Quantity Not Quality Fighters

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Dec 2021 05:47

stg 44 wrote:
23 Dec 2021 15:28
They also imported millions of people from Latin America for labor
It definitely wasn't millions, more like tens of thousands. The biggest chunk was the bracero program, which was perhaps 150k men on farms and railroads.

For an idea of the wartime racism that constrained the otherwise exemplary idea of importing millions of Latin Americans, consider the name of the program to cleanse the postwar US of these laborers.
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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by Gooner1 » 24 Dec 2021 13:11

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Dec 2021 05:34
One reason you're just quoting one expert against another expert is you don't understand the argument we're having. What I said is:

The 'experts' are not really against each other, Postan et al were likely a source for Zeitlin.

The only person who appears to be arguing is you. :D

Anyway bit more from 'Design and Development ...'

"Sir Ernest Lemon [Director-General of Aircraft Production], basing himself on the Spitfire data, computed that, whereas for the uninterrupted output of 1,000 components the jigging and tooling-up on quantity lines would pay best, a series of 500 or less might more economically be produced with a far larger proportion of bench tools. Yet, very few unmodified batches of Spitfires were greater than 500, so that many components must have been produced under conditions were better suited to bench methods than to the jigs and tools actually used.

It is therefore no wonder that on the whole piecemeal improvements were most unpopular in the industry. The firms, however, were not alone in objecting to them, or in blaming them for drops in production. Modifications early became a favourite subject of criticism in Parliament, and even without those criticisms the damage they did to production was well understood in the Air Ministry and the M.A.P. But here, as in every other field of development, quantity and quality had to be delicately balanced, and on the whole the needs of quality were never seriously sacrificed."

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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Dec 2021 13:16

Gooner1 wrote:Anyway bit more from 'Design and Development ...'
When you understand the argument you're actually in, let me know.
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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by stg 44 » 24 Dec 2021 15:50

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Dec 2021 05:47
stg 44 wrote:
23 Dec 2021 15:28
They also imported millions of people from Latin America for labor
It definitely wasn't millions, more like tens of thousands. The biggest chunk was the bracero program, which was perhaps 150k men on farms and railroads.

For an idea of the wartime racism that constrained the otherwise exemplary idea of importing millions of Latin Americans, consider the name of the program to cleanse the postwar US of these laborers.
You're only talking about the legal programs. As your wikipedia article mentions there was something around 100,000 people illegally migrating to the US in the 1920s, substantially more than those going through the legal route (roughly 62,000 additional people).

As to the Bracero program:
During the Bracero program, "an estimated 4.6 million workers entered America legally, while other immigrants that were turned away still entered" because of the work opportunities occurring in the southwest.[3]
Of course the program ran for 20 years, so much of those people entered after the war. Still during the war just the legal program labor force made up nearly 10% of the US workforce in agriculture:
From 1942 to 1947, only a relatively small number of braceros were admitted, accounting for less than 10 percent of U.S. hired workers.[9]
That only counts the legal labor force:
Yet both U.S. and Mexican employers became heavily dependent on braceros for willing workers; bribery was a common way to get a contract during this time. Consequently, several years of the short-term agreement led to an increase in undocumented immigration and a growing preference for operating outside of the parameters set by the program.[7]
So the undocumented labor force from the 1920s onwards could have been much higher than the legal one. It should be kept in mind that the illegal immigrants from pre-war wouldn't be registered for the draft and would continue to be an additional 'off the books' labor force that the Bracero program wouldn't have even involved, so the accumulated 'extra' labor from off the books immigration in the 1920s could have been pretty substantial assuming few returned home during the Depression. Since, as the article says, the Bracero program had so many restrictions it is entirely possible that the preference for illegal labor then meant the majority of the imported workforce was 'off the books' entirely. But AFAIK there is no study with numbers to actually prove that unfortunately and at best we can just make some assumptions off of the number of people eventually deported en masse by Eisenhower.

Just going off the 1920s rates 1 million people were illegally immigrating every decade from the 1920s on until the harsh border enforcement and deportation program of Eisenhower. That's not counting legal immigration (620,000 people per decade from the 1920s) or the separate Bracero program. Likely it dipped in the 1930s due to the Depression, but then grew very quickly in the later 1930s and war years due to economic recovery and wartime demands for labor. Unfortunately I can only offer speculation informed by the limited numbers quickly available.

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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 26 Dec 2021 06:35

stg 44 wrote:
24 Dec 2021 15:50
...

Just going off the 1920s rates 1 million people were illegally immigrating every decade from the 1920s on until the harsh border enforcement and deportation program of Eisenhower. That's not counting legal immigration (620,000 people per decade from the 1920s) or the separate Bracero program. Likely it dipped in the 1930s due to the Depression, but then grew very quickly in the later 1930s and war years due to economic recovery and wartime demands for labor. Unfortunately I can only offer speculation informed by the limited numbers quickly available.
A further complication in this is a large portion were not permanently immigrating but were commuting. They would work X number of months or years in the US, then return for a period with their families who remained in the south. About twenty years ago I ran across a Latina store clerk who with her two sisters rotated between work in the US and tending a small cattle herd they inherited. At least one was back in the south tending the cattle, another working in the Norte, & a third traveling one direction or the other. During peak calving season all three might be en Mexico. But at least one was necessary to guard the herd.

This migrant commute is not uncommon in history tho acquiring reliable data is impractical for any but the most recent decades.

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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by Dupplin Muir » 26 Dec 2021 17:33

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
So part of the answer is simply that German aircraft production was just more efficient than British (though far less efficient than American). Even the British themselves admitted that Me-109 and He-111 would have cost more to produce by British methods than by German.
What you say is false. If you look at aircraft coming off the production-line in the US and UK, the ratio is 1.7:1, but - as has been pointed out - those aircraft then had to wait for some time to have the latest modifications incorporated, which involved basically dismantling the aircraft and then reassembling it, which reduced the actual ratio to 0.85:1, so the British had a significant advantage in productivity.

The British aircraft industry was also vastly more efficient than the German, producing 30% more aircraft than the Germans - and those aircraft were on average larger than the German - with about half the workforce, plus the Germans had millions of slave-labourers. The Germans also calculated that the Spitfire would have been cheaper to build than the Bf109, because although setting-up the jigs for the wings was initially expensive, once it was done the wings could be churned-out very cheaply, as opposed to the Bf109 wings with their leading-edge slats which took considerably more work to produce.

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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 26 Dec 2021 19:01

Dupplin Muir wrote:
26 Dec 2021 17:33
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
So part of the answer is simply that German aircraft production was just more efficient than British (though far less efficient than American). Even the British themselves admitted that Me-109 and He-111 would have cost more to produce by British methods than by German.
What you say is false. If you look at aircraft coming off the production-line in the US and UK, the ratio is 1.7:1, but - as has been pointed out - those aircraft then had to wait for some time to have the latest modifications incorporated, which involved basically dismantling the aircraft and then reassembling it, which reduced the actual ratio to 0.85:1, so the British had a significant advantage in productivity.

The British aircraft industry was also vastly more efficient than the German, producing 30% more aircraft than the Germans - and those aircraft were on average larger than the German - with about half the workforce, plus the Germans had millions of slave-labourers. The Germans also calculated that the Spitfire would have been cheaper to build than the Bf109, because although setting-up the jigs for the wings was initially expensive, once it was done the wings could be churned-out very cheaply, as opposed to the Bf109 wings with their leading-edge slats which took considerably more work to produce.

Yeah I've provided extensive quotes and cites for my contentions. You need to back up yours.
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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Dec 2021 10:36

Hi Guys,

I have the following note on the Bracero programme in the war years:

The Bracero Programme.

Mobilization for the armed forces led to a severe labour shortage in the USA and illegal Mexican immigration grew to fill the gap. In order to regularize what the USA saw as a necessary evil, Mexico agreed the Bracero Programme under which temporary US permits were given to Mexican workers. As a result, over 1942-45 303,054 Mexican volunteers worked legally in the USA, mostly in agriculture and on the railways, both key strategic industries. In effect, they approximately replaced the similar number of Mexican Americans conscripted into the US armed forces. Indeed, selection of braceros was according to similar standards to those applied to military conscription, in that priority was given to fit, single young men under 26 years old. This created fears in Mexico that the braceros might find themselves conscripted into the US armed forces. However, these proved unfounded. Illegal Mexican immigration continued but is less quantifiable. It may have been of similar magnitude to the official Bracero Programme.


In addition, some 40,000 men from the British West Indies worked in the USA legally during the war years, largely in agriculture.

This does not include Puertoricans or people from independent circum-Caribbean countries.

It looks to me as though the total fell below a million but perhaps exceeded 600,000.

Very few of them seem to have contributed directly to the manufacturing workforce of the USA.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 27 Dec 2021 10:53, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Dec 2021 10:52

Hi Guys,

Even at the height of its "production miracle" in 1944 Germany, with 80 million people, only produced about the same weight of airframes and number of aero engines as the UK, which had 45 million people.

Superficial analysis of the statistics concentrates on the number of aircraft produced, which shows Germany greatly outproducing the UK in 1944. However, it does not take into account that German production was largely of light, single-engined fighters, whereas British production included large numbers of heavy, four-engined bombers.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by ThatZenoGuy » 27 Dec 2021 11:43

Sid Guttridge wrote:
27 Dec 2021 10:52
Hi Guys,

Even at the height of its "production miracle" in 1944 Germany, with 80 million people, only produced about the same weight of airframes and number of aero engines as the UK, which had 45 million people.

Superficial analysis of the statistics concentrates on the number of aircraft produced, which shows Germany greatly outproducing the UK in 1944. However, it does not take into account that German production was largely of light, single-engined fighters, whereas British production included large numbers of heavy, four-engined bombers.

Cheers,

Sid.
That itself can be seen superficially. Germany was day in day out getting bombed, with resource shortages and other severe issues.

Britain was beyond the German Blitz, and was being supplied everything it wanted by America. ;V

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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Dec 2021 12:34

Hi TZG,

Mostly true, but it does put the German "production miracle" of 1944 into some perspective.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Dec 2021 13:42

Sid Guttridge wrote:
27 Dec 2021 12:34
Mostly true, but it does put the German "production miracle" of 1944 into some perspective.
Most superficial of all is to turn a discussion of relative productivity into discussion of Nazi propaganda ("armaments miracle"). Nobody in this thread has suggested that Speer was a miracle worker. Not quite as superficial - but still misguided - is to compare productivity by raw population instead of by aviation workforce. Among other factors, Germany drafted ~2.8x as many men as Britain from a population not even twice as large. Here's some actual scholarship on national productivity from the proper data:
comparison with Germany and the United States in terms of output per
man-day, even though such a comparison can only be approximate, presents
a less inspiring picture. Perhaps expectedly, but nonetheless ominously with
regard to postwar market prospects for the aircraft industry, the United
States far outstripped Britain in productivity, with a peak annual average of
2.76 lb of structure weight per man-day in 194422 compared with the
British peak annual average of 1.19 lb in that year.
FN23 But even Germany’s
peak annual average productivity, at 1.5 lb per man-day in 1943, was a fifth
better than Britain’s. FN24 Moreover, this German productive superiority
constituted more of an achievement than the bare figures indicate. For
whereas German production overwhelmingly concentrated on fighters, a
large proportion of British output took the form of bombers, which required
fewer man-hours per structure weight to produce.

FN23: According to CAB 87/13, PR(43)98, the number of workers directly
employed by the airframe and engine factories (excluding subcontractors) came to 510,000; according to Postan, British War
Production, table 41, p. 310, total British production in structure weight
in 1944 was 221,985,000 lb; 221,985,000 ÷ 365 ÷ 510,000 = 1.19 lb.

FN24: Overy, The Air War, table 15, p. 168; The United States Strategic
Bombing Survey, with an introduction by David MacIsaac, 10 vols.
(New York and London, Garland Publishing, 1976), vol. II, Aircraft
Division Industry Report, Strategic Bombing of the German Aircraft
Industry, (European Report no. 4), p. 84; corroborative evidence is
supplied by a secret Whitehall calculation in February 1944 which
concluded that it could take 17,000 man-hours under the best British
production to make a Heinkel 111, as against the published German
figure of 12,000; 4300 man-hours to make an ME 109G against the
German figure of 3900: see AVIA 10/269, Labour Statistics, 20 October
1942–16 August 1944, Memo by AD Stats 3 to Professor Postan, 16
February 1944
From Barnett's Audit of War.

One huge comparative point that Barnett misses: many (possibly most) workers in the German aviation industry by 1943/44 were foreigners who were mostly unskilled and always poorly motivated/fed/treated. Estimates vary but ~70% seems a decent approximation of foreign vs. German productivity in German wartime industry. So the intrinsic productivity advantage of German industry over British, where aberrant conditions weren't involved, would have been more like 1.6x British.
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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Dec 2021 18:26

Hi TMP,

Than you for some "actual scholarship".

I am sorry that you don't see any value in comparing "productivity by raw population instead of by aviation workforce", but productivity works on more than one level.

According to an article by Jonathan Zeitlin in Technology and Culture, Vol.36, No.1, (Jan. 1995), in 1944 Germany produced 39,807 aircraft for a total weight of 199 million pounds. Britain produced 26,461 aircraft for a total weight of 208 million pounds. (The number of aeroengines was similar as more of the British aircraft were multi-engined.)

On p.62 Zeitlin also notes some issues with Corelli Barnett's methodology that appear to exaggerate the USA's productivity lead over the UK.

Accepting that there were 510,000 workers directly engaged in the British air industry in 1944, and that it produced about the same weight of airframes and aero engines as Germany, but was some 20% less efficient compared to the Germans at their peak in 1943, it would appear that the Germans were employing somewhat fewer workers than the British. Do we have any statistics on how many people were directly employed in the German aircraft industry? I can find a lot of references to man/hours but nothing on how many men were engaged in these hours.

One also has to wonder how in January 1944 the British could have had such precise statistics on the man/hours taken to build specific types of German aircraft, where the German statistics were "published" and why?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Dec 2021 19:10

Sid Guttridge wrote:I am sorry that you don't see any value in comparing "productivity by raw population instead of by aviation workforce", but productivity works on more than one level.
Word salad.

This thread contains a lot of useful data on the German side.
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Re: Quantity Not Quality Fighters

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Dec 2021 19:32

Sid Guttridge wrote:According to an article by Jonathan Zeitlin in Technology and Culture, Vol.36, No.1, (Jan. 1995)
I've discussed this article, "Flexibility and Mass Production" elsewhere on the board as a profile search will show.
the figure given by Barnett
for American labor productivity is actually a synthetic index of relative
efficiency devised by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS) in
which raw data on pounds of weight per employee per day were
corrected for variations between countries in product mix (types of
aircraft) and scale of production (units per day). Were it possible to
calculate a similar index of relative efficiency using British data, such
corrections would undoubtedly reduce the initial disparity in person-
days per pound of structure with the U.S., as the USSBS found in the
cases of both Germany and Japan.3
This is actually a demonstrable reasoning error by Zeitlin. No biggie, we all make them sometimes. What Zeitlin fails to connect is that the USSBS index adjusts for the fact that larger planes are cheaper to produce, per pound [in the last-linked thread I and KDF33 have some discussion of this factor. USSBS gives too much of an adjustment, IMJ, but that's besides our point here].

Because Germany and Japan built lighter planes, on average, than US and UK, it is entirely appropriate to adjust Germany's productivity figures but not Britain's (because Britain was at least as focused on big planes as was US).
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