PODs for Leningrad in 1941

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KDF33
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 22 Jan 2022 10:01

This should be clearer:

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Jan 2022 10:24

KDF33 wrote:
22 Jan 2022 10:01
This should be clearer:
Awesome, thanks. The Marines also had 1st Div on Guadalcanal, plus most of 2nd Div (~1/3 being in Iceland). Army Service Forces assumed responsibility for Marine supplies overseas and I assume that the shipping stats in GLS ("Army-controlled shipping") include cargo consigned to them.
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 22 Jan 2022 10:31

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2022 10:24
Awesome, thanks. The Marines also had 1st Div on Guadalcanal, plus most of 2nd Div (~1/3 being in Iceland). Army Service Forces assumed responsibility for Marine supplies overseas and I assume that the shipping stats in GLS ("Army-controlled shipping") include cargo consigned to them.
Looking at the table, the U.S. had precisely 20 Army divisions with anywhere from one to three years (with two outliers with 20+ years!) of training in the U.S. in fall 1942.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 22 Jan 2022 10:52

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2022 08:48
*My impression is that French combat strength doesn't compare favorably in divisional terms. Per Frieser's Blitzkrieg Legend France had 104 divs facing Germany (inc. 11 reserve) while Germany had 141 divs (inc reserves). The raw personnel stats may be closer but may be apples-oranges in terms of coverage (including some French personnel that would fall under Ersatzheer for Germany, for example).
Total strength of the metropolitan ground forces on May 1, 1940:

-Active forces: 2,651,802 men
-Active foreign forces under French command: 75,638 men

-Territorial units: 529,028
-Training units: 675,386
-In hospital: 53,466

Total number of metropolitan divisions on May 10, 1940 (north of Switzerland /reserve + facing Italy):

-43 + 3 divisions d'infanterie (infantry divisions)
-16 + 3 divisions d'infanterie coloniale (colonial infantry divisions)
-1 division légère d'infanterie (light infantry divisions)
-3 + 7 divisions d'infanterie alpine (mountain infantry divisions)
-5 divisions d'infanterie de forteresse (fortress infantry divisions)
-7 divisions d'infanterie motorisée (motorized infantry divisions)
-5 divisions légères de cavalerie (mobile divisions with some light armor)
-3 divisions légères mécaniques (mobile, combined-arms armored divisions)
-3 divisions cuirassées (heavy tank-centric armored divisions)

For a total of 99 divisions in metropolitan France.

Note, however, that the French had a lot more non-divisional formations than Germany:

-1 brigade de cavalerie (cavalry brigade)
-3 + 1 brigades de Spahis (colonial cavalry brigades)
-10 groupes de reconnaissance de type motorisé (motorized reconnaissance regimental groupings)
-84 + 16 groupes de reconnaissance de type monté (cavalry reconnaissance regimental groupings)
-16 + 1 groupements de bataillons de chars (armored regimental groupings)
-13 + 6 secteurs fortifiés / défensifs (division-sized immobile fortress units)
-5 corps d'armée de forteresse (somewhat larger immobile fortress units)
-6 + 5 organes de défense côtière (division-sized immobile coastal units)

Assuming 3 brigades/regimental groupings = 1 division, and treating all non-divisional fortress/coastal units as divisions, we get a total of 148 division-equivalents facing Germany / in reserve, and 30 division-equivalents facing Italy. For 2,651,802 men, that's a divisional slice of 14,898. Thus if proportional in May 1940 about 2,204,869 men were facing Germany / were in reserve and 446,933 were facing Italy.

Source is here.

Note that the number of French divisions + division-sized fortress units (but not Army coastal units, nor brigades/regimental groupings) facing Germany / in reserve amounts to exactly 104, i.e. same as given in Frieser.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 22 Jan 2022 11:29

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2022 08:48
I'd guess the French roughly knew the balance of forces and knew that, unless Benelux armies were preserved, they would be seriously outnumbered.
Adding data on French Allies:

Polish forces under French command had 4 infantry divisions, 1 light infantry brigade, 1 mountain infantry brigade and 1 armored cavalry brigade, for a total of 5 division-equivalents, all deployed in the north. Divisional slice is 75,638 / 5 = 15,128.

The BEF had 390,000 men in May and the following units:

-5 Infantry Divisions
-5 Territorial Divisions + 3 more untrained Territorial Divisions (doing military-adjacent labor)
-1 Armoured Division
-4 Infantry Brigades
-1 Armoured Brigade
-2 Cavalry Brigades
-5 Cavalry Reconnaissance Regiments

For a total of 18 division-equivalents, with a divisional slice of 21,667.

Adding the aforementioned French figures, overall total ground forces facing Germany / in reserve would thus have roughly amounted to:

-2,670,507 men
-171 division-equivalents (divisional slice of 15,617)

Allied divisional slice would have been smaller than for Germany. Total number of Allied ground forces, without Benelux, also must have been a bit lower than for Germany, but not by a large margin.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Jan 2022 04:46

KDF33 wrote:
22 Jan 2022 11:29
Adding the aforementioned French figures, overall total ground forces facing Germany / in reserve would thus have roughly amounted to:

-2,670,507 men
-171 division-equivalents (divisional slice of 15,617)
Thank you for the detail in this and the last several posts. It's a different picture than I've gleaned from less fine-grained analysis such as the divisional tallies in books like Frieser's. The brigades being particularly relevant. I've been contemplating how to adjust my thinking and unexpectedly had my hands full this weekend with nephews/nieces, didn't mean to go silent.

Re the grand foreign policy dynamics we discussed upthread, I think I'd stick with my assessments for now. Even if the war isn't as unfavorable for the Allies as I've previously thought, the chances of quick/calamitous defeat for an Anglo-French army having rough numerical parity against Germany are sufficiently large - even if not likely - that nearly all efforts to assemble a vastly superior coalition for deterrence or assured victory should have been taken.

Behind the raw numbers there would still remain a qualitative demographic analysis. I am aware that issues exist on each. While France was scraping the manpower barrel, due to Versailles training restrictions the 1940 Heer included many quite-old WW1 vets because Germany didn't have enough younger men with military training (these being exchanged for younger men between France and Barbarossa).

Aside from demographic variables, there would be the relative combat proficiency of each side's national army system - the most controversial aspect. While I've never seen a quantitative analysis suggest other than that the German army was qualitatively better, the extent matters to judging whether the 1940 was "likely." IMO national combat proficiency correlates fairly tightly with socioeconomic variables. The developed West (US, UK, Germany, France) having armies of broadly similar quality, same for the next level down (Japan, USSR), and for the next level (China, Abyssinia). Of course there are still outliers, such as Italy. It seems Italy sub-performed her socioeconomic group (Japan, USSR) due to morale difficulties tracing to implacable class hatreds and lower identification with national goals.

I don't consider the German army's qualitative edge an outlier - probably in the region of 20-30% combat proficiency edge over their socioeconomic peers, ceteris paribus. That's probably not sufficient for me to say the 1940 outcome was "likely," even if it makes that outcome a more-live possibility to which IMO more attention should have been paid.

A full demographic analysis probably isn't sufficiently tilted against the Allies (if at all) to render, in combo with the small German qualitative edge, the 1940 outcome "likely" either.

So for now I'll say you've changed my mind to leaning towards your assessment that the 1940 outcome was not "likely."
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Jan 2022 06:09

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2022 05:46
Between 1918 and 1940, Germany's population grew at faster rate than France's due to low French birthrates.
I tabulated total live births (per Wiki) for France, Germany, Austria, and Sudetenland (projected as 4.4% of Germany+Austria):

Image

Subject to differential mortality rates, Germany would have had ~2.7x as many men of prime military age as France in 1940. That's a substantially different picture than emerges from total population, where 1939 Grossreich German population of ~79mil was not quite twice metropolitan France's population of 41.5mil.

The French-identified population of North Africa should be considered but was maybe 800k total in 1940 so only ~2% of the picture regarding core populations. I'm not sure how Alsace-Lorraine's births are apportioned in the Wiki source.

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

If we take 2.6x as the factor by which Germany's prime-age military manpower pool exceeded France's, then the 5mil Frenchmen under arms in 1940 approximates Germany's drafts by Fall 1944 (~13mil). Germany was certainly scraping the barrel by then, with many too-old or too-young soldiers. Seems feasible that this dynamic impacted French performance in 1940.

It's a factor I haven't seen discussed in secondary literature, interesting to me regardless of the broader topic.

----------------------
TMP bookmark: French vs. German military manpower pool
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 24 Jan 2022 10:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Jan 2022 07:22

KDF33 wrote:
22 Jan 2022 10:52
-16 + 3 divisions d'infanterie coloniale (colonial infantry divisions)
This is a topic I hesitate to broach, especially considering the bad faith interpretations likely to ensue. Nonetheless... Maybe most of the troublemakers have stopped following the thread...

I'll repeat my general framework that combat effectiveness shows a fairly tight correlation with levels of socioeconomic development. The CEV variance between countries of similar SES is swamped by variance between countries of different SES. I.e. qualitative factors in wars between non-peer countries in SES (Japan vs. China, Germany vs. USSR, US vs. Japan, Israel vs. neighbors, US vs. Iraq, etc.) always show greater disparity than in wars between SES peers (Western Front in both wars, USSR vs. Japan border incidents). All sinister arguments based on inherent/genetic traits are too stupid to address seriously. The facts that "ethnic" Germans were the worst soldiers of the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and that Volksdeutsche were poor Wehrmacht soldiers, are sufficient drive-by refutations of rank stupidity.

Without knowing anything - anything - about the qualitative performance of French colonial units, I'd be surprised if they were qualitatively up to Western Front standards based on my framework. The population of Pieds Noirs was insufficient to man these divisions with men who accrued the full benefits of French citizenship (in terms of education, wealth and therefore of nutrition and development of full potential). The units were likely manned by under-educated, under-nourished men who probably identified less with France and its Empire than the average metropolitan Frenchman. I.e. they would have reflected the SES conditions of their home territories. There are always outliers to general trends, so that's an entirely rebuttable presumption.
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Jan 2022 12:35

TheMarcksPlan wrote:If we take 2.6x as the factor by which Germany's prime-age military manpower pool exceeded France's, then the 5mil Frenchmen under arms in 1940 approximates Germany's drafts by Fall 1944 (~13mil)
...of course not all of the mobilized French were mobilized from the core French population. When I raised this question a while back, user Loic provided some good details here. From another comment in that thread, it appears that, although France initially mobilized 5mil from the core population, some went into agriculture and other economically useful work. Only by coincidence does that initial 5mil mobilization roughly match the 5.096mil in the global French military forces in May 1940. Can't tell so far how many of the 5.096mil were of the core French population. Loic's figures include Poles and Czechs, for example.
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 24 Jan 2022 13:09

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Jan 2022 06:09
If we take 2.6x as the factor by which Germany's prime-age military manpower pool exceeded France's, then the 5mil Frenchmen under arms in 1940 approximates Germany's drafts by Fall 1944 (~13mil). Germany was certainly scraping the barrel by then, with many too-old or too-young soldiers. Seems feasible that this dynamic impacted French performance in 1940.

It's a factor I haven't seen discussed in secondary literature, interesting to me regardless of the broader topic.
I think there's evidence for this.

The French raised so-called 'classe B' divisions manned with older reservists. 15 of the 80 non-colonial metropolitan divisions in May 1940 were 'classe B', almost 1-in-5. Those divisions were all regular infantry formations.

Two of the 'classe B' divisions, the 55th and the 71st, held the Sedan sector along the Meuse, and bore the brunt of the initial (successful) breakthrough attempt by Guderian's XIX Armeekorps (mot.). In the 55th, only 4% of officers were active-duty personnel.

The least we can say is that those divisions didn't do well.

***

This is no more than a hunch, and I have no evidence for this, but I wouldn't be surprised if the division-sized secteurs fortifiés, secteurs défensifs and corps d'armée de forteresse were also disproportionately manned with older age classes.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Jan 2022 22:46

KDF33 wrote:The French raised so-called 'classe B' divisions manned with older reservists. 15 of the 80 non-colonial metropolitan divisions in May 1940 were 'classe B', almost 1-in-5. Those divisions were all regular infantry formations.
Thanks. I remember reading something like this but forgot or never knew the particulars.
KDF33 wrote: I wouldn't be surprised if the division-sized secteurs fortifiés, secteurs défensifs and corps d'armée de forteresse were also disproportionately manned with older age classes.
That would certainly make sense. It would also ameliorate the real combat value disparity attributable to age skew. This is another a hunch from a veteran of many Beer League rugby/football games but I'd assume the disparity between 25yo and 40yo soldiers is less behind fortifications than in maneuver divisions.
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by daveshoup2MD » 25 Jan 2022 04:45

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2022 05:02
KDF33 wrote:TMP has raised serious questions about U.S. execution of their 'Germany first' strategy
Besides my broader arguments about insufficient attention to ground forces and unnecessary, panick/politically-inflected diversions to the Pacific, Operation Drumbeat and its follow-ons is a stark, massively underrated, entirely avoidable strategic disaster. It's the biggest Axis naval victory of the war, orders of magnitude more damaging than Pearl Harbor or Savo Island.

At the cost of 10 or so Uboats, Germany sank ~2.8mil GRT of shipping. Compared to prevailing trends, this is ~2mil tons of avoidable shipping losses.

Why so impactful? In all of 1942, US Army shipped 2.4mil measurement tons (MT = 40ft3) of cargo to Europe. The shipping lost to DRUMBEAT (etc) could have moved ~15mil MT that year (60 day turnaround time so ~6 trips/ship/year, 1 GRT of 100ft3 = at least 1.2MT of usable cargo space). That's easily enough to ship 45 divisions (not that 45 were available but the logistical constraint is gone).

That cargo lift - if not diverted to Pacific as well - makes SLEDGEHAMMER easily doable (logistically) in September 1942, even with OTL Pacific diversions. You need landing craft too but the US cut landing craft production to free shipyards to replace DRUMBEAT losses, which obviously doesn't happen absent those losses.

Why was this avoidable? Because we weren't running convoys in US/Caribbean waters (!!!!!!!!).. Despite everybody knowing that convoys limited losses.

Best source is Gannon's Operation Drumbeat: The Dramatic True Story of Germany's First U-Boat Attacks Along the American Coast in World War II.
Gannon? Um, no... terrible source; not worth the paper it's printed on.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by daveshoup2MD » 25 Jan 2022 04:48

KDF33 wrote:
22 Jan 2022 10:01
This should be clearer:

Image
23rd Infantry Division for the Americal was a post-war designation; using it in terms of US Army ground force designations in WW II is inaccurate.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 25 Jan 2022 10:17

daveshoup2MD wrote:
25 Jan 2022 04:48
23rd Infantry Division for the Americal was a post-war designation; using it in terms of US Army ground force designations in WW II is inaccurate.
Yes, you are correct.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by daveshoup2MD » 26 Jan 2022 06:07

KDF33 wrote:
25 Jan 2022 10:17
daveshoup2MD wrote:
25 Jan 2022 04:48
23rd Infantry Division for the Americal was a post-war designation; using it in terms of US Army ground force designations in WW II is inaccurate.
Yes, you are correct.
You are welcome.

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