The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

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Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 01 Nov 2006 15:48

To put some numbers to this. When 6.PD was railed into the Stalingrad sector from France to take part in Wintergewitter, it used ca. 70 trains. I have no reason to believe that a 1941 PD would use a train less. So by railing in these additional strategic reserves, you remove 70 trains per division. I have no idea how many tons of supplies a single train could carry, but in any case it should be clear that this a significant number of trains.

Here is an interesting thread on the topic. Unfortunately I have no idea what a standard WW2 train would carry. Maybe somebody else can chip in.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=90657

In any case, I am sure that when faced with the choice of transporting a panzer division (reinforced by a Ritterkreuztraeger jumping at and down and jelling at the freight dispatcher), and some winter coats who are lieing around silently, the freight dispatcher will send the Panzerdivision any day. :)

All the best

Andreas

Jon G.
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Post by Jon G. » 01 Nov 2006 16:45

Andreas wrote:...I have no idea how many tons of supplies a single train could carry, but in any case it should be clear that this a significant number of trains.

Here is an interesting thread on the topic. Unfortunately I have no idea what a standard WW2 train would carry. Maybe somebody else can chip in.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=90657
...
Choo-choo. Expect trains to weigh from 500 to 1500 tons with the average supply train weighing about 800 tons. 50% of that weight is made up of the train's wagons etc. itself, leaving 400 tons worth of load.

A single-line railroad was sufficient to support a corps - at a pinch, it would also be enough to bear the main logistic burden of an entire army. For Barbarossa, the Germans planned on one single-track rail line for supporting each army group.

Here are some more choo-choo threads catering to this niche interest:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=84679

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=82145

And particularly this one:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=51767

Quoting directly from Michate's excellent post on that thread:
...Daily trains needed for normal supplies:

Army group North 20
Army group Center 32
Army group South 22
sum eastern front 74 trains daily, (ca. 29,600 tons daily).
This means per month 2220 trains or 888,000 tons.

actually arrived on eastern front:
September 1941: 2093 trains
October 1941: 1860 trains
November 1941: 1701 trains
December 1941: 1643 trains
January 1942: 1420 trains...
As can be seen, the Germans had their hands full supplying the divisions they historically had in the east.

I surmise that lining up a few (or a lot) of extra panzer divisions for Barbarossa would not have strained the German logistics apparatus unduly, but sustaining the operations of those extra divisions would not have been possible without far more trucks, trains and railroad personnel.

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Post by Andreas » 01 Nov 2006 17:27

Hi Jon

I am building a bookshelf at the moment, so I did not have time to look for the info. Thanks a lot for doing that for me. :)

It is quite pleasing to see that my private guesstimate (which I did not put into the post), i.e. that one Panzerdivision railed in equals almost one day of supply for the whole of the Ostheer, was not that far off.

Just adding rolling stock does not solve the problem, since you end up being constrained by the capacity of the lines to take trains. There is interesting info on train line rebuilding and capacity in the Soviet general staff studies on L'vov and Bagration.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by Jon G. » 01 Nov 2006 18:35

You're very welcome Andreas. The subject of railroads' role in WW2 has interested me for a while, on top of the general logistics discussion, so I tend to pipe in whenever a thread touches on the subject :) As a theory of sorts I'd maintain that the railroad planning was the one part where Barbarossa really fell apart before it even started - in this one instance, the OKH planners made themselves guilty of very unrealistic assumptions regarding how many divisions rail lines can support for how long, over how far distances. Which is all the more curious since the German/Prussian general staff had strong traditions for brilliant use of railroads in the planning of their campaigns right from Moltke the Elder's campaign against Austria in 1866 and up to and including the 1941 Balkans campaign.

There are various ways of tweaking the capacity of a rail line - more and longer sidings and better signals equipment will increase the capacity of a single-track line for example, as will strict traffic control. For part of their mobilisation effort the Soviets simply turned some of their single-track rail lines into one-way streets. That means exorbitant use of rolling stock, but it also increases the capacity of the rail line greatly.

Anyway, I digress :) As I see it, it is not at all unrealistic to equip the Wehrmacht with more tanks for the 1941 campaign, but the heart of the matter is the logistics part and how that may have been strengthened. All other things being equal, I don't think that more tanks with the 1941 Ostheer would have made much of a difference. More trucks, more Eisenbahntruppen, more/better rail communications in western Russia, the Baltic and the Ukraine, now that would have made a difference...

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LWD
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Post by LWD » 01 Nov 2006 19:28

My feeling when I first saw this thread was that they would have been better off putting the extra production into trucks and railfoad equipment. In particular equipment to repair, reguage, and possilby double track the Soviet rail net.

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Post by Lkefct » 02 Nov 2006 16:30

Adding additional production capacity gives you a lot more trucks to the army. In Russia, that does not necessarily lend itself to additional mobility. The total lack of any useful paved roads makes mobility rather marginal in many times of the year. "Finished" roads, often consist of wooden surface or simply laying down logs to act as traction points with a similar spacing to railroad tie's. What "Paved" roads that do exist are not built heavily enough to stand military movements, and even trucks caused them to break up under heavy traffic. Factor in the additonal fuel used, the lack of rubber, and the fact that additonal trucks don't drictly add any combat power to the German army. Not a substantial improvement in terms of mobility.

The other thing to consider about Russia was the nature of the campaign. The Gemran had a lightning advance, getting 2/3 of the way to moscow in about 6 weeks. Then Hitler divereted the Panzertruppen N and S to Kiev and Lnenningrad respectively. THe infantry across the army group Center front stopped their advance and held the line for voer a month while the tanks ran off for their encriclement operations. In that time static, they where under fairly concentrated artillery fire which didn't cause heavy causalties at any one time, but did slowly erode the # of combat effectives that where availible in the infatnry formation. IN this time, the rail troops did manage to catch up and replace or run dual tracks on the rail (to allow both German and Russian trains to run on the same tracks) so that supplies could reach the jumping off points for the next attacks.

The problem here is several fold. The rail troops cannot expand the tracks to being double lines everywhere. Any place where thye do switch to double would have to be at the expense of converting rail lines soemwhere else. IT takes a lot of additional construction to bridges and railbed to carry an extra track. Converting the existing russian guage to germn is just a matter of laying new rails on old ties. But you have to have a stable foundation to lay the new rails on, and that takes time. Additionally, thye need to sepnd time adding new places for trains to pull over and unload and turn around. This was beyond their capabilities in 1941. But it would allow for faster flow of trains and presumably that would increase the rate of supplies moving forward.

The number of tanks in the german army drop due to all the movement and lack of supplies to tank units in this time period. The vast distances covered, and not soviet action are leading to a huge proportion of the tanks lost. But even the ones that are receovered are having additional wear and tear that lead to breakdowns. BY sending the troops that far N and S, they are not going to have the strentght to drive on moscow later. Additional tanks in those untis only is a marginal help as those tanks would take additional wear and tear too, and a large proportion of those vehicles would break down too. Since all of the German tanks of that time period are fairly under armed, none of them are really helping the supply sistuation and if tanks are used in preference to other vehicles in the advance, it portentially means the german s are leaving behind more combat effective units do maintain the momentum of the advance.

The last thing to consider is the soviet sistation. In the units opposite Army group Center, the Germans have a sizeable advantage in force. They have more men, guns and vehicles due to the inital rapid advance. There are certainly soviets, but they are laregely disorganized remnaants and fresh but raw troops. Giving these troops time to organize themselves and give the Soviets time to reorganzie their forces and get ready for the impending battle. Soviet tank units benefit the most. They take what tanks they have left, and group them by type, so that there are finally large units of T-34 and KV tanks, which would later prove devistatingly effective around Moscow. Allowing the Soviets time to organzie thier units in the center gives them a chance to put together a force to oppose the drive on moscow. Historically, they where sitll forced to committ a large proportion of raw and untried troops in a very peacmeal fashion, but enough to stop the Germans.

The last thing is that the timing was exceedingly poor. The best time to move units on dirt roads is in July and August, as the timing of offensives later in the war proved. Giving the Soviets over a month of the best time of year wher ethe german panzer divisions are not advancing proved to be a big part of the difference in teh capign. German troops made very little headway at great cost in fuel during the fall. Since supplies didn't get moved up by rail into the newly occupied rail lines, there are few supplies getting forward, and insufficient capacity to keep so large a force supplied in any case.

if the germans wanted to push on Moscow, they needed to drive straight for it, and not take the time to go to Kiev. They would likely have taken the capital if they had kept their sizeable force together and push in when the soviets where still not organized, forcing them to expend thier untrained, undereqquipped units peacmeal letting the Germns destroy them one after another. But in waiting they lost that oppurtunity. Whther this would have decisively won the war is unknown, as the Germans owuld leave themselves in a huge sailient and not have destroyed sizeable chunks of the SOviet army. It would however, define what the likely area of the counter attacks would take place.

Attacking and destorying the Soviets at Kiev is an equally valid method of taking on the Soviets. In encriclement battles alone, there where almost 4.5 million soviets captured in the opening campaign of the war. Add into that battle causaulties and the soviets army is nearing the breaking point. But the Germans had an oppunrtunity to elave their army relatievley intact. Had they maintained only modest advances in the fall, not even trying to push onto Moscow and Rostov, they would have been able to quickly rebuild their army for the atnicipated Soviet winter offensive, and been well netrenched to meet it. As occured historically, the Soviet counter ooffensive outside of Moscow had very little supporitn git besides some sky troops and heavy tanks. There was very little, and in some places no artillery support. Entrenched German infantry with strong artillery would have been in a good positiont o destroy the Soviets attack had they dug in and gotten ready.

I don't think tank or any other production would have had any real outcome on the campaign. Germns put themselves in a precarious situation because they made bad decisions. Stopping the offensive before Typhoon and digging in would have minimized the casualties, and given the German army the opunrtunity to have a much larger striking force then was avalible for Blau. This would have givven them the oppurtunity to attakc and desotry the soviet army, or to secure the econmoic objectives that had Hitler making many of his poor decisions.

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Post by Lars » 02 Nov 2006 16:58

Lkefct,

While I agree with post in general, exactly the German logistics situation in the late summer has been forwarded as the principal reason why not attacking Moscow in the late summer was actually a good idea. The argument, so it goes, was that even if the Soviet opposition in front of AGC weak at that time, the supply situation of AGC was even weaker. I don´t agree but I´ve noticed that people interested in logistics often use this argument.

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Post by brodeur » 03 Nov 2006 09:40

If you would have had larger troops to supply then they would simply had to deliver more. It’s not like the Germans did a super job and spent 100 % of there transportation recourses on this.

I naturally assume that they would have cooped with the bigger task. This is a very good example of the meaning of stepping up in war footing. Less German civilian transportation via train available because of high priority east front duties. :P

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Post by Andreas » 03 Nov 2006 10:29

brodeur wrote:If you would have had larger troops to supply then they would simply had to deliver more. It’s not like the Germans did a super job and spent 100 % of there transportation recourses on this.
But they could not deliver more. Physically.
brodeur wrote:I naturally assume that they would have cooped with the bigger task. This is a very good example of the meaning of stepping up in war footing. Less German civilian transportation via train available because of high priority east front duties. :P
That assumption is not backed by what happened in reality. Also, reducing train transports in Germany does diddly squat, since the rolling stock can not run on Russian gauge, and is in any case not fit for the climatic conditions.

The problems for the Germans were:

1) Assuming a much shorter war (which is why they did not go to full war footing)
2) Apparently assuming lower supply requirements than experienced in reality (that was just stupid, but it is connected to 1) )
3) Not capturing sufficient Soviet rolling stock (the Soviets did a good job at removing their rolling stock, and/or rendering it unuseable. (that was not their fault)

All the best

Andreas

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Post by Lkefct » 03 Nov 2006 16:59

Some of it is that the rail capacity, even if the rolling stock is up to it, the tracks just cannot handle the number of trains that are needed. Soviet troops have lower supply demands for the most part because they had toi have less. THe Germnas had to expand their rail capacity to have any spare capacity at all to move troops around. It they had stuck to teh single guage rail in place in 1941, moving new units around was just impossible and supplying everyone was very difficult.

The german army had they supply dumps for Typhoon in place in part due to the rail rpoblems. They used the supplies that could not be moved to the troops while they where advancing, to create teh stockpiles for the later operations. However, once they advanced away from the railheads, they just could not keep the flow of supplies going. IT is more then jus thte rolling stock, it is the fact that you have a limited amount of time to push more trains through the area, and even once they arrive that the supplies have to be transported long distances from the rail to the troops in the field, wasting a disproportionate amount of supplies in the mud.

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Post by Roddoss72 » 06 Nov 2006 03:29

LWD wrote:
Roddoss72 wrote:...

But this is my point, Germany had a credible surface fleet Four state of the art Battleships, one Aircraft Carrier and at least two or three battlecruisers, ...
Could you refresh me on the names of these ships?
By my counting Germany has
2 state of the art BB's Bismark and Tirpitz.
2 weak BB/BC's in the twins.
an older BB (essentially a coastal defence ship)
The only carrier was never operational and coulldn't have been until what 43 or 44?
What are the other ships?
Ok here are the Ships as of the 1st of May 1941

Battleships;
KM Tirpitz
KM Bismarck
KM Scharnhorst
KM Gneisenau
Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff H (Hindenburg) Laid down 15-07-1939 Scrapped 25-11-1941
Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff J (Friedrich der Groß) Laid down 01--09-1939 Scrapped 25-11-1941

Aircraft Carriers;
Graf Zeppelin 75% complete
Flugzeugträger B (Peter Stresser) Completed up to Main Armoured Deck 60% complete

Armoured Ships;
KM Admiral Scheer
KM Deutschland/Lutzow

Linenschiff;
KM Scleswig-Holstein
KM Schlessian

SchwerKreuzers;
KM Admiral Hipper
KM Prinz Eugen
Seydlitz Laid Down 29-12-1936 Launched 19-01-1939 60% complete
Lutzow Laid Down 02-08-1937 Launched 01-07-1939 70% complete

These major Capital ships were at the time either in operation or at under varoius stages of construction, this equates to about 250,000 tonnes of steel that could have being used to produce more panzers, and i certainly would have scrapped those ships if it meant i would have a far stronger Panzer arm with tanks and support vehicles and the like.

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Post by Lars » 06 Nov 2006 11:24

Roddoss72 wrote:
here are the Ships as of the 1st of May 1941

Battleships;
KM Tirpitz
KM Bismarck
KM Scharnhorst
KM Gneisenau
Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff H (Hindenburg) Laid down 15-07-1939 Scrapped 25-11-1941
Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff J (Friedrich der Groß) Laid down 01--09-1939 Scrapped 25-11-1941

Aircraft Carriers;
Graf Zeppelin 75% complete
Flugzeugträger B (Peter Stresser) Completed up to Main Armoured Deck 60% complete

Armoured Ships;
KM Admiral Scheer
KM Deutschland/Lutzow

Linenschiff;
KM Scleswig-Holstein
KM Schlessian

SchwerKreuzers;
KM Admiral Hipper
KM Prinz Eugen
Seydlitz Laid Down 29-12-1936 Launched 19-01-1939 60% complete
Lutzow Laid Down 02-08-1937 Launched 01-07-1939 70% complete

These major Capital ships were at the time either in operation or at under varoius stages of construction, this equates to about 250,000 tonnes of steel that could have being used to produce more panzers, and i certainly would have scrapped those ships if it meant i would have a far stronger Panzer arm with tanks and support vehicles and the like.
Interesting. Do you have the percent complete figures of other dates as well, or do you only have the May 1st 1941 figures?

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LWD
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Post by LWD » 06 Nov 2006 14:02

Ok, now I'm confused. To quote your earlier post:
Roddoss72 wrote:....
But this is my point, Germany had a credible surface fleet Four state of the art Battleships, one Aircraft Carrier and at least two or three battlecruisers, the problem was that Hitler forbade to expose these ships to any danger, ...
This implies that the above were opearational and available for use. Nothing is said about scrapping. Now you say:
Roddoss72 wrote:....

Ok here are the Ships as of the 1st of May 1941

Battleships;
KM Tirpitz
KM Bismarck
KM Scharnhorst
KM Gneisenau
Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff H (Hindenburg) Laid down 15-07-1939 Scrapped 25-11-1941
Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff J (Friedrich der Groß) Laid down 01--09-1939 Scrapped 25-11-1941

Aircraft Carriers;
Graf Zeppelin 75% complete
Flugzeugträger B (Peter Stresser) Completed up to Main Armoured Deck 60% complete
....

These major Capital ships were at the time either in operation or at under varoius stages of construction, this equates to about 250,000 tonnes of steel that could have being used to produce more panzers, and i certainly would have scrapped those ships if it meant i would have a far stronger Panzer arm with tanks and support vehicles and the like.
What were you trying to say in the earlier post that this would be a reasonable response to?

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LWD
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Post by LWD » 06 Nov 2006 17:54

Roddoss72 wrote:...
These major Capital ships were at the time either in operation or at under varoius stages of construction, this equates to about 250,000 tonnes of steel that could have being used to produce more panzers, and i certainly would have scrapped those ships if it meant i would have a far stronger Panzer arm with tanks and support vehicles and the like.
This does bring up a very relavant question. Was steel in critical supply? For that matter were tanks? My impreseion is at least at the factory no. What were the critical supply and equipment issues of the Third Reich especially in 41? I believe Tungsten was at a fairly early point. Later on fuel was. Standardized trucking seams to have been. What else? Am I off base with the above? or getting off topic?

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Post by Roddoss72 » 06 Nov 2006 23:57

Lars wrote:
Roddoss72 wrote:
here are the Ships as of the 1st of May 1941

Battleships;
KM Tirpitz
KM Bismarck
KM Scharnhorst
KM Gneisenau
Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff H (Hindenburg) Laid down 15-07-1939 Scrapped 25-11-1941
Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff J (Friedrich der Groß) Laid down 01--09-1939 Scrapped 25-11-1941

Aircraft Carriers;
Graf Zeppelin 75% complete
Flugzeugträger B (Peter Stresser) Completed up to Main Armoured Deck 60% complete

Armoured Ships;
KM Admiral Scheer
KM Deutschland/Lutzow

Linenschiff;
KM Scleswig-Holstein
KM Schlessian

SchwerKreuzers;
KM Admiral Hipper
KM Prinz Eugen
Seydlitz Laid Down 29-12-1936 Launched 19-01-1939 60% complete
Lutzow Laid Down 02-08-1937 Launched 01-07-1939 70% complete

These major Capital ships were at the time either in operation or at under varoius stages of construction, this equates to about 250,000 tonnes of steel that could have being used to produce more panzers, and i certainly would have scrapped those ships if it meant i would have a far stronger Panzer arm with tanks and support vehicles and the like.
Interesting. Do you have the percent complete figures of other dates as well, or do you only have the May 1st 1941 figures?
I chose the 1st May 1941 as to include the KM Bismarck as by the time of Operation Barbarossa seven weeks later she had been sunk by then, i don't have any figures on both Z-Plan Schlachtschiff's H & J and both Seydlitz and Lutzow were launched but had no work done on them post launch, they however were taken as war prizes by the Soviet after the war and it is unkown whether they were completed, although they were scrapped in the early fifties.

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