How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today.
Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 642
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Germany

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby Stiltzkin » 19 Apr 2017 15:33

The SU at the start of the war had a 160 million population, the Großdeutschland 80 million

You cannot stack populations and nominal values (also the value for 1940 was 195 million, the population was also younger), thats the trait of an amateur, Qvist on the AHF made a good post about this, I am going to quote it:

It's not a question of how much more manpower they had, it's a question of how many more men they were able to feed into the campaign in the East. You can gain a fair understanding of that very simply. The Red Army started the war with less than 3 million men in their operational fronts and ended 1944 with roughly 6 million. In between, they suffered roughly 27 million casualties, which means that during that period they added some 30 million men to their forces - including, of course, returning wounded and sick. The Germans began the campaign with roughly the same number of men, and at the end of 1944 fielded roughly 2 million men. In the interval they had, what, 5-6 million casualties, hence added something in the vicinity of 5 million men over that period. You can even give or take a few million on either side, it doesn't really affect the basic issue. These were only procured with enormous difficulty and as a result of the conscription of millions of foreign laborers and the lowering of military age.

It is not remotely in question that the Soviet manpower stream in the East dwarfed the German - that is clear from the most basic data. It is only a question of accounting for how and why. On the German side, as already mentioned, they were essentialy already dry when Barbarossa started, except for the new age classes growing into military age and returning convalescents, which was entirely insufficient. They didn't need any additional drain from other fronts to be in trouble - when that kicked in, it simply made things even more intolerable. The key reason for this is that German industry occupied many million able-bodied men who could not be released without hurting armaments output or other critical economic activity. In this sense, other fronts was in fact already having a huge effect on the manpower situation, though mainly in the form of millions of workers devoted to supporting the hugely resource-demanding aerial and naval campaigns in the West and South. They were gradually tapped into as foreign workers were brought in, but Germany simply didn't have more than a few million more men to draft, additional to what they already had in the field in the summer of 1941, mobilised to the hilt as they were (given the labour resources they then had).

The Soviets did - for several reasons. Firstly, the USSR only moved to a war footing as war broke out - they could tap into the same sort of slack that the GErmans did on the outbreak of war in 1939. Their armaments industry was smaller than the German, the rest of their economy smaller still and living conditions was cut more mercilessly. The economy was generally less reliant on highly qualified labor, hence workers could more easily be replaced inexperienced labor. Women participated economically to a much greater degree than in any other combatant nation. The population was younger. Proportionately more men could be freed up for the military war effort, all of them could be devoted to the land campaign against Germany and they could be mobilised very quickly because the USSR had an enormous number of trained reservists. Eventually, lend/lease helped to buffer against some of the worst effects of the merciless plundering of the economy for men, for instance through food deliveries. As the RA went on the offensive and regained ground, they could - and did - draw on manpower from the liberated areas. It all added up.

In summation - the notion that you have two states with 80 and 120 million people both starting on square one and with a corresponding ability to devote new men to an ongoing war in the East doesn't survive any contact with realities of the situation. The Germans were severely pressed to come up with ANY significant additional manpower if Barbarossa couldn't be finished in a few months.

No, they did not pump out more armaments than the Germans, the overall volume of German armaments production was significantly larger, as was the overall size of the German economy. It was also a lot more diverse, which is why you get greatly superior Soviet output figures in the limited range of items they focussed on.

Hungary, Romania and Finland are irrelevant to the issue of German manpower. Finns, Romanians and Hungarians did not man German military units, nor German factories. Each of these states of course produced their own military forces, which to varying degrees made some contribution on the Eastern front, but that's a different matter. As well as a relatively marginal one. The Finnish front was essentially passive for nearly the whole campaign. The Romanians made a significant contribution mainly in the summer of 1941, fall of 1942 and spring of 1944, between which they fielded fairly marginal forces with limited combat power. The Hungarians were a factor only in the fall and winter of 1942, and again to a limited extent in late 1944. The contribution of these states to Axis combat power in the east was in no proportion whatsoever to their population, and it is entirely meaningless also for that reason to add those to the German general population. Again. This is the sort of thing that only makes sense as long as you are happy to operate in the fairytale land of cajoling historical meaning out of global demographics.

Sure I've derived it from the casualty data, and there is no problem with doing so, it is a perfectly valid method for assessing the overall magnitude of manpower addition. If you have 2 million men at point a), suffer 3 million casualties and end up with 4 million men at point b) subsequently, then you have neccessarily somehow added roughly five million men, including returning sick and wounded. If you didn't, then you neccessarily either wouldn't have 4 million men, or the casualty figure is wrong. Strength development + casualties isn't just a simple way of determining force addition, it is the definition of force addition.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
BDV
Financial supporter
Posts: 3413
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 16:11

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby BDV » 19 Apr 2017 15:56

Hungary, Romania and Finland are irrelevant to the issue of German manpower. Finns, Romanians and Hungarians did not man German military units, nor German factories. Each of these states of course produced their own military forces, which to varying degrees made some contribution on the Eastern front, but that's a different matter. As well as a relatively marginal one.


"As well as a relatively marginal one"

At what point this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 642
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Germany

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby Stiltzkin » 19 Apr 2017 16:13

At what point this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Compare the manpower procured from Belorussia and Ukraine alone and put it up against "Axis Allies".

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 4541
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby Michael Kenny » 19 Apr 2017 16:15

Guaporense wrote:

For instance, in terms of coal supply, German supply was 450 million tons with the occupied Western European countries, while the USSR was about 70 million tons. Yes, the US and British Empire had a combined coal supply of 800 million tons, but guess what? They combined inflicted only 10% of all those 8.1 million German casualties from 1939 to January 1945 (about 600,000 in the Western front and ca. 250,000 in Italy and about half of these casualties were not caused by combat but were soldiers who happily surrendered to escape from deprivation and death in Soviet POW camps).


Note the careful wording and use of dates in the above.

What is deliberately left out:
The number of POWs taken in the East/ West up to May 1945.

Note also that in December 1944 there were over 800,000 German POWs in The West. A number far greater than the ill-informed posters claimed 600,000 'casualties' up to January 1945.

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 2640
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby Kingfish » 20 Apr 2017 00:05

Guaporense wrote:This mechanization fetish is incredible. Let's remember a basic historical fact:

WW2 was won by Soviet horse draw rifle divisions.


A rather odd assertion given how easily the Germans managed to round up entire armies of Soviet horse drawn rifle divisions.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

histan
Member
Posts: 1052
Joined: 14 Jan 2008 17:22
Location: England

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby histan » 20 Apr 2017 00:27

One problem is that economists with their focus on outputs, etc are pretty useless at forecasting the outcomes of military activities.

The US Strategic Bombing Survey looked at the outputs of the German aircraft industry which showed the it was producing hundreds of fighter aircraft a month which suggested that the Luftwaffe should have been an effective fighting force. They were quite unable to explain how the Luftwaffe fighter force, which had been very effective in August 1943, had become totally ineffective by June 1944. All they really needed to do was spend 15 minutes with Spaatz who would have explained to them about operational planning and the integration of military activities - which is what warfighting is all about.

Regards

John

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 1116
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby Richard Anderson » 20 Apr 2017 05:50

histan wrote:One problem is that economists with their focus on outputs, etc are pretty useless at forecasting the outcomes of military activities.-


It also doesn't help when they use "data" they create themselves from whole cloth, "comparisons" that are nothing of the sort (how did "coal" inflict casualties?), and substitute jingoistic diatribes for logic. :roll:

But hey, I'm just here waiting for this latest train wreck to go smash into the wall. :lol:

User avatar
BDV
Financial supporter
Posts: 3413
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 16:11

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby BDV » 20 Apr 2017 15:06

histan wrote:
One problem is that economists with their focus on outputs, etc are pretty useless at forecasting the outcomes of military activities. .... All they really needed to do was spend 15 minutes with Spaatz who would have explained to them about operational planning and the integration of military activities - which is what warfighting is all about.


It's a 1-2 punch really.

Good weapons without the trained/experienced men to man them, or good men without the adequate weapons (that includes the required logistical support for those weapons) are equally a prescription for failure.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

User avatar
BDV
Financial supporter
Posts: 3413
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 16:11

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby BDV » 20 Apr 2017 17:45

Kingfish wrote:A rather odd assertion given how easily the Germans managed to round up entire armies of Soviet horse drawn rifle divisions.


until they couldn't, that is, after the last encirclement was closed in Ukraine in May 22 1942.

"Happy Times" on the East Front lasted exactly 11 months.


Richard Anderson wrote:how did "coal" inflict casualties?


By making possible the production and transportation of weapons that, in hands of well trained, well led men, inflicted casualties on the enemy.

The RKKAs Uranus and Little Saturn operations were run at the edge of the possible where multiple cascading Axis failures were required for success. Minimal increase in battle ability of either Romanians or Germans units in the theater can lead to further decreased success for the Soviet attacker (even historically Saturn became "little Saturn").
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

histan
Member
Posts: 1052
Joined: 14 Jan 2008 17:22
Location: England

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby histan » 20 Apr 2017 18:51

"WW2 was won by Soviet horse draw rifle divisions."

Two statements that are both true - "The Soviets had horse drawn rifle divisions" and "The allies won the Second World War.

As a physical scientist I might say - "OK then demonstrate to me the cause and effect relationship between these two statements." Show me that it was the horse drawn rifle divisions and not any other combination of integrated "ways" and "means" that won the Second World War.

My Social Scientist friends would say back to me "John, there's no way you can demonstrate cause and effect. You might be able to find some degree of correlation between "Horse drawn rifle divisions" and battle/campaign outcomes but not cause and effect."

I love these causal chains:
Germany had lots of coal that it used to build lots of aircraft that allowed the Luftwaffe to kill lots of allied soldiers in late 1944. Ah! Sorry no that didn't happen. Never mind, I'll try again in another post.

Regards

John

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 2640
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby Kingfish » 20 Apr 2017 20:46

BDV wrote:
Kingfish wrote:A rather odd assertion given how easily the Germans managed to round up entire armies of Soviet horse drawn rifle divisions.


until they couldn't, that is, after the last encirclement was closed in Ukraine in May 22 1942.

"Happy Times" on the East Front lasted exactly 11 months.


But what was the reason why they couldn't anymore? It wasn't because more the Russians poured in more rifle divisions.

Even after May 22nd the Germans were still punching holes in the Russian lines.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 1116
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby Richard Anderson » 21 Apr 2017 07:10

Guaporense wrote:This mechanization fetish is incredible. Let's remember a basic historical fact:


Here's an even better historical fact everyone should take to heart. You wouldn't know a fact if it hit you in the face. :roll:

By the way, on artillery firepower: in 1945, the Red Army was shooting 15 million projectiles over 75 mm a month at the Germans while the glorious US army on the other side of Europe was consuming 3.5 million projectiles over 75 mm.


Nope. Not even close. In 1945, Soviet expenditure averaged 6,203,664.7 rounds per month over the last four and a quarter months of the war. US expenditure for the same (75mm artillery and larger) was 4,054,052.9 rounds per month for the same period. In the ETO alone, the MTO is not included in the calculation.

User avatar
Guaporense
Banned
Posts: 1866
Joined: 07 Oct 2009 02:35
Location: USA

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby Guaporense » 21 Apr 2017 07:51

Kingfish wrote:
BDV wrote:
Kingfish wrote:A rather odd assertion given how easily the Germans managed to round up entire armies of Soviet horse drawn rifle divisions.


until they couldn't, that is, after the last encirclement was closed in Ukraine in May 22 1942.

"Happy Times" on the East Front lasted exactly 11 months.


But what was the reason why they couldn't anymore? It wasn't because more the Russians poured in more rifle divisions.


It was EXACTLY because of that. They suffered massive casualties and replaced these losses over and over. Over time the number of German troops decreased while the number of Soviet troops increased. In mid 1941, they were numbered 1 to 1, in late 1941, there already was a numerical superiority of about 1.5 to 1 for the Soviets, in 1942, it increased to 2 to 1 and in mid 1943, it was 2.5 to 1 and late 1944 it was 3 to 1.

The Soviet infantry numbers increased relative to German numbers up to a point where their numerical superiority was enough to not allow the Germans to break through their lines anymore (which happened at Kursk in mid 1943: the German army tried with all it's might to break through the Soviet lines and failed, by that point it was clear the war was lost as the Red Army demonstrated superior strength).

And that was while suffering massively greater casualties than the Germans.

The Western front was the same; in 1940 it was 135 German divisions against 150 Allied divisions, each of about the same manpower strength. In 1944, the Germans were outnumbered by 2 to 1 to 3 to 1.

When you are outnumbered by more than 2 to 1 it's practically impossible to win.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

User avatar
Guaporense
Banned
Posts: 1866
Joined: 07 Oct 2009 02:35
Location: USA

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby Guaporense » 21 Apr 2017 08:07

Stiltzkin wrote:
The SU at the start of the war had a 160 million population, the Großdeutschland 80 million

You cannot stack populations and nominal values (also the value for 1940 was 195 million, the population was also younger), thats the trait of an amateur, Qvist on the AHF made a good post about this, I am going to quote it:

It's not a question of how much more manpower they had, it's a question of how many more men they were able to feed into the campaign in the East. You can gain a fair understanding of that very simply. The Red Army started the war with less than 3 million men in their operational fronts and ended 1944 with roughly 6 million. In between, they suffered roughly 27 million casualties, which means that during that period they added some 30 million men to their forces - including, of course, returning wounded and sick. The Germans began the campaign with roughly the same number of men, and at the end of 1944 fielded roughly 2 million men. In the interval they had, what, 5-6 million casualties, hence added something in the vicinity of 5 million men over that period. You can even give or take a few million on either side, it doesn't really affect the basic issue. These were only procured with enormous difficulty and as a result of the conscription of millions of foreign laborers and the lowering of military age.

It is not remotely in question that the Soviet manpower stream in the East dwarfed the German - that is clear from the most basic data. It is only a question of accounting for how and why. On the German side, as already mentioned, they were essentialy already dry when Barbarossa started, except for the new age classes growing into military age and returning convalescents, which was entirely insufficient. They didn't need any additional drain from other fronts to be in trouble - when that kicked in, it simply made things even more intolerable. The key reason for this is that German industry occupied many million able-bodied men who could not be released without hurting armaments output or other critical economic activity. In this sense, other fronts was in fact already having a huge effect on the manpower situation, though mainly in the form of millions of workers devoted to supporting the hugely resource-demanding aerial and naval campaigns in the West and South. They were gradually tapped into as foreign workers were brought in, but Germany simply didn't have more than a few million more men to draft, additional to what they already had in the field in the summer of 1941, mobilised to the hilt as they were (given the labour resources they then had).

The Soviets did - for several reasons. Firstly, the USSR only moved to a war footing as war broke out - they could tap into the same sort of slack that the GErmans did on the outbreak of war in 1939. Their armaments industry was smaller than the German, the rest of their economy smaller still and living conditions was cut more mercilessly. The economy was generally less reliant on highly qualified labor, hence workers could more easily be replaced inexperienced labor. Women participated economically to a much greater degree than in any other combatant nation. The population was younger. Proportionately more men could be freed up for the military war effort, all of them could be devoted to the land campaign against Germany and they could be mobilised very quickly because the USSR had an enormous number of trained reservists. Eventually, lend/lease helped to buffer against some of the worst effects of the merciless plundering of the economy for men, for instance through food deliveries. As the RA went on the offensive and regained ground, they could - and did - draw on manpower from the liberated areas. It all added up.

In summation - the notion that you have two states with 80 and 120 million people both starting on square one and with a corresponding ability to devote new men to an ongoing war in the East doesn't survive any contact with realities of the situation. The Germans were severely pressed to come up with ANY significant additional manpower if Barbarossa couldn't be finished in a few months.

No, they did not pump out more armaments than the Germans, the overall volume of German armaments production was significantly larger, as was the overall size of the German economy. It was also a lot more diverse, which is why you get greatly superior Soviet output figures in the limited range of items they focussed on.

Hungary, Romania and Finland are irrelevant to the issue of German manpower. Finns, Romanians and Hungarians did not man German military units, nor German factories. Each of these states of course produced their own military forces, which to varying degrees made some contribution on the Eastern front, but that's a different matter. As well as a relatively marginal one. The Finnish front was essentially passive for nearly the whole campaign. The Romanians made a significant contribution mainly in the summer of 1941, fall of 1942 and spring of 1944, between which they fielded fairly marginal forces with limited combat power. The Hungarians were a factor only in the fall and winter of 1942, and again to a limited extent in late 1944. The contribution of these states to Axis combat power in the east was in no proportion whatsoever to their population, and it is entirely meaningless also for that reason to add those to the German general population. Again. This is the sort of thing that only makes sense as long as you are happy to operate in the fairytale land of cajoling historical meaning out of global demographics.

Sure I've derived it from the casualty data, and there is no problem with doing so, it is a perfectly valid method for assessing the overall magnitude of manpower addition. If you have 2 million men at point a), suffer 3 million casualties and end up with 4 million men at point b) subsequently, then you have neccessarily somehow added roughly five million men, including returning sick and wounded. If you didn't, then you neccessarily either wouldn't have 4 million men, or the casualty figure is wrong. Strength development + casualties isn't just a simple way of determining force addition, it is the definition of force addition.


Great points from Qvist. I learned a lot from him although I remember he said that talking to me was futile. :D

One thing is important though: that the USSR managed to mobilize a lot of labor out of agriculture without the country collapsing. In WW1 the Russian army was enormous as it reached over 9 million men strong in 1916-1917, or about 3/4 of the Red Army's size in 1945, but the Russian civilian society collapsed from the mobilization. While in WW2, the USSR managed to reduce food production from 95.5 million tons of grains in 1940 to 29.4 million tons in 1943, this way the freed a huge fraction of the labor force in agriculture.

While the labor force in war related industry for the USSR was only 2.9 million workers in 1943-1944 out of a 65 million strong workforce, mainly mass producing a selection of items. While the 12 million strong Red Army could operate with very little munitions compared to other Allied countries and without a large labor force in munitions related industries: they had about 50 million civilian workers not in the armed forces nor in the factories producing for the armed forces that they could drawn upon.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

User avatar
BDV
Financial supporter
Posts: 3413
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 16:11

Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Postby BDV » 21 Apr 2017 13:35

Kingfish wrote:"BDV": until they couldn't (round up entire armies of Soviet horse drawn rifle divisions), that is, after the last encirclement was closed in Ukraine in May 22 1942.

"Happy Times" on the East Front lasted exactly 11 months.


But what was the reason why they couldn't anymore? It wasn't because more the Russians poured in more rifle divisions.

Even after May 22nd the Germans were still punching holes in the Russian lines.



Punching holes, yes, but not completing encirclements. I wager Soviets had (at the expense of millions lost) finally learned the mobility limits of their own units, and the effective ways to blunt the German spearheads.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion


Return to “What if”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], histan