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 Richard Anderson » 03 Nov 2020 08:47

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Nov 2020 06:13
”Richard Anderson” wrote: the Germans only obtained fractional amounts of their required aviation fuel from crude.
Sure you have the right reading of the Oil Division report? You seem to have inferred that the Germans were incapable of refining avgas from crude as a general matter but that’s not how I read the report. Here’s the passage I suspect you’re fixing on:
None of the crude oils available yielded aviation grade gasoline, so the Germans counted on their synthetic oil industry
That statement may be susceptible to different interpretations but I read it as a feedstock issue rather than a technical capabilities issue. It would be odd for the Germans to have been able to make avgas from coal but not from oil. IIRC German/Austrian crude was describe as “waxy” – too heavy to be refined efficiently into avgas.
Nope, I made a specific statement based upon the data. In four years the Germans produced 43,000 tons of aviation fuels from crude, 165,000 tons from benzol, and 4,544,000 tons from the Bergius process.

Yes, German and Austrian crude was waxy and unsuitable for production of aviation gas. Worse, for the Germans, they decided in 1933 to invest all out in the synthetic program. What lost out? The refinery industry. The best summary of the issues I know of is Raymond G. Stokes, "The Oil Industry in Nazi Germany, 1936-1945", The Business History Review, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Summer, 1985), pp. 254-277.
As the report discusses, producing lubricating oils via synthetic means was extremely difficult; the use of crude was more efficient.
Not if the crude was unsuitable for processing as aviation fuel.
What about the kerosene etc. distilled in the process of obtaining lubricating oil? Presumably this went on, partially, to produce the several thousand tons of avgas obtained annually from refineries. While this amount is a mere rounding error in German avgas supply, one cannot turn crude oil into several thousand tons of avgas by accident. This fact alone suggests German technical refining proficiency.
Cost and time. The comparable American wartime emergency construction was the Cheyenne 100-octane refinery, built for a cost of $8-million, double the original April 1943 estimate, which began production two years later, also double the original estimate. I also doubt that German technical refining proficiency was all that up to snuff, given in 1940 there were essentially five locations in the world producing 100-octane aviation fuel, three Esso refineries (two in the States and one on Aruba), processing high-grade crude from Venezuela, the Anglo-Iranian Oil refinery at Abadan, and the Shell refinery in Borneo.
Another import piece of context is the utilization of Bergius hydrogenation plants. While these plants were indeed the primary source of German avgas, at peak production their output was only 55% avgas.
Sure, in theory you could turn all the Bergius plant to producing aviation gasoline, assuming then you have enough of a supply from the Fischer-Tropsch plants, plus crude from Romania and, somehow, from the Caucasian fields...except it still isn't likely to be enough for what is needed. 1943, 3.431 million tons, 286,000 tons per month. It
(snip) Nope. A statement that my ATL needs America-level fuel budget was made by Peter89 but not endorsed by TMP.
I could have sworn you recently said the Germans after victory in the USSR would have no problem tripling their aircraft production, thus exceeding US production? Why produce so many planes if they aren't going to use them?
The LW never significantly exceeded a 2mil mt avgas budget. The U.S. apparently burned 80mil tons of avgas (whence the stats, btw? I’d love a reference to browse). The LW was still performing decently, per pilot/plane, in 1943 and into 1944 so maintenance of those OTL quality levels is all that I require. My ATL envisions ~5x 1943’s plane production. If my ATL 1944 requires 5x 1943’s total OTL LW fuel budget that’s ~10mil tons. In many aspects of WW2 America was lavish with resources (human and physical) to a suboptimal degree.
Um, 1940-1944 the Germans produced about 4.7 million tons of aviation gasoline, what did they do with the rest of the 2.7 million tons? Meanwhile, in the real world they also curtailed flight training to an extraordinary degree. The USAAF consumed 9,707,109,000 gallons 1 January 1943-31 August 1945...call it around 305-million tons. Of that, 3,063,930 gallons were consumed in theaters of war.

The Germans could not maintain quality levels without putting a major effort into the training program, which had atrophied to an alarming degree by 1942...periodically drafting the advanced flying schools personnel into operational status for things like MERKUR didn't help. The reality is that in 1943 the only thing that held the Luftwaffe together in the West was the experienced Jagdwaffe, most of the pilots coming out of the training system and put into operations had fewer hours than USAAF pilots graduating from primary flight school.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Nov 2020 09:00

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Nov 2020 07:29
Prewar population of the SU east of the Urals was only ~27mil. "Soviet East" in many definitions includes the Urals themselves as well as some geographically European regions such as Bakshir republic. Discussed with references here: viewtopic.php?f=76&t=251106#p2285184
Sorry, but I can't resist...so, you're saying Kazakhstan and Central Asia are NOT east of the Urals? :lol: 28,795+6,146+10,480=45.421-million, not 27-million. The source for my original comment I'll have to dig out when I can, I'm too damned tired now.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Avalancheon » 04 Nov 2020 02:14

Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Nov 2020 03:17
Pre-war SU was >190mil, only 25mil east of Caucasus. Germans occupy nearly all European SU so 100mil is conservative even with 15% evacuation.
Aside the issue with the Soviet census, "pre-war" the Soviet census counted c. 170 million.
The 1937 census revealed that the USSR had a population of 162 million. This was lower than what the Politburo expected: They had spent so much time lying about the scale of the Holodomor that they started believing their own lies. The sheer number of deaths meant that the USSRs population had actually shrunk from 1933. This was a huge embarrassment to the Politburo, who had made predictions of great population growth under their wonderful brand of socialism.

Therefore, they tampered with the census and had the number adjusted upward to 168.5 million.
Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Nov 2020 03:17
Aside the issue with the Soviet census, "pre-war" the Soviet census counted c. 170 million...the additional 20 million was acquired during the war by the annexation of the Baltic states.
That isn't possible, Richard. The Baltics had a population of roughly 5.7 million in 1939. Estonia = 1.13 million, Latvia = 1.99 million, Lithuania = 2.57 million.

If the population of the USSR was at 190 million in 1940, then the bulk of that increase could only have come from the annexation of Eastern Poland. (The Soviets would also have gained ~1 million from the annexation of Northern Romania)
Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Nov 2020 03:17
The maximum extent of the German occupation was c. 1942 and by then much of the working population had been evacuated from threatened areas. IIRC, some 40 percent of the prewar Soviet population lived in the territories occupied by 1 January 1942, but 6 million of the 76 million were evacuated east of the Urals. Furthermore, the population of the Soviet east was 47 million. So your ">100mil more" implies they occupy the territory inhabited by 170 million.
Thats roughly accurate. Mark Harrison places the population of the USSR at 167 million in 1938, and 104.6 million in 1942.

If we assume their population in 1940 was at 190 million, then that means the Soviets lost about 85 million people to German occupation. That is a really incredible number.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Nov 2020 08:54

Welp.

I opened this page hours ago hoping to make a good response while leisurely checking election results. Then I started paying more attention to the TV/Twitter, texting/calling friends, and pouring myself a drink. Now I've had a few drinks and am firmly stuck in 2020, finding ATL/OTL 1940's less interesting except as a disturbing echo. Might get back around to the recent replies tonight but they could be messy.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Terry Duncan » 04 Nov 2020 13:52

Just a quick reminder to all that discussion of present day events and politics are prohibited, and thus must be avoided.

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 Nov 2020 17:55

Avalancheon wrote:
04 Nov 2020 02:14
Therefore, they tampered with the census and had the number adjusted upward to 168.5 million.
Well, exactly, which is the issue I alluded to that I expected everyone was aware of.
That isn't possible, Richard. The Baltics had a population of roughly 5.7 million in 1939. Estonia = 1.13 million, Latvia = 1.99 million, Lithuania = 2.57 million.
I have had a number of other things on my mind, so was a bit telegraphic. The 1940 annexations affecting the "Soviet" population as of 22 June 1941 included Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, parts of Finland, and eastern Poland. The estimated totals of those additions was 22-24 million. And additional million or so fled from central Poland to the territories held by the USSR. See Roof & Leedy, "Population Redistribution in the Soviet Union, 1939-1956", Geographical Review, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Apr., 1959), pp. 209-210.
If the population of the USSR was at 190 million in 1940, then the bulk of that increase could only have come from the annexation of Eastern Poland. (The Soviets would also have gained ~1 million from the annexation of Northern Romania)
Yes.
Thats roughly accurate. Mark Harrison places the population of the USSR at 167 million in 1938, and 104.6 million in 1942.
Its the figures for population and industrial evacuations given in Nove, An Economic History of the USSR (Middlesex: Penguin, 1969, revised 1982), .p. 271; Istoriya velikoi otechestvennoi voiny sovetskogo soyuza 1941-1945 tom 2, (Moscow 1963), p. 148; Chaedaev, Ekonomika SSSR v period velikoi otechestvennoi voiny 1941-1945, p. 65; Eshelony idut na vostok: iz istorii perebazirovaniya proitvodstvennykh sil SSSR v 1941-42, pp. 108. 140; and Kravchenko, Ekonomika SSSR v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny (Moscow, 1965), pp. 123-25.
If we assume their population in 1940 was at 190 million, then that means the Soviets lost about 85 million people to German occupation. That is a really incredible number.
Possibly, but it all amounts to what parts of the populations of the annexed territories were counted in the Soviet numbers. However, the numbers east of the Urals is rather easier to calculate, given it is the census figures plus the evacuations. However, the notion that the Germans would acquire 100 million over and above the 70-85 million they already controlled, just by seizing the rest of the "European" USSR is fantasy.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 06 Nov 2020 04:33

Peter89 wrote:There's no such thing how much fuel the LW or the USAAF requires per se; it's highly dependent on the task they have to do.
For a given training regime, the amount of fuel burn depends on quantity of trainees.
Peter89 wrote:The defense of the Reich and Tunisia, as well as the Eastern Front were very much different.
Arguments that say "X is different from Y" without any attempt to quantify X or Y are empty. What's the directional valence of the difference?

In at least one case the difference favors my ATL: Production apportioned to the Eastern Front had a much longer average life span - i.e. flew many more sorties and therefore burned much more gas - than production apportioned against the Wallies.
Peter89 wrote:Second, the LW maintained (not increased!) the same number of aircraft despite increasing production. Doubled fighter production didn't mean numerically doubled fighter forces, let alone doubled performance of the fighter forces
Obviously. But again this is an empty response to a strawman argument. We'd need to analyze the attritional outcomes, which you gesture at:
Peter89 wrote:The attrition reached a magnitude where it was questionable that more planes were helpful at all, or just fodder for the shooting practice of wallied pilots and landing practice for the half-trained recruits.
...but then you just simply assume that outcomes would be the same as OTL. Makes no sense. Attrition was 2-way; if the Wallies are losing more planes/pilots it's obviously not a given OTL outcomes hold.
Peter89 wrote:The point is that training programs ate up a substantial amount of the LW fuel. Simply to keep up with wallies, the Germans needed at least to double their production.
Yeah but increased German fuel production is exactly what we're discussing so it's not like I'm ignoring that.
Peter89 wrote:Fourth, the Germans consumed approximately the same amount of avgas as they produced because they didn't have more. Relatively low fuel consumption wasn't an innate feature of German planes.
Ok then if the Germans produce more fuel they consume more fuel.
Peter89 wrote:In a war of attrition where an average pilot could expect to serve 8-30 days before being shot down, where training programs were cut to the quarter of the enemy's, where noncombat losses compromised almost half of the losses, and where both the full initial number of planes and pilots ended their career in every six months... I have my doubts that it foreshadows any good outcome for the Germans.
Of course you have your doubts. You're ignoring increased losses to the Wallies and increased German fuel production. Under your assumptions I wouldn't have any doubts that the Germans lose but your assumptions are wrong, as we've been discussing.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 06 Nov 2020 05:14

Richard Anderson wrote:Yes, German and Austrian crude was waxy and unsuitable for production of aviation gas. Worse, for the Germans, they decided in 1933 to invest all out in the synthetic program. What lost out? The refinery industry. The best summary of the issues I know of is Raymond G. Stokes, "The Oil Industry in Nazi Germany, 1936-1945", The Business History Review, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Summer, 1985), pp. 254-277.
Thanks for the reference. The article confirms that Germany could not have produced aviation fuel from its domestic crude, even if it wanted to:
Although Germany's waxy crude could not be used for airplane fuel, it was particularly suitable for lubricating oils, for which synthetic petroleum was in general unsuited.
I don't disagree that Germany prioritized Bergius plants over refineries. Do you disagree that it was right choice given their resource constraints?

That Bergius>Refineries was the right choice until the crude situation changed implies that the choice would have changed when the crude situation changed - i.e. when Germany got all of Russia's oil. And in fact the USSBS notes that the lowest schedule for synthgas investments was dated June 23, 1941, a day after Barbarossa when Goering expected getting the Russian oil. So Germany was capable of adjusting its oil production schedules based on expectations of crude oil.

Now there's another question regarding whether Russian crude could have been refined into avgas. The Russians had trouble doing so but that appears to have been a technical constraint.

In the past you've said that German tetraethyl lead production would have been a constraint on avgas production. I don't think that's right. The USSBS notes that such production was dangerously concentrated in two plants and therefore should have been bombed but also notes that Germany recognized this vulnerability and, in late 1944, started a new plant expected to come online in '45. In an ATL in which Germany can produce more avgas, it would simply have built more tetraethyl lead plants.
Richard Anderson wrote:Cost and time. The comparable American wartime emergency construction was the Cheyenne 100-octane refinery, built for a cost of $8-million, double the original April 1943 estimate, which began production two years later, also double the original estimate.
First, refining capacity in Germany alone was ~5mil so it had ~3mil excess capacity. Romanian refineries had excess capacity as well, one reason that Operation Tidal Wave was kind of a waste. Allied wartime intelligence estimated Axis Europe to hold 12mil tons refining capacity in 1943. https://web.archive.org/web/20090327145 ... m%208C.pdf

Second, a 2x budget overrun in construction cost of a refinery is insignificant compared to the cost of Bergius plants. As USSBS notes, these plants required 15x the steel and many times the labor of an equivalent in refining capacity. As your article notes, Germany had 1mil tons of Bergius plants expected online in '45. In steel terms, that's good for 15mil tons of refining capacity.

Third, the Soviets were unable to evacuate/destroy much of the heavy plant in conquered areas like Ukraine. From Kim Priemel's article on Ukraine in Paying for Hitler's War (Chapter 14):
The situation was by no means a total loss for the Germans, however.
Closer inspection revealed opportunities for reconstruction, especially
at vertically integrated combines that had suffered only partial destruction. Blast furnaces proved usable even if steel and rolling mills did not,
and lost machinery could sometimes be replaced with equipment salvaged elsewhere. The Mariupol works had been left largely intact, and
the “mighty works” of the Asov and Illitch plants were still running
when the German troops entered the town.55 Even the Kharkiv locomotive and tractor plant was not completely hopeless. This giant plant
had employed 35,000 workers, turning out 350 tanks, 120 tractors, and
30 locomotives per month before the war. After its capture by the Germans, only the plant’s steel foundry was beyond repair.
So while Soviet refineries around Baku would have been severely damaged, bringing them back online would have been significantly cheaper than building new refineries. Certainly the building foundations would have been difficult to destroy and that's a long lead item.
Richard Anderson wrote:I also doubt that German technical refining proficiency was all that up to snuff, given in 1940 there were essentially five locations in the world producing 100-octane aviation fuel, three Esso refineries (two in the States and one on Aruba), processing high-grade crude from Venezuela, the Anglo-Iranian Oil refinery at Abadan, and the Shell refinery in Borneo.
The issue isn't 100-octane avgas, it's more of German avgas (87 octane IIRC). The Germans developed means of compensating for lower octane fuel anyway.
Richard Anderson wrote:I could have sworn you recently said the Germans after victory in the USSR would have no problem tripling their aircraft production, thus exceeding US production? Why produce so many planes if they aren't going to use them?
You and Peter89 are pulling a sleight of hand here. The ATL requires 5-10x OTL GERMAN avgas consumption, not US-level avgas consumption. Just as it would be wrong to say 10 more German divisions requires 600k men because that's what the Americans used, so it's wrong to shift the debate from increasing German avgas resources to matching American avgas.
Richard Anderson wrote:Um, 1940-1944 the Germans produced about 4.7 million tons of aviation gasoline
What are you getting at? I'm using 43/44 production as a baseline. Don't see why 40-42 matters.
Richard Anderson wrote:Meanwhile, in the real world they also curtailed flight training to an extraordinary degree.
Meanwhile we're discussing an ATL with greater German fuel production so...
Richard Anderson wrote:The Germans could not maintain quality levels without putting a major effort into the training program, which had atrophied to an alarming degree by 1942...periodically drafting the advanced flying schools personnel into operational status for things like MERKUR didn't help.
...and the Stalingrad/Tunisian airlifts etc.

But again that's OTL not ATL. A country in desperate straits does desperate things. A country firmly in control of Europe does different things.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 06 Nov 2020 05:31

Avalancheon wrote:Thats roughly accurate. Mark Harrison places the population of the USSR at 167 million in 1938, and 104.6 million in 1942.
Richard Anderson wrote:However, the notion that the Germans would acquire 100 million over and above the 70-85 million they already controlled, just by seizing the rest of the "European" USSR is fantasy.
My ATL:OTL 100mil delta is for occupied Soviets in mid-1944, not for 1942.

Much of the disputation appears not to recognize this fact.
Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Nov 2020 09:00
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Nov 2020 07:29
Prewar population of the SU east of the Urals was only ~27mil. "Soviet East" in many definitions includes the Urals themselves as well as some geographically European regions such as Bakshir republic. Discussed with references here: viewtopic.php?f=76&t=251106#p2285184
Sorry, but I can't resist...so, you're saying Kazakhstan and Central Asia are NOT east of the Urals? :lol: 28,795+6,146+10,480=45.421-million, not 27-million. The source for my original comment I'll have to dig out when I can, I'm too damned tired now.
Yeah I flubbed that calculation. Maybe I looked at the 1926 column when I went back to my old post? Anyway it's wrong but doesn't undercut what I said.

28.8mil (Siberia inc. Urals and Bakshir) + 16.6mil (Central Asia) - 12.2mil (Urals and Bakshir) = 33.2mil east of the Urals.

That leaves 1939 population of 137mil in the pre-MR-Pact territories.

In OTL July 1944 Germany held basically 0 of this population; ATL it occupies them all. With 15% evacuation, 2% growth up to Barbarossa, and 10mil dead, I get 109mil in the ATL occupied SU.

So again, it's >100mil delta to occupied 1944 population.

Another aspect of any Germany-beats-SU ATL is that Ostheer advances more rapidly and farther than OTL in '41 and therefore evacuation would have been lower than OTL. The SU devoted 50% of its rail capacity to evacuation so there simply wasn't capacity to remove as much as OTL in ~half the time.

I'd estimate only 7-8% of population evacuated, which adds another ~10mil to the ATL occupied Soviet population.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Peter89 » 06 Nov 2020 10:36

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Nov 2020 04:33
Peter89 wrote:The defense of the Reich and Tunisia, as well as the Eastern Front were very much different.
Arguments that say "X is different from Y" without any attempt to quantify X or Y are empty. What's the directional valence of the difference?
Because we can't quantify it. It's not as simple as a single number. We can take a look at a lot of numbers: missions flown, noncombat losses, airfield quality, availability of spare parts, crew experience, number of aircrafts, operational readiness, ratio between lost aircrafts and lost crews, aircraft types, equipment systems, etc.

For example, in the defense of the Kammhuber Line, the Germans showed a fairly good performance in 1941-1943. Later, they did not, so we can't extrapolate. Why? It was because of a number of factors, including better Wallied planes, tactics, crew training, intelligence, equipment, etc.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Nov 2020 04:33
In at least one case the difference favors my ATL: Production apportioned to the Eastern Front had a much longer average life span - i.e. flew many more sorties and therefore burned much more gas - than production apportioned against the Wallies.
It highly depended on the situation. The Eastern front presented a very heavy attrition if we compare it to the defense of the West in 1941-1943. Some peak attrition times in the Eastern front were amongst the worst ones for the LW.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Nov 2020 04:33
Peter89 wrote:Second, the LW maintained (not increased!) the same number of aircraft despite increasing production. Doubled fighter production didn't mean numerically doubled fighter forces, let alone doubled performance of the fighter forces
Obviously. But again this is an empty response to a strawman argument. We'd need to analyze the attritional outcomes, which you gesture at:
Peter89 wrote:The attrition reached a magnitude where it was questionable that more planes were helpful at all, or just fodder for the shooting practice of wallied pilots and landing practice for the half-trained recruits.
...but then you just simply assume that outcomes would be the same as OTL. Makes no sense. Attrition was 2-way; if the Wallies are losing more planes/pilots it's obviously not a given OTL outcomes hold.
The problem with this argument is simple: the Germans lagged behind in every aspect of the aerial warfare by 1944. The Wallies could afford more attrition than the Luftwaffe. In order to meet the Wallies' OTL aircraft production, training, fuel production, etc., we need to (approximately) triple the LW aircraft production, 10x the avgas production, quadruple the training time of aircrews, multiply the maintenance personnel, etc.

And those are the raw numbers, not combat efficiency; the Wallied intelligence, equipment and tactics were all better than the German.

Not to mention that in case of a stubborn German resistance, the Wallies can easily shift their production towards fighters - including the 18000+ aircrafts they delivered to the SU, which, in your ATL, would also bolster their ranks.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Nov 2020 04:33
Yeah but increased German fuel production is exactly what we're discussing so it's not like I'm ignoring that.
Peter89 wrote:Fourth, the Germans consumed approximately the same amount of avgas as they produced because they didn't have more. Relatively low fuel consumption wasn't an innate feature of German planes.
Ok then if the Germans produce more fuel they consume more fuel.

[...]
We'd need to analyze the attritional outcomes, which you gesture at:
The analysis of the attrition is complicated.

There was noncombat attrition and combat attrition. The Germans did not pay much attention to the former until 1944. The latter can be categorized as "offensive," "reactive," and "imposed" attrition: offensive attrition was when an airforce had to fight offensively, but without the adequate means. For example, the German campaigns in the summer of 1942. Reactive attrition was when an airforce had to fight for an untenable position. For example, Tunisia, Stalingrad, and the very costly airlifts to Demyansk, Kholm, etc. Imposed attrition is when an airforce has to accept battle with unfavourable terms. For example, the defense of the Reich from 1944.

We can see that regarding the attrition, deployment was a critical factor.

It is simply not sensible to talk about multiplied everything in an airforce if we do not address the issue of deployment.

Unfortunately for the Germans, their decision maker(s) had a tendency to commit two major mistakes in deployment, and deploy their forces offensively way beyond their capabilities. The Germans didn't stop their offensives because went on the defensive on purpose: they were forced to do so. In any ATL, where the Germans could continue to be victorious, offensive attrition was inevitable. Then, when the Germans reach their outer limit of operation, the Wallies would give them battle with better logistics and the Germans would try to cling on to the untenable positions, starting a reactive attrition. We can safely conclude this based on the OTL data - the similarity of the MTO and Southern Russia is showing a pattern here.

The attrition would bleed white them then and there, and in the end, the Wallies would impose attrition on them with superior forces.

The very idea of deploying the Luftwaffe / Wehrmacht on the strategic defense - when they are in parity with the Wallies - is unhistorical.

Furthermore, even if it came to defense, the German decision maker(s) were fascinated with the idea of retribution and Flaks, both draining insane amount of resources, and that's unlikely to be changed in any scenario.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Nov 2020 04:33
Peter89 wrote:In a war of attrition where an average pilot could expect to serve 8-30 days before being shot down, where training programs were cut to the quarter of the enemy's, where noncombat losses compromised almost half of the losses, and where both the full initial number of planes and pilots ended their career in every six months... I have my doubts that it foreshadows any good outcome for the Germans.
Of course you have your doubts. You're ignoring increased losses to the Wallies and increased German fuel production. Under your assumptions I wouldn't have any doubts that the Germans lose but your assumptions are wrong, as we've been discussing.
I'm not ignoring any potentially increased Wallied losses. On the contrary, actually. I try to present the improbability of a multiplied Luftwaffe performance AND the reality of the Wallies' ability to withstand significantly increased losses.

I hope we do agree on the fact that the Germans would lose any real possibility to damage the Wallies' output by 1944, while it clearly wasn't the other way around. Even if we assume a 1:1 ratio and a clearly defensive posture for the Luftwaffe (both are impossible because of the aforementioned reasons and many more), how is it going to be on the long run?

The Wallies had access to every kind of material, manpower, intelligence, technologies... and simply put, much more and / or much better of them than the Germans. The gap was widening, not narrowing, and we can't conjure up an imagination where the Germans could catch up and take the lead. Let's not forget that the Wallies' A-bomb was ready by the summer of 1945. Plus the prize was world domination, especially with the Soviets out of the game.

To get back to the topic of the thread, the Germans have indeed lost the war because of the decisions they made during the crucial year between mid-1940 and mid-1941. In this timeframe, the Wallies laid down the foundations for their eventual victory in the air, and the Germans were unable to cope with it, and wouldn't be able to cope with it, regardless how much oil they get from the Caucasus.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 06 Nov 2020 15:16

Peter89 wrote: the Wallies laid down the foundations for their eventual victory in the air, and the Germans were unable to cope with it, and wouldn't be able to cope with it, regardless how much oil they get from the Caucasus.
It's always seemed that this is what you really believed and that discussions of oil etc. are pointless because, no matter how subsidiary discussions go, Allied resources and know-how are always invincible. It's reminiscent of our post-SU Mideast warfare discussion, where you know the Wallies prevail even though you also concede not being able to describe the shipping logistics. If I put effort into the oil issue or any other issue, you can just fall back on innate Allied superiority and a cascade of general statements. These articles of faith seem to be windmills not worth tilting against.

If we're going to discuss anything, let's keep it discrete and analytical. Instead of the general assertion of absolute Allied technical superiority, you could, for example address the following:

What would the Wallies field in 1945 superior to Me-262?

What was the true superiority of P-51D over Fw190-D9? Maybe watch this before answering? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIYd7RYoNsM ("surprisingly close in performance"). How about compared to Ta-152? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSdYtF2uR3U&t=288s
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It's not that you don't make valid points in the reply. It's just that most are not points with which I disagree, or they're points whose full discussion would require a longish thread.

For example, you say the Germans would probably deploy more offensively. Well I've said upthread Hitler would probably make proportionately more bombers than OTL.

You say the Germans lost a lot when forced to react to unfavorable tactical situation. Well maybe we disagree about the prevalence of those situations if Germany beats the SU.

In short, maybe consider recognizing that I've thought about these issues before you reveal them to me. If you really want to discuss them, don't assume they're inevitable steps on the path to your view then pass on to your generalized statements without pausing for breath. It just gives the impression that your beliefs are not falsifiable, in which case discussion is a waste of time.

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

Here's one point I'll address directly:
Peter89 wrote:In order to meet the Wallies'... we need to (approximately) triple the LW aircraft production, 10x the avgas production, quadruple the training time of aircrews, multiply the maintenance personnel, etc.
Re AC production and avgas, that's ballpark correct - as I've been saying in this thread.

Re maintenance personnel, yes - assuming the standing LW size increases. But then there's a big group of people available ATL that weren't available OTL, and have ~2 years to reach the alternate height of demand. So this is a fairly minor issue.

Here's another:
Peter89 wrote:when the Germans reach their outer limit of operation, the Wallies would give them battle with better logistics
Where? I suspect you're talking about the MidEast again, where you don't have a quantitative picture of the shipping logistics.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 06 Nov 2020 17:32

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Nov 2020 05:14
I don't disagree that Germany prioritized Bergius plants over refineries. Do you disagree that it was right choice given their resource constraints?
Sorry, but it is more complicated than that. The German leadership made a choice in 1933 that essentially limited the Luftwaffe to 87 octane aviation fuel during the course of the war, which meant when it came to fighting aircraft flying with 100 octane and higher gasoline.
That Bergius>Refineries was the right choice until the crude situation changed implies that the choice would have changed when the crude situation changed - i.e. when Germany got all of Russia's oil. And in fact the USSBS notes that the lowest schedule for synthgas investments was dated June 23, 1941, a day after Barbarossa when Goering expected getting the Russian oil. So Germany was capable of adjusting its oil production schedules based on expectations of crude oil.
The problem for the Germans was that the Soviet refineries and the German refineries were technologically equal. The lack of investment in new refinery technologies keeps the German production limited to 87 octane fuel, which limits the performance of the Jagdwaffe.
Now there's another question regarding whether Russian crude could have been refined into avgas. The Russians had trouble doing so but that appears to have been a technical constraint.
Indeed, but it was a technological constraint rather than a purely technical one. Didn't you notice my remark regarding the limited places where high-octane aviation gasoline was produced? The reason is it was the most recent and most modern refinery process that produced it - the catalytic cracking process developed by French chemist, Eugene Houdry in 1936. The first practical industrial refining using the process was developed by the Houdry Process Corporation with funding from a consortium of the Socony Vacuum Oil Company and the Sun Oil Company in the US. Roughly 90% of 100-octane fuel was refined through this process after 1938. Worse, for the Germans, the production of fuels by catalytic cracking required large investment to install the reactors as well as the associated product separation equipment and also, prewar, required payment of a hefty license fee to Houdry, which the Germans, since they had already eschewed refinery development, would have been unlikely to invest in.

The remaining fraction of high-octane aviation fuels was produced by a thermal polymerization process developed by Pure Oil and Phillips Oil in the US in 1935. Its process used alkylation of olefins produced from thermal cracking, but the process was expensive and low yield. The tiny amounts of high-octane fuels produced by Germany were apparently through this process.
In the past you've said that German tetraethyl lead production would have been a constraint on avgas production. I don't think that's right. The USSBS notes that such production was dangerously concentrated in two plants and therefore should have been bombed but also notes that Germany recognized this vulnerability and, in late 1944, started a new plant expected to come online in '45. In an ATL in which Germany can produce more avgas, it would simply have built more tetraethyl lead plants.
Sorry, but the limited production of TEL and the associated alkaloids required for the Pure/Phillips process meant the amount of higher octane fuels produced by Germany were tiny and still inferior to the 100+ octane fuels used by the Allies. Building a third plant that was nowhere near completion or operation in 1945 doesn't solve the overall problem.
First, refining capacity in Germany alone was ~5mil so it had ~3mil excess capacity. Romanian refineries had excess capacity as well, one reason that Operation Tidal Wave was kind of a waste. Allied wartime intelligence estimated Axis Europe to hold 12mil tons refining capacity in 1943.
It is not the refinery output that was the problem or what I was alluding to, but rather it was the refined products quality. Assuming Germany can access the Houdry technology - not to unlikely - they have to restart refinery construction and development sometime around your post-Soviet defeat POD, which likely means the Luftwaffe starts to get meaningful amounts of high-octane fuel to compete with the Allies sometime in 1945.

Worse, the Bergius process outputs, insofar as I can make out, were not suitable for refining through the Houdry process, neither were the German-Austrian crude, while the suitability of Caucasian and Rumanian crude remains a question-mark. As far as I have found, the Western Allies produced high-octane aviation gasoline from Maracaibo and Iranian crude, while the only other major source of suitable crude at the time were the Batavian fields.
Second, a 2x budget overrun in construction cost of a refinery is insignificant compared to the cost of Bergius plants. As USSBS notes, these plants required 15x the steel and many times the labor of an equivalent in refining capacity. As your article notes, Germany had 1mil tons of Bergius plants expected online in '45. In steel terms, that's good for 15mil tons of refining capacity.
You keep focusing on the wrong issue. Time, money, technology, and requirements are the deadly combination for the Germans in this situation. Given that a relatively small concentration of bombing assets wrecked the German synthetic fuel industry in relatively short order in 1944, the Germans are unlikely to ever catch up.
Third, the Soviets were unable to evacuate/destroy much of the heavy plant in conquered areas like Ukraine. From Kim Priemel's article on Ukraine in Paying for Hitler's War (Chapter 14):
Since I made no inference to the contrary, I'm unsure why you think that is a point I need to consider? The most crippling heavy plant the Soviets were unable to evacuate were the chemical plants in the Donbass.
The issue isn't 100-octane avgas, it's more of German avgas (87 octane IIRC). The Germans developed means of compensating for lower octane fuel anyway.
Um, no they developed poor workarounds such as methanol/water injection for short-term boost performance, which had a tendency to wreck engines and the jet engine technologies, which ultimately were too little and too late.
You and Peter89 are pulling a sleight of hand here. The ATL requires 5-10x OTL GERMAN avgas consumption, not US-level avgas consumption. Just as it would be wrong to say 10 more German divisions requires 600k men because that's what the Americans used, so it's wrong to shift the debate from increasing German avgas resources to matching American avgas.
What, sleight of hand is that? The only one I see is the handwavium on your part. I now note that indeed you confirm your plan is to match American aircraft production, which implies being competitive in the air, which is going to require something approaching Allied aviation fuel production. To make use of that mass of aircraft implies a massive increase in pilot training, matching that of the US, which again implies that at least the American basic training fuel budget needs to be matched as does the unit training fuel budget.

At least that is if you want to match the quality of the Luftwaffe to that of the Allies. Otherwise, it is the Luftwaffe versus the Soviet Air Force 1941-1943 all over again with the Luftwaffe playing the role of the Soviet Air Force.
Richard Anderson wrote:What are you getting at? I'm using 43/44 production as a baseline. Don't see why 40-42 matters.
It remains the same. The possible increase in German production of inferior aviation fuel remains a fraction of what they require.
Meanwhile we're discussing an ATL with greater German fuel production so...
Sorry, but that is an imaginary increase based upon false assumptions of what constituted reality.
...and the Stalingrad/Tunisian airlifts etc.

But again that's OTL not ATL. A country in desperate straits does desperate things. A country firmly in control of Europe does different things.
Yet again, it all depends on when/how this amorphous "1942 victory" occurs.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by paulrward » 06 Nov 2020 18:50

Hello All ;

I am going to make this posting , as reading the above postings by Mr. Richard Anderson and Mr. TheMarcksPlan,
I had a series of blinding flashes of the obvious.

First- The Axis need not equal the Wallies production of aircraft to defeat them. If the Wallies are conducting
a 'round-the-clock' bombing campaign, using four engine bombers, this is a VERY expensive campaign in terms
of dollars, raw materials, manpower, and ( what I will come to later ) fuel.

It required ROUGHLY three times the cost in dollars, aluminum, and workers to produce a single B-17 Fortress
or B-24 Liberator as it required to produce an Bf 109 or an FW 190. In addition, it required appx twice the
resources to produce a four engine Bomber as it did a german twin engine night fighter ( minus radar, of course )

What this means is that by expending half the resources of the Wallies, the Germans could have produced 1.5
single engine fighters and one twin engine night fighter for each four engine bomber produced by the Wallies.
And, without the constant need to produce twin engine bombers and the heavy losses of fighters on the
Eastern Front, you probably could have doubled the number of both single and twin engine fighters available
for the Defense of the Reich, and the pilots would have been of a better quality without the steady attrition
of pilots over Russia.

Now, imagine, if you can, a force of 300 B-17s attacked by some 600 Bf 109s and FW 190s. A raid
like Schweinfurt would have been an even greater massacre than it was. Instead of 60 bombers shot down and
another 50 damaged, you might have had 120 shot down, and 100 damaged, some beyond repair. As it was,
the Schweinfurt Raids almost broke the nerve of the Eighth Air Force. One of two missions with losses that
were double the OTL Schweinfurt, and the Eighth Air Force might be out of business for a few months, months
that would allow the Germans to even further build up the Luftwaffe Day Fighter force to the point where,
by simple numbers and skill, they could stand up to the Wallies.


And, Historically, with only a relatively small night fighter force, the Germans were inflicting roughly 3 %
bomber losses on the British PER MISSION ! If you give the nachtjaegers the assets they needed in terms of
numbers of aircraft and crews, you might have been able to increase this to 6% or more. If the British start
losing Lancasters and Halifaxes faster than they can be built, Bomber Harris' Whirlwind of Destruction gutters
out and dies. ( Just for some numbers, the British often sent three raids each week, of 300 bombers each.
This means they could count on losing nearly 27 bombers each week. This was tolerable. But, if you increase
it to 54 bombers per week, Bomber Command starts getting whittled down, until it cannot keep up the offensive.
It's just pure numbers. )



Second, as for pilot training, speaking as a pilot, it is a wonderful thing to have the time and resources to provide
the best flight training for each pilot. But, if you don't , you can put a guy through Primary Training in 10
flying hours ( The British often did this ) and Basic Training in another 10 hours of intensive flying. Add a
final 20 hours of Advanced training, and you have your basic, green recruit Single Engine Day Fighter Pilot,
ready to defend the Reich. The longer he lives, he better he gets, and with a LOT of fighters being added
to the Luftwaffe, his chances of survival are MUCH better.

For the twin engine night fighters, you need a better grade of pilot, one who can fly multi, on instruments,
do night navigation, and take off and land at night. This would require more experienced pilots, guys who
could fly a twin engine fighter or light bomber, and handle the multi-tasking required. HMMMMMMM - with
the defeat of the USSR, are there any German pilots sitting around who fit that description ? Well, yes.
All the pilots of the Ju-88s, the Do-17s, and the He-111s that are now no longer bombing the Russian Army.

You take those pilots, give them a one week night refresher course, a few flights where they coordinate
with their RIO, and you could probably add a few hundred more night fighters to Kammhuber's merry band
of night stalkers....



Third : OK, so far we have talked Airplanes and Pilots. What about Fuel ?

A few people here on the Forum have made a lot of noise about how much more fuel the Allies produced
than did the Germans. True enough. But remember, while the US was producing loads of Avgas, it was
burning it just as fast.

Let us make the assumption that a German Fighter Engine consumes fuel at the same rate as an American
Bomber Engine ( and this is a fairly accurate assumption, as fuel consumption is proportional to horsepower,
and the 1200 hp of a B-17 engine is very similar to the 1200 hp of a Bf 109 engine.

Now, let us take a mission such as Schweinfurt: 300 B-17s with four engines each, running for 8 hours,
equals 9600 ' Engine hours ' of fuel burned. But, the 600 Bf 109s and FW 190s each have only one engine,
and, assuming they fly two missions of one hour each that day ( one flight to hit the bombers on the way in,
the other to hit them on the way out ! ) then you have 600 fighters with one engine running for 2 hours,
or a total of 1200 'Engine hours ' of fuel burned. Thus, the Wallies are burning EIGHT TIMES as much fuel
on that day as the Germans ! It is easy to see that the Wallies NEEDED that huge amount of fuel just to
function.

For the night fighters, the 300 Lancasters are burning the same 9600 Engine hours of fuel, while if the
Night Fighters simply fly a single four hour mission, and there are 300 of them, then they burn 2400 Engine
hours, or one fourth the amount of fuel as the RAF.

It is easy to see that the Luftwaffe operationally would be consuming far less avgas defending the Reich than
the USAAF and the RAF were spending trying to destroy it.



Finally, we have to add one final number. The Human Cost . Let us assume that on the ATL Schweinfurt Raid,
the USAAF loses 120 Fortresses, with another 100 shot up. That is 1200 men lost, KIA or POW. If the Luftwaffe
lost, say, 50 fighters, ( this is a lot, but I am willing to stretch the point ) but half of the pilots manage to bail
out and walk back to their air fields ( And if you doubt this, read Heinz Knoke's " I Flew For The Fuhrer " to get
a description of how many times a Luftwaffe pilot could be shot down and walk away from it ) Then the USAAF
has lost about 1200 trained pilots, navigators, bombardiers, radio operators, flight engineers, and gunners,
while the Luftwaffe has lost....... 25 fighter pilots.

That's a 48 : 1 exchange ratio. Even the Bomber Barons would get cold feet after a few missions like that. And
the same ugly math applies to the RAF Bomber Command. Each Lancaster had a crew of seven, and the losses
suffered by the Nachtjaegers were fairly low. A concerted defense of the Reich might mean that the losses
to the Wallies are so great that they have to halt the offensive, just to keep a core of their trained crews
alive. And, each month that the Wallies aren't bombing the Ruhr is one more month of buildup for the Reich.....


Just a few numbers for everyone to play with.


Respectfully :


Paul R. Ward
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 06 Nov 2020 20:18

paulrward wrote:
06 Nov 2020 18:50
And, Historically, with only a relatively small night fighter force, the Germans were inflicting roughly 3 %
bomber losses on the British PER MISSION ! If you give the nachtjaegers the assets they needed in terms of
numbers of aircraft and crews, you might have been able to increase this to 6% or more. If the British start
losing Lancasters and Halifaxes faster than they can be built, Bomber Harris' Whirlwind of Destruction gutters
out and dies. ( Just for some numbers, the British often sent three raids each week, of 300 bombers each.
This means they could count on losing nearly 27 bombers each week. This was tolerable. But, if you increase
it to 54 bombers per week, Bomber Command starts getting whittled down, until it cannot keep up the offensive.
It's just pure numbers. )
Paul,

Don't forget that the British were losing bombers to Flak and to the weather, not just to fighters.

Regards

Tom

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

Post by paulrward » 06 Nov 2020 20:26

Hello All :

To Mr. Tom from Cornwall ;

Yes, but on the other hand we have fingers...... NO ! What I meant to say was, with the Russians off the
board, that might mean that some of the 88s and 105s on the Russian Front might be trucked home to deal
with those pesky Lancasters.....

Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
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