German Losses against France, May-June 1940.

German campaigns and battles 1919-1945.

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German Losses against France, May-June 1940.

Post by sid guttridge » Tue Dec 14, 2004 6:59 am

Some time ago someone asked where the Germans suffered their losses in the French Campaign in 1940. I have lost the original post, so I am sticking the following here:

The book "Faites Sauter La Ligne Maginot" by Roger Berger contains some stats for a couple of specific actions.

On 9-10 June, as they tried to cross the River Aisne, several German divisions were roughly handled by the French:

a) The French 36th Infantry Division captured 714 German prisoners.

b) The German 36th and 299th Divisions lost some 2,500 men between them on these two days, including 580 missing, while fighting the French 6th Infantry Division.

c) The German 58th Infantry Division lost 1,600 men, including 350 missing, while attacking the French 1st Colonial Infantry Division.

In the Sarre/Saar region the German XXX Corps (258th and 93rd Infantry Divisions), XII Corps (268th and 75th Infantry Divisions) and XXIV Corps (60th and 252nd Infantry Divisions), with 79th, 198th and 168th Infantry Divisions in reserve, tried to break through the Maginot Line on 14 June but were repulsed. (The French abandoned this section of the Maginot line the next day as Guderian's panzers were deep in their rear).

Total German losses were in the region of 1,000 dead and 4,000 wounded. These included:

252 Div. - 106 dead.
268 Div. - 156 dead.
258 Div. - 50 dead, 350 wounded.
60 Div. - "heaviest losses of any division involved"
93 Div. - 257 dead and 970 wounded over 14-21 June, about half on 14 June.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: German Losses against France, May-June 1940.

Post by Florin » Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:29 am

What about the British counter-offensive at Arras, while the French motorized force of De Gaulle also attacked from the south?

The Germans had some harsh loses during those fights.

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Post by sid guttridge » Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:07 am

Hi Florin,

The book only dealt with circumstances relating to the Maginot Line. It was part of a series of three award-winning books by the same author, all on the Maginot Line. They are very well researched and I would recommend them.

If I remember correctly, De Gaulle's counter attack made so little impression on the Germans that they didn't even know it had happened!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by k-pp » Sat Dec 18, 2004 11:35 am

I don't know much about the battles of May 1940, but could there have been two French counter-attacks? One on 17th May and a second on the 21st May, the latter having more initial success?

Also,
If I remember correctly, De Gaulle's counter attack made so little impression on the Germans that they didn't even know it had happened!
I have a source, a diary / Taetigkeitsbericht, where an officer with a Luftwaffe unit in the Cambrai area writes of a French attack with 80 tanks (22-05-40). Since the unit was ordered to withdraw, and since he writes of chaos on the roads from retreating troops, I would say that the French did make an impression on the Germans!

I'll post the 'diary' extracts tomorrow!

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Post by k-pp » Sun Dec 19, 2004 2:41 pm

The floppy disc I'm trying to upload from is buggered, so the extract will have to wait until the New Year when I return from Wales. Sorry.

Happy christmas!

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Post by Richard Hargreaves » Sun Dec 19, 2004 3:38 pm

This is a very early draft from the final chapter of my next book on the German victories 1939-1940

Victory in the West had been bought remarkably cheaply. German losses amounted to little over 150,000, with just 27,000 dead. Formations at the spearhead of the attack suffered the heaviest casualties; Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division lost 682 dead, 1,646 wounded and 296 missing, 12th Infantry Division which followed in its wake suffered 442 dead and 1,288 wounded. [Rommel, p.86; Teske, p.118] The bitter fighting on the Meuse heights left one in four men in the Grossdeutschland Regiment dead or wounded. Such losses were the exception, not the rule in France in 1940. Most German divisions endured a little over 1,000 casualties. The booty they seized was immense – 850,000 guns, 33,000 light machine-guns, 3,700 light field howitzers, 4,800 trucks, more than 1,000 cars and 2,300 motor-cycles. [OKW/WFSt/Abt.L (Im2) Nr.3211/40, 28/8/40]

The overall casualties were:

Killed/Wounded
Germany 27,074 / 111,034
Italy 1,247 / 4,782

France 92,000 / 250,000
Belgium 7,500 / 15,850
Britain 3,457 / 13,602
Holland 2,157 / 6,889
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Post by Paul_9686 » Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:36 pm

I reckon one could say that of all German "blitzkrieg" attacks in WWII, the one against France was the most successful--but of course, because it didn't bring Britain to the bargaining table, it was therefore a flawed masterpiece.

Yours,
Paul

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Post by sid guttridge » Mon Dec 20, 2004 5:13 am

Hi Halder,

There was a book published very recently in France (October 2004?) containing the papers presented in a recent French conference on the 1940 Campaign. I believe it is entitled "La Campagne de 1940". It contained a chapter on French losses, comparing the contradictory totals published since the war. Unfortunately I didn't get it. It contains a number of maps showing divisional dispositions as well. This may be of some interest to you.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by sid guttridge » Mon Dec 20, 2004 5:20 am

Hi Halder,

Correction, the book "La Campagne de 1940" edited by Christine Levisse-Touze was published by Tallandier on 03/10/2001.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Ironrat » Wed Dec 22, 2004 11:02 am

Does anyone have any info on the amount of ammo (bullets, shells, bombs) used by the germans during the french 1940 campaign?
Ironrat

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Post by Richard Hargreaves » Wed Dec 22, 2004 2:22 pm

Cheers for that Sid. For years a serious study of the fall of France seems to have been taboo for some reason - it's only in the mid 80s that historians really grappled with it. Books on Vichy are legion, but the six-week war was always dealt with using memoirs and anecdotes. I still don't think there's an official history produced...
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Post by Michate » Fri Dec 24, 2004 4:57 am

halder wrote:This is a very early draft from the final chapter of my next book on the German victories 1939-1940

Victory in the West had been bought remarkably cheaply. German losses amounted to little over 150,000, with just 27,000 dead. Formations at the spearhead of the attack suffered the heaviest casualties; Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division lost 682 dead, 1,646 wounded and 296 missing, 12th Infantry Division which followed in its wake suffered 442 dead and 1,288 wounded. [Rommel, p.86; Teske, p.118] The bitter fighting on the Meuse heights left one in four men in the Grossdeutschland Regiment dead or wounded. Such losses were the exception, not the rule in France in 1940. Most German divisions endured a little over 1,000 casualties. The booty they seized was immense – 850,000 guns, 33,000 light machine-guns, 3,700 light field howitzers, 4,800 trucks, more than 1,000 cars and 2,300 motor-cycles. [OKW/WFSt/Abt.L (Im2) Nr.3211/40, 28/8/40]

The overall casualties were:

Killed/Wounded
Germany 27,074 / 111,034
Italy 1,247 / 4,782

France 92,000 / 250,000
Belgium 7,500 / 15,850
Britain 3,457 / 13,602
Holland 2,157 / 6,889
Halder,

this is very interesting info, however the final German death count was significantly higher, as there were some non-combat related deaths, a faction of the wounded died and there were also several thousand soldiers listed as missing, many of whom were later established to be dead, so the final number of dead german soldiers in the campaign was around 46,000.

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Post by k-pp » Sun Jan 02, 2005 10:52 am

Here the two extracts re. French counter-attacks:

16. 5. 40.
Um 5 Uhr wurde die Infanterie alarmiert - ich war vor Kälte aufgestanden und erwärmte mich durch einen kleinen Dauerlauf auf der [Cortenbosch] Dorfstraße - als ein Kradfahrer mit dem Adjutant angebraust kam. Der Batl.-Kommandeur ließ mich durch den Hauptmann bitten, das Bataillon bei Aufstellung von Straßensperren für einen bevor stehenden feindl. Panzerangriff mit unseren schweren Lkw zu unterstützen. In kurzer Zeit war eine tadellose Straßensperre aufgerichtet wir stellten unsere Lkw zu dreien kulissenartig quer zur Straße und verstärkten diese Sperre mit allerhand landwirtschaftl. Gerät. Die Infanterie grub sich um das Dorf ein, brachte Pakgeschütze in Stellung, während meine Männer eifrig dabei behilflich waren. Es zeichneten sich hierbei besonders aus: Stabswachtm. Heinzmann, Kan. Ruelke und Kan. Hahn. Um 8 Uhr wurde die erhöhte Alarmbereitschaft aufgehoben da die durchgebrochenen französischen Panzer kurz vor St. Trond zur Strecke gebracht worden waren. [...]

[...]

22. 5. 40
Nach 12 stündiger Fahrt hatten wir mit Mühe und Not 120 km zurückgelegt, als wir um 7 Uhr auf dem Flugplatz Cambrai-Avoingt anrollten. Vor Cambrai hatten heftige Rückzugkämpfe getobt [.] Wir sahen grausige Kriegsbilder zerstörter Ortschaften, zerschossener verbrannter Wagen aller Art, worin noch teilweise die französ. und belg. Mannschaften als verkohlte Leichen saßen. Meine Männer hatten hier gute Gelegenheit sich von der Unzulänglichkeit des menschlichen Lebens eingehend zu überzeugen. Ich selbst kam zwar nicht in den Genuß der Leichendüfte, da ich seit 2 Jahren meinen Geruchsinn verloren habe. Aber auch dieser Zustand kann auch seine angenehmen Seiten haben, wie mein Leibschofför Minner, etwas bleich geworden, behauptete. - Das Bodenpersonal richtet sofort bei Ankunft den Flugplatz ein und entladet dazu das notwendige Gerät, Quartieren werden in dem fast menschenleeren Dorf bezogen. Wir nahmen nach der gegenwärtigen Kriegslage an, daß unser Bleiben auf dem ziemlich zentral nach allen Fronten gelegenen Flugplatz von längerer Dauer sein wird. Die Kampffronten sind teilweise nur ein paar km entfernt. An diesem Morgen sahen wir schöne Luftkämpfe, bei denen einige Franzosen abgeschossen wurden. Nach Norden zu bei Lille, Lens u.s.w., wo die besten Truppen Frankreichs und Englands eingeschlossen waren, wüteten unaufhörlich unsere Stukas, wie wir von unserm "Gefechtsstand" tadellos beobachten konnten. Um 14 Uhr wird meiner Kolonne durch Kradmelder höchste Alarmstufe bekanntgegeben und ich selbst werde sofort zum Kommandeur befohlen. Die Franzosen versuchen mit ihrer Reserve von 80 schweren Panzern die deutsche Einbruchsstelle abzuschneiden. Schweres Art.-Feuer liegt auf Cambrai und Umgebung. Vor und hinter unserm Dorf fährt Pak und Artillerie auf, sodaß unser stilles Avoingt bald einem aufgewühltem Ameisenhaufen gleicht. Auf Befehl der Kommandantur muß ich mit allen Fahrzeugen und Geräten eine schußsichere Stellung nach Südwesten beziehen. Ich fahre mit Uffz. Thate und Kradfahrer Apitsch sofort auf Erkundung und zwar auf Nebenwegen, da die andern Straßen von rückflutenden Kolonnen und Formationen verstopft sind. Nach unserer Rückkehr ist die Lage noch etwas kritischer geworden. Mit Stabswachtmeister Heinzmann, Uffz. Thate und Wurzel spiele ich erst mal etwas Verkehrspolizei und versuchen mit Erfolg das Durcheinander in Avoingt zu bereinigen. Mit gutem Zusprechen und auch Vorhalten des Revolvers löst sich allmählich die aufgeregte Dorfverstopfung, sodaß wir gegen 20 Uhr ordnungsgemäß und ohne besondere Vorkommnisse unsere Rückverlegung nach Selbigny ausführen konnten. [...]

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Post by Panzermeyer » Sat Jan 22, 2005 10:21 am

Hello,

About the victory with some 45,000 KIA and 33% destroyed German tanks in wasn't a sunday walk in the forest.

Concerning the GD regiment, most of the losses of the campaign were suffered in Stonne between the 15th and the 17th May 1940.

To go on with examples like Sid gave us :

In front of Abbeville the Germans had about 2000 KIAs + WIAs and some 400 POWs but also most of the vehicles, Pak guns, Flak guns, HMGs and mortars that have been destroyed or captured. Several companies were reduced to about 30 men. One infantry battalion was crushed in Huppy. But of course first the British and then the French tanks payed a heavy tribute because of the 8.8cm FlaK and 10.5cm leFH firing directly on them (the less protected British tanks had even a harder time, the French tanks being more able to sustain 2.0cm and 3.7cm hits).

The Aisne River front has alreafy been mentioned by Sid. On this same river, on the Rethel area, the 14e DI captured about 800 Germans POWs and many assaults were defeated. The 2e DI captured about 500 German POWs in the same area. I am sure if you ask some poeple they believe that the German soldier was a kind of superman that for sure never surrendered in 1940 :) Of course some French units surrounded in greater number than that !

You should also read these articles :
- Gunsburg, Jeffery A. "The Battle of Gembloux, 14-15 May 1940: The 'Blitzkrieg' Checked". Journal of Military History 64, no.1 (January 2000): 97-140.

- Gunsburg, Jeffery A. "The Battle of the Belgian Plain, 12-14 May 1940: The First Great Tank Battle." Journal of Military History 56, April 1992, 207-244.

(if your mailbox can receive up to 6 MB in one single mail I can forward a .pdf version of each article)


Allied losses during Fall Gelb :
• Belgian losses in 19 days : 7,500 KIA, 15,850 WIA
• Luxembourg : -
• Dutch losses in 6 days : 2,890 KIA, 6,889 WIA
• British losses in 26 days : 3,457 KIA, 13,602 WIA, 3,267 MIA
• French losses in 45 days : grossly 100,000 KIA and about 202,000 WIA (other common sources indicate 120,000 "fallen for France" but this figure includes beside the KIA the POWs who died in German hospitals or camps as well as some civilians KIA – grossly about 80,000-100,000 French troops died during Fall Gelb).

The Swiss historian Eddy Bauer says also that the Germans lost much more men in the second part of the western campaign.
156,492 German losses (KIA, MIA, WIA) in 45 days, that's 3477 losses per day but in fact the French resistance was all days harder : 2499 German losses per day between the 10th May and the 3rd June but 4762 German losses per day between the 5th and the 24th June. You can compare that to the 4506 German losses per day during operation Barbarossa from 22nd June to 10th December 1941. It seems the western campaign, even if fast and effective, was much more deadly than the common myth admits it.

And the several losses during the Phoney war are not taken into account here. From September 1939 to April 1940 :
German losses : 176 aircrafts
French losses : 57 aircrafts
British losses : 82 aircrafts
F + UK losses : 139 aircrafts

Regards,

David

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Post by ak74u » Sun Feb 27, 2005 7:46 am

*derails topic*


Very interesting facts, could anyone please post some facts like these about the Denmark/Norway campagin




EDIT: Acording to my ww2 day by day encylopedia from 1967, its cites folowing facts about german and allied strengt on the start of the french campaign


Infantery divisions for the allies: 157
Tank divisons: 2
Planes: 4500

are these numbers farily correct?
nande Sakura chan

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