Monday 19 November 2018

Cheating at Statistics: SU Strike at Balaton

One of the easiest way to find an event ripe for a Cheating at Statistics segment is to look for a fairly frequently occurring scenario. German tanks (usually Tigers) achieve some kind of fantastic victory over a numerically superior enemy force. Then, despite their crushing victory, they immediately withdraw. Such a scenario occurs on March 13th, 1945, during the Battle of Lake Balaton.

"13 March 1945: Attack to the east with Kampfgruppe Bradel between Velenczefurdo and Tukrospuszta. The attack hits 24 dug-in ISU-152s covering a minefield. All 16 Tigers receive severe battle damage (3 total losses). After clearing some passages through the minefield, 2 Tigers seize the strongpoint, knocking out all the assault guns.
Total tanks: 32
14 March 1945: The battalion is pulled out of the line."

In addition to the usual suspect, there is another hint: 24 ISU-152s is a lot of SPGs. A heavy SPG regiment consists of only 21 ISU-152s, 5 per battery and then one commander's vehicle. 24 of these SPGs knocked out means that there would have to be something worth defending with two SPG regiments. This is a battle too big to pass up.

Let's start as always, by pulling up the map. Thankfully Hungarian names aren't as trampled by transliteration into German as Russian ones, and the points of interest were pretty easy to locate.

From this map we can see why the attack was delivered between  Velenczefurdo and Tukrospuszta: it was a pretty tempting salient, ripe for a counterattack. The salient appears to be inhabited by the 4th Guards Army. Conveniently, it contains a number of SPG regiments. Perhaps one of those was involved in the fighting.

"March 13th, 1945

The enemy continued to attack on separate section of the front. Without success, he returned to the defense.

Armoured and mechanized units of the front cooperate with infantry units in defensive combat and partially relocated to other regions.
4th Guards Army:

366th Guards SPG Regiment: HQ 15 km south-west of Lovasberény. The condition of materiel and supplies is without change. The personnel of the regiment spent the day training.

72nd and 432nd Independent SPG Regiments: The condition of materiel and supplies is without change. The personnel of the composite squadrons spent the day preparing for battle."

Doesn't seem like there was a particularly fierce battle here. The combat diary of the army itself confirms this.

"Results for March 13th.

In carrying out Front directive #190/op, the Army surrendered the portion of the front occupied by the 20th Guards Rifle Corps at the "Izv" front (1 km south-west of Gant), Zamol, except Gyula, to elements of the 9th Guards Army.

The Army took the following positions: Gyula, western outskirts of Székesfehérvár, southwestern outskirts of the suburb Kisfalud, with cover along the north of Velence and to the east.

40 enemy soldiers and officers were killed. Near Székesfehérvár a pilot-feldwebel, a part of the 51st Squadron based in Wesprem, from a shot down Me-109 was taken prisoner.

Army losses: 17 killed, 41 wounded."

Doesn't look like the battle took place here, nor did the 4th Guards Army actually have any ISU-152s that the Germans could have knocked out. Let's zoom out to the entire 3rd Ukrainian Front. There were indeed a few units with the ISUs: the 23rd Tank Corps (4 ISU-152s) and the 18th Tank Corps (6 ISU-152s). However, there are two problems with trying to credit the Germans with their SPGs. One is that neither unit reported a loss of an ISU-152 either on March 13th or March 14th. The second is that both of the units were (as expected) sent south of Velencefurdo in order to resist the German counterattack there. 


  1. I guess if you are going to tell a lie, it might as well be a big one. To be fair the German soldiers just like everyone else just wanted to survive until the end of the war. And if that means fight some fake battles, so be it.

  2. Hey, this is an improvement; at least the Germans admitted that all 16 of their 'big cats' were essentially disabled, even if not by ISU-152s. Maybe they just hit a minefield covered by artillery?

  3. Mr. Sampsonov,
    I strongly suggest consulting a good map of the events. All Your theory rests on the correctness of Your map, and honestly, I find it full of errors. This has been a repeated problem in Your "investigations" but if You constantly match wrong units against each other one might wonder how many more of Your "Prokhorovka" moments we have to endure...

    A) The 27th and 26th Army´s position are wrong.
    The main blow directed east fell in the area of the 27th Army, not in the 4th Guards Army (which was north of Lake Velence)


    B) The units You compare the claims with are a red herring. Because they really took no place in the action. -wrong unit ID - means Your presumption is shot down, no argument left

    C)For the defense of the area, three special self propelled "artillery" brigades were created which had 65 SU-100 + 3 Su-76 each (68 SPG), and one of those the 207th, frontally opposed the german armored thrust toegther with the 23rd Tank Corps and the 18th Tank Corps at it´s southern flank -all within the 27th´s Army´s sektor of defense.
    You thus need to consult different units loss data if a meaningful result is to be intended

    1. That is not my map. That map was composed by the Russian Ministry of Defense based on operational maps from the archives (which they also posted). Furthermore, not only do I mention the location of all the units involved, I also talk about the losses taken by every single unit with an ISU-152 on the *front*. As always, you did not actually read the article, but immediately jumped to the bottom and began complaining about how everyone is wrong but you.

      Unless you're going to claim that the MoD mislabelled the 3rd Ukrainian Front as well, your argument holds no weight at all.