Thursday 13 April 2017

On German Tank Losses

Aleksey Isayev talked about the peculiar nature of German loss records before, but this time he specifically tackles the losses of tank units.

"The Germans had a habit of not recording the tank as lost until the very last moment, even if it stands right in the middle of Soviet positions, but unburnt, it can be recorded in documents as still recoverable. Who knows, maybe the Russians will go away, we'll pull it out. Later, when the situation was completely hopeless, it was finally written off as an irrecoverable loss. And even then, if the tank is only a charred husk, it can be recorded as "in long-term repairs" in German documents.

Aleksey Isayev, The End of Army Group North Ukraine

Yuri Pasholok gives more specific examples.

"There were no greater liars than the people who kept records of German tank condition. This started happening as soon as the war began. For instance, the PzIV that you can see in Patriot Park was written off by the Germans on January 10th, 1943. In reality, it was lost two weeks before that. More precisely, they thought they lost it, since it was towed to the rear and later sent to Germany. As for examples where the tank was never officially lost but is propped up on cinderblocks because it was lightly damaged and then picked apart by passing Kameraden, there's no shortage of those. Sure, they were later sent to the factory and repaired, but there were enough PzIIs like this in the spring of 1940 that production of the PzII stopped for half a year while old tanks were repaired. This happened constantly, until the end of the war."


  1. There is nothing unusual about German methods of recording their damaged equipment inventories. Every armored unit from every army has used a similar method of accounting for their equipment, as anyone who knows the subject well is aware. They aren't simply going to throw their damaged tanks away to make the work of clueless amateur military historians easy.

    1. Really? Because other people don't seem to think that it was "every army".