Repair of Jagdpanthers at Normandy – Part II

At the end of July, mounting enemy pressure would push the battalion back and from then Jagdpanthers would start to become complete losses. The first took place on July 31, when the final drives of Lt. Scheiber’s Jagdpanther was damaged. The vehicle could not be recovered due to strong enemy artillery fire and lack of towing vehicles. It was blown up by the crew on Aug 2. On July 31, another 11 Jagdpanthers were damaged, but all of them were short time damage.

On Aug 1, the number of Jagdpanthers in long term repair increased from 1 to 3 and that number remained constant August 13. From July 31 to Aug 2, the number of tanks in short repair shrunk by 4, suggesting at least that many were repaired. On Aug 5, the number in short repair was 17, but it shrunk to 13 on July 6, again suggesting that 4 were repaired. Indeed, one of the Kampfgruppen was notified that it could expect to receive three Jagdpanthers from the workshops in the night or on Aug 6.

From Aug 7 onwards, the number of Jagdpanther in short repair increased. On Aug 14, 17 Jagdpanther were in short repair, but it was noted that spare parts had to be brought up to repair them. At this point the German supply situation in general was desperate, which meant that the arrival of spare parts was not very likely. The battalion was ordered to pull out and bring its vehicles in workshops along. Thus far, seven tanks had been irretrievably lost (including one confiscated by an SS-units and whose fate was unknown).

During all of August, the following complete losses (including command tanks) were recorded, by cause (including Scheiber’s Jagdpanther mentioned above):

Mechanical damage, tank blown up by crew: 12

Destroyed AT fire: 2

Stuck in terrain, could not move, subsequently hit by enemy tank, burnt out: 1

Destroyed by HE or phosporus rounds: 2

Damaged by enemy fire and blown up by crew since it could not be recovered: 2

Confiscated by SS-unit, unknown fate: 1

Lack of fuel, blown up by crew: 1

Carpet bombing at Rouen: 1

Up to the point when the battalion we know of at least 32 cases when tanks in the battalion were repaired, which can be contrasted to 7 cases of complete losses. Obviously, this includes vehicles that suffered technical damage during the approach march, but is must also be noted that all cases of damage are not mentioned by the war diary. In august, there are a few cases noted:

4 Aug:         Unspecified number of Jagdpanther damaged by artillery fire.

5 Aug:         One Jagdpanther damaged during march, short term repair.

10 Aug:       One Jagdpanther damaged during march, short term repair.

12 Aug:       1 gun barrel damaged by enemy artillery fire.

13 Aug:       1 case of final drive failure

14 Aug:       2 damaged by artillery fire.

Given the data available, exact percentage calculations are perhaps not so meaningful, but it is clear that before the battalion began to pull out, the damage received was usually of such character that it is to be expected that it will be repaired.

What is also interesting is that losses due to presence of enemy ground combat units, or in some cases artillery fire, caused the Germans to blow up many Jagdpanthers. In fact, more than half the losses occurred in this way, which highlights the importance of controlling the ground.

Few Jagdpanthers were penetrated by AT rounds and in two of the cases, the vehicles could be repaired. Furthermore, the effects of artillery fire should not be neglected. Although a HE round is not likely to destroy a heavy tank, it may well (as is evident from several instances mentioned in the war diary) case damage to the tank and if ground units are close enough, the enemy tank will not be recovered.

The 654th Jagdpanther battalion is of course not an average unit. Nevertheless, its detailed war diary can contribute to a better understanding of tank losses and repairs.


P.S. The picture was drawn from this article:

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Niklas Zetterling
Niklas Zetterling

Niklas Zetterling worked as senior researcher at the Swedish National Defence Research Establishment and Swedish Defence College from 1993 to 2007. During that period, matters like combat efficiency, command and control methods and the use of history were extensively studied. A significant part of the work was devoted to mathematical models, both such developed in-house and models developed by other agencies. Nearly 20 scientific articles were published as part of the work at those two institutions. Mr. Zetterling first military history book was published in 1995. Over the last twenty years, 14 books have been authored or co-authored by Mr. Zetterling. They have been translated and released in seven different countries. All books deal with various aspects of World War II and are to a very great extent based on archival research.

Niklas Zetterling’s published works include six English language books in addition to his works in Swedish. His six English language books include two originally written in English in addition to four translated works. His other eight books are in Swedish but not yet published in English. Eleven of these books have been co-authored.

His books published in English are: 1) Kursk 1943 (London: Frank Cass, 2000), 2) Normandy 1944 (Winnipeg: Fedorowicz, 2000), 3) Bismarck – Kampen om Atlanten (Stockholm: Norstedts, 2004), Swedish but also translated to English, Finnish, Norwegian and Danish, 4) Tirpitz – Kampen om Norra ishavet (Stockholm: Norstedts, 2006), Swedish but also translated to English, Norwegian and Danish, 5) Tjerkassy 44 (Stockholm: Norstedts, 2006), Swedish but also translated to English as Korsun Pocket, 6) Hitlers första nederlag [Hitler's First Defeat] (Stockholm: Norstedts, 2011), Swedish, also translated to English as The Drive on Moscow 1941.

Articles: 7


  1. I wish “Normandy 1944: German Military Organization, Combat Power and Organizational Effectiveness” would be reprinted or still available, the prices right now are inflated. The only cheaper versions available are in Swedish.

    • I’ll see if there will be a reprinting of “Normandy 1944”. There is no Swedish version of the book.

      • My bad, it was “Avgörandets ögonblick. Invasionen i Normandie 1944, with Tamelander.
        Usually kindle versions are cheaper, but they can inherit flaws, such as missing tables. In the kindle version of Kursk: Statistical analysis Amazon obviously messed up the strength tables in the first chapters, repeating the table for 1942, but thats a minor thing.

        Anyway, thank you.

        • “Avgörandets ögonblick” is a completely different book. It is a narrative of the battle in Normandy and almost all of it was written at at stage when I did not have access to archival records.

  2. Niklas

    Hi can you advise is your book on Normandy due for reprint in English please?

    What is your view on the performance of the 3 Tiger units against 21st Army?

    1) how many tigers were involved please I that seen 134 to 170
    2) The information on 101 is appears strong, but for the other two there are numerous holes, which now appear to be covered by abandoned.
    Thank you in advance

  3. Do you have any information on the Jagdpanthers engagements :-
    With 129 Brigade Sherwood Rangers and 5 Wiltshire south Bois du Homme. Point 361. The various British historical records, refer to a counterattack led by 3 Jadgpanthers with an armoured car. All were destroyed directly or after becoming bogged down. They continued to advance destroying a fourth Jagdpather and a Tiger then capturing 2 Tigers which had bogged down. The history narratives do refer to torrential rain storm the previous night.
    A similar occurrence was at La Bigne, with 4/7 Royal Dragoon and 43 Wessex engagement with 654, 1 jagdpanther lost and 1 damaged, with two Tigers lost having been bogged down.
    The torrential rain storm had a major effect on the abilities of the 503 Tigers and 654 jagdpanthers to operate, was this fortunate or did the Allies seek to exploit these situations because of the limitations of the interleaved road wheels.

    • I have a deadline for the new edition of Normandy 1944, which is 31 March. I don’t know if a release date has been decided upon.
      On which date did the action you mention take place?

      • The engagements were from 30th July to 11 August 1944 the taking of Mount Pincon part of Bluecoat 8th Armour Brigade.

        • OK. That’s a fairly long period of time to check in the detailed war diary. We’ll see if I can find time to do that, as I am currently busy editing “Normandy 44”.

  4. Hi Niklas,

    What is the archival signature for the war diaries of Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 654? I was not able to locate the files at Invenio.

    • It is in private hands, not available at any archive as far as I know. I got a copy from Karl-Heinz Münch.

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