The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

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Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 11 Dec 2006 11:27

Well, that's some deep insight right there. Well done on the contribution to the debate.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by Nebfer » 25 Dec 2006 01:45

Probably the most important increase that the "OP" would give are the Half-track numbers, under the "OP" thy would get some 7,000 APCs over the ~2,000 that thy had in the first place. Enough to give each panzer division some 300 APCs (A panzergrenadier regiment only needs about 180). Though some 2,500 tanks would be nice as well. Thy would certainly help with the equipment shortages encountered later in the campaign.

However If Germany dose not increases its oil output at the same time then thy will face a major oil shortage for its new found strength.

though if thy do the incresed output would certenly help in some cases. A panzer division that is at/near full (equipment wise) streangth is certenly going to be more efective than one that only has half it's requierd equipment.

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Back to my Original points....

Post by Alk » 27 Dec 2006 06:34

I've stayed out of the post I started for quite a while now. The issue of how quickly production could have been ramped up has been discussed from many different standpoints. It has been discussed that it could be ramped up at the expense of the navy. It has been discussed that my point of view was overly narrow and therefore unrealistic. That it is silly to discuss it at all due to limiting logical factors, the greatest of which was shortages of oil.

The issue as I have seen it is not quite as complicated as this. It came down to "will". Hitler always thought that his will would be what would bring Germany final victory. In 1940 however, Hitler didn't have the "will" to marshal the economy of his country, his allies, and his conquered territories for a campaign of total war. Not even to the extent of a country like America which was over 3000 miles removed from actual war on its soil. It is well known that he called a halt to almost all new weapons development and actually began demobilizing some divisions in 1940 before reversing that course. When he finally did marshal his resources 2 1/2 years later, with his infrastructure collapsing under allied bombing, and with his raw material base being reconquered or defecting at an alarming rate, the increased rate of armament production was absolutely astounding, especially when one takes into account the huge efforts made to fortify the Atlantic wall, and the enormous V-weapon and U-boat production campaigns which were in full swing at the time (the U-boat effort went largely unrealized, manufacturing either large numbers obsolete boats, or a few hundred all or partially completed 2,000 ton Type XXI craft that arrived too late to tip the scales).

Let's look at some statistics about the how the German economy was utilized during the war. They come from the following website: http://www.feldgrau.com/econo.html

Here are a couple of key aspects of this account. Look closely not at the fact that the German economy was not geared for war, but the reasons why this was the case:

In reality, Germany was not prepared for war in 1939. The German economy of the 1930’s continued to satisfy both civilian and military requirements, even after September of 1939 when production should have shifted to military needs. Hitler believed that he could have it both ways, “Kanonen und Butter” - that is, satisfying the civilian population at home by not placing restrictions on their consumer product consumption, while at the same time satisfying the production needs of Germany's military forces. In fact, Germany was not geared for total war production until 1944. This indicates that German economic and military resource management efforts were not optimally configured for a nation at war previous to that time, and in 1944, the tide had already long since turned

It goes on to quote a statistic that has amazed me since the first time I read it many years ago. We have been talking about sacrificing a few naval vessels for a increased tank production. Let's look at steel production in Germany around this timeframe:

Highlights German steel production allocations for the fourth quarter of 1939 (actually I think this is for all of 1939):

Heer - 3.060.000 tons
Marine - 1.250.000 tons
Luftwaffe - 2.220.000 tons
Military construction - 2.060.000 tons
Total military - 8.590.000 tons

Civilian sector - 7.320.000 tons
Export - 1.730.000 tons
Total civilian - 9.050.000 tons

Total steel - 17.640.000 tons

The civilian sector thus consumed 41.5% of the total German steel production in the fourth quarter of 1939. By the fourth quarter of 1940, the civilian sector “only” consumed 40.8% of the steel output. When Speer reorganized the German economy when Fritz Todt died and he replaced him, it is clear to see where the slack came from


In terms of labor. Let's look at what should have accounted for over half the labor in Germany during the war, especially given the number of men in the armed forces...women:

In terms of human resources, Germany should have increased the hours of a workday to way beyond a regular “9-5” day early in the war. Women were not considered as a serious alternative work force until late in the war either. In 1939, German industries utilized 2.62 million women. In July of 1944, German industries still only utilized 2.67 million women. This average was maintained from 1939 to 1944.

Again, as astounding as it seemed, Hitler was simply of no mind to have German womanhood involved in the war effort, until it was much too late to make a difference. He also did not want his German work force to work more than 8 hour days.

To be fair, it was not only Hitler living outside of obvious realities, as this final quote indicates:

But in 1941, the Germans came up against a proverbial brick wall - their summer and fall offensive against the Soviet Union stalled. The winter season arrived with bitterly cold temperatures. Interestingly, on 16 August 1941, General Keitel and the Wehrmachts-Waffenämter agreed that Germany reduce its military production efforts in the fall of 1941. Both were so sure that Germany had defeated the Soviet Union, and Hitler concurred

If you look at the above statistics and then closely look at what Speer managed to accomplish between the middle of 1942 and the middle of 1944, it is clear, at least to me, what could have been accomplished much earlier if the urgency had been in place. The untapped labor pool, the raw materials, the potential manufacturing capacity, and the technology were all in place to greatly increase armored production, as well as several other areas simultaneous....like what occured at the height of the allied bombing campaign in mid-late 1944.

All that was missing was the "will" of the supreme ruler.

Happy Holidays to all, and thank you all for your comments.

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Post by LWD » 27 Dec 2006 14:25

Interesting. Exports are actually significantly larger than naval consumption.

Of course the important question is what resources were on the critical path? I have read that earlier Hitler proposed some significant increases in the size of the army but the high command objected because they didn't feel they could produce the quality of officers they desired in the numbers required.

Standardizing on one or two or even three types of truck for instance might have helped especially in the logistics area (drastic decrease in the required number of different spare parts) but either the need wasn't percieved or political factors outweighed it. Perhaps Hitler's support both from the population and from industry wasn't as great as is sometimes percieved and he didn't feel like he could completely mobilize.

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Re: 250,000 tonnes of steel for the Panzers

Post by nebelwerferXXX » 26 Nov 2010 06:28

Roddoss72 wrote:
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 Battle-cruisers,...
Could you refresh me on the names of these ships?
By my counting Germany has
2 state of the art BB's Bismarck and Tirpitz.
2 weak BB/BC's in the twins.
An older BB (essentially a coastal defense ship)
The only carrier was never operational and couldn't have been until what 43 or 44?
What are the other ships?
Okay! 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 Strasser) Completed up to Main Armored Deck 60% complete

Armoured Ships;
KM Admiral Scheer
KM Deutschland/Lutzow

Linienschiff;
KM Schleswig-Holstein
KM Schlesian

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 various 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.
Correct me If I am wrong. In order to check and get the 250,000-tonne weight, here are the standard displacement of each ship. It's not 250,000 tonnes, but more than 282,770 tonnes of steel. To support my statement, see below.

4 Battleships and 2 Battle-cruisers:
---Tirpitz...42,000 tons
---Bismarck...42,000 tons
---Scharnhorst...32,000 tons
---Gneisenau...32,000 tons
---Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff H...(22% complete)...12,300 tons
---Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff J...(22% complete)...12,300 tons

Aircraft Carriers:
---Z-Plan, Graf Zeppelin...(75% complete)...22,500 tons
---Z-Plan, Peter Strasser...(60% complete), completed up to Main Armored Deck...18,000 tons

Armored Ships:
---Admiral Scheer...12,100 tons
---Deutschland/Lutzow...11,700 tons

Linienschiff:
---Schleswig-Holstein...?
---Schlesian...?

Heavy cruisers:
---Admiral Hipper...13,900 tons
---Prinz Eugen...13,900 tons
---Seydlitz...(60% complete)...8,340 tons
---Lutzow...(70% complete)...9,730 tons

My question also, What's the standard displacement of the old battleships Schleswig-Holstein and the Schlesian? Thanks!
Last edited by nebelwerferXXX on 26 Nov 2010 08:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 250,000 tonnes of steel for the Panzers

Post by nebelwerferXXX » 26 Nov 2010 07:24

nebelwerferXXX wrote:
Roddoss72 wrote:
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 Battle-cruisers,...
Could you refresh me on the names of these ships?
By my counting Germany has
2 state of the art BB's Bismarck and Tirpitz.
2 weak BB/BC's in the twins.
An older BB (essentially a coastal defense ship)
The only carrier was never operational and couldn't have been until what 43 or 44?
What are the other ships?
Okay! 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 Strasser) Completed up to Main Armored Deck 60% complete

Armoured Ships;
KM Admiral Scheer
KM Deutschland/Lutzow

Linienschiff;
KM Schleswig-Holstein
KM Schlesian

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 various 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.
Correct me If I am wrong. In order to check and get the 250,000-tonne weight, here are the standard displacement of each ship. It's not 250,000 tonnes, but more than 281,270 tonnes of steel. To support my statement, see below.

4 Battleships and 2 Battle-cruisers:
---Tirpitz...42,800 tons
---Bismarck...41,700 tons
---Scharnhorst...31,000 tons
---Gneisenau...31,000 tons
---Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff H...(22% complete)...12,300 tons
---Z-Plan, Schlachtschiff J...(22% complete)...12,300 tons

Aircraft Carriers:
---Z-Plan, Graf Zeppelin...(75% complete)...22,500 tons
---Z-Plan, Peter Strasser...(60% complete), completed up to Main Armored Deck...18,000 tons

Armored Ships:
---Admiral Scheer...12,100 tons
---Deutschland/Lutzow...11,700 tons

Linienschiff:
---Schleswig-Holstein...?
---Schlesian...?

Heavy cruisers:
---Admiral Hipper...13,900 tons
---Prinz Eugen...13,900 tons
---Seydlitz...(60% complete)...8,340 tons
---Lutzow...(70% complete)...9,730 tons

My question also, What's the standard displacement of the old battleships Schleswig-Holstein and the Schlesian? Thanks!
For your information: Another conversion table, aside from the standard displacement in tons are the unit cost of the ships in RM. It is easier to convert the cost in getting the total number of armored vehicles and weapons, than the standard displacement. It's very easy.

2 battleships:
---Bismarck...197-million RM
---Tirpitz...181-million RM

2 battle-cruisers:
---Scharnhorst...143-million RM
---Gneisenau...146-million RM

3 armored ships:
---Deutschland...80-million RM
---Admiral Scheer...90-million RM
---Graf Spee...82-million RM

5 heavy cruisers:
---Hipper...85.8-million RM
---Blucher...87.8-million RM
---Prinz Eugen...104.5-million RM
---Seydlitz...84.1-million RM
---Lutzow...83.6-million RM

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of

Post by LWD » 29 Nov 2010 15:12

PLS don't quote yourself especially when the original is directly above. Note no one was asking about the costs of the above and that they are for the most part at best marginally relevant to this thread.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of

Post by nebelwerferXXX » 02 Dec 2010 13:20

Okay! Thanks for the technique...

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of

Post by maltesefalcon » 02 Dec 2010 18:01

The original premise is a variation on a theme posted many times on this forum already.
Each is entitled to their opinion so here's mine:

Germany won the major tank engagements up to Dec 1941, regardless of how poor their tanks were. That made them unlikely to significantly change either the size or scope of the Panzer arm.

The losses in 1941/42 were not primarily due to deficient tanks. Bad weather, being bogged down in urban engagements, the problems with supply and American entry to the Alled cause were more important to the war's overall and eventual outcome. Germany was largely a horse/foot army and more money towards mechanization may have helped; but only incrementally. Several have already mentioned the increased oil demand that would cause.

Once the DKM lost the Battle of the Atlantic, supplies from Canada and the USA would overwhelm any ouput German industry could ever hope to provide.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of

Post by Guaporense » 03 Dec 2010 01:10

Historically, German tank production was always above losses until the very late period of the war (second half of 1944).

But, considering the costs of tanks and their utility, tank production should have been higher in the early years of the war. In 1940, only 2% of German combat munitions production consisted of tank production (ammunition, by contrast, made up of 40% of total production, 20 times more important than tanks in 1940). An extra 2-3 thousand tanks for Barbarossa would have helped, and it's cost would be small compared to the total cost of munitions.

I think that in increase from historical levels of panzer production, from the historical evolution of:

1940 - 2000 (2% of total combat munitions production)
1941 - 4000
1942 - 6300
1943 - 12500
1944 - 19000 (7% of total combat munitions production)

(number from the top of my head)

To about (increased panzer production starting in late 1940):

1940 - 2500
1941 - 6500
1942 - 11000
1943 - 18000
1944 - 20000

Would mean that panzer production would peak about 12 months earlier than historical and would provide the wehrmacht with an extra 14000 panzers by the end of 1944. That would enable to creation of a greater number of panzer divisions, would enable a heavier panzer force in the eastern front for the critical years of 1941 and 1942.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of

Post by Guaporense » 03 Dec 2010 01:22

maltesefalcon wrote:Once the DKM lost the Battle of the Atlantic, supplies from Canada and the USA would overwhelm any ouput German industry could ever hope to provide.
According to Zetterling, the Allies sent a total of 8800 tanks in the 3 months of the battle of normandy in the western front. The Germans sent a total of 2200 tanks to face the Allied forces.

But, in the eastern front in a single of month of 1944, the Germans had 4900 tanks, including about a monthly supply of 1,000 tanks delivered (assuming that 60% of their monthly tank production went into the eastern front), in the 3 months of the battle of normandy, the Germans had supplied the eastern front with 7,900 tanks.

So, it was the eastern front that produced such disparity in tank numbers engaged in the western front. Note that in 1944, the western allies produced only 25,000 tanks.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of

Post by maltesefalcon » 03 Dec 2010 01:28

Guaporense wrote:
maltesefalcon wrote:Once the DKM lost the Battle of the Atlantic, supplies from Canada and the USA would overwhelm any ouput German industry could ever hope to provide.
According to Zetterling, the Allies sent a total of 8800 tanks in the 3 months of the battle of normandy in the western front. The Germans sent a total of 2200 tanks to face the Allied forces.

But, in the eastern front in a single of month of 1944, the Germans had 4900 tanks, including about a monthly supply of 1,000 tanks delivered (assuming that 60% of their monthly tank production went into the eastern front), in the 3 months of the battle of normandy, the Germans had supplied the eastern front with 7,900 tanks.

So, it was the eastern front that produced such disparity in tank numbers engaged in the western front. Note that in 1944, the western allies produced only 25,000 tanks.
Please note my wording of "supplies" and "output". I was referring to generally better equipped Allied formations, not just tanks. Sinking most of the Allies ships would have made any Overlord invasion impossible, tanks or not.
AFVs do not operate in a vacuum. The Western tanks were actually not as good as late war German examples but prevailed. Not just by force of numbers, but by better air support and artillery concentrations to disrupt German atacks.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of

Post by maltesefalcon » 03 Dec 2010 01:34

double post sorry
Last edited by maltesefalcon on 03 Dec 2010 01:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of

Post by maltesefalcon » 03 Dec 2010 01:43

maltesefalcon wrote:
Guaporense wrote:
Would mean that panzer production would peak about 12 months earlier than historical and would provide the wehrmacht with an extra 14000 panzers by the end of 1944. That would enable to creation of a greater number of panzer divisions, would enable a heavier panzer force in the eastern front for the critical years of 1941 and 1942.
Agreed, thats one way to look at it. But perhaps they would just run out of steel a year earlier? There was not an unlimited supply.

Let's assume of the 14000 half go to replenishment and half for expansion. (If there is no expansion, what is the point after all?)

7000 panzers divided by 200 to make the math easier. Thats 35 new divisions give or take. Now all we have to do is come up with 500,000 troops to man them. That's 3 1/2 times what they had in 1940. Not so easy IMHO.
Anyone know what the peak number of Pz divisions was? I have seen figures ranging from 25 to 35 depending on how you rate various units. Any help?

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of

Post by maltesefalcon » 03 Dec 2010 13:43

I may be able to answer my own question:
Table VIII in Hart + Hart's German Tanks of WWII indicates maximum inventory peaked in July 1944 at 7447 machines of all types. The bulk (4500) were P IV and Panthers.

So my figure of 7000 stated above would nearly double the effective tank arm, if the Wehrmacht could man and fuel them.

Therein as they say lies the rub.

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