Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Effectiveness of German Infantry Anti-tank Measures

VIF2NE poster panzeralex dug up some figures from Guderian's Inspector General of the Tank Forces archives on the effectiveness of Panzerfausts, which are of considerable interest. Here are the figures:

Total number of kill claims on the Eastern Front for February of 1944: 1219
Of those:
  • Tanks: 397
  • Tank destroyers (StuG and Marder): 355
  • AT guns: 291
  • Other (artillery, mines, etc): 114
  • Handheld anti-tank weapons: 62
    • Panzerfaust: 35
    • Panzerschreck: 19
    • Haft H3: 5
    • Teller mines: 2
    • Hand grenades:1
For March, data is only given for hand-held anti-tank weapons. 
Total: 105
  • Panzerfaust: 47
  • Panzerschreck: 23
  • Teller mines: 18
  • Haft H3: 13
  • Hand grenades: 3
  • Flare gun: 1
In February, the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck are responsible for the vast majority (87%) of infantry kill claims, but a very small number of overall claims (4%). This is consistent with Soviet reports that only 3% of tanks of the 1st Belorussian Front were destroyed by these weapons

Another interesting note is that the magnetic Haft H3 mines are responsible for a tiny amount of casualties, making one question why the Germans bothered developing anti-magnetic mine Zimmert coating when their mines were so ineffective even against Zimmerit-free vehicles.

A year later, during the Budapest Offensive Operation, the effectiveness of Panzerfausts was, shall we say, greatly reduced:

"According to data from the Armoured and Motorized Forces of the 2nd Ukrainian Front, in February of 1945, out of 160 total tanks and SPGs damaged in combat, two were damaged by Panzerfausts, composing a total of 0.5-0.6% of total losses. The damage caused by Panzerfausts was as follows:
  • One T-34 tank had its track broken from 50 meters.
  • One T-34 tank was hit in the side armour plate, resulting in only a crack. Range: 50 meters"

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