II SS Panzer Corps at Prokhorovka

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by Jonathan Ball, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    I had a request from Jim today (James_S) to do a look up in Mark Healy's excellent book Zitadelle: The German Offensive Against the Kursk Salient 4-17 July 1943 on the relative strengths of the 3 Divisions in terms of the numbers of AFV available at the beginning of the tank battle at Prokhorovka on 12 July 1943.

    The figures I provided are as follows:

    1st SS Panzergrenadier-Division 'Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler': 70 operational tanks and SP Guns

    2nd SS Panzergrenadier-Division 'Das Reich': 130 AFV's

    3rd Panzergrenadier-Division 'Totenkopf': 121 AFV's (including 10 Tigers)

    These figures are from SS Panzer Corps Divisional strength returns for the evening of 11th July and are held as part of the Bundersarchiv in Germany.

    Would anyone be able to give any further breakdown of these figures? For instance how many and what types of tanks and SP guns made up the figure of 130 AFV of the Das Reich Division?

    Thanks.

    JB
     
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  2. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Jonathan , thanks for the data - I am working my through George Nipe's new book on the II SS-Panzer Korps and its part in the battle of Prochorowka and was interested to see what a more recent book on the battle gave in respect of the three major SS Divisions tank strength on the 12th July.
    Will add some info from GN's new book tomorrow ,. his figures are very similar to that which you quote Jonathan.
     
  3. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Strength of the three SS divisions on 1 July 1943

    1st SS Panzergrenadier-Division 'Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler':
    4 PzII, 3 PzIII(kz), 10 PzIII(lg), 67 PzIV(lg), 13 PzVI, 9 PzBef

    2nd SS Panzergrenadier-Division 'Das Reich':
    1 PzII, 62 PzIII(lg), 33 PzIV(lg), 14 PzVI, 10 PzBef, 25 T34

    3rd Panzergrenadier-Division 'Totenkopf':
    63 PzIII(lg), 8 PzIV(kz), 44 PzIV(lg), 15 PzVI, 9 PzBef
     
  4. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Wow, good stuff lads. Amazed to see that in July 1944 there were PzII's still deployed!
     
  5. L J

    L J Senior Member

    There also were Pz I :D
    Das Reich :1
    LSSAH :3
     
  6. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    The other two points Jim is wanting to cross reference for accuracy are as follows. I will take a look at my info later but if anyone else wishes to contribute then please feel free:

    1. Are there any primary sources to note that the Germans knew the 5th Guards Tanks were coming on to them on July 12 ?

    2. The level of progress or lack of it by the GroƟdeutschland Division on July 12 , does the author quote any primary sources in relation to the above or was any info quoted taken from previously published sources ?
     
  7. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Same date but from the different book

    The Waffen-55 was also not equipped with hundreds of Tiger I tanks at Kursk: only three companies of the heavy tanks saw service with II 55 Panzer Corps during July 1943. Each division did have a battalion of Sturmgeschiitz (StuG) III assault guns and a strong contingent of Marder III self-propelled antitank guns.

    By the time Operation Citadel got under way, the Leibstandarte's panzer regiment boasted one battalion, with 67 Panzer IV and 13 Panzer III tanks, along with 13 Tiger Is. The Das Reich Division was less well equipped, with only 33 Panzer IVs, 62 Panzer IIIs and 14 Tiger Is. To boost its fighting power, the division pressed 25 captured T-34s into service. The Totenkopf Division still had two battalions in its panzer regiment, but 63 of its tanks were Panzer IIIs. It also had 44 heavier Panzer IVs and 15 Tiger Is.

    I couldn't find exact number of StuGs or Marders in any of these three divisions.
     
  8. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Strength of three SS division on the night before battle at Prokhorovka

    The Waffen-SS panzer regiments were rested during the night to prepare them for the coming major attack. Repair teams worked to ensure the maximum number of panzers were available. During the evening the Leibstandarte mustered five Panzer IIIs, 47 Panzer IVs and four Tiger Is ready for action; Das Reich fielded 34 Panzer IIIs, 18 Panzer IVs, one Tiger I and eight captured T-34s; and the Totenkopf had operational 54 Panzer IIIs, 30 Panzer IVs and 10 Tiger Is. II SS Panzer Corps was also able to field 60 StuG IIIs and a similar number of Marder self-propelled antitank guns. In total, Hausser would have more than 300 armoured vehicles available for action.
     
  9. L J

    L J Senior Member

    DR also had 25 T 34
    The Marder and other things:
    LSSAH :21 Marder,6 Hummel,12 Wespe,12 Bison
    DR: 12 Marder,6 Hummel,12 Wespe,12 Bison
    TT:8 marder,6 Hummel,12 Wespe
    The 3 SSPZD only had 42 Tigers,the s PzAbt 503 had 45 Tigers,the sPzAbt 505 31.
    The reason of the weakness of the SSPzD is that their 2nd Pz batallion was still in Germany,training with the Panthers
     
  10. L J

    L J Senior Member

    number of (probably operational) tanks and assault guns of the SS PzKorps(first :tanks,second AG)
    4 july : 356/95
    9 july :190/59
    10 july :205/67
    11 july :235/57
    13 july :187/64
    15 july :198/71
    16 july :217 /75
     
  11. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Seems that number of StuGs in Divisions in early July was:

    LSSAH: 35
    Das Reich: 34
    Totenkopf: 35
     
  12. woapysittank

    woapysittank Member

    For Stugs Zamulin's "Demolishing the myth" has:

    9th July

    SSLAH 22 Stugs
    SSDR 26 Stugs
    SST 12 Stugs

    11th July

    SSLAH 10 Stugs
    SSDR 27 Stugs
    SST 21 Stugs

    He also lists a lower number of T34's than I've seen quoted before for SSDR

    7 on July 9th
    8 on July 11th.

    His figures are from Zetterling and are for the evening on these days he points out that afterrepairs the figure could be higher next morning.
     
  13. woapysittank

    woapysittank Member

    I had a request from Jim today (James_S) to do a look up in Mark Healy's excellent book Zitadelle: The German Offensive Against the Kursk Salient 4-17 July 1943 on the relative strengths of the 3 Divisions in terms of the numbers of AFV available at the beginning of the tank battle at Prokhorovka on 12 July 1943.

    The figures I provided are as follows:

    1st SS Panzergrenadier-Division 'Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler': 70 operational tanks and SP Guns

    2nd SS Panzergrenadier-Division 'Das Reich': 130 AFV's

    3rd Panzergrenadier-Division 'Totenkopf': 121 AFV's (including 10 Tigers)

    These figures are from SS Panzer Corps Divisional strength returns for the evening of 11th July and are held as part of the Bundersarchiv in Germany.

    Would anyone be able to give any further breakdown of these figures? For instance how many and what types of tanks and SP guns made up the figure of 130 AFV of the Das Reich Division?

    Thanks.

    JB

    Zetterling via Zamukin is similar to the above but has SSDR quite a bit lower with 95 AFV's on the evening of the 11th.

    34 PZII lg, 18 PZIV lg, 1 PZVI, 8 T34, 27 Stugs and 7 Hummels.

    He also has SST's PZIII's as the 50L42 model not the L60.

    SST 54 PZIIIL42, 4 PZIVL24, 26 PZIVL43 and L48, 10 PZVI, 21 Stugs and 7 Hummels.

    SSLAH

    4 PZII, 5 PZIIIL60, 47 PZIV L43 and L48, 4 PZVI, 10 Stugs, 7 Hummels.
     
    James S likes this.
  14. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Jim

    A couple of passages from Healy's book which you may find of interest?

    "...What, then, were the actual German losses? Divisional returns for 13 July give a figure of 251 panzers and Assault Guns on strength with the SS Panzer Corps, indicating a differential of just 43 machines from the total of 294 available at dawn on the 12th. And even this astonishingly low number of losses does not equate to 'write-offs'. A post-Kursk report detailing SS tank losses between 5 and 26 July reported that just 36 panzers and Assault Guns had become 'total losses' during that period. As some 19 of these were destroyed prior to the 12th, it means that only 17 of the 400 hulks recovered by the Russians after the battle in the vicinity of Prokhorovka carried the balkankreuz, and were thus lost over the five days from the 12th itself. This corrective to Soviet claims is mirrored in the more specific strength returns on Tigers operated by the SS Panzer Corps during the course of the offensive, with those for the fortnight beginning 5 July listing only three Tigers written off. Rotmistrov's claim that his forces destroyed 70 on the 12th alone appears to have been somewhat exaggerated! Although all ten of Totenkopf's and one of the Liebstandarte's Tigers were knocked out on the 12th, all were repairable, and none were write-offs...."


    "....In comparison, the total number of 'write-offs' in the 4th Panzer Army and III Panzer Corps was higher, with 190 tanks and Assault Guns having been destroyed between 5-17 July. This number was still remarkably low given the ferocity of the combat experienced during this period. By type, this broke down into 79 Panzer IV's, 44 Panthers, 40 Panzer III's, 18 Assault Guns, 6 Tigers and 3 Flammpanzer III's. Within these figures are subsumed those of the II SS panzer Corps. The actual losses incurred by this formation were identified in a separate report submitted on 23 July, which detailed their 'write-offs' as 23 Panzer IV's, five Mark III's, five Assault Guns and three Tigers. As in the case of Ninth Army, these numbers indicate a far lower number of total write-offs than was earlier assumed."
     
  15. L J

    L J Senior Member

    From Sturmvogel
    AFV's in the SS Panzerkorps on 4 july 1943
    LSSAH:
    4 PzII
    11 Pz III lg
    79 PzIV lg
    12 PzVI
    9 BefPz
    Towed PAK :18
    Marder III 21
    StuG :34
    DR:
    PzIII kg:1
    PzIII lg 47
    PzIV lg:30
    PzVI :12
    BefPz :8
    Towed PAK:16
    Marder III:2
    Marder II :8
    StuG :33
    T34 :18
    TT:
    PzIIIlg:59
    PzIVkg:5
    PzIV lg :42
    PzVI :11
    BefPz:8
    Towed Pak :19
    Marder III :11
    StuG:28
     
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  16. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    I picked this out of George Nipe's book this afternoon.
    On the 4th July he quotes LSSAH as having 111 tanks, D.R. as having 116 and TK as having 125.

    ON THE 11TH evening
    LSSAH had 63 DR- 34 and TK 125.
    On 12th July Hauser had 232 tanks to call on., 101 of these being with TK.

    Have to admit I "jumped to the end" of his book to find these figures , it makes me wonder when the revised view of Kursk took shape and just how much of the "greatest tank battle in history" is legend or what we all once took to be true.

    Thanks gents for the info. :)
     
  17. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    And what were the infantry casualties in II SSPzK in absolute and % terms of OOB at start?

    James, there were a lot more at Zitadelle operation than II SSPZK. It was not a small affair by any means.

    9th Army (North shoulder) contained 46 PzK, 37 PzK, 41 PzK; while AGS lined up 48 PzK, II SSPzK, 3 PzK plus the Infantry Corps and other formations. There was more to it than Prokhorovka. And the Sovs were still holding back a lot for the planned counter-offensives (Ops Kutuzov and Rumyantsev). Of course it was certainly not the fantasy blurted out by Martin Caidin (The Tigers Are Burning), but a milk run it was not.
     
  18. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Yes Za know what you mean , but for the moment looking at IISS Pz K. :)
    The start of a deeper look at the battle, have to wonder if Manstein was right or wrong in trying to have the offensive continued if only to try and do whatever damage they could to the Russians the ultimate gamble which for the Germans went very wrong.
     
  19. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    I picked this out of George Nipe's book this afternoon.
    On the 4th July he quotes LSSAH as having 111 tanks, D.R. as having 116 and TK as having 125.

    ON THE 11TH evening
    LSSAH had 63 DR- 34 and TK 125.
    On 12th July Hauser had 232 tanks to call on., 101 of these being with TK.

    Have to admit I "jumped to the end" of his book to find these figures , it makes me wonder when the revised view of Kursk took shape and just how much of the "greatest tank battle in history" is legend or what we all once took to be true.

    Thanks gents for the info. :)
    The Battle of Kursk

    James, here is an article that questions the "legend" of Citadel. We had a thread on it a while back but the 1940 lads got hold of it and cloaked in a whole "1940" veil!!!

    But it does call into question the whole myth of T-34's ramming hordes of Tigers at point blank range.

    My own opinion of Citadel is that although it was a major battle, it wasnt the turning point many people claim. The Soviets were already in the ascendancy pre-Kursk and Mansteins "Brilliant" counterstroke at Kharkov, whilst a tactical success didnt strategically alter the course of the Great Patriotic War/Ostfront. The Germans couldnt win after Moscow, they couldnt get a stalemate after Stalingrad,hey couldnt attack after Kursk and they couldnt survive after Bagration! Ok, maybe that is a bit flippant but it sums up for me about the Germans Chances in the East at various timelines!
     
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  20. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    And what were the infantry casualties in II SSPzK in absolute and % terms of OOB at start?
    On 5 July 1943, Total strength of II SSPzK was 74,863 but only 26,202 were combat personnel. According to Zetterling and Frankson total losses of the three divisions during Zitadelle 8,095 killed, wounded and missing. Unfortunately they don't give number of combat losses among total number but probably majority of them could be put in this category. So seems the corps lost some 20-25% of its combat strength in men during offensive (rough estimate).
     

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