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Tank Crew Losses

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The following table contains total losses in the 5th Tank Corps during the Rezhitsa-Dvinsk Offensive Operation (July 18-28th, 1944)

Position

24 TBr

41 TBr

70 TBr

48 GHTBr

92 OMB

704 OBS

Total

Total (by position)

Tank brigade (regiment) commander

-

-

-

1

-

-

1

4

Tank btln commander

-

2

1

-

-

-

3

Tank cpny commander

3

2

-

2

-

-

7

58

Tank pltn commander

5

8

4

1

1

-

10

Tank commander

6

17

7

1

1

-

32

IS-2 gunner

-

-

-

2

-

-

2

37

M3 Lee gunner

-

11

-

-

-

-

11

T-34-85 gunner

5

14

4

-

-

1

24

IS-2 loader

-

-

-

-

-

-

0

56

M3 Lee loader

-

10

-

-

-

-

10

T-34-85 loader

9

17

6

-

2

-

34

T-34 loader

8

-

4

-

-

-

12

IS-2 radio master

-

-

-

2

-

-

2

16

M3 Lee radio operator

-

3

-

-

-

-

3

T-34-85 radio operator

3

5

2

-

-

-

10

T-34 radio operator

1

-

-

-

-

-

1

IS-2 driver

-

-

-

2

-

-

2

37

M3 Lee driver

-

2

-

-

-

-

2

T-34-85 driver

6

11

4

-

-

-

21

T-34 driver

5

-

7

-

-

-

12

Total

51

102

39

11

4

1

208

208


Tank
24 TBr

41 TBr

70 TBr

48 GHTBr

92 OMB

704 OBS

Total lost
% lost
T-34
14
1
13
-
-
-
28
45.5
T-34-85
26
44
16
-
2
1
89
67.4
M3 Lee
-
13
-
-
-
-
13
65
IS-2
-
-
-
11
-
-
11
52.4
Total
40
58
29
11
2
1
141
66.2

The table is a bit weird, since tank commanders are all lumped into one category, regardless of tank, and IS-2 radio "masters" are included (presumably off-tank repairmen, as the IS-2 had no dedicated radio operator). Anyway, it lets us make some conclusions regarding the safety of each crew member. The radio operator's job on the T-34 and T-34-85 was three times safer than the driver's, despite a lack of personal escape hatch. You'd think that both the driver and the radio operator are safer than the turret crewmen, judging by 46 dead loaders on T-34 variants compared to 11 radio operators or 33 drivers, but the loaders died more than gunners did (looking at the T-34-85 alone). The T-34 gunner/commander is lumped in with the other commanders, so it's hard to judge how safe his position was.

However, percentage wise, the numbers aren't so bad. Over 117 lost T-34 variants, the radio operator has a 10% chance of dying, the driver 28%, the loader 39%. T-34-85 gunners have a 27% chance.

By comparison, the IS-2's driver has an 18% chance of dying, no loaders died at all, and the gunner also has an 18% chance of dying if his tank is destroyed. 11 tanks isn't a very large sample, however, so it's hard to make judgements.

With a similarly low sample size, the M3 Lee's radio operator has a 23% chance of dying, the driver has a 15% chance, and the gunners and loaders are in poor shape: 77% and 85%, respectively. 

Let's compare this to figures from report ORO-T-117 "Survey of Allied Tank Casualties in World War II", gathered by the American First Army in Europe.


Here, figures gathered from American medium tanks (presumably Shermans of various makes) let us compare the safety of the T-34 series to that of the Sherman. The radio operator is in a lot more danger (27.3% vs 10%), but the loader is in a lot less (39% vs 21.4%). The rest of the figures are comparable. Overall, 24.6% of the Shermans' crews died when their tank was destroyed, compared to about 28% of T-34 crewmen of both types (the nature of the Soviet chart makes it difficult to calculate the exact percentage). 


Looking at light tanks, however, the crew casualties soar. Literally every crew member is as likely or even more likely to die than the uncharacteristically fatality-prone T-34 loader.

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