Das Reich Tank Losses on 6 July, 1943

On 6 July 1943, we estimate that the Das Reich SS Division lost 30 tanks damaged and destroyed. We have them starting the battle on the evening of 4 July with the following:

Pz I Command:                1

Pz II:                                 0 (and 1 in repair)

Pz III short (Command):   8

Pz III short:                       1

Pz III long:                       52 (and 11 in repair)

Pz III Observation:            9 (not counted)

Pz III Command:               1

Pz IV long:                       30 (and 2 in repair)

Pz VI:                               12 (and 2 in repair)

StuG III:                            33

Marder II:                           2 (and one in repair)

Marder III 76.2mm:            8

T-34:                                18 (and 9 in repair)


Total                               166 (and 26 in repair)

 

This is from the Kursk Data Base (KDB).

Tank status report for 5 July from 4th PzA files (T313, R366, page 2209), no time given. It records:

Pz III short: 1

Pz III long: 45

Pz IV: 27

Pz VI: 12

Command: Not reported

StuG: 32

 

This file was not used. There are some errors in other parts of this report. The file we did use was 5.7.43 19:40 hours from the army files (T313, R368. page 4282), which states:

Pz III short: 1

Pz III long: 52

Pz IV long: 27

Pz VI: 11

T-34: 16

Command: 8

StuG: 21

 

It took me a while to find all these files, which is why this blog post was so late today.

The next report from Das Reich is at 0235 on 7 July. Not sure why the delay, as the other division’s in the corps were submitting daily reports. They report:

Pz III short: 1

Pz III long: 47

Pz IV: 16

Pz VI: 7

Command: 6

StuG: 14

Total losses: 1 Pz IV.

 

We assume that this report at 0235 on 7 July is the end of the day report for July 6. That gives us a count of at least 47-48 tanks lost since the start of the offensive. One will note that they claim only one tank completely lost, yet there are six tanks listed destroyed in the gully SSW of Luchki. Is this an indication that they may have been lost on subsequent days and towed there?

The Kursk Data Base records 19 tanks damaged/destroyed on the 5th and 30 tanks damaged/destroyed in the 6th. These counts include T-34 losses. On the 6th this includes 2 Pz III short (Command), 5 Pz III longs, 11 Pz IV longs (one listed as destroyed), 4 Pz VIs, 7 StuG IIIs, and 1 T-34.

The status report for 7 July is probably in the message of 8 July dated at 0830, which list tank status from 6.7.43. This could be a 7 July report and was used as such in the Kursk Data Base. It is from 4th Panzer Army files (T313, R366, page 2251):

Pz III: 43

Pz IV: 25

Pz VI: 6

Command tank: 7

T-34: 14

Stug: 7 (!)

 

Status report for 8 July (from 4th Panzer Army files, T313, R366, page 2247):

Pz III long: 31

Pz IV long: 14

Pz VI: 0  (hard to read)

Command Tank: 7

T-34: 12

StuG: 21

 

Report does have a handwritten figure of 45 next to it (31+14 = 45)

The next report of tank status we have for Das Reich is for 9 July. They report:

                           Division      Corps (1830)     Corps (1905)   4th PzA Report (2300)

Pz III short:            0

Pz III long:           31                   33                   31                      38 (31)

Pz IV:                  13                   15                    13                     13

 Pz VI:                   1                     1                      1                       1

Command tank:    7                     7                      7                            (7)

T-34:                     7                     7                      7

Stug:                   26                   26                    26                       26

 

For the Kursk Data Base, these were the nuts and bolt calculations we did for all nine German panzer and panzer grenadier divisions for all 15 days of the operation. We also did the same for all 10 Soviet tank and mechanized corps. While we may have made a error here and there on a given day, we did try to count and track tank strengths and losses for every single day, even when the records were not cooperating. I believe the KDB is the most accurate accounting of tank losses at the Battle of Kursk.

Anyhow, this is related to this previous post, as I am still trying to sort out what might of occurred near the village of Luchki on 6 July, 1943:

The Das Reich Valley of Death?

With six tanks reported destroyed to the SSW of Luchki, perhaps all on 6 July, and the Das Reich SS Division losing around 30 tanks on 6 July, there may have been a major fight there that is not otherwise documented.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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2 Comments

  1. “I believe the KDB is the most accurate accounting of tank losses at the Battle of Kursk.”
    Compared to what (other database)?

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