German Armor vs. American Armor Dec 1944

After having watched the HBO mini-series Band Of Brothers numerous times I have decided to read the book by Stephen E. Ambrose that spawned the series . My question is regarding a passage which states, that in December of 1944 “on the ground, in both man and armor, the Germans outnumbered the Americans.”

Can this be correct? I take no issue with the statement in regards to the number of men, but I have to question the assertion that the Germans had more armor than the Americans as it is my understanding that it was the sheer volume of Sherman tanks that made up for their inferior firepower and armor thickness when compared to German Panzers and Tigers.

The only way this makes sense to me is if Ambrose is being a bit slippery with his wording as he clearly states American, not Allied armor.

Can somone shed some light on this for me?



It’s definitely not true. By that time the Panzer force was at a massive numerical disadvantage. Is it possible that he was talking about a local numerical advantage during the battle of the bulge?

Good observation Treis, that may well be what he was refering too, but the passage in question was not very clear. I think you are correct though I will have to re-read that page.



Not true. I have difficulties finding cites for you, but the Third Reich were bleeding to death on the eastern front were they pretty much threw in all they had, and was not able to put up any massive strength on the western front, and was generally greatly outnumbered on the west (too) by the greatest industrial power on earth, USA, along with the English, French, Polish, Canadians, Australians, etc.

A quick check of Wikipedia tells me Treis’ assertion was correct. Ambrose must have been refering to the start of the German counter offensive in the Ardennes only. 242 Shermans to “about 500 medium” German tanks, and about 83 000 American soldiers to about 200 000 German soldiers.

I don’t have figures on this, but it’s my understanding that (rather foolishly) the Ardennes was defended, on the Allied side, by only a compartively light screening force, while concentrations of troops pressed across Lorraine and through Flanders and the Netherlands. Hence until Patton and Bradley brought armor to bear on the Bulge, the Germans may have had superiority in armor at that point.

I too would be interested in seeing numbers and whether they bear out Ambrose’s statement (in any of the interpretations we’ve given it in this thread).

Well, after all, the Germans were well known for never doing winter offensives, and they were already on the ropes. It was also a foolish attack by the Nazi’s as they had no chance of any strategic turn-around by then.

Truel the problem with doing what “the enemy never suspects” is that often enough the enemy never expected it because it’s suicidal.