The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Avalancheon » 13 Nov 2020 07:52

Richard Anderson wrote:
09 Nov 2020 17:10
Avalancheon wrote:
09 Nov 2020 07:04
Another question comes to mind. If your citation is true, then it indicates that Krupp-Gruson and MAN only underwent a relatively limited expansion in their workforce during the war. Krupp-Gruson went from 7397 workers in 1939 to 10,814 workers in 1943. MAN went from 8836 workers in 1939 to 11,261 workers in 1943. Thats an increase of just 46% and 27%, respectively. If thats true, then why did these factories wait to 1943 before implementing a double shift?
I am not aware that either the Grusonwerk or MAN ever went to a second shift. Henschel did by the end of 1944, but no source I found said when they began the second shift.
''At mid-war, most German tank plants were still not operating at full capacity due to severe labour shortages and Speer was astounded that the main tank plants were not running a second shift. Henschel was the first to institute two 12 hour shifts in late 1942, and by early 1943 Speer pressed the other companies into following suit. However, the only way to quickly add additional shifts was to boost reliance on foreign forced labor, including prisoners of war, which further reduced efficiency in the factories.''
-Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front, 1943–1945: Red Steamroller, by Robert Forczyk.
Richard Anderson wrote:
09 Nov 2020 17:10
Avalancheon wrote:
09 Nov 2020 07:04
The factories clearly weren't meeting their production targets. Hence why Hitler ordered the tank factories to increase production soon after the French campaign was over. He was aiming for an unrealistically high figure of 800-1000 tanks a month, which was a huge increase over their output at the time. Hitler balked when he was informed of the costs of such an increase, and ultimately chose to abandon this program. He could have settled for a more modest increase of tank production instead, something like 300-400 tanks a month. The costs of this program would be easier to bare, and it would help boost the tank fleet significantly in time for the invasion of the Soviet Union.
Do you have a source for that? Meanwhile, WRT the Panzer III, it only became factories plural after the war began, again because of the issues with the design. The plan as early as 1937-1938 was to add factories to the production pool. The factories were available, but a completed design wasn't.
"On the basis of experience gained during the Western Campaign, Hitler ordered a tank production of 800 to 1000 units per month. However the Army Ordinance office reckoned that the cost of this program would be about two billion marks, and that it would involved the employment of 100,000 skilled workers and specialists. In view of these heavy expenses, Hitler unfortunately agreed to abandon this plan for the time being." -Panzer Leader, by Heinz Guderian.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 13 Nov 2020 07:58

Avalancheon wrote:
13 Nov 2020 07:52
''At mid-war, most German tank plants were still not operating at full capacity due to severe labour shortages and Speer was astounded that the main tank plants were not running a second shift. Henschel was the first to institute two 12 hour shifts in late 1942, and by early 1943 Speer pressed the other companies into following suit. However, the only way to quickly add additional shifts was to boost reliance on foreign forced labor, including prisoners of war, which further reduced efficiency in the factories.''
-Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front, 1943–1945: Red Steamroller, by Robert Forczyk.
That would be interesting if it was late 1943, but I would be interested to know what source Forczyk gleaned that from.
"On the basis of experience gained during the Western Campaign, Hitler ordered a tank production of 800 to 1,000 units per month. However the Army Ordinance office reckoned that the cost of this program would be about two billion marks, and that it would involved the employment of 100,000 skilled workers and specialists. In view of these heavy expenses, Hitler unfortunately agreed to abandon this plan for the time being." -Panzer Leader, by Heinz Guderian.
Smh...that's a great story, right up there with von Luck's "little pistol".
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Avalancheon » 13 Nov 2020 09:25

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Nov 2020 03:45
The Krupp-Gruson plant was a world-leading manufacturer of heavy machinery in addition to tanks, per USSBS. So only part of the plant's labor force worked on tanks (finished and component production). In 1944, total receipts were 44% tank-related; if that was true in '39 also then ~3,500 worked on tanks at equal labor:turnover ratios. It seems possible that this one plant employed ~25% of the German industry, as it built both components and finished tanks.

It's a similar story for MAN: leading heavy machinery producer, also built tanks and components. Unlike KG, it built trucks and engines as well. So probably a lower proportion of its workers were devoted to tank building than KG in 1939, though by '43 tanks and components represented 47% of turnover and by 1944 80%.

Given that the value of tank output was 3.8% of German munitions production in 1939, employing only 9-14k workers in the entire industry seems reasonable. A lot of the embodied value in a tank is in the basic inputs (steel plate, electricity consumed) that aren't considered part of the "tank industry."
It makes sense that not all of the workers at these factories were employed in roles directly related to tank production. The USSBS must have been taking that into account when they provided their estimate of 9000 to 14,000 workers in the tank factories at the start of the war. Otherwise their number just doesn't make sense.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Nov 2020 03:45
This goes back to the distinction between plant and plants. While it's true that no new tank plants came online until Sankt Valentin in later '41, it's also true that Germany tripled tank production at existing plants in '39-'40. How did this happen? Well first we should look at USSBS's statement regarding pre-war expansion of the tank industry:
the large companies engaged in production had sufficient
space available without expanding the floor area of the plants to any
appreciable degree. There was, therefore, no excess production capacity
available at this time
So there was no excess capacity pre-war, yet production tripled before any new plants came online. Clearly there was an expansion of plant via increases in tooling and the use/conversion of existing floor space in the existing plants of tank producers. The increase of MAN's turnover share of tank building to 80% by 1944, for example, probably came largely from converting existing floor space and acquiring more tank plant (i.e. machine tools) without establishing any new tank plants.
Exactly. The Germans went from producing 100 tanks per month in May 1940 to 300 tanks per month just 1 year later. They found a way to significantly increase production before any new factories entered the picture. Like you said, they must have done it by converting their floor space, using extra workers, and extra machine tools.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Nov 2020 03:45
That this is so is supported by USSBS assessment that Avalancheon cited upthread:
This rise was apparently the result of relatively limited
expansion of plant facilities during 1939 and 1940, and of increase in;
the number of workers engaged in panzer production.
So Germany tripled its tank production by expanding tank-focused labor and plant within existing plants.

This makes a "more tanks in Barbarossa" ATL quite easy and straightfoward: Germany simply tools up the tank plants with more plant and labor earlier than it did OTL. There is no need to move up Sankt Valentin's induction or to found any other plants, unless one wants to exceed the June 1941 total tank production (and even then, there was probably additional space at existing plants, whose output continued to rise through 1944).

One possible objection to this straightforward ATL would be the availability of machine tools. As the USSBS report on the machine tool industry states, however, that industry had excess capacity throughout the war and later much of it was repurposed to munitions production. USSBS also notes that producers sometimes adopted second shifts when the army required - a demand for more tanks should have produced that response. So Germany would not have faced serious obstacles to increasing panzer production earlier, had it chosen to do so*.
That seems like a very feasible scenario. The Germans clearly have the ability to triple their tank production through a number of expedients, using the exact same factories that were historically available to them 1940. Theres no magic pixie dust required for this. They just need to implement these changes sooner.

So heres the question. If Hitler ordered the tank production increased in July 1940, how long would it take for them to hit their target of 300 tanks per month? What kind of lead time is required for the factories to tool up? Maybe 6, 8, 10 weeks? If they started churning out 300 tank per month in September 1940, then how many extra panzers does this get us by June 1941?

Historical tank production
Panzer IV production: 268 in 1940. 467 in 1941.
Panzer III production: 1054 in 1940. 2213 in 1941.
Panzer II production: 99 in 1940. 265 in 1941.
Pz 38 (t) production: 367 in 1940. 678 in 1941.

Historically, the Germans produced 1788 tanks in 1940, and 3623 tanks in 1941.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Nov 2020 03:45
*Caveat: As Avalancheon notes, Hitler's idea to increase tank production above 1,000/month in 1941 would have required massive new investment.

My +5PzDiv ATL requires ~800 more tanks in Barbarossa. Spread over the preceding 16 months, that's an increase of only 50 tanks/month on average. So the tank portion of the ATL is easily doable if the Germans simply move more labor, steel allocations, and machine tools to the tank producers.
If the Germans had produced these extra tanks in time for the invasion of the Soviet Union, then your scenario of 'One more panzer group in Barbarossa' would be possible. An entire panzer group that did not exist historically would be ready for battle on the Eastern front. It would likely be deployed with Army Group South, and used to execute a double envelopment in the Ukraine. The Soviets would be annihilated in a pocket battle of the same magnitude as Bialystok-Minsk, perhaps even a bit larger. That would have huge ramifications for how the rest of the campaign played out, as you detailed in your ATL.

Your plan for tank production requires 16 months to be achieved, with an increase of only 50 tanks per month. That is perfectly fine, since it fits with the scenario you yourself planned.

But for the OP of this thread, tank production can only be increased starting in July 1940 (and will not be realized until about September 1940). This reduces the time to 9 months, and requires an increase of 90 tanks per month. This also seems achievable.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Nov 2020 03:45
Thanks to Richard and Avalancheon, btw, for showing me to get the USSBS reports off Google and Hathitrust. I wish I had figured that out earlier; would have made my ATL-making much easier. I was formerly visiting my alma mater to get USSBS reports but the library has been closed for COVID. Luckily I can't spill beer on Hathitrust/Google, even if I'm still liable to spill coffee on my computer these days.
You are welcome :)

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 13 Nov 2020 20:47

Avalancheon wrote:
13 Nov 2020 09:25
It makes sense that not all of the workers at these factories were employed in roles directly related to tank production. The USSBS must have been taking that into account when they provided their estimate of 9000 to 14,000 workers in the tank factories at the start of the war. Otherwise their number just doesn't make sense.
That is a reasonable assumption, but can only be an assumption. Otherwise, we do have some data points for employment at the complexes.

Krupp Grusonwerke in 1939 was 7,397, expanding to 9,148 in 1941.
MAN Ammenwerke in 1939 was 8,836 in 1939, expanding to 9,054 in February 1942.
MIAG in 1939 was 4,872, expanding to 6,530 in 1941.
D-B Werk 40 in 1939 was 3,025, expanding to 5,049 by 1942.
I can find no data for Henschel in the 1939-1941 time frame, but by 1944, Werk III employed 6,000.

So four of the five averaged 6,023, increasing to around 7,445, and the fifth appears to fall somewhere in that range as well.
Exactly. The Germans went from producing 100 tanks per month in May 1940 to 300 tanks per month just 1 year later. They found a way to significantly increase production before any new factories entered the picture. Like you said, they must have done it by converting their floor space, using extra workers, and extra machine tools.
To be slightly more precise, they increased the number of vehicles built on fully-tracked armored chassis - AFV if you will, not "tanks". In 1939 they averaged 66 AFV completed per month, increasing to 144 in 1940, 318 in 1941, 488 in 1942, 995 in 1943, and 1,591 in 1944. Not as "significant" an increase as it might appear.

If we are looking at "tank" production, in May 1940 65 new Panzer III and 20 Panzer IV gun tanks were produced...in May 1941 it was 143 and 16 respectively. So not quite doubling the output, although to be fair the Panzer IV output was slightly aberrant given the average for the first half of 1940 was 29 per month.
So Germany tripled its tank production by expanding tank-focused labor and plant within existing plants.
Doubled, then increased again as more plant was added would be more correct.

In terms of plant performance it was a different picture. For example, in 38 continuous months of production, 1 October 1939-30 November 1942 Henschel completed 1,043 Panzer III gun tanks, averaging 38 per month, but not exceeding that average output (45) until February 1942. The average of the last six months, 47.2 was nine times that of the first six months, 5.3, but that isn't saying much.

Krupp, in 61 months of production of the Panzer IV gun tank 1 January 1939-31 January 1944, averaged 37 per month, but did not exceed that average until June 1941 (38) and peaked production over three months in 1943 - March 80, April 88, and May 82.
This makes a "more tanks in Barbarossa" ATL quite easy and straightfoward: Germany simply tools up the tank plants with more plant and labor earlier than it did OTL. There is no need to move up Sankt Valentin's induction or to found any other plants, unless one wants to exceed the June 1941 total tank production (and even then, there was probably additional space at existing plants, whose output continued to rise through 1944).
Sorry, but no, while Krupp may have only added workforce, Henschel added both workforce and factory floor, but neither was "easy" nor "straightforward".
So heres the question. If Hitler ordered the tank production increased in July 1940, how long would it take for them to hit their target of 300 tanks per month? What kind of lead time is required for the factories to tool up? Maybe 6, 8, 10 weeks? If they started churning out 300 tank per month in September 1940, then how many extra panzers does this get us by June 1941?
In July 1940, one plant was producing the Panzer IV and turned out 26 of them. By April 1942, three plants managed to triple that to 80, with the original plant producing 60 of those. By January 1943, the three plants turned out 163, with the original plant producing 67 of those.
Historical tank production
Panzer IV production: 268 in 1940. 467 in 1941.
Panzer III production: 1054 in 1940. 2213 in 1941.
Panzer II production: 99 in 1940. 265 in 1941.
Pz 38 (t) production: 367 in 1940. 678 in 1941.

Historically, the Germans produced 1788 tanks in 1940, and 3623 tanks in 1941.
Only 862 Panzer III were produced in 1940 and 1,713 in 1941, the balance of those figures were 184 StuG and 34 Befehlspanzer in 1940 and 548 StuG and 132 Befehlspanzer in 1941.
Your plan for tank production requires 16 months to be achieved, with an increase of only 50 tanks per month. That is perfectly fine, since it fits with the scenario you yourself planned.

But for the OP of this thread, tank production can only be increased starting in July 1940 (and will not be realized until about September 1940). This reduces the time to 9 months, and requires an increase of 90 tanks per month. This also seems achievable.
Whether it is 50 more per month or 90 more per month, it is only achievable by either increasing the plant size, adding new plants, and/or increasing the workforce. Given that they were already doing all three, I question whether or not they can significantly exceed the expansion schedule they already had in place, given the actual increases they achieved in the actual plants.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by T. A. Gardner » 16 Nov 2020 03:22

Richard Anderson wrote:
13 Nov 2020 20:47
Whether it is 50 more per month or 90 more per month, it is only achievable by either increasing the plant size, adding new plants, and/or increasing the workforce. Given that they were already doing all three, I question whether or not they can significantly exceed the expansion schedule they already had in place, given the actual increases they achieved in the actual plants.
It is a bit more complex than that. What you need first is to eliminate bottlenecks in production. For example, Henschel had exactly one of these machines / jigs for this process.

Image

The horseshoe turret sides was another bottleneck. Again, one plant making these.

That creates a bottleneck in production. The machine can only do so many hulls per day. After that, you need another machine. If it breaks down, production stops until it is fixed. Sure, you can do other processes before and after this step but you end up with a shortage of hulls that have been through this step at some point.
Increasing workforce alone does nothing if the machinery necessary isn't available.
Some improvement could have been had by simplifying designs and streamlining production, but at some point you simply have to add capacity and there is no way around that.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Nov 2020 03:41

T. A. Gardner wrote:
16 Nov 2020 03:22
It is a bit more complex than that. What you need first is to eliminate bottlenecks in production. For example, Henschel had exactly one of these machines / jigs for this process.
Well, yes, but...that wasn't quite the point. As has been pointed out, correctly, the Germans had a lot of machine tools, but mostly those designed and built to do a single, specific operation, such as this one.

Furthermore, Henschel did not do "assembly line" type production, as this photo demonstrates. They did "station assembly", specific places in the process, where specific machines, operated by specific specialists, completed one part of the assembly process, before moving it onto another station, where another specific set of machines and their operators did another stage of the assembly.

Krupp also did station assembly, but Nibelungenwerk and some of the expanded/add on manufacturers did do assembly line.
The horseshoe turret sides was another bottleneck. Again, one plant making these.

That creates a bottleneck in production. The machine can only do so many hulls per day. After that, you need another machine. If it breaks down, production stops until it is fixed. Sure, you can do other processes before and after this step but you end up with a shortage of hulls that have been through this step at some point.
Increasing workforce alone does nothing if the machinery necessary isn't available.
Some improvement could have been had by simplifying designs and streamlining production, but at some point you simply have to add capacity and there is no way around that.
I agree, but the bottleneck was mostly in the system...probably appropriate for the Tiger, which was designed to be built like a fine watch, but not appropriate for building a mass of medium tanks like Panzer III, IV, and Panther. Yes, throwing additional labor at station assembly wouldn't help much, but that was not where the German problem was.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by T. A. Gardner » 16 Nov 2020 03:57

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Nov 2020 03:41
T. A. Gardner wrote:
16 Nov 2020 03:22
It is a bit more complex than that. What you need first is to eliminate bottlenecks in production. For example, Henschel had exactly one of these machines / jigs for this process.
Well, yes, but...that wasn't quite the point. As has been pointed out, correctly, the Germans had a lot of machine tools, but mostly those designed and built to do a single, specific operation, such as this one.

Furthermore, Henschel did not do "assembly line" type production, as this photo demonstrates. They did "station assembly", specific places in the process, where specific machines, operated by specific specialists, completed one part of the assembly process, before moving it onto another station, where another specific set of machines and their operators did another stage of the assembly.
What I was pointing out is that it doesn't matter if it's a station system. That amounts to a Kanban or "push" system. That is, each station does it's operation. But the bottleneck is at the station where stuff is sitting in a pile waiting to be worked on while the downstream stations are starved for work. This even includes subassemblies from suppliers to the factory. Smoothing out the production process would have gone a long way to increasing production, along with simplifying design, but industrial engineering of that sort was still more of a causal art than a science at the time.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Nov 2020 04:37

T. A. Gardner wrote:
16 Nov 2020 03:57
What I was pointing out is that it doesn't matter if it's a station system. That amounts to a Kanban or "push" system. That is, each station does it's operation. But the bottleneck is at the station where stuff is sitting in a pile waiting to be worked on while the downstream stations are starved for work. This even includes subassemblies from suppliers to the factory. Smoothing out the production process would have gone a long way to increasing production, along with simplifying design, but industrial engineering of that sort was still more of a causal art than a science at the time.
It does matter when quantity of production is the goal. It is simply more sand in the gears. Another bottleneck in the line. The same problem can be seen in the U.S. where the station assemblers, like Baldwin and some of the other heavy machine outfits, simply got left behind by DTA and GBTA, which were designed and built from the ground up as mass production plants, each ending with multiple, parallel assembly lines - five in the case of DTA. It made retooling for necessary changes easier, as well as changing from one type to another, M3 to M4 to M26 was actually pretty seamless, which is not something that could be said for the German plants.

BTW, Panther was designed for mass production, which led to some of its reliability woes early on.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 20 Nov 2020 16:29

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Oct 2020 11:20
Peter89 wrote:With double or triple the aircraft production, if the Germans wanted to keep up pilot training standards with the Wallies, they'd need about ten times the avgas just for the training of the crews. Needless to say, this was well beyond any realities.
It's odd to claim that X was beyond German capabilities without having a value for X.

IIRC the actual fuel budget for LW training was surprisingly low. Anybody have the figure at hand?
I came across statistics while reading Caldwell and Muller's The Luftwaffe over Germany: Defense of the Reich:
The 1944 “mass production program” fighter course consisted of the following stages:38

A School

Stage 1: 2 hours glider instruction;

Stage 2: Motor-Auswahl: 30 hours initial powered instruction, primary training;

Stage 3: Luftwaffenführerschein: 20 hours elementary instruction in aerobatics, formation flying, etc., usually on the Bücker 181.

Fighter School

Vorschule: 26 hours on trainer types (Arado 96);

Endschule: 14 hours on earlier model operational types;

Ergänzungsjagdgruppe: 20 hours on Bf 109 or Fw 190;

Total: 8 months, 111 flying hours.39

This was barely half the flying hours a 1942 German trainee would have received.
The anticipated monthly output of this program was 1,669 pilots, of which 1,200 for day fighters. The planned fuel budget was 60-80,000 tons - of course this level was never reached.

If we double the 1944 program's per-pilot fuel budget (bringing standards back in line with 1942 LW training) and triple the monthly pilot output we get 360-480,000 tons per month or ~5.5mil tons per year.

For a Germany with access to Russia ~35mil tons annual oil production, plus Iraq, that's easily doable unless all Russian/Iraqi oil is incapable of producing avgas.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Nov 2020 07:20

TheMarcksPlan wrote:For a Germany with access to Russia ~35mil tons annual oil production, plus Iraq, that's easily doable unless all Russian/Iraqi oil is incapable of producing avgas.
A 1950 CIA evaluation of the SU's oil industry has some revealing analysis of this issue. https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... 258834.pdf

The report notes severe limitations on Soviet ability to produce avgas due to technical/plant limitations but our subject is the inherent potential of Soviet crude feedstock to produce avgas, were the technical/plant means available.

The CIA estimates a production of 7.1mil tons of gasoline "available," based on Soviet requirements and on the crude resources. Page 10. The report does not numerically break down what part of the 7.1mil tons derives from requirements and what part from crude characteristics. It does, however, suggest that SU could refine more gasoline from its crude than was currently available, but did not to maintain balanced production of non-gas requirements:
the percentage of straight-run gasoline similarly is much lower than that present in the crude. It must be borne in mind, however, that while more gasoline can be produced, the yield is definitely limited in order to obtain a balanced production of gasoline and the other required product as to quantity and quality.
Elsewhere the report notes the high requirements for kerosene, diesel, lubricating, and residual petroleum products.

The report then goes on to analyze the "maximum production potential of light fractions" but this again is partially based on technical/plant restrictions rather than solely on the crude feedstock characteristics ("The characteristics of the charging stocks to the cracking plant, and the yields of gasoline obtainable therefrom in plant practice corrected to the time cycle efficiency of the cracking plants...).

10.8mil mt of gasoline was the conclusion of this section.

However - the report goes on to state, "With a greater cracking capacity than 13m million metric tons it would, of course, be possible to produce even more gasoline, gas, and coke." p.11 So the feedstock-limited production of gasoline for Russia's crude oil was more than 10.8mil mt. The report notes, that "The above remarks with regard to gasoline production do not apply to combat aviation gasoline, because highly specialized equipment is required for its manufacturer." This is, however, obviously not a feedstock-related limitation.

--------------------------------------------------

In summary, the report recognizes recognizes that the "light fraction" maximum potential of Soviet crude resources exceeded 10.8mil mt but emphasizes Soviet technical limitations on refining crude into aviation gasoline. The report differentiates between low-grade avgas (70-85 octane rating) and U.S.-style 100+ rated gas. It does not, however, differentiate between 100+ avgas and the subject of our discussion - wartime Germany's 85-95 avgas (obviously; it's not a report on Germany).

The report removes any doubt, however, regarding whether Soviet crude resources could yield avgas, were the technical means available.

OTL German refining capabilities were greater than Soviet - almost certainly greater in WW2 than Soviet sophistication 4 years later in the period covered by the report (in the discussion of synthetic production, for example, the report discusses continuing Soviet efforts to exploit technical know-how from captured/impressed German technicians).

My takeaway is that German access to Russia's crude feedstock - almost all of which was west of the Urals in this period and therefore is occupied by Germany in my ATL - would be sufficient to produce 10mil tons of German 87-95 avgas. This amount is less than Soviet production of gasoline in OTL 1949, which the CIA evaluates as limited by technical and other considerations rather than by feedstock limitations. While avgas has higher octane content than the generic category "gasoline" or "light fractions" evaluated in the CIA report, OTL 1949 Soviet gasoline production could have been meaningfully higher than OTL's 10.8mil mt.

Upthread I estimated that ATL LW fuel budget would need to be 5-10mil mt of avgas due to a tripling (at least) of AC production and even greater delta to training fuel production (OTL LW fuel budget was ~2mil mt avgas).

After obtaining statistics for the 1944 "mass production" pilot program, tripling that program and doubling its per-pilot fuel budget, I obtained ~5.5mil mt fuel budget for training. If we also triple the non-LW fuel budget approaching 2mil tons (LW's OTL 1944 training budget was abysmally low - 13k tons/month in latter '44) then we get 5-6mil tons.

To resolve doubts in favor of the ATL's detractors, let's fix the needed ATL LW fuel budget at ~12mil tons - slightly higher than the upper range of my previous estimates.

Obtaining that fuel figure remains feasible. It's slightly more resource-intensive than my previous estimates but still within reach:
  • Up to 10mil tons from Russian crude
  • OTL German hydrogenation capacity of ~4mil tons plus at least another million tons that would have come online but for Allied bombing destruction.
  • The production of Iraq/Iran, some of which can be transported to Europe via existing and/or reasonably-foreseeable infrastructure had Germany conquered the upper MidEast. This production was on the order of 10mil tons.
Taking all these together, I judge it feasible for Germany to have met the expanded ATL LW fuel budget approaching 12mil mt of avgas in ATL 1944.

Doing so would require further investment in refining capacity and, perhaps, the retention of some/all of OTL German hydrogenation plants (though I hadn't presented a quantification of the effect yet, my hypothesis was that Germany would benefit materially from a reduction of labor/coal resources devoted to synthgas plants. I am revising that hypothesis downwards to some extent).

Such refinery investment, however, would be far cheaper in terms of steel and labor, per ton of avgas capacity, than OTL investments in synthags plants. As noted upthread, USSBS estimated up to 15x the investment required for synthgas capacity versus refining capacity.

The required investment would not equal, in capacity terms, the added crude feedtstock - as noted upthread occupied Europe contained 12mil tons of refining capacity and Germany was using only a fraction of that OTL.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Nov 2020 09:21

Traipsing through the archives - T78 R143 - found a February 18, 1941 report of the Heeres Waffen Amt attributing Pz. IV production shortfalls to lack of workers:

Image

Only 13% of expected production!

...I'm working my way through these Wa.A. reports; they're very revealing.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 28 Nov 2020 16:41

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Nov 2020 09:21
Traipsing through the archives - T78 R143 - found a February 18, 1941 report of the Heeres Waffen Amt attributing Pz. IV production shortfalls to lack of workers:
To be exact, they attributed the shortfall to plan of Pz IV production "due to lack of workers [causing] start-up difficulties". That is almost certainly a direct reference to Nibelungewerk, which is just one of the problems it apparently suffered. IIRC they also had problems completing construction of the protected plant buildings, especially the assembly hall, and for a time were only capable of sub-component construction, principally of suspension components and wheels shipped to Krupp.

Note also the 22% production level of the 5 cm KwK and the 5cm PaK 38. Those are attributed not to worker shortfalls, but to material shortfalls, specifically of "composite materials", lack of die cut parts due to the cutting machine breaking, as well as pressed steel parts. So a failure/lack of machine tools...hey, I thought the Germans had machine tools out the ying-yang and could manufacture more at the drop of a hat?

Yep, I agree the reports of the HWA are often overlooked.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Nov 2020 10:31

Richard Anderson wrote:To be exact, they attributed the shortfall to plan of Pz IV production "due to lack of workers [causing] start-up difficulties". That is almost certainly a direct reference to Nibelungewerk, which is just one of the problems it apparently suffered.
Could be - and the thought occurred to me also - but at a fundamental level it's besides the point of our long-running disagreement.

The disputed issue - nearly the original TMP v. RA issue is : whether the hold-up in greater tank production was shorter-term labor/material supply at tank factories (older facilities or NW) or whether it was longer-horizon investment decisions (the latter being your position). That labor supply was the limiting factor - whether at NW or older facilities - rebuts your long-held assertion that investment paths were the limiting factor (and that, as these were longer-horizon, a stronger Barbarossa needs a decades-long (?) preamble).

What prevents a Germany committed to fielding more tanks in Barbarossa from making those workers available at either/both locations? Why wouldn't a Germany that perceived a need for more tanks (et. al.) in Barbarossa have made the workers available? I.e. why does it matter where the workers were needed, if in fact it was workers that were the issue, rather than longer-horizon capital investment decisions?

My answer to the above question is simply that Germany didn't perceive an urgent need for more tanks in comparison to other "needs" - e.g. political demands of Gauleiter opposed to civilian closures, longer-term planning for LW shifts, etc. All of these competing demands were not, in fact, as urgent or "needed" as the need to mount the strongest-possible Barbarossa - something known in hindsight. The word "hindsight" has a talismanic quality on AHF but of course all ATL's except for Cassandra's involve hindsight and the issue is whether we've identified something historically contingent - something that might have been decided differently under OTL circumstances - or something that required clairvoyance.

If workers were the limiting factor on tank production - regardless of where they work - that rebuts your long-asserted contention that Germany needed to start planning for a stronger Barbarossa in the early 1930's; that nothing could have been to improve the situation from 1938 let alone 1940.

Now of course you can fall back on saying that Germany didn't perceive an overweening need for more tanks (et. al.) in Barbarossa. That's a different issue that goes to a different aspect of my ATL's feasibility. So I hope we can focus on the labor apportionment issue. Germany didn't perceive an overweening need for a maximal Barbarossa because the campaign was to be an easy victory anyway (So say I on this distinct issue). Had Germany not perceived Barbarossa as such a cakewalk, she would have planned the campaign accordingly and would have had time to come with stronger forces.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Nov 2020 18:03

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Nov 2020 10:31
The disputed issue - nearly the original TMP v. RA issue is : whether the hold-up in greater tank production was shorter-term labor/material supply at tank factories (older facilities or NW) or whether it was longer-horizon investment decisions (the latter being your position). That labor supply was the limiting factor - whether at NW or older facilities - rebuts your long-held assertion that investment paths were the limiting factor (and that, as these were longer-horizon, a stronger Barbarossa needs a decades-long (?) preamble).
Sorry, but that misses a very important item in the equation you keep missing.

The third issue besides labor/material supply and long-term investment and plant completion/start-up was the decision that the primary tank in the Panzer division would be the Panzer III, roughly two-thirds of the total. There the issues included delays in completing and accepting a production tank...one-hundred pre-production types, all with issues that made them more or less unsuitable for combat insofar as the Heeres-Waffen-Amt was concerned, before a production type was developed, accepted, and produced beginning in December 1938, about a year later than planned.
What prevents a Germany committed to fielding more tanks in Barbarossa from making those workers available at either/both locations? Why wouldn't a Germany that perceived a need for more tanks (et. al.) in Barbarossa have made the workers available? I.e. why does it matter where the workers were needed, if in fact it was workers that were the issue, rather than longer-horizon capital investment decisions?
Given the relatively small number of workers added to the final assembly plants during the war, it seems obvious that other factors were at work, one of which I suspect was simple venality. The example of the Nibelungenwerk may be significant. It was funded as part of the Reichswerke Hermann Göring conglomerate, incorporating, conveniently, the nearby Oberdonau Eisenwerk steel production facilities, also owned by the Reichswerke. And, conveniently enough, the Reichswerke was established not just to produce munitons, but also to get HG out of debt, while undermining the authority of Reichsbank president Hjalmar Schacht.

Similarly, there doesn't seem to be any really good reason to have tried to simultaneously fund the expansion of Panzer III assembly beyond D-B to so many plants, so quickly, other than to ensure that a sufficient number of industrialists and their stockholders remain happy with the Reich and its military largess. Of course, there was no reason to imagine such an over-expansion was problematic prewar and no real reason that anyone might imagine such a course would have such a major effect almost four years down the line, unless the Nazi leadership developed prescience. Otherwise, Nazis will do what Nazis want to do, develop a corporate-capitalist fusion intended to enrich them and entrench their government...gee, sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it? :D
My answer to the above question is simply that Germany didn't perceive an urgent need for more tanks in comparison to other "needs" - e.g. political demands of Gauleiter opposed to civilian closures, longer-term planning for LW shifts, etc. All of these competing demands were not, in fact, as urgent or "needed" as the need to mount the strongest-possible Barbarossa - something known in hindsight. The word "hindsight" has a talismanic quality on AHF but of course all ATL's except for Cassandra's involve hindsight and the issue is whether we've identified something historically contingent - something that might have been decided differently under OTL circumstances - or something that required clairvoyance.
I don't know if you're identifying something "historically contingent" or just inventing a magic BB, but I suspect it is more complicated than material, workers, and money.
If workers were the limiting factor on tank production - regardless of where they work - that rebuts your long-asserted contention that Germany needed to start planning for a stronger Barbarossa in the early 1930's; that nothing could have been to improve the situation from 1938 let alone 1940.
Not just workers. Material. Politics. Venality. Technological limitations. Industrial bottlenecks.
Now of course you can fall back on saying that Germany didn't perceive an overweening need for more tanks (et. al.) in Barbarossa. That's a different issue that goes to a different aspect of my ATL's feasibility. So I hope we can focus on the labor apportionment issue. Germany didn't perceive an overweening need for a maximal Barbarossa because the campaign was to be an easy victory anyway (So say I on this distinct issue). Had Germany not perceived Barbarossa as such a cakewalk, she would have planned the campaign accordingly and would have had time to come with stronger forces.
Sure. And could have had those stronger forces if they simply waited until spring 1942. Otherwise they have to make different decisions about what their main battle tanks were going to be and begin their development at least a year earlier. That means October 1935 at the probable latest given 8 October 1936 was when the initial production plans for the Panzer III and IV were authorized.
Last edited by Richard Anderson on 30 Nov 2020 08:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Nov 2020 07:20

Richard Anderson wrote:Sorry, but that misses a very important item in the equation you keep missing.

The third issue besides labor/material supply and long-term investment and plant completion/start-up was the decision that the primary tank in the Panzer division would be the Panzer III, roughly two-thirds of the total.
No I understand that's your argument; I just don't buy all the assumptions behind it.

The first assumption is that Germany had to maintain its emphasis on the Panzer III as the only possible route to an expanded Panzerwaffe. We know that Germany was willing to forego this Pz3-focused "requirement", as Germany expanded the Panzerwaffe via several divisions with improvised Pz38 TOE's. Had it been truly impossible to raise Pz3 production, Germany could have improvised a higher PzIV component via such measures as tooling up and manning Nibelungswerk earlier.

The second assumption is that Pz3 production was metaphysically fixed; that production quantity was unresponsive to increases in resources such as labor and machine tools. That Pz3 production was metaphysically fixed doesn't logically follow from the (conceded) premise that Germany encountered unexpected difficulties in production: more resources used inefficiently generally produce more of a good than less resources used with identical inefficiency. Put me on a lathe tomorrow and I'll be inefficient. But put two of me on two lathes and you'll get twice as much of my meager output.

An upswing in Pz IV production gives one potential path to expanding the Panzerwaffe despite Pz3 production difficulties.

Re the second assumption, I have read the Panzer Tracts series on early Pz3 (thanks for the reference) and see the narrative about slow and uneven production at widely-spread production facilities. Nothing in that tract, however, says that having more workers and more plant would not have resulted in more Pz3's. It doesn't say the converse either but the converse is simply economic common sense against which some compelling proof would be needed to support your thesis that it was flatly impossible to increase Pz3 production regardless of how many resources were thrown at it.

As discussed below, it is likely that a larger Pz3 program would have made production virtuously along the economies of scale curve, addressing some of the issues plaguing Pz3 production.
Richard Anderson wrote:There the issues included delays in completing and accepting a production tank...one-hundred pre-production types, all with issues that made them more or less unsuitable for combat insofar as the Heeres-Waffen-Amt was concerned, before a production type was developed, accepted, and produced beginning in December 1938, about a year later than planned.
All true but what relevance do these 1930's development delays have to expanding production in 1939-41?
Richard Anderson wrote:Given the relatively small number of workers added to the final assembly plants during the war, it seems obvious that other factors were at work, one of which I suspect was simple venality.
Surely true as well. Practically all military production has some big chunk of venality, especially absent the direct pressure of a shooting war. We've replaced Goering with Raytheon and their K-street lobbyists.

But again, doesn't logically preclude greater production given greater resources. Goering/Raytheon enrich themselves unjustifiably but they can't capture ALL of marginal military expenditure.
Richard Anderson wrote:Similarly, there doesn't seem to be any really good reason to have tried to simultaneously fund the expansion of Panzer III assembly beyond D-B to so many plants, so quickly, other than to ensure that a sufficient number of industrialists and their stockholders remain happy with the Reich and its military largess.
Agreed. But part of what I see is widely-dispersed production of a low-volume total program resulting in especially low-volume production contracts at individual plants. Economies of scale can be dramatic at the low end of the scale curve; a contract for a few score Pz3's is insufficient to amortize efficient tooling/training/space allocation. As the USSBS reports attest, such production was a small fraction of turnover for the gigantic industrial concerns involved and they probably weren't sending their best at the program. The 1939 cuts to the panzer program probably played a part as well: even if the contracts weren't changed, the politically-connected industrialists who took the initial contracts surely believed - probably were told - they were getting in the door for a growth sector. When that growth prospect was suddenly curtailed, their willingness to plan large capital expenditures for panzer production surely took a hit as well. Remember that the Wehrmacht did not fund capital expenditure for weapons programs at private concerns; such expenditures were expected to be covered by total contract pricing. To a rational firm, the 1939 50% cut to the panzer program was a strong signal that investment in panzer production was not financially wise.

A larger - and constant - panzer program ameliorates many of these firm-specific problems by assuring firms of ROI for efficient investments and avoiding the signal that panzer production was risky at best.

One might say that the producers should have known by 1940 that panzer production was going to be a growth market but I don't think that's right: How would they know of the panzer's role in Poland, given that not even all of the Heer immediately saw the Panzerwaffe as a decisive force? And after France there was large-scale perception that the war would soon end so only a strong signal from WaffenAmt/Hitler/etc. would negate a tendency to muddle along with the same low-investment, low-efficiency practices caused by the initial panzer production program.

Again, that all changes if Hitler/Heer send a strong signal that panzer production is going to be a long-term profit bonanza. That signal didn't really come through, however, especially given the desultory effort on Nibelungswerk.
Richard Anderson wrote:Otherwise they have to make different decisions about what their main battle tanks were going to be and begin their development at least a year earlier.
Again this is an unwarranted denial of the demonstrated German willingness to improvise in order to field stronger forces.
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