The 10th Panzer Division Tank Losses in October 1941

The 10. Pz.Div. was one of the spearheads in Operation Taifun, the German attempt to capture Moscow in October 1941. Its tank component was the Pz.Rgt. 7, whose war diary has survived, in file (BA-MA RH 39/99). All data presented below is taken from that source.

On 1 October, the panzer regiment had 41 Pz II, 82 Pz III, 19 Pz IV and 10 Bef.Wg. operational. Ten days later this had shrunk to 29 Pz II, 66 Pz III, 21 Pz IV and 8 Bef.Wg All in all, a reduction from 152 to 124, despite the slight increase in the number of Pz IV operational.

On 21 October it had been reduced to 22 Pz II, 35 Pz III, 12 Pz IV and 6 command tanks. It seems that the workshops did manage to put tanks back in running order, as the number of operational tanks rose to 22 Pz II, 43 Pz III, 14 Pz IV and 10 command tanks on 1 November.

It would have been good to compare this to the daily tank losses (irrevocable losses), as they are given in a table in the annexes. Unfortunately, the copy I have received does not extend to the left margin. Thus, I can only see the month, not the date, which is given in the leftmost column of the table. However, it can be concluded that the losses in October amounted to 8 Pz II, 15 Pz III, 1 Pz IV and 1 Command tank. It should be noted that the table gives all tank losses from the beginning of Operation Barbarossa to April 1942, even showing in which company each individual tank loss occurred.

We could see that between 1 October and 21 October, the number of operational tanks shrunk from 152 to 75, a reduction of 77. During the entire month of October 25 tanks were lost irrevocably. Most likely, some of those were lost after 21 October and also some vehicles were most likely repaired between 1 and 21 October. We saw that the number of operational tanks rose by 14 between 21 October and 1 November. Given a similar effort from the repair services, around 25 tanks could have been repaired between 1 and 21 October.

With this in mind, it would seem that for each German tank destroyed, around 4 were rendered temporarily inoperable. This is a ratio consistent with other operations, as long as the Germans were able to tow away their damaged tanks (which includes tanks suffering from mechanical problems).

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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.

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