U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

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U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Feb 2020 17:05

The Victory Plan of 1941 was a U.S. Army study that assumed that Germany would defeat the SU during summer '42 and laid out a U.S./Allied strategy for anticipated American involvement in the war. https://history.army.mil/html/books/093 ... _93-10.pdf (discussing the plan's genesis, context, and influence. Appendix contains actual text of the Army plan).

I would like to evaluate the likelihood of success for the Victory Plan on its own terms (i.e. assuming German victory over SU), as well as generally discuss the Western Allies' (Wallies) prospects following a '42 German victory over the SU.

[Note: There are many threads, including my own, in which to discuss the possibility of German victory over the SU. I would request that such discussions happen in those threads rather than here, for economy and clarity's sake.]

The foremost aspect as the Victory Plan of 1941 ("VP" or "VP41") is its recognition of the immense difficulty of fighting a German army largely freed from other commitments after the SU's defeat. VP states a requirement of 700 divisions or 22 million men to invade Europe, but opines that were such a large army to be raised, "the economic and industrial effort, necessary to conduct the war, would be definitely imperiled." [pg. 130 of the linked pdf]. While 700 divisions is probably excessive, the divisional slice assumed in VP is half of the OTL slice, meaning that its estimate of the required personnel for invasion of Europe in a VP41 world was probably about right.

The plan relied, therefore, on using a smaller army:
Effective employment
of modern air and ground fighting machines and a tight economic
blockade may create conditions that will make the realization of the
Allied War Aims perfectly feasible with numerically less fighting
men.
VP goes on to mention bombing campaigns and armored/motorized expeditionary forces. Some of these expeditionary forces are mentioned as operating in France and the Low Countries, which seems extremely implausible absent a force capable of meeting the German army in bulk.

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

My judgment is that the Wallies' conventional bombing campaign would have been stopped by '44 at the latest, given that Germany can focus on the LW from '42. Why?

Before the collapse of a fuel-starved, poorly-trained LW and the establishment of Wallied air supremacy, Germany was able to extract an unsustainable **RATE** of economic and aircrew attrition on Wallied heavy bomber forces. While it is true that the **ABSOLUTE** levels of aerial attrition eventually led to the LW's collapse, this would not have been true given a Germany that (1) has significantly greater economic resources, post-SU, and (2) can focus more of those resources on the LW.

Re Attrition rates:
During Big Week the Wallies lost 357 heavy bombers (and 28 fighters) against 262 German fighters (and German Flak expenditure). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Week
Note that Big Week already included Wallied day-fighters with drop tanks.

Similarly, the LW's Wilde Sau nightfighter tactics exacted at least 1:1 aerial attrition rates against the RAF's heavy bombers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilde_Sau

I have intentionally used top-line, Wikipedia figures for aerial attrition - I am aware that there are more fine-grained analyses than this and I could have put more time into citing them. I use these rough figures because so long as they are within an order of magnitude, they illustrate long-term unsustainability for the Wallies had the Germans possessed more fighters: A heavy bomber was up to 10x as expensive as a Me-109 and even Flak shoot-downs favored the German side of the economic equation. (See Westerman's Flak).

Comparative Economic Resources

The following is a table of economic/demographic figures for Axis and Allies from Mark Harrison's Economics of WW2, with additions by me reflecting the SU's resources "switching sides." It is based on 1938 GDP in 1990 dollars:

Image

https://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mari ... _31-58.pdf

As you can see, an Axis that controls the SU controls more of the world's 1938 GDP than the Allies.
One slight revision is that, because US GDP grew more than any other country during the war, the Allies would retain a ~5% GDP advantage if we add ~$300bn more to Allied GDP for '38-'42 growth than is added to the Axis for wartime growth.

Even conceding that point, it's easy to see that relying on a bombing campaign at up to 10:1 attrition ratio is not sustainable given 5% GDP advantage over even a 100% GDP advantage.

Many will be quick to point - with good reason - that Germany/Axis had difficulty sustaining and/or mobilizing the economies of occupied/neutral countries included in Harrison's table. Regarding the OTL war, the point is granted in part. There has been, however, a massive failure to understand German ability to extract war resources from occupied countries. Scholarship as recent as Adam Tooze's Wages of Destruction has characterized German occupations as economic sinkholes. More recent scholarship, however, has begun to revise that picture, estimating that Germany extracted at least 20% of its armaments production from occupied territory. For a summary/primer of this scholarship, see Der Alte Fritz's post on his personal blog: https://www.hgwdavie.com/blog/2019/12/3 ... me-economy.

So much for the thesis that Germany got little from its conquests.

As for the thesis that the occupied economies struggled under German occupation, that is undoubtedly true. (see Harrison pdf) Their contributions to the German war effort are all the more impressive in light of their declining overall output during the war.

The factors underlying the collapse of occupied economies would, however, be largely redressed by German victory over the SU (as was, after all, Hitler's plan). The basic problems in all these economies stemmed from (1) lack of oil, especially for agriculture, (2) lack of fertilizer for agriculture, and (3) lack of transport capacity. Stemming from 1, 2, and 3, there was insufficient food to feed coal miners and/or insufficient rail lift to move their products, leading to the basic industry underpinning modern economies to collapse/decline (depending on time and year).

German victory in the East remedies (1) due to capture of the Caucasus oil and, later, Mid-East oil as well.
German victory also solves (2) because the chemical industries devoted to producing explosives and synth-oil can produce fertilizer instead.
By '44 at the latest, much of Europe's food-production - at least its most fertile lands - can resume high-yield production. Ukraine's food production would probably be higher in this scenario than in 1940 because the SU was fertilizer-poor and forced on its farmers ridiculous socialist theories of crop selection that harmed yields (obviously the Germans get rid of this, they might get rid of collectivization in this scenario as well).

Factor 3 would be addressed by devoting a greater portion of Germany's greater resources to producing rolling stock.

With the coal and ore miners well-fed and back at work, with the trains distributing their materials across Europe, German-available production would have far exceeded OTL levels (further in this thread I'll attempt a quantification).

There's one more factor that must be addressed here: greater foreign labor contributions. The simplest boost to global GDP is for people to cross borders from unproductive to productive economies. In the contemporary world, it's like "Trillion-dollar bills on the sidewalk." https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.25.3.83 (contains a good synopsis of the economic literature). It was then too. German importation of labor into its factories transformed low-producing Europeans into high-producing (this is a nightmare inversion of the economist's point, of course, but it remains valid). Any estimate of German GDP in a VP41 world therefore must estimate the impact of more foreign laborers, which would be highly significant (again, I'll quantify an estimate later in the thread).

Many are inclined to accept facile post-war narratives of national resistance in which occupied countries refused economic cooperation with Nazism. This is plainly untrue, as the already-mentioned scholarship on armaments contributions is sufficient to establish. Many other scholars are on to this fact, such as: https://www.amazon.com/Conquest-Exploit ... 0691002428 (uses Nazi conquest as a case study, though I've only read reviews of it so far).

Possibility of German-Japanese collaboration under VP41

A lopsided treaty with the SU that included disarmament and resumption of trade would open the possibility of German-Japanese cooperation via the Trans-Siberian Railway and other means. Given that Germany would be eager to keep Japan in the war, Hitler could have sent sufficient fuel and even fighter planes to prevent Japanese collapse. Providing with Japan with 10,000 Me-109's and fuel to train/fly them, for instance, could have halted the long-range B-29 offensive (these weren't deployed against Germany in part because of doubts of their survivability over Europe).

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

My Conclusion SO FAR

Given that the Wallies would have had - at best - an insignificant economic advantage over the Axis (Japan included) and at most a ~30% advantage over a German-controlled Europe, a strategy that relied on conventional strategic bombing would have failed.

...which raises the issue of land invasion.

Here there are at least two issues:

(1) Would the Wallies have been willing to raise a sufficiently large army, and would they have had the appetite for the millions of dead necessary to drive on Berlin against the entire German (and Axis-allied) army?

(2) Had they raised an enormous army, would they have won?

I have serious doubts about (1), slightly less-serious doubts about (2).

As VP41 attests, the Wallies would have had difficulty fielding an enormous army while also producing sufficient arms for the struggle. As the historical record attests, the UK was reluctant to risk bloody land war even against the dramatically weaker Westheer of '43-'44 (i.e. Churchill preferred peripheral ops to the invasion of France). The US was more willing to bleed on the battlefield but the likely cost of an invasion in this scenario is at least an order of magnitude greater than OTL. And we know that the U.S. agreed a peace on the Korean peninsula that left an evil regime in control, rather than accept long-term and large-scale land warfare.

Had the Wallies resolved to accept millions of dead, it's more likely they would have won but still interesting to discuss. The U.S., UK, and Dominions had a population of ~200mil from which to draft soldiers; Germany had ~90mil if one includes the Volksdeutche and other Waffen-SS troops. In a long-term war of attrition, Germany probably would have run out of men before the Wallies did. (attrition to Italian/Romanian forces should be figured too, though their exchange ratios would have been atrocious).

...but such a war of attrition might have cost 10mil dead for the Wallies, given Germany's higher combat effectiveness. Which is unimaginable to me but maybe there's a narrative in which it's feasible (widespread publication of the Holocaust, for example, leading to unshakeable will to destroy Nazism).

Finally, for the purposes of discussing this VP41 ATL, I'm not addressing the A-bomb for now. I want to focus on the plan's universe, on the general issue of "how do we win" from the viewpoint of the Wallies when it looked like Russia was going under.
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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Feb 2020 17:17

First theres this :
The Victory Plan of 1941 was a U.S. Army study that assumed that Germany would defeat the SU during summer '42 and laid out a U.S./Allied strategy for anticipated American involvement in the war. https://history.army.mil/html/books/093 ... _93-10.pdf (discussing the plan's genesis, context, and influence. Appendix contains actual text of the Army plan).
Work beyond Kirkpatricks thoughts. I've found some fundamental weaknesses in his analysis on other subjects, and others have pointed to 'missteps' in use of data, or information left out.

Wedemeyers document bears some critical thinking. Kirkpatrick does some, but falls short. The point about poor information on the Axis or more specifically the German strength in 1941, being very bad cannot be repeated often enough. ie: I've run across US Army literature as late as 1942 giving the number of tanks used to conquer France or the West in 1940 as 12,000. Four times the actual number. Other estimates for German strength from that era are often flawed in similar orders of magnitude. Wedemeyer was also deeply influenced by two decades of US Army thought on the effectiveness of economic, air, naval power & other factors. Again Kirkpatrick touches on this, tho not well or throughly.

Wedemeyer is not alone in any of this. The War Plans Division and the USN equivalent produced a series of similar studies & recommendations, each with its own series of flaws and improvements. Information & understanding of the overall situation changed continually with time, sometimes for better or worse.

A closer look at the actual economics and military forces of 1942-45 might be a better 'first chapter' for this inquiry. Understanding better the strengths and weaknesses of each side OTL would provide a better frame for the alternate than Wedemeyers early analysis. We have far better information at hand than he did, of Kirkpatrick it seems. I've seen this attempted a few times. Old magazine article, a book chapter or two. John Ellis 'Brute Force' provides a flood of data and sources for this whatever one thinking of his agenda. There was a discussion on another forum a decade ago that attempted a economic based analysis. Tho started and conducted by a Russian citizen the analysis led to conclusions that were surprising or difficult for some of the participants to accept.
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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by Terry Duncan » 09 Feb 2020 17:48

Rather curious as to how many troops the 'Victory Plan' believed the USSR had or could raise? A lot of problems stem from the idea the USSR was the same beast as the Tzarist regime in 1916 and had only a slim grip on power.

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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by Richard Anderson » 09 Feb 2020 18:08

Terry Duncan wrote:
09 Feb 2020 17:48
Rather curious as to how many troops the 'Victory Plan' believed the USSR had or could raise? A lot of problems stem from the idea the USSR was the same beast as the Tzarist regime in 1916 and had only a slim grip on power.
Wedemeyer did not make assumptions about what the Soviets could raise, rather he worked from the assumption that German operations against the USSR would be complete and that the USSR would be militarily impotent by 1 July 1942. He further assumed that the Germans would be able to absorb the conquered territories by 1 July 1943.

However, the so-called "Victory Plan" was never a mobilization plan or even a strategic plan for how to utilize those forces. Nor was it any part of UK planning, so it is difficult to see how the US or UK could be "forced" to implement it? What was implemented was an ongoing planning cycle, based upon the prewar PMP mobilization planning, to extract the greatest number of ground personnel without affecting industrial production and while providing sufficient personnel for the Army Air Forces and Navy.
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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Feb 2020 18:26

Richard Anderson wrote:
09 Feb 2020 18:08
...

However, the so-called "Victory Plan" was never a mobilization plan or even a strategic plan for how to utilize those forces. Nor was it any part of UK planning, so it is difficult to see how the US or UK could be "forced" to implement it? What was implemented was an ongoing planning cycle, based upon the prewar PMP mobilization planning, to extract the greatest number of ground personnel without affecting industrial production and while providing sufficient personnel for the Army Air Forces and Navy.
Kirkpatrick hits this point, not a mobilization or strategic plan, but goes weak on what it actually was, an attempt to provide a up to date frame work for up dating those plans. I've seen others who claim Wedemeyers document is never referred to or appears in subsequent documents from the War Plans Division, or other planning out of the administration. What the truth is there I cant say, but its a one of the many connecting or nonconnecting links worth pursuing.

To digress, perhaps one of the largest differences between the early US Army plans and later reality were assumptions about the size of the air forces planned and actually deployed or built.

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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Feb 2020 21:21

Terry Duncan wrote:
09 Feb 2020 17:48
Rather curious as to how many troops the 'Victory Plan' believed the USSR had or could raise? A lot of problems stem from the idea the USSR was the same beast as the Tzarist regime in 1916 and had only a slim grip on power.
The Victory Plan appears to proceed from the assumption that the Germans were running a rational strategy. I.e. over a 2-season campaign they'd take all of Russia up to the Volga, then bomb the Urals (Wedemayer overrated bombing though). After that there's nothing left to fight a war with - no oil, no agricultural land to support a large population if evacuated with their factories. Wedemayer and the U.S. had no idea that Germany invaded on a bet that Russia would collapse internally, with no hedge of that bet. It's almost as if the strategy to beat Russia was extremely clear to external observers, but has been obscured by hindsight of the latter Soviet superpower.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:The War Plans Division and the USN equivalent produced a series of similar studies & recommendations, each with its own series of flaws and improvements.
Are these available anywhere? How do they address the problem of invading Europe against the whole German army?

I made a specific point of saying "something like" the Victory Plan of 1941 in the thread title, anticipating certain irrelevant pedantries from certain posters (not you btw). From what I've seen, VP41 is representative of the US professional military strategic outlook in '41 and therefore of Wallied outlook (as Churchill would learn).
I've run across US Army literature as late as 1942 giving the number of tanks used to conquer France or the West in 1940 as 12,000.
I have too.
What's obvious is that the US estimated German weapons production by reference to their own potential production, adjusted for Germany's economy. Given that the U.S. had capacity to produce tens of thousands of tanks annually, they must have figured Germany would build around half as much as they could have, were they as mobilized as Germany surely was. Problem is they had no conception of German arms production being such a bureaucratic disaster.

A similar thing happened for Hitler as well, who also compared American/Russian arms production by reference to economic power. He didn't understand that Germany's arms production was so wildly inefficient. So when accurate reports of T-34 or American plane production came in he dismissed them as ridiculous. Makes sense if you don't know your arms industries are terribly underperforming their economic fundamentals.

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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by Richard Anderson » 09 Feb 2020 22:42

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
09 Feb 2020 18:26
To digress, perhaps one of the largest differences between the early US Army plans and later reality were assumptions about the size of the air forces planned and actually deployed or built.
Exactly, part of the problem Wedemeyer was addressing was the effect of Roosevelt's various industrial pronouncements, such as the vast expansion in air power and later tank production, which took no cognizance of what the War Department's planning foresaw.
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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by daveshoup2MD » 10 Feb 2020 04:30

Germany was defeated in European Russia in the winter of 1941-42 in the sense that the most they could hope for by then was a stalemate; by the summer-fall of 1942, the Soviets defeated them again, and even that hope was out the window. The Japanese had been thrown onto the defensive in the Pacific at the same time, and the Allies went on the offensive in both the Pacific and the MTO/ETO in the same period. So the entire concept appears rather flawed by reality, including the realities that, however limited Allied intel was on the German war economy in 1941-42, the simple fact that Moscow had not fallen before the winter would suggest there was more going on than may have been readily apparent.

Likewise, the idea the Germans could manage occupied Europe's economy to anything approaching an optimum state at a time when their official policy was to murder or enslave the intelligentsia and manager/professional classes, as well as the skilled labor and their leadership almost everywhere they occupied seems somewhat sanguine as well. Enslaved peasants on collective farms and in mine labor camps could grown cereals and mine goal (at least until they died of starvation); they couldn't do much in the way of manufacturing ordnance and electrical equipment.

And even taking Moscow doesn't guarantee the Caspian Basin, much less Iran and Iraq .... and even if one is in possession of an oil field, getting crude out of the ground, refined, and shipped somewhere useful is a) not simple, and b) very vulnerable to air and sea interdiction. No POL, no motorized warfare. As has been said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... =emb_title

Then there's the equally obvious reality that the best the Axis could ever hope for in the MTO, certainly once the US entered the war, was a stalemate where the Axis held the southern European littoral and the Allies held the north African and southwest Asian littoral, makes any dreams of Axis control, in Africa or Southwest Asia moot.

Equally, even if the Germans managed a stalemate in Russia and another in the Med, sometime in the mid-1940s a very large flash is going to be seen over Berlin... and that's all she wrote.

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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Feb 2020 13:50

Richard Anderson wrote:
09 Feb 2020 22:42
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
09 Feb 2020 18:26
To digress, perhaps one of the largest differences between the early US Army plans and later reality were assumptions about the size of the air forces planned and actually deployed or built.
Exactly, part of the problem Wedemeyer was addressing was the effect of Roosevelt's various industrial pronouncements, such as the vast expansion in air power and later tank production, which took no cognizance of what the War Department's planning foresaw.
I've speculated Roosevelt clearly understood the fundamental flaw in War Dept planning of the 1930s, that is no funding for a true planning staff, hence little useful information on actual industrial capacity? Klien describes for 1943 a staff of 15,000 clerks, economists, former industrial managers, retired military officers, ect... collecting data on US industry & turning it into coherent planning for capacity, requirements, ect... In 1939 the Army War Plans Div had how large a staff? 1% of that. After eight years as President Roosevelt must have understood how obsolete & crippled Army mobilization planning was for RAINBOW 5 Plan. His calls for 60,000+ tanks ect... may have been more in the nature of trying to push outside the box created by interwar military budgets?
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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Feb 2020 14:19

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Feb 2020 21:21
Carl Schwamberger wrote:The War Plans Division and the USN equivalent produced a series of similar studies & recommendations, each with its own series of flaws and improvements.
Are these available anywhere? How do they address the problem of invading Europe against the whole German army?
Search for 'War Plans Division WWII'. That should start a trail to any of the documents or quotes/summaries online. You will find a number of recognizable Army officers served in WPD during the ,mobilization years. Eisenhower was on that staff subsequent to Wedemeyer. His 1942 trip to Britain as part of a high level planning session is when he caught Churchills eye & favor.

On the Navy side Admiral Starks 'Plan DOG memo was a important marker. Sent to Roosevelt in November 1940 It summarized current Navy planning for the consolidated RAINBOW plans. Its notable by the early recommendation for a Europe first strategy. Previous to Wedemeyers V Plan the separate color plans existent since 1910 had been reworked into the RAINBOW Plans. This started in 1939 & the RAINBOW 5 section or plan came closest to anticipating the Europe first policy.

It occurs to me Rich probably can provide a more direct reference for the War Dept plans, if asked nicely :)
I made a specific point of saying "something like" the Victory Plan of 1941 in the thread title, anticipating certain irrelevant pedantries from certain posters (not you btw). From what I've seen, VP41 is representative of the US professional military strategic outlook in '41 and therefore of Wallied outlook (as Churchill would learn).
I've run across US Army literature as late as 1942 giving the number of tanks used to conquer France or the West in 1940 as 12,000.
I have too.
What's obvious is that the US estimated German weapons production by reference to their own potential production, adjusted for Germany's economy. Given that the U.S. had capacity to produce tens of thousands of tanks annually, they must have figured Germany would build around half as much as they could have, were they as mobilized as Germany surely was. Problem is they had no conception of German arms production being such a bureaucratic disaster.
Thats a useful point, tho as Klein and others point out the War Dept had little valid data for current US capacity. As I understand they were stuck with information sorted out 1917-18918, with only tiny fragments updated with valid information. The rest of it looks like guesswork or bad data.

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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by OpanaPointer » 10 Feb 2020 14:30

Maury Klein's "A Call to Arms" is an important source in this.
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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Feb 2020 15:35

Klein does belabor the chaos & failures in industrial mobilization 1940-41 & how that was rationalized & taken under control during 1942.

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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by Richard Anderson » 10 Feb 2020 16:39

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
10 Feb 2020 13:50
I've speculated Roosevelt clearly understood the fundamental flaw in War Dept planning of the 1930s, that is no funding for a true planning staff, hence little useful information on actual industrial capacity? Klien describes for 1943 a staff of 15,000 clerks, economists, former industrial managers, retired military officers, ect... collecting data on US industry & turning it into coherent planning for capacity, requirements, ect... In 1939 the Army War Plans Div had how large a staff? 1% of that. After eight years as President Roosevelt must have understood how obsolete & crippled Army mobilization planning was for RAINBOW 5 Plan. His calls for 60,000+ tanks ect... may have been more in the nature of trying to push outside the box created by interwar military budgets?
The interwar industrial mobilization planning was designed to equip the Army mobilized under the interwar PMP. What was missing was funding to produce the weapons designed, until the "educational" orders started getting placed in late 1939. It didn't take a huge staff to implement those plans, since they had been preparing them for more or less 18 years.

What was the great unknown was what would be required for the mobilization beyond the PMP and exactly what the structure of the expanded Army air and ground frces needed to be. As the War Department mobilized it planned on expanding on the basis of the PMP, but did not know what the final structure required would need to be...one reason for Wedemeyer's staff exercise (it was not a "plan" since it was never actually implemented). Roosevelt kept muddying the waters, by first announcing a massive increase in aircraft production when the War Department had no plans to expand the Air Forces to such a scale. That did not turn out badly in the end, but the latter announcement regarding tank production caused some problems, not least that the President called for producing 5,000 heavy tanks the Army had zero requirement and no completed design for.

I doubt Roosevelt was pushing anything outside the box. He had little experience with what War Department requirements and capabilities were and was only somewhat more knowledgeable about Navy requirements and capabilities. However, it sounded good and played well politically.
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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by Richard Anderson » 10 Feb 2020 17:05

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
10 Feb 2020 14:19
Thats a useful point, tho as Klein and others point out the War Dept had little valid data for current US capacity. As I understand they were stuck with information sorted out 1917-18918, with only tiny fragments updated with valid information. The rest of it looks like guesswork or bad data.
The "valid data" for tanks by August 1940 were the production under the educational orders to American Car and Baldwin and then the production goals required in the negotiations with Chrysler for DTA.

The War Department did not base German production estimates upon their own capability. Initially they based it upon what they "knew" the Germans had produced going by the known number of Panzer divisions and their known structure. That initial estimate was from the work of Major Percy Black and the other military attaches (read spies) in the American Embassy Berlin. It got spoofed on some items, especially heavy tank production through some clever German slight of hand, but was essentially based on estimated quantities required for the known existing structure. Insofar as I can find in the files of the MID there were no production estimates done by Black and company.

Later, beginning in mid 1940, intelligence input from British sources was used to establish an accepted production estimate of 1,000 per month in June 1940, rising to 1,550 per month for June 1941 to August 1942. It was the American Embassy in London's Economic Warfare Division in early 1943 that established a statistical analysis using known serial number sequences from captured German tanks, which recast the estimates as 327 per month in August 1942.

So it is not "obvious...that the US estimated German weapons production by reference to their own potential production, adjusted for Germany's economy" and in fact they did nothing of the sort.

American production goals for tanks and aircraft were initially set by fiat by the President through public pronouncements, which left the War Department scrambling to rationalize them to existing planning goals.
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Re: U.S./UK forced to implement something like the Victory Plan of 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Feb 2020 20:57

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Search for 'War Plans Division WWII'. That should start a trail to any of the documents or quotes/summaries online. You will find a number of recognizable Army officers served in WPD during the ,mobilization years. Eisenhower was on that staff subsequent to Wedemeyer. His 1942 trip to Britain as part of a high level planning session is when he caught Churchills eye & favor.

On the Navy side Admiral Starks 'Plan DOG memo was a important marker. Sent to Roosevelt in November 1940 It summarized current Navy planning for the consolidated RAINBOW plans. Its notable by the early recommendation for a Europe first strategy. Previous to Wedemeyers V Plan the separate color plans existent since 1910 had been reworked into the RAINBOW Plans. This started in 1939 & the RAINBOW 5 section or plan came closest to anticipating the Europe first policy.
Thanks but I guess I was referring to the availability of the actual text of different WPD strategic assessments, such as is provided partially in the Victory Program book linked in the OP. Hyperwar and the army historical archive has lots of material referencing these assessments and others, such as https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/csppp/ch11.htm.

None of the strategic assessments prior to the realization of SU's endurance differs materially from the Victory Program's assessment that any invasion of Europe versus an undivided German army would require first a successful air offensive to weaken German economics and morale. For instance:
The situation estimate was pessimistic: WPD still expected the liquidation of Russia in early 1942, followed by German peace overtures to Britain and, these failing, a full assault on Britain at home or in the Mediterranean; Japan's bellicosity would reflect the degree of German successes; British defeat was now regarded as probable unless the United States should provide support by military forces; victory, even with American help, was thought unpredictable because of the uncertainty about Russia's future, for German conquest of Russia would be followed by a rehabilitation of Europe and the Middle East, which in time would enable the Axis to defy the British blockade.
https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/csppp/ch11.htm

Even during the Torch/Sledgehammer planning debate, Eisenhower recommended and the JCS accepted that the U.S. would pivot to Asia in the event of Soviet collapse, assuming a defensive posture in ETO.

So the general outline of Allied grand strategy, in the event of Soviet collapse, was continuously of the opinion that there wouldn't be an invasion of Europe until the achievement of distant objectives (the defeat of Japan, an air offensive that destroyed German economy/morale).

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