Real Soviet Tank Availability (Full Version)

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Mobius -> Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/16/2012 2:56:26 AM)

I had this great idea on mapping out the actual numbers and percentages of the various Soviet tanks available throughout the war. I was going to use Steven Zaloga's Tank Strength 1941-1945 chart from his book 'Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War II' as my guide. Plus adding as much detail of each type of tanks production as I can find.

Well it looks pretty good until I started to take a look at some real detailed spots. Either Zaloga messed up the charts or more likely there is some very creative Soviet accounting going on. In particular there are some hinky spots. Like months 28-30. Which is April to June 1943. Almost no losses and over 2000 new and lend lease tanks arrive each month but the overall total numbers look like it's less than 500 tanks. ???[&:] Is there a black market of tanks and some commissar stealing them?

This is a clip of the T-34/76 Model 1943 which itself increases 2500 in that time period. So unless I can account for what's going on with the total this is the best we got right now.


Mobius -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/16/2012 2:58:30 AM)

Anyways, you guys can play around with the program and the data I have so far.

Yoozername -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/16/2012 4:31:38 AM)

I have been actively researching a similar vein lately. Seems both sides had 'hoarding' as far as produced tanks and other AFV and what was issued. Basically, the Soviets certainly hoarded turreted AFV before the Summer 1944 Bagration offensive.

Some interesting numbers:

The Germans had half the turreted tanks in May 1944 as May 1943 in the panzer units at the front on the east front.

Tiger tank prescence at the east front may have peaked at 300 some tigers in May 1944. It seems it went downhill and as low as 60 some tigers in early January 1945. The tiger I had ceased production and the transition led to big losses in Tiger I and slow influx of Tiger II.

Panthers may have been in greater numbers in the west than the east in summer 1944.

But my major interest is in that there appears to be many more panthers produced, and accepted, than have either been issued or lost. I know that it took the Germans awhile to pull back the panzer battalions and train them and then return them, but it seems that at the same time, there are hundreds and hundreds of Panther tanks that are 'building up'.

Mobius -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/16/2012 4:56:01 AM)

Maybe there were crewless 'tank hoards' somewhere that were off the books. Or, maybe in the case of Soviets they traded out and scrapped older tanks for new better ones.

Yoozername -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/16/2012 5:06:47 AM)

The Soviets scrapped nothing. They had quite an extensive policy regarding handling tank units. They actually had a policy regarding tank engine replacement! They knew that the diesel engines they built sucked. They had units that only rebuilt those diesels and swapped them in.

They would actually NOT replace tanks in units at the front. Not like the USA for sure. A unit would fight till it was combat depleted (50% OR MORE)and then pulled out, it would have it's tanks taken away, and it would be rebuilt around new issue tanks. The tanks taken away would either be deemed to be replacements for a unit with similarly worn tanks or thrown into the the rebuild units.

Mobius -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/16/2012 5:39:05 AM)

By this it would seem that there were about 3 x the number of T-34/76s as T-34/85s for the Bagration offensive.

Mad Russian -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/16/2012 2:07:45 PM)

Guderian was trying to form a panzer reserve. That could be where some of the German tanks were going.

Good Hunting.


Yoozername -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/16/2012 9:10:37 PM)

Here is a Panther snapshot from May 31 1944:

Manufactured and accepted to date:
Total write-offs per the German accounting:
Eastern Front Panther tanks with the Panzer Division tank battalions (only 6 were in the east)
313 (238 were operational BTW)

This leaves 1737 Panther tanks to be accounted for. Obviously, there were 600 some Panthers being built up in the West. Very few were in Italy (76?).

So that leaves quite a number to be in reserve in some capacity.

Yoozername -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/17/2012 6:07:14 AM)

I posted this recently:


On May 31, 1944, the Germans had about 1200 turreted AFV on the eastern front, this being a total actually in the Panzer units. I can get the exact numbers but its very close to 600 Panzer IV, 300 Panther and 300 Tiger. Not all operational, of course. Since the Panther had been outproducing the Tiger I for some time, maybe a few thousand total had been built, it seems to show that these Tiger I were very resilient. I believe only 6 battalions of 15 Panzer divisions had Panther issued. The training of these battalions seems to have progressed slowly. The Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions were also using around 175 StuG vehicles. Most of the StuG strength was still used in the Sturmartillerie units.

I have seen one source that says the Soviets had 14,000 turreted AFV (heavy, Medium and light) on June 1, 1944 but slightly less than half are in the operational and reserve units. The rest, I assume, are in training units or in parks as strategic replacements. But just counting Medium and Heavy tanks that are in operational units and stavka reserve, it's about 5600 turreted AFV.

The Soviets still had a bunch of light armored turreted vehicles in the front lines and Stavka reserve. But as far as 'strategic reserve, these light tanks were not 'hoarded'. They also had many SU76 in the front lines and very few hoarded. Heavy SPG were actually few in numbers.

Mobius -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/17/2012 1:30:47 PM)


ORIGINAL: Yoozername
The Soviets still had a bunch of light armored turreted vehicles in the front lines and Stavka reserve. But as far as 'strategic reserve, these light tanks were not 'hoarded'. They also had many SU76 in the front lines and very few hoarded. Heavy SPG were actually few in numbers.
I would have to see a tally of light tanks for 1944. They stopped production in 1943 and many were lost in Kursk. So their numbers would be declining in numbers at a good clip.

Mad Russian -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/17/2012 1:49:58 PM)

There was a sizeable strategic reserve for the Red Army. When the 5th Guards Tank Army was destroyed by II SS Panzer Corps at Prokhorovka, they replaced those tank losses within weeks. The 5GTA was only out of action for a very short time. Of course, replacing tanks is one thing, replacing trained crews is another.

Good Hunting.


Mobius -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/17/2012 4:11:15 PM)

Outside of combat losses, losses while in transit might be considered losses of cargo not tanks. Or, entire trainloads of T-34s might have sat on a siding until 1953.[:D]

Back in the early 1900s while there was a famine in the Ukraine hundreds of grain cars full of grain sat on sidings for 5 years. When this was finally discovered and after thousands had starved there were riots against the government.

Yoozername -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/17/2012 6:51:49 PM)

From memory, I believe the Soviet light tank forces on June 1, 1944 was around 1300 or so. Mind you, this may include lend-lease numbers as well as the surviving soviet light tanks. I will have to re-find this report and share it here. Damn Google Chrome.

The Soviet swap-over to T-34/85 was much easier than the German Panther. The Germans pulled a tank battalions out of the line and shipped them off for refitting and long training. This left that division very short of armor even if that battalion was equipped with Panzer III before.

The Soviets did this in the field. The driver-mechanic was already basically trained as was the bow-mg position. I suppose that an extra man was needed in each crew to handle the 5 man tank. The real training was firing the better weapon and getting the crew used to having a 3 man turret.

The Germans system of recovery and repair had the crew stay with the vehicle. Specifically, the driver hung around while the repairs were being performed. The rest of the crew became part of a casual company and did training or light duties, etc. The late US war repair doctrine was that the crew came back with the tank but if it was determined to take over so many days to repair, they would draw a replacement tank that was not necessarily a brand new tank. Crews could select what they wanted since many had certain tastes. Many wanted a Ford V8, some like cast hulls, some wanted a 75mm or a 76mm. etc. But the basic plan was to return the tanker to his unit and keep tank strength up. The Brits certainly popped hatches and took off in Normandy knowing that there were replacement tanks to be had and there was no point in even trying to fight in a hopeless situation.

Yoozername -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (8/18/2012 10:10:50 PM)

Here is a pretty good snap-shot of Eastern Front Panzer and Assault gun and jgdpanzer etc. strength as of Jan 5 1944:

Panzer IV 596
Panther 670
Tiger 26
AG and TD in Pz. div. 641
AG in Sturmartillerie 902
AG and TD in TD coy. 949

Sturmartillerie were StuGIII
AG and TD in Pz. div. were a mix of StuG and JagdpanzerIV
AG in TD coy were a mix of Hetzer and Marder and StuG and Hornet and JagdPanther

Clearly the turreted tank strength of the Panzer units is very low compared to the T34 and JSII

Mobius -> RE: Real Soviet Tank Availability (1/17/2013 8:58:08 PM)

Update on this.
1) Added a colorful background to better show years.
2) Now two tanks can be selected to be compared.
3) Possible to edit the tank production data to have negative production. To show 'what if old tanks were removed from service?'

Available at my site:


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