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Subject: Declassified US Army study on allied tank casualties in WW2. rss

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Saw this in an ASL thread on facebook. The original link was posted by Mike Rickman, and then Michael Dorosh posted a link to where you could download it for free. Thanks to both.

It's about a 16MB pdf.

I have not read it, only browsed it, but it talks about the relative frequency of casualties from various causes. Gun fire caused the most casualties, and then mines. Casualties due to panzerschrecks and panzerfausts were much less common.

Overwhelming majority of losses due to gunfire were caused by 75mm and 88mm cannon.

Thought that it would be of interest, particularly to miniatures folks and wargame designers.

Link:
http://cdm16635.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16635...

(Edited: grammar)

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autumnweave wrote:
Casualties due to panzerschrecks and panzerfausts were much less common.


"From a toll of ten percent at the time of its introduction in 1944, the Panzerfaust type of weapon went on to attain a peak of effectiveness in the spring of 1945 of from 25 to 35 percent of all tank casualties."

This was caused by a decrease in the number of guns available to cause casualties, the advance into terrain favorable for use by rocket-type weapons, and Panzerfaust weapons becoming readily available.













By the way, is this really wargame-related? I think it should be in the historical section. I like these kinds of posts but it seems they're always in the wargaming section.
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Yep, that's what I get for not reading and just selectively looking at a couple of graphs. Panzerschrecks and fausts are definitely late war. I'll bet that a lot of those self-destroyed tanks were also late war. I hadn't realized that the percentage of self destroyed was so high.

If an admin wants to move it to historical, I'd be totally fine with it. Yes it probably does fit better there. Personally I mostly ignore the historical forum, so I didn't even think about it.

I was thinking more of how it would be of interest to miniature gaming, and how designers might want to check how their design matched up against war records.
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I ignore historical too.

It's fine in Wargames.

This is pertinent to lots of them.
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jumbit wrote:

By the way, is this really wargame-related? I think it should be in the historical section. I like these kinds of posts but it seems they're always in the wargaming section.


This is definitively wargame related.

Thanks for posting!

-Dave
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Well, this post is pretty much the definition of "historical interest" without any gaming in it. No hexes, no counters, no VP.

The thing that surprises me isn't that the 88mm is high in kills, but that the German 75mm is high in kills. You hardly ever hear about the German 75. I thought it was an infantry support gun.
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jumbit wrote:
The thing that surprises me isn't that the 88mm is high in kills, but that the German 75mm is high in kills. You hardly ever hear about the German 75. I thought it was an infantry support gun.


You may be thinking non-motorized only. The 75mm was mounted on the PzIV(F2) in March '42, and the Panther had a 75mm.

In terms of non-motorized I've always thought of the 75mm AT as a lot more common than the 88mm mostly because it looks a lot simpler to manufacture, operate, transport, and conceal. Wikipedia indicates that approximately 23,000 were manufactured. I don't know the numbers for how many 88s were used in an anti-tank role. I'm sure that others are more versed in this than I am.

But you are absolutely correct. The 88 gets talked about a lot more. I think that Antony Beevor said that anytime american troops were fired at that they were always convinced it was an 88 that attacked them.
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"German 88" is just so much more fun to say!
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aesthetocyst wrote:
"German 88" is just so much more fun to say!


8.8 is even better and has the benefit of confusing the hell out of most people.
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DegenerateElite wrote:
aesthetocyst wrote:
"German 88" is just so much more fun to say!


8.8 is even better and has the benefit of confusing the hell out of most people.


0.88 Long live the decimeter.
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Wiki also suggests only 20,750 8.8cm Flak 18/36/37 plus another 556 of the troublesome 8.8cm Flak 41's were manufactured - so fewer than the 7.5cm Pak 40 alone without even considering that the majority of 88s were deployed in an A/A role.

If these stats were gathered from self-reporting by the Brtish and American armies then I strongly suspect they would suffer greatly from the "every tank is a Tiger, every gun is an 88" syndrome.

I would not be surprised if in fact that the majority of anti-tank gun kills were performed by 7.5cms, despite the higher performance of the 88s.
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For completeness, we should add another ~2,100 8.8cm Pak 43's that as the designation suggests were manufactured as pure anti-tank guns, but I am not sure those numbers change my suspicion as to the stats.

How would they know what hit them?
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notquitekarpov wrote:
For completeness, we should add another ~2,100 8.8cm Pak 43's that as the designation suggests were manufactured as pure anti-tank guns, but I am not sure those numbers change my suspicion as to the stats.

How would they know what hit them?


Tank autopsy would help give indications.
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Very helpful.

I think it has been access to studies like this that have shown that the real tank killers were 75mm and not 88mm, that it was Panthers and MkIVs not Tigers that were the main enemy encountered, and that maintenance and reliability were important factors, frequently overlooked. As German tanks had demolition charges built into them I am surprised that the data shows as many abandoned as self-destroyed.
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notquitekarpov wrote:
Wiki also suggests only 20,750 8.8cm Flak 18/36/37 plus another 556 of the troublesome 8.8cm Flak 41's were manufactured - so fewer than the 7.5cm Pak 40 alone without even considering that the majority of 88s were deployed in an A/A role.

If these stats were gathered from self-reporting by the Brtish and American armies then I strongly suspect they would suffer greatly from the "every tank is a Tiger, every gun is an 88" syndrome.

I would not be surprised if in fact that the majority of anti-tank gun kills were performed by 7.5cms, despite the higher performance of the 88s.


I agree. German AFVs equipped with the 88 were rare: Tiger I & II, Elefant (some fought in Italy), and Jadgpanther; not sure if any Nashorns fought in the West, if so they were very rare. On the other hand, German 75mm equipped AFVS were quite common: Panzer IV, Panther, Sturmgeschutz, Jagdpanzer IV, Hetzer, Marder. In addition, the 75mm PAK was the standard anti-tank gun in '44-'45. 88mm PAK were rare, and the 88mm FLAK was not employed as an anti-tank gun as often as people think. I recall reading another study that noted it was difficult to distinguish the damage caused by a 75mm round from that caused by an 88mm round. The Panther's 75, for instance, had a higher muzzle velocity than the Tiger's 88 and greater armor penetration.
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As an aside, if anybody is interested I highly recommend Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II by Belton Y. Cooper.

A great memoir in its own right, it really goes deep into the amazing bravery and logistical feats of battlefront tank maintenance on the Western Front in WW2, and pulls no punches when it comes to criticism of army leadership (read: Patton) when it came to the Sherman.
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CountDeMoney wrote:
As an aside, if anybody is interested I highly recommend Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II by Belton Y. Cooper.

A great memoir in its own right, it really goes deep into the amazing bravery and logistical feats of battlefront tank maintenance on the Western Front in WW2, and pulls no punches when it comes to criticism of army leadership (read: Patton) when it came to the Sherman.


http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=278594
A useful discussion.
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Even more useful - https://tankandafvnews.com/2015/01/29/debunking-deathtraps-p...

Death Traps is junk history at best, an outright smear campaign at worst. It should not be taken seriously.
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MJames70 wrote:
Death Traps is junk history at best, an outright smear campaign at worst. It should not be taken seriously.


Pointed and direct subjectivity (and, in Cooper's case, over-the-top criticism at times) comes with the territory of being a memoir. His opinions on Patton don't invalidate his anecdotal experience of front line salvage and maintenance.
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CountDeMoney wrote:
As an aside, if anybody is interested I highly recommend Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II by Belton Y. Cooper.


It may be a great read, but it's also been shown Cooper's unit was hardly involved in actual tank battles for most of the war.
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You guys have convinced me. Recommendation withdrawn.
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CountDeMoney wrote:
MJames70 wrote:
Death Traps is junk history at best, an outright smear campaign at worst. It should not be taken seriously.


Pointed and direct subjectivity (and, in Cooper's case, over-the-top criticism at times) comes with the territory of being a memoir. His opinions on Patton don't invalidate his anecdotal experience of front line salvage and maintenance.


That’s exactly the point - the book is opinions and anecdotes, while pretending to be factual. Because when you look deeper, many of the ‘facts’ are simply incorrect in the book. No bibliography, no footnotes. Just the opinions of one guy who was kind of sort of there. And certainly not in a position where he was a decision maker.

This is just another of those books that is a dog whistle to ‘teh Germans were da bestest, and had da bestest’ crowd that infests wargames and plastic modeling alike.

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jumbit wrote:
Well, this post is pretty much the definition of "historical interest" without any gaming in it. No hexes, no counters, no VP.

The thing that surprises me isn't that the 88mm is high in kills, but that the German 75mm is high in kills. You hardly ever hear about the German 75. I thought it was an infantry support gun.


Well, consider that a large proportion of the "88" kills listed were from the 75mm AT guns of various flavors. Virtually anything the US GIs came up against were "Tigers" and "88s."

At a distance, German tanks are hard to tell apart - the silhouette of the Tiger I is as hard to distinguish from the Panzer IV as the Panzer IV is from the III (8 bogies vs 6). The box on top really only got larger, but stayed the same rough shape until the Panther.
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CountDeMoney wrote:
As an aside, if anybody is interested I highly recommend Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II by Belton Y. Cooper.

A great memoir in its own right, it really goes deep into the amazing bravery and logistical feats of battlefront tank maintenance on the Western Front in WW2, and pulls no punches when it comes to criticism of army leadership (read: Patton) when it came to the Sherman.


That book does not have a very good reputation...
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MJames70 wrote:
CountDeMoney wrote:
MJames70 wrote:
Death Traps is junk history at best, an outright smear campaign at worst. It should not be taken seriously.


Pointed and direct subjectivity (and, in Cooper's case, over-the-top criticism at times) comes with the territory of being a memoir. His opinions on Patton don't invalidate his anecdotal experience of front line salvage and maintenance.


That’s exactly the point - the book is opinions and anecdotes, while pretending to be factual. Because when you look deeper, many of the ‘facts’ are simply incorrect in the book. No bibliography, no footnotes. Just the opinions of one guy who was kind of sort of there. And certainly not in a position where he was a decision maker.

This is just another of those books that is a dog whistle to ‘teh Germans were da bestest, and had da bestest’ crowd that infests wargames and plastic modeling alike.



To be sure, the guys cleaning out the insides (often to get them ready for the next crew, actually) did see some horrific sights, but that would be true of all nationalities!
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