Wednesday 21 May 2014

Cheating at Statistics 7: Korner the Conjurer

I could spend the rest of my life cranking out "Cheating at Statistics" articles by simply comparing kill claims from Tiger battalions (especially the SS ones) to the actual casualties suffered by the other side, so I'll limit myself to particularly interesting ones. For instance Karl Körner, a truly amazing tank commander that destroyed some astronomical amount of tanks. Let's take a look at Tigers in Combat II to see what Schneider has for us on this outstanding individual and his unit.

"18 April 1945: Blocking positions are occupied on a road from Protzel to Bollersdorf (at Ernsthof). An enemy armour assault originating from Grunow is repelled; sixty-four enemy tanks and one Tiger II are knocked out.

19 April 1945: ...
four enemy tanks knocked out
On the road to Strassberg, a Josef Stalin company is lined up; at the edge of Bollersdorf more than 100 T-34/85s are crowded together. He opens the engagement by knocking out the lead and trail Joseph Stalin tanks...the three Tigers wipe out the T-34/85s. They then dispatch the remaining Josef Stalins....
...In the late afternoon, the 3 Tigers are attacked by around thirty T-34s...all the enemy tanks are put out of action.
...more Josef Stalins restart their advance and are knocked out..."

The amazing adventures of Korner's Tigers keep going, but I'll stop here. Wow, what  a feat, 130 T-34s, over a company of IS-2s (at least seven tanks) and then 64 of some unspecified tanks. That's over two hundred vehicles! Let's see who the unfortunate sods were that received such a brutal punishment.

CAMD RF 233-2356-776 (fragment)

The 5th Shock Army is shown rolling through Bollersdorf and Strassberg. The only other units around are infantry, and even they were too far north to run into Korner. It's these guys he fought for sure. 

Let's take a look at the composition of the 5th Shock Army. In 1945, it included the 26th Guards Infantry Corps, 9th Infantry Corps, 32nd Infantry Corps, and 11th Tank Corps. Aha, tanks! Let's see what that unit is composed of. The 11th Tank Corps consists of the 20th, 36th, and 65th Tank Brigades.

Uh-oh, there is already a problem! I don't see a single Guards Independent Heavy Tank Breakthrough Battalion in the area, and that is the only unit that would even have IS tanks. That claim is out. 

Let's keep going. A Tank Brigade each has a Tank Battalion, 21 tanks apiece. That means, at maximum strength, the 5th Shock Army would possess 189 tanks. It is unclear where Korner found at least 12 more tanks to destroy. 

Now, maybe there were a handful of double claims, nothing too unusual. Let's see what the 5th Shock Army has to say about the battles of April 18th and 19th.

"By the end of April 18th, 1945, tank units bypassed this system of lakes and canals, and reached a more favourable terrain for maneuvers. By 21:00, they reached the Schultzendorf-Batszlow-Reichenberg line.
Developing the offensive, and fiercely fighting the enemy that was determined to not let tanks through the forests north of Straussberg, tank units burst into the forest at 21:00 on April 19th, and reached Steinbeck, Bizov, and Blumental."

That's it. No mention of enemy tanks at all. The conclusions section whines a little bit about Panzerfausts and Panzerschrecks, but that's it. The 5th Shock Army ran over the 103rd SS Heavy Tank Battalion in a single day, and didn't even notice.


  1. Did you remember to count the 50th Gds Hvy Tank Regiment within the 11th Tank Corps and the 11th and 67th Gds Heavy Tank Brigade.

    I grant you that this would still make tbe full claim something like over 2/3rds of their tank strength and hard to brush off. But some of it might have happened.

    1. Tankfront says that it wasn't a part of the 5th Shock Army until May of 1945.

  2. hmm, on axishistory forum there was a post with reference from "The Great Patriotic War. The Battle of Berlin" Vol. 15(4-5) which shows the losses of the units from the 1st Byelorussian front during April 1945 and includes the 11th Tank Corps monthly losses. They apparently lost 5 IS-2 and 14 damaged during April

    either way Korner's claims are still... a tad exaggerated.

    1. A tad exagerated? That's like me saying I had great fun sleeping with Beyoncé, especially since my girlfriend Emma Watson is fine with it :P ;)

      But well, I lie with statistics all the time, but I try to be less obvious ;)

    2. I'll correct myself, it's not the monthly losses of the 11th Tank Corps, its the losses from 16-22nd of April which constituted of 50 tanks lost due to gunfire

  3. Individual claims are.... just that, claims. Often, claims were reduced appreciably in the cause of events higher up in the chain of command. A claim is not verified and a lesser indication of inflicted losses than a credited claim.
    Körner did not even claim that many tanks. His files report only 11 destroyed tanks for the day with more than 30 other "hit". Secondary accounts inflated the original claiming a lot by -in part associating kills from other claimants to Körner´s action.
    So let´s take a look into what WAS claimed on 19th of April 1945 before checking the losses:

    Schw. Pz.Abt.503, equipped with TIGER Ausf. B claimed 200 tanks of which around 100 were creditted. There were some more tanks claimed by infantery and StuG´s present but their numbers were very low and can be ignored. The battles around and north of Strausberg were among the principal areas of fighting on the day in this sector for Hgr. Weichsel and 1st Belorussian front. The defensives in the south at the Seelow heights were already penetrated, though some intensive evasive fighting continued there.

    Now the disposition. SS PzAbt. 503 had different positions, ranging from prepared defensive positions near Grunow to north-east of Klosterdorf. It was in the area of the 5th Schock Army´s main axis of advance to the west. North to it the 3rd Schock Army advanced to west. Both Shock Armies were supported by elements of the 2nd Guards Tank Army. The 3rd Shock Army received support from the 1st Mechanized Corps, the 5fth Shock Army received support by the 12th Guards Tank Corps (Teljakov),in direction Grunow. The 12th GTC had crossed the Alte Oder on april 17th and was the spearhead of the 5th Shock Army. Further, the 5fth Shock Army received support from the 11th Tank Corps and the 301st Rifle Division was augmented with the 220th Tank Brigade. These units, 11th TC, 12th GTC and 22th OTB are the formations principally engaged by PzAbt.503 on this day. The initial action took part North-East of Klosterdorf in firing direction towards Prötzel and Grunersdorf. The map shown here is just too small to cover the area of interest. The preselection of units in this article is manipulative and incomplete.
    Bollerdorf was subject to fighting during a local counterattack.

    Bottomline, WHAT WAS CLAIMED AS TANK KILL on 19th?
    Hgr. Weichsel credited on 19th of April the destruction of 226 enemy tanks/SPG to it´s various units, SS PzAbt.503 being one of them, which received the lion share on this day (around 100 tank kills credited).
    The opposing 1st Belorussion Front alone admitted the loss of 189 tanks on this day, Among them 105 fully burned out, and 76 further tanks knocked out with various degrees of damage with the balance of 8 tanks lost to non-combat related causes. The combat losses were in fact larger than those on the 16th of april, indicating the severity of the fighting.
    The 181 confirmed tank losses of the 1st Belor. Front explain 80.1% of all credited tank kills of Hgr. Weichsel. The rest are losses of the 2nd Belorussian Front also opposing Hgr. Weichsel and a quite moderate overclaim.

    addendum: It´s not "Strassberg" but "Strausberg".

    1. The opposing 1st Belorussion Front alone admitted the loss of 189 tanks on this day, Among them 105 fully burned out, and 76 further tanks knocked out with various degrees of damage with the balance of 8 tanks lost to non-combat related causes. The combat losses were in fact larger than those on the 16th of april, indicating the severity of the fighting.

      For the *whole front*. What, Korner's Tigers could fly all over the front in a single day?

    2. They don´t. What is important, however, is to note that the number admitted lost (189 burned out +76 knocked out =265)by 1st Belorussian Front is not in disagreement with the number of tanks credited as knocked out on this day (=226) by Hgr. Weichsel. If anything, the tank kill number recorded by Hgr. Weichsel- which DOES INCLUDE the 503.schw. Abt. awarded claims -was conservative and actually remains to be 15% below the level of tank losses suffered by the 1st Belorussian on this day.
      The 1st Belorussian Front was suffering more losses on this day than Hgr.Weichsel supposedly knew.

  4. addendum 2: Strength of the 5th Shock Army on April 16th:

    9 Infantery Divisions
    14 Tank Regiments
    6 Heavy Tank Regiments
    3 SPG Regiments
    1 Heavy SPG Regiment
    1 Armored mine clearing Rgt

  5. Careful investigation revealed that the 11th TC was NOT attached to the 5th Shock Army at all on april 19th. Informations suggesting this to be the case articulated in this article are in error. The 11th TC was attached to 1st Guards Tank Army attacking from the sector of the 8th Guards Army advance.

    The 5th Shock Army was therefore principally supported by the premium formation of the reinforced 2nd Guards Tank Army to affect a breakthrough, specifically by the 12th GTC (48th, 49th, 66th Tank Brigades, 45th Gds Mech. Brigade, 79th GTRegt), by the 9th GTC (not certain whether or not involved in the area of Strausberg) and additionally since 18th of april by the transfer of the 11th GTC from the 1st GTA to the 5th Shock Army after the 5th Shock Armies breakthrough at Batzow, all of these principal three Guards Tank Corps were indeed in possession of IS-2 tanks.

    The 2nd GTA and the 5th SA advanced on 18th of April into the gap of the german lines at Batzow and the SS PzGr.Div. NORDLAND with PzAbt.503 had to be committed to contain the breakthrough. The fighting on the 19th are the principal result of the clash between this reserve division and the reinforced 2nd GTA and 5th SA.

  6. Some further observations on losses in the Berlin operation based upon soviet primary sources for the 5th Shock Army and the 2nd GTA confirm massive IS-losses did in fact occur concentrated in the IS-2 equipped units attached to the 5th SHOCK ARMY (115 from 125 IS which got knocked out by projectile impact were in the Guards Tank Brigades attached to the 5th Shock Army):

    5th SHOCK ARMY VEHICLE LOSSES (16th of april to 5th of May, only counting losses to hits baed upon gun/artillery impact):
    220th Tank Brigade: 30 T-34 & 22 ISU-122
    11th Guard Tank Brigade: 43 IS heavy tanks (!)
    67th Guards Tank Brigade: 72 IS heavy tanks (!)
    396th Guards SPG: 13 ISU-152
    92th Eng. Tank Regt: 4 T-34
    1504th SPR: 7 Su-76
    SP in rifle divisions: 25 Su-76

    9th GUARDS TANK CORPS LOSSES (16th of april to 5th of May, only counting losses to hits baed upon gun/artillery impact):
    52 T34
    4 ISU-122
    6 SU-100
    3 SU-76

    11th GUARDS TANK CORPS LOSSES (16th of april to 5th of May, only counting losses to hits baed upon gun/artillery impact):
    150 T-34
    5 ISU-152
    3 SU-100
    7 SU-85
    14 SU-76

    133 T-34
    9 IS-2 Heavy tanks
    7 SU-100
    4 SU-76

    Total count of tank which fell victim to artillery/gun hit:
    124 IS
    369 T-34
    18 ISU-152
    26 ISU-122
    16 SU-100
    53 SU-76

    1. Now you're citing figures for the *entire Berlin operation*, not the single claim of Korner for that one day!

  7. True but not relevant to the discussion. I gave losses of 1st Belorussian front on 19th april further above. The ntire campaign wasn´t that long, losses given further below refer to the period of 16th of april to 5th of May. The article made a huge mistake in ignoring the presence of mutliple tank units attached or acting in direct support of 5th Shock Army, and failed to acknowledge that IS Heavy tank equipped units attached to this Army suffered grave losses. When the preselection of units is already wrong, the conclusions cannot be right.

    1. Sure, the entire operation wasn't that long, but you're completely ignoring the fact that the Soviets didn't even notice this alleged heroic Tiger. Losses are attributed to anti-tank artillery and man-portable anti-tank weapons. Also, even if you group all the tank losses together, do you really think that Korner killed a third of all T-34s lost in the entire operation, just in the span of one day? That is simply ridiculous.

    2. But that´s not the case. Contrary to Your outlines, the 2nd GTA did mention fierce resistence from exactly where TIGERs were positioned (on the heights north east of Klosterdorf with guns facing towards an arc covering Prädikow and Grunow to the east) and even claimed to have killed one TIGER west of Prädikow on 19th.
      So they knew that TIGERs were there, otherwise they wouldn´t claim a kill, wouldn´t they?
      What they did not recognize was the disposition and the number of tanks present, which is understandable given the prepared defense and ambush situation.

      The battles between Prädikow and Bollersdorf were the greatest single day loss for the 2nd GTA during the Berlin operation. I haven´t all reports but some of the units.
      12th GTC reports mention "strong enemy defenses west of Grunow". Both, an attempt to attack it frontally without preparation and a succeeding flanking attack failed.
      (german reports confirm that soviet attacks at 10:00 and 14:00 failed against a half platoon of Tiger B)
      12th GTC admitted to have lost 24 T34 burned out and 27 T34, 3 IS-2 and 2 Su-76 further AFV knocked out, personal losses: 75 KIA, 227 WIA.

      48th GTBr met strong resistence northwest of Grunow while attackig from Ihlow (german reports confirm enemy attacks from the axis Ihlow-Grunow). 48th GTBr claimed one TIGER at Grunow, losses: 17 tanks burned up, 2 tanks knocked out, 12 KIA, 73 WIA.

      49th GTBr advanced north of Ihlow and attempted to take Prädikow. Met strong resistence at Prädikow and Prötzel, losses: 4 tanks burned up, 6 knocked out, 16 KIA, 36 WIA.

      66th GTBr reported particularely intense enemy resistence west of Grunow, GTBr reported 35 tanks operational on 18th of April and 30 operatitional on the evening of 19th of April, indicating at least 5 knocked out tanks (more if You count repaired vehicles returning to service).

      There was also the 79th GTReg (IS equipped) acting together with the 49th GTBr and the 34th GMBr and 66th GTBr to engage the road hub at Grunow, though I have no reports of this unit.

      Attached to 5th Shock Army were 11th GTBr (50 IS heavy tanks) and 67th GTBr (48 IS heavy tanks).
      They joined the attack of the day and provided south flank cover and attack between the axis Grunow and Pritzhagen towards Strausberg (Bollerdorf is on the road between Pritzhagen and Strausberg).
      There is evidence in both units reports to suggest that the 11th GTBr lost 5 IS and the 67th GTBr lost 16 IS as total write off from the strength reportings 18th of april and 20th of april. In an alternative reading, the 20th april reporting records under total write of 12 IS and 20, respectively. That means either 21 or 32 IS were lost as total write off on the road to Strausberg in the time in question, with an unspecified number of IS knocked out additionally to repairable damage.

      Körner did not claim 100 tanks on 19th. Subsequent authors from secondary sources did that (by conflating 503rd claims with Körners and then adding other claimants on top of this). Körner claimed only 102 tanks until he arrived in Berlin, that includes a number of claims made on 18.4. and on 20.4. plus whatever he had on credit before.

    3. 12th GTC hardly reports "strong enemy resistance". Here is the entirety of their report for April 19th regarding Grunow: "At 7:30, 34th MSBr with tanks from the 66th TBr began moving forward, removing minefields and barricades, and reached the western clearing in the forest south-east of Grunow at 14:00. After an artillery barrage, with tank support, Grunow was taken at 18:00."

      The 48th G. TBr does indeed mention strong resistance north-west of Grunow, but on April 20th, not on April 19th when this alleged action took place. On April 19th, the action at Grunow is as follows: "At 13:00 the brigade reached a forest clearing west of Ilow, where an order came from the corps commander to send reconnaissance to Grunow and be ready to act towards the left route. At 14:00, this order was cancelled, reconnaissance elements returned, and the brigade attacked towards a clearing on the north-east of Predikow." No failed 10:00-14:00 attack here either.

      Even if you clone Korner's tank like you did and place it everywhere at once on April 19th, the result is fewer tanks destroyed than he claims. No 100 T-34 + company of IS-2s force that he describes took the damage that he claims he inflicted.

  8. The whole unit was credited with 105 kills on 19th of april. Körner´s half platoon (action off Prädikow and Bollersdorf) were credited with 68 tank kills, Müllers (KIA) half platoon (action off Prädikow and Grunow with some fighting in direction Bollerdorf/Pritzhagen) with 24 and Diers personally (action off Prädikow and Grunow) with 13. Körner´s personal claim was 11 certain destructions (mostly IS from the action at Bollerdorf) + 39 probable, his entire personal record received the 76th kill on this day (note that he made 7 kills on 18th and an unspecified number of tank kill claims earlier, so he definetely did not claim 100 kills on this day). Note that only a fraction of the "probables" were subsequently credited. Though secondary authors frequently do not differentiate sharply enough.

    You should take 48th GTBr´s report on 19th. I have it´s map and it first engaged german resistence at Prädikow (failing) and then attacked via Grunow (again failing) and turning back. Also consider 49th TBr and 66th TBr´s reportings. There are other tank units present, too.

    Finally, Köerner doesn´t need to be cloned to be everywhere. Prädikow, Grunow and Bollerdorf are all closeby. If You take the road it´s less than 7km from Prädikow in the north via Grunow to Bollersdorf in the south. From the platoons prepared position at the eastern edge of the Schwarzberge it´s approx. 2km to Prädikow (to the NNE) and Grunow (to the E), a bit more than 3km to Bollersdorf (to the SE). Even with detour that requires a march less than 6km for Körners group to regroup and join "NORGE"s local counterattack.

    1. I already posted the 48th G. TBr's records. That attack never happened. What happened was a reconnaissance party, which was cancelled an hour later. This is from primary sources, not secondary sources that you are happy to dismiss since all historians are a part of a Putinist plot, apparently.

      Finally, Tiger platoons, like any other tank platoons, have specific missions, which they are sent to perform. They don't bounce all over the place racking up sick kill scores.

    2. I do not reject historians but I do not take historians with Agenda as gospel. You are not the only person with access to archival material and I do question this article because of the implicit agenda followed here and historical mistakes such as dealing with wrong units in the first place. Historians make mistakes, frequently so and for different reasons.

      as far as 48th TBr primary sources go. You are familar with this one?
      They were active at Grunow as well.

      As far as TIGER platoons are concerned, yes they had specific missions. But You ignore that TIGERs were more frequently than not called in to help in counter attacks during development of critical situations. The breakthrough at Pritzhagen / Bollersdorf was one.
      Do You really want to suggest that to join a counterattack as described in independent sources, like NORGE´s as well as 103./503. primary source accounts with 3 TIGER covering less than 6km march is fiction and the event did not happen?
      Sorry, but that´s not credible in light of primary sources.

      You are the one who claimed incorrectly that they need to be cloned to be present at all of the contact zone. Apart from a necessary movement to join NORGEs counterattack, which has been specifically timed, they don´t need to do this. I suggest to consider studying the sources and the topography of the area under discussion. The following link may be helpful with the latter:

      The bottomline is that the credited claims do indeed match soviet losses on this day in general and 5th SA and 2nd GTA losses in particular.

    3. I'm not saying that a Tiger can't drive 6 km. I'm saying that a Tiger can't be everywhere at once.

      That map meshes perfectly with what I said. They took Ihlow at noon, sent a recon squad, that squad was recalled back, and later there was an attack at Grunow in the evening. Where is this Soviet attack that failed against a platoon of Tiger Bs from 10:00 to 14:00? It does not exist.

  9. And I keep reminding You that it doesn´t need to be everywhere. The german accounts conclusively state that both, Grunow and Prädikow were covered by the position of group A while the other group covered Grunow and SE.

    "An account of events on 19 April 1945 from after-action reports of 12 Guards Tank Corps and subordinate tank brigades:

    12 Guards Tank Corps:by 18.00 19 April 49 Guards Tank Brigade has captured Prädikow and started a battle for Prötzel. 48 Guards Tank Brigade captured Reichenberg and Ihlow then followed behind 49 GTBr. 66 Guards Tank Brigade and 34 Guards Motor Rifle Brigade after a short artillery barrage took Grunow. West of Grunow enemy was holding a strongly fortified position with antitank weapons. An attempt to attack it without preparation and a shallow flanking maneuver failed with heavy casualties. On 19 April the corps lost 25 T-34 destroyed and 27 damaged, 3 IS-122 and 2 SU-76 damaged, total 57 AFVs. Personnel losses – 75 men killed and 227 wounded. Most losses suffered in failed attack west of Grunow. In the early morning of 20 April the corps started a march to Tiefensee bypassing the Grunow area from the north.

    48 Guards Tank Brigade: by 11.00 Reichenberg is captured, then Ihlow is taken after a brief combat. Advancing with 49 GTBr the brigade reached a western edge of a grove west of Ihlow. 2 Tank Battalion with replacement tank joined the brigade at Ihlow at 13.30. Then the brigade advanced to Grunow. A strong defense position with many tanks and mortars was met on the eastern edge of a grove north-east of Grunow. Brigade’s loses at Grunow – 17 tanks destroyed and 2 damaged, 12 men killed and 73 wounded. One German “Tiger” tank is claimed (the only mention of Tigers I can find)

    49 Guards Tank Brigade – Ihlow is taken in the morning, then an advance to Prädikow. A 7-hour long battle for Prädikow, heavy losses due to lacking infantry support. Prädikow is fully taken at 17.00 The brigade reached Prötzel meeting a fortified position and anti-tank obstacles there. An attempt to outflank Prötzel failed due to obstacles in a forest. By 22.00 the brigade is on a edge of a forest 2 km south-east of Prötzel. In the night – reconnaissance and search for bypass routes. Losses during the day – 16 men killed and 36 wounded, 4 tanks destroyed and 6 damaged.

    66 Guards Tank Brigade – 35 tanks operational on evening of 18 April. During the night and morning of 19 April the brigade is fighting for Reichenberg in cooperation with 49 GTBr, 34 Guards Motor Brigade and 79 Guards Heavy Tank Regiment. After Reichenberg is captured the brigade pursues to the south-West meeting mines and fire from German rearguards. Especially intense resistance at Grunow which was an important road hub. Grunow is taken on the evening of 19 April. 30 tank operational. "

    1. Ok, so which one of these units was the 100 T-34s with a company of IS-2s that Korner destroyed, and which one was a unit of 30 T-34s that he completely wiped off the map? I'm not saying that the Soviets took no losses. They certainly took many, but there is simply no way that all of them, or even a large part of them, can be attributed to Tigers.

      "Intense resistance" is discussed in the 5th Shock Army documents: Panzerfausts and anti-tank guns. For some reason you completely ignore that and attribute all kills to Tigers.

  10. Order of the battle (from south to North)

    identified soviet units (based upon russian primary sources) at the end of the 19th of April:

    Buckow: 220th independent Tank Brigade, 92th mine clearing unit and 301st rifle Division
    Pritzhagen: 416th rifle division
    Bollersdorf: 11th Independent Guards Heavy tank Brigade & 295th Rifle Division
    Ernstdorf: 60th Guards Rifle Division & 266th Rifle Division
    West of Grunow: 94th Guards Rifle Division & 12th Guards Tank Corps (48th GTBr, 49th GTBr & 66th GTBr, plus 79th Guards (Heavy) Regiment, 387th GReg & 393 GReg)
    Prädikow: 67th Guards Heavy Tank Brigade,364th Rifle Division and 52th Guards Rifle Division
    Prötzel-Blumenthal: 23rd Guards Rifle Division, 265th Rifle Division, 171th Rifle Division, 9th Tank Corps, 207th Rifle Division, 1st Mech. Corps

    The presence of IS tanks at Bollersdorf -exactly where claimed- is therefore confirmed by soviet maps showing the 11th Ind.Guards Heavy Tank Brigade exactly there. Statements in this article rejecting the presence of IS at Bollerdorf are therefore in error.

    The position west of Grunow-Prädikow is already occupied by the 12th GTC, which suffered 57 AFV knocked out on this day.
    Again this is confirmed by 103./503. account which state that soviet infantery, supported by large tank formations broke through it´s defenses in the evening causing them to retreat west.

    At Prädikow remains the 67th (Heavy) GTBr. Presence of heavy IS tanks were claimed by both Diers and Schäfer in the northern area (IS-122mm observed by them visually between Ihlow, Prädikow and Grunow), this can be considered as confirmed now.


  11. You can't link to Podvig Naroda like that, it won't load unless you already have it cached. Yes, fine, there were IS-2 tanks there. Did they take the losses Korner claims? Did the 100 T-34s that were with them get destroyed? Was there another unit that lost 30 T-34s in a similar manner?

    You keep picking at tiny inconsequential details while ignoring the big overall point.

  12. You keep reproducing incorrect informations deduced from secondary sources. Koerner did not claim 100 tank kills. For the battles on the 19th, he eventually receieved credit for his 76th tank kill. But, as You might know, he was active and credited with tank kills before april 19th, 1945. Koerner filed a claim for 11 (or 12) certain and 39 probable tank kills on this day.

    Tank losses to Faust in 2nd GTA and 5th SA during the whole Berlin operation were few. The 11th Heavy GTBr, f.e. did not report any losses to Faustpatr. Losses listed under "Anti tank gun" or "artillery" includes tank guns and is better charakterised as "losses to projectile hits", therefore it is entirely justified to consider TIGER beeing responsible for tank kills in such instances.
    Notice that there was no Panzerjäger platoon employed. Towed ATG (75mm up) were further south near Buckow and north in direction Eberswalde.
    The only assets east of Strausberg were the 103./503. PzAbt. (9 operational Tiger Ausf. B and 7 operational Flakpanzer with 20mm guns) reinforced by 5 StuG, some remnants of the 9th Para. infantery Div. and PzGr.Reg NORGE in reserve (some APC, mortars). It´s possible that the latter had a few 37mm or 50mm ATG.

    These formations were the strongest aviable to the PzCorps and consequently placed in front the main thrust of the 5th SA and 2nd GTA, composed of the 12th GTC, 11th GTBr and 67th GTBr.

    Without further information, it´s not possible to determine exactly which unit was attacked during replenishing because the time resolution of the maps is insufficient, because there are too many units present in the general area and the distances between the sites are small. A unit present at Bollerdorf may subsequently have moved and covered a distance until evening when it´s position was reported up and recorded on the map.
    I do prefer to not jump to conclusions from just indications.

    1. That sure is a creative way of interpreting the phrase "all the enemy tanks are put out of action." Does "all" actually mean "some" in German?

  13. No it doesn´t mean this. However, putting out of action doesn´t mean "destroyed". Right now we don´t know how many tanks were knocked out of action in total, particularely within both of the 5th SA´s Heavy tank brigades. We only know the number of total write offs in the 5th SA (21 IS) in addition to the 57 tanks knocked out in the 12th GTC.

    The whole story was blown out of proportion in subsequent german tertiary reception of the action, most likely due to inaccurate descriptions and lack of access to source documents. Someone started putting the whole units claim incorrectly to Körners credit and then kept on adding whatever Harrer, Diers, Schäfer, Turk, Müller et al. claimed on their own on top to arrive with a new unit claim. And instead of "for no losses", I have hard evidence to confirm that four TIGER Ausf. B were total write offs on this day (two caught by artillery or Katyusha barrage, one to side penetration and another one abandoned and not recovered) and two further tanks received sufficient damage to forcing their pre-emptive retreat.

    According to german data, the only other unit present in this area was a HJ PzJgBrig (600 underage Hitler Youth armed with 360 Panzerfaust and partially equipped with bikes) at Buckow and Fall.Pz.Jg.Brig. "PIRAT" at Ihlow (ca. 750-800 but para´s, not HJ, armed with Panzerfaust and sidearms, unmotorized, and temporarely attached to 9th Para Div. further east).
    No ATG at all.

    PzGr.Reg. NORGE later was called in from SW to counterattack, while north of Prötzel the 103./503. was linked up with the rest of HvS.

    1. "The whole story was blown out of proportion"

      Oh hey, it's almost like that was the whole point of the article in the first place.

  14. Certainly so. Though this article went so far in claiming that nothing happened on 19th of April in the area and that´s not any better than what secondary accounts made out of the events, and can be considered insulting to those who sacrifized their lifes in the heavy battles.

    14 AFV (nine of them TIGER Ausf. B + a handful of StuG) and remnants from 9th para inf. Div. were in prepared defenses in way of the main effort of the 5th Shock Army & 2nd Guards Tank army push west to Strausberg via the high ground.
    In terms of heavy tanks alone, the german forces were outnumbered 1:13 with a confirmed presence of almost 120 operational IS-2 heavy tanks in the area east of Strausberg (19 IS-2 in 12th GTC´s 6th GTreg, 50 IS-2 in 11th ind.GTBr and 48 IS-2 in 67th ind.GTBr.). There were also more than 160 T-34 present in the three tank brigades of the 12th GTC and a large number of SPG so that the show of force results in odds better than 20:1 in the soviets favour.
    In terms of infantery and particularely in terms of artillery the token german forces didn´t even compare remotely to what was thrown at them.

    Yet they made one local counter attack and significantly delayed the main progress. And, -while being slowly pushed out of their positions- exacted substantial losses on the attacking soviet formations.

  15. edit.

    The map showing the frontlines on 19th and 20th of april with identification of all tank units, referenced earlier for reference:
    Оперативное Управление штаба 1 Белорусского фронта; генерал-лейтенант Бойков
    ЦАМО: фонд: 233, опись: 2356, ед.хранения: 728, № записи: 60043532

    In regard to the 5th SA´s two independent heavy tank brigades, recorded in the evening of the 19th of april at Bollerdorf and Prädikow, respectively, there is some additional data on losses here:

    Notice that the document refers to losses incurred over a period from 11th of april to 20th of april and that it was revised twice, with the latest revision of 22th. This is important because the regulations required losses to be notified within two days. The revised document can therefore be considered as reliable for information of the reporting period.

    It appears that the 5th Shock Army recorded 175 tanks/SPG knocked out until apr. 20th, of which 84 were IS-2 Heavy tanks. Total write offs for IS-2 were 32 with 24 more heavy tanks send to medium time repair. Considering that on the evening of the 18th, the two units reported 48 and 50 operational IS-2, it´s possible to reasonably deduce that at least 31 of these heavy tank knock outs occured before the 19th and consequently up to 53 IS-2 heavy tank knock outs may have occuring on 19th and 20th, alone (presuming no double knock outs are present, which may be too simplistic).
    The TIGERs were committed from 18th of april to 20th and then disengaged.
    In some AAR they report engaging T34 and KW-heavy tanks. The latter likely are misidentified IS2.

  16. Just as a brief aside that may have nothing to do with this debate at all, I've frequently read accounts where German crew men and tank commanders refer some what confusingly to the Russian ISU and SU series tank destroyers as IS tanks.

  17. Details on Korner.
    Combat group 11 Tank Corps appeared on the Strausberg-Bollendorf road only by 20.00.