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Ammunition consumption during the Polish Campaign

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Karsten Heidt

Joined: 09 May 2012
Posts: 560
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 2:06 pm    Post subject: Ammunition consumption during the Polish Campaign Reply with quote

Found some interesting statistics about total ammunition used during Fall Weiss:

7.92mm: 395,489,504
20mm: 4,090,171
5cm mortar: 940,096
8.1cm mortar: 486,585
3.7cm: 1,968,817
7.5cm infantry gun: 409,527
15cm infantry gun: 25,206
7.5cm tank gun: 150,722
10.5cm howitzer: 1,408,193
10.5cm gun: 86,046
15cm howitzer: 296,560
15cm gun: 6,232
21cm howitzer: 3,794
24cm gun: 264
28cm railroad gun: 52




-with circa 1.5 million men in the attacking force, 7.92mm consumptions seems very low for a month of combat, at roughly 263 rounds per man. My theory is that because the fighting was so fluid and rarely settled down in to positional warfare, lengthy infantry slugging matches did not develop very often.

-the amount of 37mm AT fired in the campaign, almost two million rounds, seems exhorbitant given the fact that the Poles only had some 880 light tanks and tankettes [basically a tracked steel box for two men with a single machine gun]. This makes more sense when you consider the organization and employment of the 37mm PaK, the main German AT gun of the period. In addition to regimental companies of 12 guns and the divisional battalions of 36, the reconnaissance Bn had a small platoon of 3 guns. That works out to ca. 75 pieces per infantry division. These weapons were small and light enough to follow the infantry wherever they went, and had motorized towing to counter the mobility of tanks. German antitank doctrine stressed keeping the weapons as close to the front as possible to intervene quickly in case of armoured attack. What this means is that these weapons were everywhere, almost up in the foremost foxholes, and would inevitably become involved in the battle even in the absence of tanks. Armour-piercing solid shot would have been used for direct fire against enemy bunkers and other hardened positions, and the Germans had shown considerable foresight in not making the gun a one-trick pony like the equivalent British 2-pdr by providing it with a small, but useful high explosive shell from the very beginning. This would have been used to knock out machinegun nests, etc, from beyond the effective range that they could retaliate. This makes the ammunition figures make much more sense.

-the fact that three times as much 105mm howitzer was fired as 80mm mortar is noteworthy, considering there was only 36 of the former in the divisions but 54 of the latter, which operated closer to the front lines and had a quicker response time and rate of fire than traditional artillery. The only explanation I can offer is an extension of the first point, namely that because the lines never really gelled, the mortars would have spent most of their time marching on the backs of their gunners and less firing lengthy fire missions. Quick concentrations to break local resistance followed by pack up and move off again. The leFH with its ten kilometer range would have been able to keep firing longer at the retiring enemy before having to displace forward.
Gefreiter Karsten Heidt
5./Fallschirm-Jšger Regiment 5

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Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 1026
Location: Netherlands/Hungary

PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the figures for the 7.92 rounds/man could be upped a bit.
Considering only about 1/3 of the armed forces at any time were engaged in combat.
That is of course, if the 1.5 million figure is the grand total of the attacking forces, which I think it is.

There was bitter fighting on the Bzura, Warsaw and around Lwow.

Good observation on the 37mm!
Other weapons I heard were very popular for anti-stronghold combat were the PTRD/PTRS and the 20mm Solothurn.
With the 20mm HE rounds troops could take out dug-in posts for up to 2000 meters.
JŠnos Hunyadi wrote:
"To withdraw is impossible, to surrender is unthinkable!"- Battle of Varna 1444
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