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Stats for Soviet casualties during Operation Barbarossa up til the end of July 1941?

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  • Stats for Soviet casualties during Operation Barbarossa up til the end of July 1941?

    Hi all,

    I hope you don't mind me posting this question here. I'm new to this forum, but I wonder if anyone could give me some pointers for some research I am doing on Operation Barbarossa.

    Could anyone suggest some good sources (books, etc - not websites) that provide statistics of Soviet losses (casualties/injured/prisoners) during Operation Barbarossa for the period up til mid-July 1941/end of July 1941? I've found some widely divergent figures for this period, and I'm not sure if there is an authoritative source I could go to to get this kind of information...

    Any tips would be much appreciated.



  • #2

    here is the best source - Russia and the USSR in wars of XX Century. Casualties of the Armed Forces. Statistical Research


    • #3
      here is what you want

      Summer-Autumn Campaign of 1941 (22.6-4.12.1941)

      166 days

      Army 2,841,900
      Navy 17,100

      Wounded and Ill
      Army 1,145,800
      Navy 6,900

      Army 3,987,700
      Navy 24,000

      Winter Campaign of 1941-42 (5.12.1941-30.4.1942)

      147 days

      Army 1,249,000
      Navy 8,500

      Wounded and Ill
      Army 1,602,700
      Navy 10,900

      Army 2,851,700
      Navy 19,400


      • #4
        I agree with Andrey, Krivoshein is the best single source for Soviet casualties (his book is also available in English translation if you do not read Russian) BUT to be complete, it is also true that there has been a lot of 'commentary' on Krivoshein's figures, with many Russian writers arguing that his figures are incomplete and leave out quite a large number of Soviet casualties.
        My own suspicion is that Krivoshein's figures are accurate for the official military total of casualties, but that a great many Soviet casualties were left out of those figures for various reasons. For instance, in June-July 1941 many reservists were still on their way to their units when the mobilization areas and the units they were supposed to report to were caught in encirclement battles in Byelorussia or overrun by fast-moving panzer groups in the Baltic and the western Ukraine. For one thing, this would explain why the German totals of prisoners taken almost always exceed the totals of official Soviet casualties - the Germans were rounding up every man of military age in the area, whether he had reported to a mobilized unit or not.
        Another point is that casualties do not directly relate to daily losses. Many men listed as 'missing' the day after a major combat action may turn up to be merely separated and rejoin the unit later. When I got a chance to go over records from some Soviet rifle divisions at Kursk, this was a major source of confusion: the real casualties suffered by a unit had to be totaled up at the end of the battle, because during the battle entire regiments got separated from the divisions and were listed as casualties on daily reports. A number of groups that were surrounded and later made their way back through the German lines in 1941 were probably counted as 'casualties' in June-July 1941, and then added back into the lists in August - for example, General Boldin's group that hiked out the Bialystok encirclement.
        Finally, units do not always report all their casualties. In both the Soviet and German armies (and the US Army, for that matter) men who did not have to be evacuated out of the unit were frequently not reported as casualties, but simply treated by the regimental/division medical personnel and returned to duty in a few days without ever being reported. In the records of the 1st Panzer Division in October 1941, for example, the difference between the total casualties reported by the end of the month and the daily losses from combat only were almost 50% different - largely because of men being treated in the unit and returned to duty without being listed on the daily reports.
        Finding a definite list and total of casualties by unit for an entire battle can be a career in itself: the very definition of a casualty or type of casualty is not the same from army to army, and the methods of reporting them (and the ability of units to report them when, for instance, they are in the process of being destroyed) vary as well. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: I was a First Sergeant in the US Army for over 5 years, and on no morning did the number of men present for duty in my unit match the number of men assigned - and that was in peacetime! The difficulties of finding out what a unit actually takes into battle compared to what it has supposedly 'on hand' or 'assigned' and what it has left after the battle are enormous.
        Please take all of that into consideration whenever you read a supposedly definitive 'official' account of casualties or strength figures: my experience as a professional soldier and a military historian is that none of them are completely accurate.


        • #5
          Many of Sharposhnikov's words are correct.

          But how to count? What is the decision?

          There is no more exact book than Krivosheev.

          Maybe it is not super exact but there is no more exact source.

          In some cases it is very difficult to define casualties - for example, non-armed mobilized persons in the Ukraine and Byelorussia, who were moving to their units (in civil clothes) when they were captured or killed by Germans - who were they - soldiers or civilians? They had neither weapon nor uniform but they had already been mobilized.

          Many persons, who criticize Krivosheev, do it for their own purposes. For example, Boris Sokolov, an anti-Soviet biased historian, tries to show that Stalin regime lost huge amount of Soviet people so he tries to count as much as possible and his numbers are really huge. But is it correct to trust to him amd to persons like him?

          Krivosheev made his research in the last years of the Soviet Union when the Soviet people wanted to know the truth and his research was made to get the truth.

          To the point, the current official number of the total number of Soviet people who died in WWII is 27,000,000 including militarues and civilians was taken from Krivosheev book (IIRC)


          • #6
            I had read somewhere that after the war Stalin created a secret comission to investigate about the number of deaths. The account was about 15 millions of military + civilians ? Someone had more info about this ?
            There are no Nazis in Ukraine. Idiots


            • #7
              Originally posted by Emtos View Post
              I had read somewhere that after the war Stalin created a secret comission to investigate about the number of deaths. The account was about 15 millions of military + civilians ? Someone had more info about this ?
              I haven't heard of it


              • #8
                According to the notes in Krivoshein (the Russian version, I'm not sure about the English language edition) there were three different groups or commissions that went through the military records after the war trying to verify the casualties: it was their findings that form the bulk of Krivoshein's book. As I remember the note, though, these were military groups/commissions, not prompted by higher political authority.


                • #9
                  Thanks for all your suggestions and info - really helpful! I also hadn't realised all the contention surrounding casualty statistics, although it makes sense...


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