Wednesday 15 June 2016

Cheating at Statistics 14: Deception at Danzig

I already touched on the 503rd SS Heavy Tank Battalion's questionable claims, but it seems that his battalion ran into some IS-2s before Korner's alleged actions, or at least claimed that they did. Let's take a look at these claims. Achtungpanzer (the website, not the book) paints an impressive picture:

"During the combat in Gdansk (Oliwa and Wrzeszcz districts) and Sopot, SS-Untersturmführer Karl Brommann (commander of the 1st Company) destroyed 65 tanks and self-propelled guns along with 44 artillery pieces and 15 vehicles (including some T-34s from 1st Polish Tank Brigade "Heroes of the Westerplatte"). Following his outstanding score, Brommann was awarded with Knights Cross."

Schneider's Tigers in Combat II gives some more details of these actions:

"26 March 1945: Several attacks are repelled, and six Josef Stalin tanks are knocked out. One Josef Stalin, which was captured by Sturmgeschuetz-Brigade 190, is put under German command; when it becomes non-operational, it is finally sunk in the harbor."

Oliwa and the nearby suburb of Sopot are mentioned, pinning the location of the regiment pretty precisely. There is nothing about the total tank claims here, but at least we get some specifics: seven total lost IS-2 tanks on March 26th. Let's take a look at who these tanks could have belonged to.

The map of the Silesia and East Prussia offensive shows two Soviet units heading into the city: the 2nd Shock Army and the 65th Army, with the 49th Army attacking the suburb of Sopot and the 1st Guards Tank Army attacking nearby Gdynia. The 2nd Shock Army was kind enough to leave behind a map of their movements from March 22nd to March 29th. Here it is laid over the modern map of the area, with some of the map erased to help align it with the rivers and roads that still exist.

The thin blue curve to the south-south-west of Gdansk shows the line that the Soviet forces reached on March 29th. As you can see, the 2nd Shock Army did not reach Oliwa or Wrzeszcz by this point.

Similarly, the 1st Guards Tank Army is also short of Sopot and Oliwa by March 26th.

This leaves the 65th Army and its attached tank units. Thankfully, there is a very thorough accounting of their actions on Pamyat-Naroda:
  • 922nd Self Propelled Artillery Regiment: no losses.
  • 80th Guards Heavy Tank Regiment: no losses.
  • 251st Tank Regiment: no losses.
  • 925th Self Propelled Artillery Regiment: two wounded officers, one wounded sergeant.
  • 8th Mechanized Corps:
    • Killed: 3 officers, 22 enlisted
    • Wounded: 2 officers, 94 enlisted
    • Two M4A2 tanks knocked out
  • 1945th Self Propelled Artillery Regiment: in reserve, no action.
  • 999th Self Propelled Artillery Regiment: in reserve, no action.
The units with heavy tanks suffered no losses that day, as did nearly all armoured units within the 65th Army. The losses for the next day are also not very noticeable: one burned T-34, and two more Shermans.

Next, let's also take a look at the 1st Guards Tank Corps of the 49th Army, circling around to attack Sopot.

"Continuing the offensive towards Danzig, the corps, overcoming stubborn resistance from enemy artillery, infantry, and Panzerfausts, fought in the streets, knocking out enemy submachinegunners and Panzerfaust crews from houses and basements. By the end of the day, their objectives were completed. Overnight and until 10:00 on March 27th, units of the corps were restocking ammunition and fuel to be ready to continue their offensive in the morning.

By the end of the day on March 26th, 1945, the corps had:
  • IS-122: 35
  • SU-100: 10
  • SU-85: 7
  • SU-76: 8
  • T-34: 7
38th Independent Guards Tank Brigade: 13 IS-122
  • 4 IS-122 knocked out
  • 1 IS-122 blown up on a mine
  • 38 men killed
  • 93 men wounded
Enemy losses:
  • Tanks and SPGs: 2
  • Rocket launchers: 15
  • Machineguns: 29
  • Mortars: 5
  • Cars: 19
  • Soldiers and officers: 570 killed, 66 captured."
Again, not quite the 7 IS-2s claimed by the SS battalion. As with Korner's case, the Tigers are not even mentioned in the report; credit for losses goes to Panzerfausts and artillery.


  1. Completely off topic, but do you ever have problems coming up with suitably rhyming titles for these? :P

  2. Because there were problems in wrong unit presence of the previous article on Körner´s alleged overclaiming -or on the previous article on presumed overclaiming at Oboyan, leading to incorrect accuations due to comparison with wrong units, I might ask You to controll carefully the unit selection before I have to.

  3. You should do more research before jumping to accusations. According to the 103./503. reports, the units present in the area of fighting at Danzig were involved in fighting actions off Dirschau - Pelpun - Ramhau - Schönberg - Gotenhofen - Zoppot - Oliva - Brösen - Gnieschau - Bastenhagen (or Bestenhagen) - Westerplatte - Danzig and Wald Bohnsack.

    Some of these sites include the area of action of the 2nd Shock Army. Which means in turn, that Your starting preposition that the 2nd Shock Army was not involved, does not hold valid.
    Again -as with other examples, it seems that You deliberately excluded certain soviet units involved from the comparison in order to arrive at Your conclusions.

    However, if the presumptions are already wrong, the conclusions cannot be considered right.

    1. So you believe the records of the 503 uncritically when it comes to kill claims, but when Peter points out that the claim has to be obviously false based upon the date and location specified in the 503's report, then you maintain while the claimed kills are still undeniably true, you disbelieve that same record when it comes to location and date. Geez.

      Face it: you cannot reconcile German kill claims with reality. Quite simply, if they were anything close to accurate, Germany would not have lost. The Soviets were producing four or five or six times as many tanks, the Soviet tank pool would not had grown like it did if they were losing what the Germans claimed, nor the tactical situation at the front would have been as dire if these were anything close to true. There is far more truth to American bomber gunner fighter kill claims than there is to German tank kill claims. At least American bomber gunner kill claims (at least the revised numbers of US intelligence) are backed up by German figures on aggregate fighter losses and can be reconciled with that.

      No country fudged its numbers to make a loss look like a "win" more than Germany, and it's not limited as I say to just the Eastern front.