Monday 31 October 2016

Cheating at Statistics 15: Machinations at Mius

Long time readers of my "Cheating at Statistics" series have no doubt noticed a certain trend with the kill claims of SS units: they are as humble as they are specific. Page after page tells you great tales with "dozens" of destroyed enemy tanks and "hundreds" of dead enemy soldiers in the great battle for "somewhere over there". George M. Nipe Jr's Decision in the Ukraine is proudly based on German sources (almost exclusively so, as he doesn't seem to be aware that any other kind exists), and therefore repeats the same tired old tropes: lots of enemy casualties, human waves, piles of corpses, but very few specifics. One of the few is contained in the description of a Soviet attack at hill 213.9 on July 18th during the battle for the Mius-Front.

"Columns of greasy black smoke from burning T-34 and T-70 tanks marked the limit of Soviet progress on the center ridge. At the end of the day, of the seventy-eight tanks that the army claimed had been knocked out, many were destroyed in front of the training area rallying point."

The rest of the paragraph is more vagueness about significant losses and piles of bodies, but we have the number: 78 tanks. Let's see who they came from.

There's hill 213.9 in the middle of the map, with the 5th Shock Army coming up from behind the Mius river to make a significant dent in the German defenses, going right over top of it on July 18th. The solid red line with a thinner dotted red line shows the Red Army's positions by the end of the day. Let's see what the army's tanks were up to.

"Losses of the army (less 221st Rifle Division) consist of: up to 600 men killed and up to 1750 men wounded. Knocked out: 4 cannons, 4 mortars, 20 machineguns, 4 cars. Lost on July 17th and July 18th: 47 tanks, of those 11 KV, 21 T-34, 3 T-70, 12 T-60. Out of all tanks lost, 8 burned, 3 need capital repairs, 7 need medium repairs, the rest (29) need light repairs."

Luckily, there is also a list of losses for July 17th alone: 8 KVs, 11 T-34s, 2 T-60s, and 2 T-70s, which means the tanks lost on July 18th alone were:
  • 3 KVs
  • 10 T-34s
  • 10 T-60s
  • 1 T-70
for a total of 24 tanks, less than a third of what the Germans claimed they knocked out. The missing KVs and T-60s in German records also warrant a mention, but considering that Nipe brings up such phantoms as SU-152s on T-34 chassis and Soviet 172 mm guns, I wouldn't look at German tank identification abilities too closely.


  1. Apart from being a series with strings of historic misconception, huge research mistakes and intentional preselection of either wrong areas or wrong units, such as proven for Your failed attempts to revise history in the articles of Oboyan and Koerners Corner, I notice You again fail to mention the units which suffered the losses.

    Afraid of it?

  2. I will be kind and add a starter for You:

    Neither on 17th nor 18th of July, was a unit of the IInd SS PzCorps present at the Mius area and therefore cannot have been involved in a fight about height 213.9, attempts of You to imply otherwise -as evidenced by the shown map and the introductory comment critisizing SS units- are in error.

    Get Your facts straight before extracting conclusions. Dates, units and places do not match.

    1. So, you do have data that prove the Germans did destroy those 78 tanks?

    2. The map shows where the 5th Shock Army was attacking. I don't care who claimed the losses on the German side. Nipe doesn't mention it either. What I do care about is that the 5th Shock Army (the only formation on the entire FRONT that posted armour losses on that day) suffered far fewer losses than the Germans claimed.

    3. Your incorrectness never cease to amaze me, Peter Samsonov. Nipe is giving the source of his account and contrary to Your statement here is very explicit who compiled the list of claims: 6th Army HQ. He is also explicit that the claim has little to do with the fights around height 213.9, or losses of a single unit but includes all claims for the day in this front compiled by all units under command of 6th Army.

      Preselecting just one soviet unit for comparison is methodological nonsense when the claim does cover a larger contact than one unit.

  3. The author made another HUGE mistake. The loss report they gave is nothing but a red herring and has nothing to do with the date of the claim.

    Historical misconstruction at best, deliberate falsification of history at worst, choose one.

    1. Right, so that's another convenient situation where all historians are wrong and you are the only one who knows the real truth.

  4. Don´t blame me for Your mistakes, Peter. I just make people aware of them.

    I mean, really, You´r blog has a habit of selecting quotes out of their context, and thus attempt to give them a different contextual meaning. I could perhaps tolerate it, if only it happens once, or twice but it´s the ever-present charakter of this blog, isn´t it?

    So tell me, Mr. Peter Samsonov, what exactly was the reason why You did "forget" to tell Your audience that Nipe reproduced the 6th Army total claims for this day in the whole 6th Army sector covering the complete area of contact with the Mius bridgehead*? Why do make it appear like it has exclusively to do with just the local defenses on height 213.9?

    So rather than just reproducing the 5th Shock Army´s losses, WHY DO YOU HIDE away tank losses incurred in other formations present in this battle on this day, such as, f.e.

    2nd Guards Army, 4th Guards Mechanised Corps, 2nd Guards Mechanised Corps and the independent tank reg. and brigades which fought at the Mius bridgehead on this day?

    Or is it just in order You can drive home Your incorrect conclusions? As I mentioned before, The loss reportings are a red herring. And they became one because blogger Peter Samsonov conveniently selected only a piece of the puzzle and try it to sell it as the complete picture...

    *) The 6th Army was reflective in treatments of claims and while it noticed the claims, it didn´t believe -rightly so- that all tanks were destroyed and that mutliple claimants covering the same even may have been present.

    1. Ok, I'm sorry, it wasn't SS kill claims, it was 6th Army kill claims that were false. Nipe also says nothing of the sort. That entire paragraph is only about the attack on Hill 213.9.

      As for the other units you mentioned, like I said, these are losses for the entire Front. There were no other Fronts participating in the attack. Independent brigades are still subordinate to the Front. Nipe also writes that the 4th Guards Mechanized Corps hasn't even arrived by then. Don't worry, there's more German overclaim for them as well. Read today's article.

  5. I am not convinced that the loss data reproduced in this article refer to the whole front. How then come that the 1st Guards Heavy ind. Tank regiment reported only one operational KV remaining at the evening of the 18th? Why does the 33rd Guards Tank brigade alone report 16 tank losses (11 to enemy action)?

    "33-я гв. танковая бригада 18 июля потеряла 5 танков сожженными, 5 - подбитыми и 6 - подорвавшимися на минах. Поддерживавший 271-ю и 320-ю стрелковые дивизии 1-й гв. тяжелый танковый полк к концу дня сохранил боеспособным только один танк."

    And that does yet not even include checks of the other seven major tank formations involved in the fighting on this day:

    6th Gds. Tank Bde
    32nd Gds. Tank Bde
    22nd Seprate Tank Rgt
    7th Gds. Separate Tank Rgt.
    2nd Gds. Mechanised Corps
    4th Gds. Mechanised Corps
    140th Tank Bde.

    Nipe is explicit that his claim comes from 6th Army HQ, altough he describes the battles about height 213.9 in some detail, the claim is not from that battle but for the whole day:
    "While the attack on 18th of July failed to accomplish it´s objectives,the COMMAND OF THE 6th ARMY took some satisfaction in the damage inflicted on soviet Armor. Soviet armor losses were ESTIMATED to be a total of seventy-eight destroyed OR DAMAGED soviet tanks FOR THE DAY." Nipe, emphasized by myselfe

    Thus, it is necessary to understand what exactly has been reported, at what date for which timeframe by whome from which unit?
    Alternatively, if the loss data reproduced here (from which unit exactly?) do represent authetic, official data from a higher echelon covering the whole front as is suggested by P. Samsonov, standing in conflict with lower level unit reportings of losses then this must be viewed as evidence for the case that
    either the lower units loss reportings are wrong or someone in the higher soviet command echelon manipulated the loss reports to make them appear smaller than they were.
    There will be no reason to bloath lower unit loss reportings if smaller losses would have been occured instead, so the former option has less credibility and Frieser already worked out convincingly that someone on the soviet side of the Mius battles apparently did manipulate loss reports on a higher level, working with the proxy of personal losses.

    1. Right, so as always the Soviets are liars and you are the only one who possesses the truth. How convenient.

  6. You are surprised that the soviets manipulated their loss reports? Really? Did it ever occur to You that there is a reason why historians couldn´t agree upon soviet military casualties?

  7. Upon further review Mister Critical Mass has determined that the Nazis in fact won WWII.