not present as 'unrecoverable losses', because they weren't wounded or sick, and therefore could not be returned to duty. Well, in numerous cases they were part of a group that got surrounded or cut off by a German advance, and after several days slipped through the German lines and returned to their unit. Thus, the 'losses' in personnel would go up and down throughout the battle without necessarily any direct reference to replacements or combat casualties on a given day. You just about have to wait until the last report from the end of the battle (or even a week or two afterwards) to find out what the actual losses were.
    And finally, there is the added complication that some units were pretty cavalier, even negligent, in their reporting of losses to higher headquarters. This takes two forms: in the Soviet Army, even in 1943, there are units which, from their reports, have staff people that are not too good at their jobs: reports are late, they are missing data that higher headquarters required, they have to be amended later with supplemental reports, etc. In the German Army, there are some units who simply consider themselves 'elite' and don't feel any obligation to let the supposedly controlling HQ know exactly what they are doing. Gross Deutschland is a prime example of this, and the 48th Panzer Corps War Diary for Kursk is full of complaints from the Corps' staff about late or missing reports from that division.
    All of which keeps the whole statistical part of the historical narrative from being simple for the historian or the reader...

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  • Kardon
    replied
    Originally posted by Sharposhnikov View Post
    Now, some of those 'permanent' losses were the evacuated tanks, which, once they are out of the unit are counted as a loss by the unit, because they may or may not be re-issued to the unit after being repaired. A certain proportion of those evacuated tanks will, in fact, be written off or cannibalized for parts to make other vehicles servicable.
    So, for example, would that would mean that a total of irretrievable (bezvozvratnyi) losses reported by tank corps, independent tank brigades/regiments, etc. might add up to more than the number of irretrievable losses reported by the front because they might be repaired at a front-level repair facility (like a PTRZ)?

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  • Sharposhnikov
    replied
    Here starts the discussion of what constitutes a 'lost' or 'destroyed' tank. I have no doubt that the figures you cited are correct - from the viewpoint of the Voronezh Front. From the viewpoint of the individual tank units (regiment, brigade, corps) it's a little different:
    Voronezh and the reinforcing units from Southwestern and Steppe Fronts and the individual STAVKA reserve units committed a total of 2694 tanks and self-propelled guns by 18 July. The separate units counted 1773 of those as 'lost' from all causes, and the individual units returned 769 tanks and SP guns to service by 18 July, leaving the individual units with 'permanent' losses of 1004 tanks/SP guns.
    Now, some of those 'permanent' losses were the evacuated tanks, which, once they are out of the unit are counted as a loss by the unit, because they may or may not be re-issued to the unit after being repaired. A certain proportion of those evacuated tanks will, in fact, be written off or cannibalized for parts to make other vehicles servicable.
    What is important, in evaluating the results of combat, is that at the end of 18 July 1943 Voronezh Front's tank units had 1690 tanks and self-propelled still in the units and, in various degrees, operational. That means that the units had received some tanks from reserve stocks already, and repaired a number of tanks more than once during the fiercest days of armored combat, from 5 to 13 July. Short of getting individual maintenance records that record each tank by service numbers and designations, more details are going to be hard to get, even out of the archives.

    Incidentally, evaluating German tank units runs into the same problems. Vehicles evacuated back to Germany for major repair are a permanent loss to the unit, but are not counted that way by the Wehrmacht. Thus, you get claims that Germany lost only a handful of Tigers throughout Kursk, yet on 18 - 20 July in the German panzer units there are three times that number of Tigers missing! Likewise, as the war goes on and spare parts become more and more scarce, you get strange situations in which, for example, in 1944 SS Leibstandarte in one operation counts 130 tanks in the unit but only 15 servicable and operating on the battlefield. In these situations, 'combat' strength and total strength become completely divorced from each other, and that situation holds true for tank units throughout the war.

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  • Kardon
    replied
    Originally posted by Sharposhnikov View Post
    My preliminary calculations are that up to 75% of the Soviet tanks at Kursk were not recoverable or repairable because of catastrophic secondary explosions (turrets blown off, hull in fragments, etc) or fire that burned out the whole vehicle. This probably means that in many cases the repair units were not working to capacity because there just weren't that many vehicles getting back to be repaired.
    This is surprising. According to Soviet figures, during the defensive phase (July 5-20, 1943) the Voronezh Front evacuated 442 tanks/SUs and repaired 1,323, an average of 22 and 83 per day, respectively. Granted, some vehicles were repaired more than once, but a 75% total loss rate seems quite high.

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  • Kardon
    replied
    Very broadly speaking, and taking into account that the data is far from complete, the average tank/SU repair rate in the tank armies in early/mid-1943 was around 25 per day. By mid-1944 this increased to around 35 per day, and in early 1945 it reached approximately 40 per day. Naturally, there were a lot of variables.

    The Soviets found that during a battle the only real source of tank reinforcements was the pool of damaged tanks; new tanks tended to arrive only during rest and refitting periods.

    As long as repair units were able to repair all or most of the tanks which were damaged, a tank unit was able to maintain its strength, only slowly weakening due to irrecoverable losses and the time it took to repair tanks.

    The faster a tank unit advanced, the farther behind the repair units lagged and the more time they had to spend moving to keep up. Both factors reduced the number of tanks which could be repaired, and if a unit advanced fast and far enough, eventually it was forced to stop due to a lack of tanks.

    Retreat was potentially a disaster for a tank unit. With a limited number evacuation vehicles, most damaged tanks had to be abandoned on the field never to be repaired. Loss of the pool of damaged tank resulted in a dramatic reduction in tank strength.

    Operational pauses were important to tank units to allow their repair units to catch up and clear the backlog of tanks to be repaired. This, and the fact that it did not retreat and lose its damaged tank pool, is why the 5th Guards Tank Army was able to reconstitute itself after the battle at Prokhorovka.

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  • Sharposhnikov
    replied
    According to the Shtat 010/10 issued for the tank division in 1940 (there was another shtat or modification of this one issued in early 1941, but I don't have all the details on that one yet), the division had a separate "Recovery-Repair Battalion" with 494 officers and men and, in addition, each tank regiment had a "Recovery Company" of 181 officers and men. The problem is, in 1941 all of these 'recovery-repair' units were woefully short of equipment and trained men, so even if the 'norms' for their operation were available, they would be completely useless to assess their actual capabilities.
    Later, all the 'recovery-repair' capabilities remained concentrated well above the company-battalion level. One of the great and unheralded (by historians) change in the tank and mechanized corps in early 1943, in fact, was the provision of 2 Recovery-Repair Battalions in each corps: one strictly for tanks, and one for all other equipment. As a result, Rotmistrov bragged that the 29th Tank Corps in the weeks after it got mauled at Prokhorovka was repairing "22 tanks a day". Problem is, because he was making a point about exceptional capability, we can't be sure what the normal rate of repair was.
    From the figures I've gotten out of archive material on Kursk concerning tank strengths, it looks like most of the tank regiments and brigades could expect to get 2 - 5 tanks a day back out of the repair shops at Corps or Army level. Problem is, in most cases the number coming out depends on the number getting back to the shops, so there is a huge 'X' factor in calculating actual day by day capabilities: did they control at least part of the battlefield to recover tanks, and did they face Tigers or other heavy antitank guns that burned out most of the tanks and left them unrepairable? My preliminary calculations are that up to 75% of the Soviet tanks at Kursk were not recoverable or repairable because of catastrophic secondary explosions (turrets blown off, hull in fragments, etc) or fire that burned out the whole vehicle. This probably means that in many cases the repair units were not working to capacity because there just weren't that many vehicles getting back to be repaired.

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  • The Exorcist
    replied
    Good question, I am a bit disapointed that nobody has stepped up yet.

    A Russian Tank Company has 3 platoons of three tanks each, plus the commander's tank. Their support was minimal, if it existed at all. Those assets were mostly found at Regiment or Brigade level.

    German Companies varied from 21 tanks in the beginning to 17 or even 14 tanks towards the end. A German Battalion had 65 tanks, more then double the number in a Russian Battalion.

    Im sorry I can't go into more detail right now, maybe somebody will take up where I left off.

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