US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by T. A. Gardner » 21 Oct 2020 06:38

Peter89 wrote:
20 Oct 2020 19:53
The German war economy was ran inefficiently, that's for sure.

However, Germany never had the resources to build rapidly and properly. If they allocate more resources there, other key areas would suffer as a result.

In my understanding, it was something like the tank maintenance system: constant improvements and modifications, plus the high variety of ammunition and AFVs made logistics complicated, the lack of spare parts made repair difficult, and the absence of communication between field personnel and development teams ensured that a low operational readiness rate. At sometimes, the net result of an improvement has been reduced to zero on the field.

So you either improve your tanks constantly and utilize multiple factories to produce them or you produce the maximum number of new tanks. You either build with mechanized building batallions to improve logistics to the front (and thus diminish the supply to the front) or you push through more supply to the front (and thus diminish the logistics). Like the egg and the chicken. This problem simply cannot be solved, although better solutions did exist, as you mentioned.

But it wasn't even their goal. Their goal was to conquer rapidly and pillage the land - not just in the case of the SU, but in the case of the Western Europe as well. A quote from Göring:
Basically, I consider all of occupied France as a conquered country. It seems to me that in earlier times the thing was simpler. In earlier times, you pillaged. He who had conquered a country disposed of the riches of that country. At present, things are done in a more humane way. As for myself, I still think of pillage comprehensively.
Let's look at this with a hypothetical example:

The Germans in Russia are losing say 5,000 trucks on supply lines a month to wearing out from the poor road conditions, etc. Another 5,000 are breaking down and requiring days of shop time to get them returned to service. The actual number isn't important here, it's the concept.

Now, you give the German construction troops building roads more equipment and the means to improve roads significantly. Let's say this results in a 5% decrease in trucks lost to being worn out beyond repair, in maintenance, and a 5% increase in their road speed. Again, the exact number isn't critical for our discussion purposes.

That's 250 trucks that last a month (or more) longer, 250 that don't require long out-of-service times for repairs, and the equivalent of 5% more trucks being assigned to carry supplies due to the faster movement speed. Giving the construction troops a total of say, 300 vehicles of various sorts to improve their efficiency results in a a net gain in motor transport because of the improved road conditions. It also doesn't require a huge amount of improvement to make a significant return on investment because the number of supply trucks is huge in itself.

The "quick war" and pillage method was marginally acceptable, and worked in Western Europe. It couldn't work in a continental sized country like Russia. The distances were just too vast. But the Wehrmacht lacked the necessary experience with that sort of huge campaign to fully grasp its needs. This is one way the US had an advantage in this area. The US military was used to dealing with vast distances and fighting far from bases.

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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by Peter89 » 21 Oct 2020 11:49

T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Oct 2020 06:38
Peter89 wrote:
20 Oct 2020 19:53
The German war economy was ran inefficiently, that's for sure.

However, Germany never had the resources to build rapidly and properly. If they allocate more resources there, other key areas would suffer as a result.

In my understanding, it was something like the tank maintenance system: constant improvements and modifications, plus the high variety of ammunition and AFVs made logistics complicated, the lack of spare parts made repair difficult, and the absence of communication between field personnel and development teams ensured that a low operational readiness rate. At sometimes, the net result of an improvement has been reduced to zero on the field.

So you either improve your tanks constantly and utilize multiple factories to produce them or you produce the maximum number of new tanks. You either build with mechanized building batallions to improve logistics to the front (and thus diminish the supply to the front) or you push through more supply to the front (and thus diminish the logistics). Like the egg and the chicken. This problem simply cannot be solved, although better solutions did exist, as you mentioned.

But it wasn't even their goal. Their goal was to conquer rapidly and pillage the land - not just in the case of the SU, but in the case of the Western Europe as well. A quote from Göring:
Basically, I consider all of occupied France as a conquered country. It seems to me that in earlier times the thing was simpler. In earlier times, you pillaged. He who had conquered a country disposed of the riches of that country. At present, things are done in a more humane way. As for myself, I still think of pillage comprehensively.
Let's look at this with a hypothetical example:

The Germans in Russia are losing say 5,000 trucks on supply lines a month to wearing out from the poor road conditions, etc. Another 5,000 are breaking down and requiring days of shop time to get them returned to service. The actual number isn't important here, it's the concept.

Now, you give the German construction troops building roads more equipment and the means to improve roads significantly. Let's say this results in a 5% decrease in trucks lost to being worn out beyond repair, in maintenance, and a 5% increase in their road speed. Again, the exact number isn't critical for our discussion purposes.

That's 250 trucks that last a month (or more) longer, 250 that don't require long out-of-service times for repairs, and the equivalent of 5% more trucks being assigned to carry supplies due to the faster movement speed. Giving the construction troops a total of say, 300 vehicles of various sorts to improve their efficiency results in a a net gain in motor transport because of the improved road conditions. It also doesn't require a huge amount of improvement to make a significant return on investment because the number of supply trucks is huge in itself.

The "quick war" and pillage method was marginally acceptable, and worked in Western Europe. It couldn't work in a continental sized country like Russia. The distances were just too vast. But the Wehrmacht lacked the necessary experience with that sort of huge campaign to fully grasp its needs. This is one way the US had an advantage in this area. The US military was used to dealing with vast distances and fighting far from bases.
Yes, yes.
The US possessed vast amount of resources (POL most importantly) but also plans and doctrines for different scenarios. The German way of conducting the Eastern front campaigns was fundamentally flawed: in 1941, they did not expect serious resistance thus the need for logistics. Then they just held the line until mid 1942, when they launched an attack, that again was beyond their capabilities, like M. Kenny said above. From that point on, they were trying to save the situation.

Also the British were really good at this. I am currently researching the logistical system of colonial Africa and the Middle East, and I am really amazed how complex and powerful the British war machine was, as early as mid-1941.

It really changed my view on their capabilities.
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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Oct 2020 12:53

[Goering:] Basically, I consider all of occupied France as a conquered country. It seems to me that in earlier times the thing was simpler. In earlier times, you pillaged. He who had conquered a country disposed of the riches of that country. At present, things are done in a more humane way. As for myself, I still think of pillage comprehensively.
AHF readers should know that accepting this quote as descriptive of Nazi occupation policy would place them far behind the leading scholarship on occupied Europe. As Jonas Scherner writes in the forward to Paying for Hitler's War, much is still being learned about occupied Europe and many false postwar narratives about Europeans as simply helpless victims of Nazi occupation remain:
Why do we know so little about these dimensions of the Nazi war
effort? The short answer is that, just as in the case of political collaboration,
discussion of economic collaboration quickly became taboo in
many liberated countries.25 In Denmark, for example, the fact that
domestic companies earned good profits during the occupation was hushed up
after the war because it did not fit in the consensus view that the occupation
period was a time of general suffering.26 It took decades before an
historical discussion of political collaboration could begin, and even then
the economic dimension of collaboration was almost entirely ignored.
Collaboration was more widespread than most people imagine and the Nazi state invested in occupied territories to enhance their exploitation of them. The Netherlands, for example, had greater capital stock in 1945 than in 1940. See Occupied Economies by Kleman.

Nazi investments were not, of course, done for the good of the native population. Rather, they enabled more effective exploitation of native resources. Total living standards declined in occupied countries despite Nazi investment because the Nazis took up to 50% of the GDP of occupied countries and because the non-strategic elements of the economy were neglected.

Pace Goering, plunder characterized only the initial stages of Nazi occupation.

I don't expect every AHF reader to know the latest scholarship but we can at least make note of the ways in which prevailing popular narratives about the war are wrong.
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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by T. A. Gardner » 21 Oct 2020 16:05

Peter89 wrote:
21 Oct 2020 11:49
Also the British were really good at this. I am currently researching the logistical system of colonial Africa and the Middle East, and I am really amazed how complex and powerful the British war machine was, as early as mid-1941.

It really changed my view on their capabilities.
The problem the British had was they always kept too much stuff in the system and in reserve. While this cautious approach has its advantages, it came to bite them in the posterior more than once too.

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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by glenn239 » 21 Oct 2020 18:04

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
19 Oct 2020 21:51
Well it's a big topic and I won't convince you of anything here in a brief reply. But based on the fundamentals outlined in other posts (e.g. viewtopic.php?f=76&t=251476#p2288097) I see overall German production being twice OTL. From there, a shift of resources from Heer to LW gets you 3x OTL LW production. At historical peak production rates, Germany could easily produce 10,000 AC/month, thereby matching the W.Allies OTL levels. Then there's Japan and all the aircraft demands on W.Allies that don't apply to Germany (e.g. ASW).
It's not a question of whether German aircraft production can go to twice historical. It's a question of whether or not the Anglo-Americans producing 125,000 aircraft per year and the logistics chain to fly them can make Germany's oil production plummet to the level where German aircraft production was not going to matter.
Fuel comes from the Caucasus and MidEast.
No, it doesn't. Once Japan is conquered the Americans are going to shift hundreds of aircraft carriers, (jeep and fleet) to the West, and can shift something like 50 divisions and 20,000,000 tons of shipping (illustrative only, exact figures not at my fingertips). The Germans are going to lose Egypt, Crete, Salonika and Turkey (probably in that order), and then the USAAF and RAF are going to obliterate every piece of oil infastructure within air combat range of their new positions. Ploesti would be flattened, the Middle East would be overrun, and the Caucasus rail lines would be severed.
America loses if the public isn't ready for indefinite siege warfare; the inverse doesn't follow.
American willpower was about casualties not including POW's, and casualties in an air war would be functionally negligible. The peripherial land campaigns needed for this air war, (Crete, Egypt, etc.) seem unlikely to rise to the level of impacting US morale.
Glenn239 wrote: Not if Germany invades Sweden. I mean she joins the Allies but only for a couple weeks.
The Allies would have overwelming seapower and airpower resources after the fall of Japan to take Norway, making any German attempt at holding Sweden across the Baltic impossible. The Allies would take Norway and the Belts, then send in US submarines from the Pacific to the Baltic, with Allied airpower based in Norway, Denmark, and on Allied carriers devastating German communications. Once Sweden was in Allied hands, the Allies would set up heavy land based airpower elements in Sweden to be able to dominate central and eastern Germany.

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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by Richard Anderson » 21 Oct 2020 20:10

glenn239 wrote:
21 Oct 2020 18:04
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
19 Oct 2020 21:51
Well it's a big topic and I won't convince you of anything here in a brief reply. But based on the fundamentals outlined in other posts (e.g. viewtopic.php?f=76&t=251476#p2288097) I see overall German production being twice OTL. From there, a shift of resources from Heer to LW gets you 3x OTL LW production. At historical peak production rates, Germany could easily produce 10,000 AC/month, thereby matching the W.Allies OTL levels. Then there's Japan and all the aircraft demands on W.Allies that don't apply to Germany (e.g. ASW).
It's not a question of whether German aircraft production can go to twice historical. It's a question of whether or not the Anglo-Americans producing 125,000 aircraft per year and the logistics chain to fly them can make Germany's oil production plummet to the level where German aircraft production was not going to matter.
Pretty much. Not to mention the figures referenced in viewtopic.php?f=76&t=251476#p2288097 for the Germans are apparently made up. Among other things, the figure of 41,132,000 employed in German in 1943, referenced by Tooze on p. 277, includes slave labor. In 1943, there were only 35,235,000 "Germans" employed then (see Generalmajor Burkhardt Müller-Hillebrand, P-005, Personnel and Administration).

Nor is a "shift of resources" anything similar to shuffling about counters or redirecting the output of a hose. Prewar German industrial mobilization planning primarily depended on the conversion of much of the auto industry, upon which large amounts of time, money, and labor had already been expended 1933-1939, to aircraft component manufacture. A "shift" from Heer to Luftwaffe yields nada (see the USSBS Aircraft Division Industry Report).

Nor do German 'historical peak production rates" come anywhere close to 10,000 per month. The average monthly production rates were 1,032 in 1941, 1,257 in 1942, 2,075 in 1943, and 3,305 in 1944, while the results for 1945 are incomplete for some reason (see the Speer Schnellberichte).
Fuel comes from the Caucasus and MidEast.
No, it doesn't.
No screaming eagle [expletive deleted] it doesn't. Especially aviation gasoline it certainly doesn't. The German source for aviation gasoline was 99.7 percent its very expensive synthetic fuel program. Its also where they got their iso-octane and alkylates from as well as much of their aviation lubricants from, which were also critical to the Luftwaffe. The Soviet Caucasian oilfields and refineries only produced low-octane fuels, which is one reason the Lend-Lease supply of aviation fuel, tetraethyl-lead, and iso-octanes was so important. Note also production of tetraethyl-lead was a huge bottleneck for the Germans, the precursor chemicals were only produced at Leuna and Ludwigshafen (see the USSBS Oil Division Industry Report).

Never mind of course how the Germans get to the "MidEast" oil and get it back to Germany, since the "MidEast" oil was essentially Kirkuk.
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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Oct 2020 02:35

Richard Anderson wrote:A "shift" from Heer to Luftwaffe yields nada (see the USSBS Aircraft Division Industry Report).
Hopefully most AHF readers are smart enough to write this comment off. Economics needn't be one's strong suit to know that increase of productive inputs yields an increase in output. I.e. to know that resources matter.

One can only guess what the peekaboo cite to USSBS is supposed to mean. The USSBS had real economists and industrial experts on its staff, I don't have to go back to the report to know that it rejects Richard's notions (but only implicitly, as the USSBS wouldn't waste space addressing a contention that productive resources don't matter to production).

If anyone can find the USSBS saying something like "resources don't matter" that person can write my profile signature however he likes.
Richard Anderson wrote:Not to mention the figures referenced in viewtopic.php?f=76&t=251476#p2288097 for the Germans are apparently made up.
Again with an accusation that TMP is making stuff up. Is this acceptable behavior?

Richard is making the simple and obvious mistake of comparing OTL labor statistics to my ATL projection. More foreign labor and the demobilization of soldiers - plus their not being killed/captured on the Eastern Front - explains Germany's greater ATL workforce. Hopefully this is easy for most to understand.
Prewar German industrial mobilization planning primarily depended on the conversion of much of the auto industry, upon which large amounts of time, money, and labor had already been expended 1933-1939, to aircraft component manufacture.
This statement is, once again, flatly contradicted by economic scholarship.

"Industrial Investment in Nazi Germany: The Forgotten Wartime Boom" explains that wartime German production increases involved massive investment in capital goods. https://economics.yale.edu/sites/defaul ... 060329.pdf

Daniel Uziel's Arming the Luftwaffe details the specialized tools and jigs needed for LW production, negligible amounts of which could have come from auto-making.

Tooze in WoD notes that production increased due in part to "ruthless mobilization of the factors of production," including foreign labor.

If LW production "depended on conversion of the auto industry" as Richard claims, we wouldn't see the enormous investment figures necessary for OTL's massive increase in LW production.

Richard may be thinking of re-allocating labor and plant space from autos to planes, which happened but was a minor factor and only proves my thesis re resource shifts.

Does Richard have any citations proving his claim?
Richard Anderson wrote:Nor do German 'historical peak production rates" come anywhere close to 10,000 per month.
OTL not ATL. Again, I'm sure most readers understand this.

And yes, if you believe that productive resources bear no relationship to production then you will not be capable of understanding why LW production would increase in a post-SU ATL.

If you rightly understand that productive resources relate to production output then you'll understand that greater labor, capital, raw materials allocation to the LW would result in greater output.

I'd prefer that Econ 101 lessons weren't necessary but apparently they are.
Richard Anderson wrote:The Soviet Caucasian oilfields and refineries only produced low-octane fuels
tetra-hydral lead
These are red herrings that assume, as with LW production, that Germany is incapable of increasing tetra-hydral lead production. Again, that only works if you believe resources and production aren't related.

The jump from "low octane" content to "no octane fuel" exemplifies a common analytical error: jumping from negative to negation. Obviously it would be better to refine high-octane fuel than low, but octane nonetheless results from refinement. As making aviation fuel from coal is much more difficult than from low-octane oil, the jump from negative to negation is particularly invalid.
Glenn239 wrote:It's not a question of whether German aircraft production can go to twice historical. It's a question of whether or not the Anglo-Americans producing 125,000 aircraft per year and the logistics chain to fly them can make Germany's oil production plummet to the level where German aircraft production was not going to matter.
At least 3x historical, not twice.
Overall German production doubled (at least), shifted proportionately to LW.

Your assertion that W.Allied production would destroy German assumes that the W.Allies win the air war similarly to OTL. As that is the very thing in dispute between us, it's circular reasoning.
Glenn239 wrote:Once Japan is conquered the Americans are going to shift hundreds of aircraft carriers, (jeep and fleet) to the West, and can shift something like 50 divisions and 20,000,000 tons of shipping (illustrative only, exact figures not at my fingertips).
Again, one of the things disputed between us is whether the Pacific War goes as well as OTL.

You're simply ignoring my arguments that it wouldn't. I'd repeat them but they're upthread and I'm getting the impression that you're not disposed to consider them.

It's a big topic and I take no personal offense at you not wanting to put in the effort to address the ATL Pacific Theater I outlined upthread. But it's not productive to quote to me premises that I reject based on research and reasoning that you haven't addressed.
Glenn239 wrote:The Allies would have overwelming seapower and airpower resources after the fall of Japan to take Norway, making any German attempt at holding Sweden across the Baltic impossible.
Again, this relies on something like circular reasoning. It's right if you're right about Allied airpower; it's wrong if you're not.


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


I am not surprised that most members simply cannot contemplate the possibility of German airpower rivaling Allied, even in a post-SU ATL.

As I think at least some of this inability is good faith and reflects prevailing historical narratives, I am sympathetic to folks' resistance to reconsidering their fundamental view of WW2. As my view is based on my own economic research and analysis, and has the support of the best economic scholarship, I can do no more than to invoke the reasoning and scholarship.

I'll probably do a longer, more detailed post on post-SU LW production as part of my broader ATL project. For those willing to challenge themselves and test their beliefs, it may be helpful. Those unwilling will surely retreat to strategems like denying the relationship between resources and production.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by History Learner » 22 Oct 2020 10:39

glenn239 wrote:
15 Oct 2020 17:07
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 Oct 2020 08:37
One thing is odd then: the AHF reception of my threads asserting that German victory over SU would imply durable German hegemony in Europe.
The USAAF along with the RAF would have defeated the Germans after 1944 - it was just barely getting warmed up when the war ended. It might have taken into the late 1940's, but the strategic trend was apparent. No level of Luftwaffe defenses would have been able to ward off US industry fully ramped up for a massive aerial campaign.
One wonders why there was a six month halt to bombing in late 1943 into early 1944, then. Here too, the Germans can take page from the defeated Soviets and simply move their industry beyond the range of Allied bombers or, at least, Allied escorts.

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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by Terry Duncan » 22 Oct 2020 13:26

Thread closed due to repeated displays of the inability to address the arguments not the person. As previously pointed out it is always possible to ignore other members you dislike and will never agree with.

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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by Terry Duncan » 10 Nov 2020 15:05

Unlocked as recent discussion has been civil.

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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by Richard Anderson » 10 Nov 2020 17:17

History Learner wrote:
22 Oct 2020 10:39
One wonders why there was a six month halt to bombing in late 1943 into early 1944, then. Here too, the Germans can take page from the defeated Soviets and simply move their industry beyond the range of Allied bombers or, at least, Allied escorts.
Except there wasn't a "six month halt". In the 3Q1943, the Eighth AF executed 1,849 sorties against German targets. In the 4Q1943 it was 7,374, plus 56 from Twelfth and Fifteenth AF. BC executed 13,416 sorties 3Q1943 and 10,768 in 4Q1944, In the 1Q1944, Eighth AF flew 15,601 sorties against German targets, plus 1,328 by the Fifteenth AF. BC executed 14,652 in the 1Q1944.

One wonders where the idea there was a "six month halt" comes from?
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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by T. A. Gardner » 10 Nov 2020 18:11

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Oct 2020 06:03
T.A. Gardner wrote:There's a whole thread of German bridge building here:
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=168276
The thread is on pontoon bridges to be specific but it's an excellent thread, thank you for pointing it out.

Here's an example from the thread of the equipment and manpower TOE of a German bridging column from 1938:

Image

As you can see, there's quite a lot of motor support provided and no horses.

Something I've not pointed out about your arguments, but has been bothering me, is it assumes the Germans were unaware of the benefits of mechanization.

To the extent you're still claiming the Germans were "crappy at civil engineering," we've narrowed the field to means instead of end products.

But as the linked thread demonstrates again and again, the German engineers had many mechanized bridge-building tools/vehicles.

What the Germans had a shortage of - what you don't confront - is that mechanization was a scarce resource for Germany generally.

Given the extensive motorization of bridging columns - just one example - it's impossible to assert that German engineers were unaware of the manpower-saving effects of tools - something the human race has known for nearly all its existence.

Much more likely is that engineering mechanization reflected scarcity - just as did German combat and logistical mechanization.

Rational actors make choices between different resource allocations when confronted with scarcity. Surely there were examples of suboptimal resource allocation here and there between the different branches of the Wehrmacht but that's nowhere near your claims that (1) Germany displayed engineering incompetence or (2) Germany misallocated resources systematically.

Claim (1) assumes that a constraint of ignorance rather than scarcity dictated German choices.

Claim (2) would require your articulation of better resource allocation - the counterfactual cost v. benefit analysis that you haven't provided.
It's what's not included in that unit that's the problem. Look at that TO&E closely. What's missing? Sure the bridging column is fully motorized. Every vehicle tows either a pontoon boat or bridge section and there are a couple of small boats included.
What's not included are any cranes, no bulldozer, and other support machinery. Why is that important? Because as it stands, when the unit gets somewhere to install a bridge they have to do it by hand. They have to unload the bridging material from the trailers using manpower. The presence of a single crane would alleviate that need. The crane lifts each section into place. It lifts and puts the pontoon boats in the water.
The bulldozer, and possibly a few dump trucks, are useful to build entry and exit points to the bridge. This is far faster and better than using a mass of men with hand tools.

The lack of engineering mechanization reflects an underappreciation for its need on the German part. That bridging column could have a vehicle or two mounting a crane on it, but there isn't.

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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by Richard Anderson » 10 Nov 2020 19:50

T. A. Gardner wrote:
10 Nov 2020 18:11
The lack of engineering mechanization reflects an underappreciation for its need on the German part. That bridging column could have a vehicle or two mounting a crane on it, but there isn't.
I'm not so sure it reflects an "underappreciation [sic]" for its need on the part of the Germans. Rather, it is simply a reflection of the general lack of certain types of equipment, personnel, and units in the German military. It is also partly a reflection of differing experience and assessment of requirements.

For example, for Barbarossa the bridging assets of 2. PzArmee were typical.

At army, it consisted of a single motorized engineer bridge construction battalion, one motorized Brucko B, two Brucko B (GE), and an assault boat company. The motorized Brucko B was as pictured above, 102 officers and men manning the vehicles that transported the bridging sections. The Bruck B (GE) however, were simply the bridging sections without personnel or vehicles; in other words, simply a bridge equipment dump.

The XII AK had two non-motorized bridge construction battalions, two non-motorized engineer battalions, seven motorized Brucko B, and four non-motorized construction labor battalions.

The XXIV AK (mot) had one motorized and one non-motorized engineer battalion, one non-motorized bridge battalion, eight motorized Brucko B, one Brucko B (GE), and three non-motorized construction labor battalions, as well as one motorized Brucko B and one Brucko K each with 3. and 4. PzD

The XXXXVI AK (mot) had one motorized engineer battalion and four motorized Brucko B, as well as one motorized Brucko B and one Brucko K with 10. PzD.

The XXXXVII AK (mot) had one motorized engineer battalion and five motorized Brucko B, as well as one motorized Brucko B each with 17. PzD and 18. PzD.

Please note this is one of the points of main effort for a major assault across multiple rivers. Four bridge construction battalions, six engineer battalions, and seven construction labor battalions, for an army of four corps and fifteen divisions.

For the assault crossing of the Moselle in September 1944, the U.S. Army's 5th Inf Div had its organic motorized engineer battalion and three and one-third additional motorized engineer battalions, as well as a motorized, heavy ponton bridge battalion, a motorized treadway bridge, a motorized light ponton company, and an engineer light equipment company. Each American engineer bridge unit was self-contained, the personnel not only transported the bridge, but could also build it without assistance. The heavy ponton battalion carried enough equipment to erect a 256 meter bridge capable of supporting up to 55 tons. The treadway bridge battalion carried enough equipment to erect a 261 meter bridge capable of supporting up to 35 tons (and more under special circumstances. It took nine to ten Brucko B to build the equivalent length of bridge, capable of supporting under 20 tons.

It is a difference in scale and unit design, not an under appreciation, but a lack of capability.
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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by Richard Anderson » 10 Nov 2020 20:37

Sorry, but I forgot to finish my thought with an army-level comparison. If we look at First U.S. Army's organization for NEPTUNE and compare it to 2. PzGruppe, we find it had to support its four corps and fourteen divisions:

At the army-level, there were five engineer combat groups in general support of operations with 15 engineer battalions, 3 heavy ponton battalions, 4 light ponton companies, 1 treadway bridge company, and 5 light equipment companies.'

At the corps level, there were eight additional engineer combat groups in direct support of operations with 15 more engineer battalions, one heavy ponton battalion, four treadway bridge companies, and four light ponton companies.

At the division level, there were 8 more attached engineer battalions, and a treadway bridge company and a light ponton company.
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T. A. Gardner
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Re: US leaders believed Germany would likely have been invulnerable had it defeated SU

Post by T. A. Gardner » 10 Nov 2020 21:52

What I'm really driving at is the Germans could have supplied a minimum of mechanization and it would have made a huge difference in productivity, but they failed almost entirely to do that.

Image

That photo is illustrative of what I mean. You have a crane and a bulldozer doing most of the work and only a relative handful of men necessary to do the construction. Two pieces of machinery replace upwards of 100+ men. The Wehrmacht wasn't exactly flush with manpower either, so substituting a small number of vehicles to do construction work and replace mass manpower makes absolute sense.

Far more common in bridging for the US was to use a 2 1/2 ton (or 4 ton, or 5 ton) oil field body truck with gantry on the back like seen here. Supplying one or two per battalion wouldn't have been hard for the Germans to do.

Image

Again, you can see that equipment, in this case, a single truck, replaces dozens, likely as many as 50 men doing the same work by hand.

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