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Old February 9th, 2021, 06:39 PM
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Default German Panzerprogramms (Tank Production Nerd Stuff)

I split this off, since this is an excessively nerdy post. It concentrates heavily on production plans, which are kind of "aspirational" and only mentioned in passing by major sources; i.e. "Adolf Hitler Panzer Program called for increases in such and such...." and not going into detail.

What provoked this was some research found by DRG on the Pz.Sfl Ic that revealed an EARLIER Panzerprogramm:


On 30 May 1941, almost one year after Rheinmetall Borsig had been contracted to begin designing the Pz.Sfl.Ic, the Heer issued a document called the Heeres Panzerprogramm 41 (Army Tank Program 41). An exercise in long-range planning, this document outlined the production quantities of all vehicles necessary to outfit a total of 20 new Panzer Divisions and 10 new Motorised Infantry Divisions by 1945. By this time, the successor to the VK 9.01, the VK 9.03, was the preferred choice of new model light tank for the Heer. As such, the Panzerprogramm 41 envisaged the production of almost 10,000 of these new light tanks.

In addition to the standard tanks, the planners behind the Panzerprogramm 41 also envisaged an entire family of armored vehicles based upon the VK 9.03. Sources differ on the exact number, but this would have included between 1,028 and 2,028 tank destroyers armed with a 5 cm anti-tank gun referred to as l.Pz.Jäger (Pz.Sfl.5 cm) auf VK903 Fgst. (Light Tank Destroyer on VK 9.03 chassis). As there were only minor differences between the VK 9.01 and VK 9.03, it is likely that such a tank destroyer would have closely resembled the Pz.Sfl.Ic.

However, this document was more aspirational than it was realistic. It was not based on any sober assessment of German economic capabilities, nor did it offer precise guidelines on how such astronomical (for the standards of mid-1941 German industry) production figures were to be achieved. At the time the document was issued, the VK 9.03 was still on paper and fewer than 15 of the 0-Serie VK 9.01 had left the production line, which raises several questions as to whether such plans as laid out in the Panzerprogramm 41 would have been feasible.
Back to the Adolf Hitler Panzer Program -- I found in NARA Microfilm Roll T-78 Roll 619: OKH Panzer Statistics & Reports 1943-45: Volumes 1 and 2 of the Adolf Hitler Panzerprogramm dated 22 January 1943.

Basically, from perusing other sources, it appears that in September 1942, Hitler established a goal of 1,200 AFVs a month by the end of 1944.

Further, from looking at the layout arrangement of the tables and other graphs in the document (not shown); it appears that the Germans had multiple plans going on for AFV production in WW2, which were broken down as:

Sofort-Programm (Immediate Program? [google] or Crash Program? [source on railroad guns used this term; so it might apply here too])
SEP 1940 to MAR 1941

Programm I
APR 1941 to MAR 1942

Programm II
APR 1942 to MAR 1943

Programm III
APR 1943 to MAR 1944

In these programs, you see the Tiger referred to by these designations:

Tiger H1 for the Tiger I
Tiger H2 for the Tiger I with the 7.5cm Kw.K. 42
Tiger H3 for the Tiger II

I think that in Programm II and early Programm III, the letters S and J in the tables under each month are for:

Planned/Scheduled production
Actual production

It appears that from APR 1942 to MAR 1943, the Germans produced 4,124 tanks, broken down as:

168 x Tiger I
151 x Panther
1,255 x Panzer IV
2,157 x Panzer III
100 x Panzer III with Flamethrower
86 x Pz II Luchs
157 x PzII
50 x Pz 38(t)

Programm III's plan (APR 1943 to MAR 1944) was for 6,370 tanks, broken down as:

15 x Maus
576 x Tiger I
2,988 x Panther
2,680 x Pz IV
97 x Pz III
14 x Pz II Luchs

What is interesting is that if you look closely at the document, you see pencilled in alterations to the document; mainly around Tiger I production; i,.e. for May 1943, where the printed text is 42; next to it is pencilled 58?

I retyped the entire Adolf Hitler Panzerprogramm into Excel and got this:

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