Wehrmachtbericht
(Armed Forces Report)
Soviet vs. German Odds Ratios
This page contains the Odds Ratios from some of the "forgotten battles" on the Eastern Front.  All of this information is from the studies prepared by Colonel David Glantz.  I set about preparing this page after reading some misinformed comments by people on the net.  It seems that there are many who believe that the German Heer was not as effective as we have been historically led to believe.  I believe that these ratios set the story straight.  Keep in mind a couple of things:

1.  Most of the time, the attacker will need at least a 3:1 manpower superiority to achieve success in battle.  This is certainly true for the Soviets.  You will see from this list, that they almost always had a 3:1 manpower supuriority.

2.  Keep in mind, that the vast majority of the firepower during an attack, comes not from the infantry, but from Artillery and tanks.  Here is where the Soviets usually had a much higher superiority.  The artillery and the tanks is what provided the "breakthrough" during an attack, not the infantry.

3.  Keep in mind that the vast majority of these Soviet offensives were directed at German infantry formations (the supposed "average" German infantry divisions).

4.  Also keep in mind that nearly all the battles documented here were failures, hence the reason they were "Forgotten battles".


"Briansk Front" counter offensive against the Panzergruppe 2 launched in Sept. of 1941:
 
Overall


Category: Briansk Front Army Group Center Correlation
Divisions 39 14 2.79 : 1
Personnel 261,696 140,000 1.86 : 1
Guns and Mortars 2,251 1,000 1.50 : 1
Tanks 259 400 1: 1.54
Aircraft 464 350 1.20 : 1


Penetration Sector


Category: Briansk Front Army Group Center Correlation
Divisions 14 4.5 3.10 : 1
Personnel 78,055 64,333 1.21 : 1
Guns and Mortars 971 764 1.27 : 1
Tanks 193 300 1 : 1.55
Aircraft 300 100 3 : 1

It goes without saying that this counter offensive was a disaster.  Out of 261,696 men and 259 tanks committed to combat during the operation, they lost about 100,000 men and 140 tanks.  This is one battle where the Germans actually had superiority in tanks, but the Russians were slightly superior in everything else.  Needless to say, this counterattack had no chance of success.

"Briansk Front" Orel-Bolkhov Operation (January 7, 1942)


Category: Briansk Front German Forces Correlation
Personnel 201,103 150,000 1.30 : 1
Guns and Mortars 1742 3,000 1 : 1.7
AT Guns 252 1,000 1 : 4
Tanks 54 145 1 : 2.7
Aircraft 91 120 1 : 1.3
 
"Briansk Front" Orel-Bolkhov Operation (February 1, 1942)


Category: Briansk Front German Forces Correlation
Personnel 93,081 115,000 1 : 1.2
Guns and Mortars 699 2,000 1 : 2.9
AT Guns 71 600 1 : 8.5
Tanks 92 145 1 : 1.6
Aircraft 91 120 1 : 2.2

Cleary these two offensives never had any chance either, and they also led to huge Soviet losses (40,000 casualties).  According to Col. Glantz "The nearly constant attacks by the Briansk Front from January through early April 1942 cost the front well over 100,000 casualties set against the estimated 10,000 casualties inflicted on the defending Germans" (Forgotten Battles, Volume II, page 46).  Needless to say, that is a 10:1 casualty ratio in favor of the Germans.



"Crimean Front" Kerch Operation (February 27, 1942)

Category: Crimean Front German Forces Correlation
Personnel 93,804 45,000 2 : 1
Guns and Mortars 1,195 600 2 : 1
AT Guns 125 120 1 : 1
Tanks 194 0 Absolute
Aircraft 200 120 1.7 : 1


Even with a 2:1 superiority in manpower and guns, and an absolute superiority in tanks (194 to 0), the Soviet offensive went no where.  Alltogether, from January to April 1942 the Crimean front lost 352,000 soldiers.



See the Briansk Front's (5th Tank Army) counteroffensives against the 2nd Panzer Army during the summer of 1942 (Forgotten Battles, Volume III, pages 13-85).  The Briansk Front's tank forces along amount to 500-1600 tanks, depending on the time frame.  That does not even include the supiority in personnel and artillery.  The Germans had perhaps 250-400 tanks to counter the Soviets with.  It goes without saying that all these offensives will dismal failures, even with the massive superiority in tanks.  (Page 74 of Volume III, Forgotten Battles "This conclusion was more than a bit disengenuous.  In fact, the German force opposing the entire 38th Army from the Olym River to the Don numbered seven Infantry Divisions and no Panzer divisions.  Only three of these divisions (the 340th, 385th and the 387th faced Rokossovsky's shock groups in the Gremiach'e-Don River sector.  Thus, Soviet forces out numbered their German fores about 2 to 1 in infantry and more than 10 to 1 in armor, a reality not lost on the Stavka when it ordered the offensive."  (This is in regards to their August counteroffensive. Forgotten Battles, Volume II, page 76).  Make no mistake, the Soviets had around 600+ tanks, so this was a large amount of tanks.  Clearly the Soviets should have easily broken through with a superiority like this!


"Western Front" Zhizdra-Bohlkov Offensive (5-12 July, 1942)

Infantry Ratio: 2:1
Artillery Ratio: 3:1 +
Armor Ratio: 3:1


The offensive went no where.  The Germans were well dug in, and the Soviets had a whole host of issues that prevented them from achieving their operational goals.  According to a General Staff report "the specific shorcomings included appallingly poor intelligence and combat reconnaissance, the loss of surprise by careless regrouping, failure to mass artillery and air support, lack of initiative in exploiting initial success, poor staff organization of cooperation and command and control, and the disperal of aviation resources and sorties".  Clearly the Soviets were no where near as effective as the Germans were at this point in the war.