An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

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Richard Anderson
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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Mar 2023 19:27

Avalancheon wrote:
31 Mar 2023 07:10
A production economy can be thought of as a triangle. On one side, you have industrial capacity and a labour force. On another side, you have supplys of raw materials. And on another side, you have the organisation of the economy itself.

Your focus is limited solely to industrial capacity and the labour force, and is therefore one dimensional. If you need real world examples of how rationalisation can lead to increased production, I will provide you with one. The Panzer III originally needed 4000 man hours of labour to produce, but after the introduction of flow production techniques, the labour needed was cut in half to 2000 man hours. That is the kindof results brought about by industrial self-responsibility, by the sharing of knowledge between firms, etc.
Er, no. I am not focused "solely to industrial capacity and the labour force", I am focused upon measurable outputs rather than bullshit buzzwords. Yes, I know that the bogus business about the Panzer III reposted ad nauseum from one alt-history site to another.

In German FY 1939 (April 1938-March 1939) MIAG's Ammenwerk tank assembly plant employed 4,872 persons and built zero Panzer III (not a complete waste though, they did complete around 39 Pz II Ausf C). In FY 1940 it employed 6,657 and built 32 Panzer III. In FY 1941 it employed 6,530 and built 156 Panzer III, In FY 1942 it employed 6,681 and built 390 Panzer III. In FY 1943 it employed 7,342 and built 734 Panzer III and StuG. In FY 1944 it employed 6,808 and built 1,598 Panzer III, StuG, and Jagdpanther. In FY 1945 it employed 5,791 and built 1,281 StuG and Jagdpanther.

So yes, while the number of persons in the assembly plant remained essentially the same (6,383 average over the eight years) the production output rapidly increased, Going from 39, to 32, to 156, to 390, to 734, to 1,598, before understandably decreasing to 1,281. Output doubled year-to-year in 1941-1942, 1942-1943, and 1943-1944. A steady increase over time rather than a sudden doubling of output measured as man-hours after 1943. So why?

Well, the Panzer III was a troubled design from the beginning, partly because in many ways it was cutting edge technology, especially its transmission. Large numbers of additional workers were never introduced to the Ammenwerk. "Flow production techniques" were never introduced to the Ammenwerk. Some money for plant expansion was invested in FY 1939 (the same that resulted in the Nibelungenwerk construction and other assembly plant expansions).

So what, pray tell, is "industrial self-responsibility"? Aside from yet another buzzword invented by Simon Gogl?

"sharing of knowledge between firms"? Did that suddenly happen after Todt/Speer waved their magic wand? Panzer III was a shared design, shared contract, shared problem from the very beginning. DB was the prime, but Krupp produced turrets, relying itself on Wegmann, which was across the street from it. Maybach supplied engines for everyone and Zahnradfabrik did the same for transmissions - that was the major bottleneck to expanding production not lack of knowledge sharing, lack of industrial self-responsibility, and so on.

How do you explain that Nibelungenwerk, which was the only plant designed from the beginning for "flow production techniques" only began to meet its planned output in March 1944, five years after its construction was funded, and twenty-nine months after it produced its first tank? That it employed 4,800 workers by fall 1941 but they were exclusively engaged in repairing Panzer III and building suspension assemblies rather than Panzer IV and that the first one - literally one -was not completed until November 1941? In its official "opening" month of March 1942 it completed building zero Panzer IV. How many man-hours is that?
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Avalancheon
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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Avalancheon » 01 Apr 2023 03:27

Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Mar 2023 19:27
So what, pray tell, is "industrial self-responsibility"? Aside from yet another buzzword invented by Simon Gogl?
To put it simply. Industrial self-responsibility is when heads of industrys utilise their own expertise to reorient their firms for maximised production. This can be achieved in any number of ways; changes to the production process, division of labour, standardisation, etc.
Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Mar 2023 19:27
"sharing of knowledge between firms"? Did that suddenly happen after Todt/Speer waved their magic wand? Panzer III was a shared design, shared contract, shared problem from the very beginning. DB was the prime, but Krupp produced turrets, relying itself on Wegmann, which was across the street from it. Maybach supplied engines for everyone and Zahnradfabrik did the same for transmissions - that was the major bottleneck to expanding production not lack of knowledge sharing, lack of industrial self-responsibility, and so on.
If one factory found a shortcut in the production process, then that knowledge would be shared among all the factorys. Of course they were all producing the same tank, and working off the same blueprints. But the production process used by all the factorys wasn't identical. Some would be taking different steps in the production process, with resulting changes in the man hours of labour. If that knowledge wasn't shared, then comparisons could not be made; how could the heads of industry know whether they had an optimised production process?
Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Mar 2023 19:27
How do you explain that Nibelungenwerk, which was the only plant designed from the beginning for "flow production techniques" only began to meet its planned output in March 1944, five years after its construction was funded, and twenty-nine months after it produced its first tank? That it employed 4,800 workers by fall 1941 but they were exclusively engaged in repairing Panzer III and building suspension assemblies rather than Panzer IV and that the first one - literally one -was not completed until November 1941? In its official "opening" month of March 1942 it completed building zero Panzer IV. How many man-hours is that?
The Nibelungenwerke was beset by problems with competing contracts. It was forced to produce the Porsche Tiger (later modified into the Elefant tank destroyer), which affected its production of the Panzer IV.


''A classic example of German inefficiency in tank production is the Nibelungenwerke in Austria, which was built from scratch between 1939-41 at the cost of 65.7 million and was intended to produce 150 Pz IV tanks per month in 1942. However, just as the plant was reaching initial operational capacity (IOC) in January 1942, the OKH decided to escalate the long-dormant heavy tank program. The Nibelungenwerke was directed to work with Porsche in developing and building his VK 4501(P) Tiger prototype, while Henschel built his own VK 4501(H) project.

Despite the fact that Porsches design was plagued with technical problems, the Nazi hierarchy ensured that it was assigned higher priority than Pz IV production and the two largest workshops in the Nibelungenwerke were given over to Dr Porsches project. Enter Karl Otto Saur, Speers deputy in the Reichsminister fur Bewaffnung und Munition. Saur was also an ardent Nazi and issued orders to both Henschel and Porsche that they would complete their prototypes for the Tiger competition by Hitlers birthday on 20 April 1942.

Remarkably, the Nibelungenwerke was able to meet this arbitrary schedule and assemble a single VK 4501(P) prototype, but this came at the cost of restricting PZ IV production to just 2-8 tanks per month for the first five months of the year. Adding insult to injury, Speer recognized that the VK 4501(P) prototype was technically unreliable and terminated the project, awarding the production contract for the Tiger to Henschel instead. However, Porsche continued to be one of Hitlers favorites, so he was handed a consolidation prize.

The Nibelungenwerke would build 90 VK 4501(P) hulls, which Porsche would convert into an as-yet undesigned Ferdinand heavy tank destroyer. Just as the Nibelungenwerke was ramping up to build 32 Pz IV tanks in November 1942, the staff were informed that the Ferdinand now had top priority and assembly had to be completed by April 1943. Half the workspace of Workshop VI, intended for Pz IV assembly, was handed over to Porsche for his Ferdinand project.

Consequently, thanks to Porsche and Saurs Nazi cronyism, the Nibelungenwerke only built the minuscule total of 186 Pz IV tanks during 1942 instead of the 1800 planned. The Ferdinand programme prevented any significant increase in Pz IV production for months and it was not until June 1943 that the Nibelungenwerke was able to raise its monthly output to 120 Pz Iv Ausf H. Since the Nibelungenwerke was also responsible for producing spare road wheels for the Panzer IV, this output was also significantly impaired until spring 1943.''

-Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front, 1943–1945: Red Steamroller, by Robert Forczyk.

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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Peter89 » 01 Apr 2023 04:29

Guys, I appreciate the details you put forward, but even if there was a higher production of AFVs, the number of operational tanks on the front could not grow substantially with the maintenance system the Germans were operating in 1941. Especially if we are talking about a grand operation 500-1000 km + inside the Soviet Union.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Apr 2023 18:08

Avalancheon wrote:
01 Apr 2023 03:27
To put it simply. Industrial self-responsibility is when heads of industrys utilise their own expertise to reorient their firms for maximised production. This can be achieved in any number of ways; changes to the production process, division of labour, standardisation, etc.
So are you saying that did not happen in Nazi Germany? What is the evidence it did not?
If one factory found a shortcut in the production process, then that knowledge would be shared among all the factorys. Of course they were all producing the same tank, and working off the same blueprints. But the production process used by all the factorys wasn't identical. Some would be taking different steps in the production process, with resulting changes in the man hours of labour. If that knowledge wasn't shared, then comparisons could not be made; how could the heads of industry know whether they had an optimised production process?
Again, are you saying that did not happen in Nazi Germany? What is the evidence it did not?

Wartime Germany was a command-driven economy...just like every other major nation at war. Command-driven economies are inherently inefficient and subject to building blind alleys...in the U.S. the best example is the Quad Cities Tank Arsenal, which was as large as the DTA and the GBTA but only completed building seven tanks that were never used.
The Nibelungenwerke was beset by problems with competing contracts. It was forced to produce the Porsche Tiger (later modified into the Elefant tank destroyer), which affected its production of the Panzer IV.
Sorry but that is facile. And simply wrong. Nibelungenwerke began production of the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) in April 1943. It completed its first Panzer IV Ausf F in November 1941. How can a contract in spring 1943 "compete" with a contract in fall 1941? Nor did production of the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) affect production of the Panzer IV. In April 1943, 30 Panzerjäger Tiger (P) were completed as were 60 Panzer IV. In May 1943, 60 Panzerjäger Tiger (P) were completed as were 115 Panzer IV. In June 1943, zero Panzerjäger Tiger (P) were completed as were 120 Panzer IV.
''A classic example of German inefficiency in tank production is the Nibelungenwerke in Austria, which was built from scratch between 1939-41 at the cost of 65.7 million and was intended to produce 150 Pz IV tanks per month in 1942.
Um, no. The planned maximum capacity of Nibelungenwerk was 320 Panzer IV per month, which it achieved in June, July, and August of 1944. The 23 February 1940 Oberkommando des Heeres order for construction of the plant at Thurnsdorf near St. Valentin allocated 78,288,000 Reichsmarks to construction.
However, just as the plant was reaching initial operational capacity (IOC) in January 1942, the OKH decided to escalate the long-dormant heavy tank program. The Nibelungenwerke was directed to work with Porsche in developing and building his VK 4501(P) Tiger prototype, while Henschel built his own VK 4501(H) project.
It actually achieved IOC in September 1940 when it began rebuilding Panzer III from the French campaign and was also tasked with producing suspension assemblies and other component parts for other assembly plants for most of the first years of its operation (given the Panzer IV was the contract least plagued by delivery delays I suspect little urgency was felt). Then in late 1941 as the plant approached completion it worked on repairing the backlog of damaged tanks not repairable by the rickety ad hoc depot repair system established for the Ostfront, which had been quickly overwhelmed.
Despite the fact that Porsches design was plagued with technical problems, the Nazi hierarchy ensured that it was assigned higher priority than Pz IV production and the two largest workshops in the Nibelungenwerke were given over to Dr Porsches project. Enter Karl Otto Saur, Speers deputy in the Reichsminister fur Bewaffnung und Munition. Saur was also an ardent Nazi and issued orders to both Henschel and Porsche that they would complete their prototypes for the Tiger competition by Hitlers birthday on 20 April 1942.

Remarkably, the Nibelungenwerke was able to meet this arbitrary schedule and assemble a single VK 4501(P) prototype, but this came at the cost of restricting PZ IV production to just 2-8 tanks per month for the first five months of the year. Adding insult to injury, Speer recognized that the VK 4501(P) prototype was technically unreliable and terminated the project, awarding the production contract for the Tiger to Henschel instead. However, Porsche continued to be one of Hitlers favorites, so he was handed a consolidation prize.
Um, Forczyk apparently missed the VK30.01(P) Fgst. completed there in March 1941.
The Nibelungenwerke would build 90 VK 4501(P) hulls, which Porsche would convert into an as-yet undesigned Ferdinand heavy tank destroyer. Just as the Nibelungenwerke was ramping up to build 32 Pz IV tanks in November 1942, the staff were informed that the Ferdinand now had top priority and assembly had to be completed by April 1943. Half the workspace of Workshop VI, intended for Pz IV assembly, was handed over to Porsche for his Ferdinand project.
The ten VK 4501(P) - not one as implied by Forczyk - were begun in May 1942 and completed by August 1942. Panzer IV production at Nibelungenwerk finally started in November 1941. Again, how does a contract in spring 1942 affect production in fall 1941. BTW, 32 Panzer IV were completed in November 1942, so the planned "ramping up" was achieved.
Consequently, thanks to Porsche and Saurs Nazi cronyism, the Nibelungenwerke only built the minuscule total of 186 Pz IV tanks during 1942 instead of the 1800 planned. The Ferdinand programme prevented any significant increase in Pz IV production for months and it was not until June 1943 that the Nibelungenwerke was able to raise its monthly output to 120 Pz Iv Ausf H. Since the Nibelungenwerke was also responsible for producing spare road wheels for the Panzer IV, this output was also significantly impaired until spring 1943.''

-Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front, 1943–1945: Red Steamroller, by Robert Forczyk.
Output at Nibelungenwerk through 1942 actually exceeded the OKH contract requirement of 120, although it did not meet the maximum goal set by Panzerprogramm A of 252. Reaching 74% of maximum goal was pretty good performance.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Avalancheon » 02 Apr 2023 01:06

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2023 18:08
Avalancheon wrote:
01 Apr 2023 03:27
To put it simply. Industrial self-responsibility is when heads of industrys utilise their own expertise to reorient their firms for maximised production. This can be achieved in any number of ways; changes to the production process, division of labour, standardisation, etc.
So are you saying that did not happen in Nazi Germany? What is the evidence it did not?
There was slack in the German economy during the early years of the war; it was not performing at its full potential. This slack showed up in many cases. After Rustungsprogram B was completed in May 1941, there was a noted discrepancy between manufacturing capacity and the production output. Hitler grumbled to Georg Thomas about this underperformance.

''With the armaments for Barbarossa provisionally complete, the German war economy entered a new phase. The sum of these efforts, discussed at Hitler’s headquarters in Todt’s presence on 18 May 1941 and relayed to Keitel by Thomas the following day, was not very impressive. Serious discrepancies between results and original targets could not be disguised. Undeceived at last, Hitler condemned the severe decline that had already occurred in some sectors of arms and ammunition manufacture. In particular, he refused to tolerate the conspicuous discrepancy between available manufacturing capacity, which was even now being expanded with the aid of substantial resources, and the output figures actually achieved.'' -Germany and the Second World War, Volume IV: The Attack on the Soviet Union.
Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2023 18:08
Wartime Germany was a command-driven economy...just like every other major nation at war. Command-driven economies are inherently inefficient and subject to building blind alleys...
But none were as heavily undermined by bureaucratic chaos as the wartime German economy. It was a mass of conflicting authoritys with overlapping responsibilitys, as best illustrated by this diagram. Efficient production programs are not possible in such a bureaucratic morass.

economy-wartime.png
Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2023 18:08
Avalancheon wrote:
01 Apr 2023 03:27
The Nibelungenwerke was beset by problems with competing contracts. It was forced to produce the Porsche Tiger (later modified into the Elefant tank destroyer), which affected its production of the Panzer IV.
Sorry but that is facile. And simply wrong. Nibelungenwerke began production of the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) in April 1943. It completed its first Panzer IV Ausf F in November 1941. How can a contract in spring 1943 "compete" with a contract in fall 1941? Nor did production of the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) affect production of the Panzer IV. In April 1943, 30 Panzerjäger Tiger (P) were completed as were 60 Panzer IV. In May 1943, 60 Panzerjäger Tiger (P) were completed as were 115 Panzer IV. In June 1943, zero Panzerjäger Tiger (P) were completed as were 120 Panzer IV.
Wow, thats a whole lot of obfuscation your putting out, Richard. Your trying to muddy the waters in order to avoid conceding the point. What were we even arguing about originally? Your point was that rationalization did not (and could not) lead to increased production of tanks, by using the underperformance of the Nibelungenwerke factory as an example. Well, lets go into the history to show why your example is misleading, and does not substantiate your belief.


The Nibelungenwerke was producing Porsche Tigers (minus the turrets, which were produced by Krupp) throughout 1942. First they completed a contract for the prototypes, then they completed a contract for 90 more chassis. After the Army awarded the mass production contract to Henschel, the Porsche Tigers were converted into Elefant tank destroyers. All of this work was done at the Nibelungenwerke, and it interfered with the production of the Panzer IV. Thats why they weren't achieving their planned output levels at the time.

''The first Henschel VK.4501 (H) was assembled using the new Krupp turret and 8.8 cm gun in April 1942. The two competitive designs were presented at the Wolfs Lair in Rastenburg on Hitlers birthday on April 20, 1942. Hitler was unable to decide which he preferred, and he ordered the start of production of 100 examples of both types. However, subsequent tests of the Porsche Tiger (P) were a complete catastrophe due to the immaturity of its novel powertrain. Furthermore, its production at the Nibelungenwerke was badly behind schedule.

In contrast, the Henschel Tiger (H) encountered no major stumbling blocks and the first serial production tank was sent for trials at the end of May 1942. Owing to confidence in the Henschel design, a second production contract for 300 more Tiger (H) tanks was awarded in July 1942. A final competitive trial between the two designs was conducted in November 1942. The tests went badly for the Porsche entry and further production beyond the initial batch of 100 was canceled. Instead of being used as a tank, the Porsche Tiger was constructed as an 8.8 cm Panzerjager tank destroyer.''

-Pershing vs Tiger: Germany 1945, by Steven J. Zaloga.
Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2023 18:08
However, just as the plant was reaching initial operational capacity (IOC) in January 1942, the OKH decided to escalate the long-dormant heavy tank program. The Nibelungenwerke was directed to work with Porsche in developing and building his VK 4501(P) Tiger prototype, while Henschel built his own VK 4501(H) project.
It actually achieved IOC in September 1940 when it began rebuilding Panzer III from the French campaign and was also tasked with producing suspension assemblies and other component parts for other assembly plants for most of the first years of its operation (given the Panzer IV was the contract least plagued by delivery delays I suspect little urgency was felt). Then in late 1941 as the plant approached completion it worked on repairing the backlog of damaged tanks not repairable by the rickety ad hoc depot repair system established for the Ostfront, which had been quickly overwhelmed.
As you are no doubt aware, the Nibelungenwerke was built in four stages:

The plant consisted of a total of four expansion stages and was expanded accordingly over time. In the first stage of expansion, the plant took over initial repair work on the Panzer III as early as September 1940 . The second stage included delivery orders for parts production, in the context of which, among other things, 5400 rollers were manufactured for the Gruson factory in Magdeburg-Buckau . With the third stage of expansion completed at the end of 1941, in addition to the assembly of the Porsche Tiger , series production of the Panzer IV began from 1942. With the last stage of expansion in 1943, the production capacity was increased. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nibelungenwerk

Forczyk was probably referring to the completion of the third stage of late 1941.
Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2023 18:08
The ten VK 4501(P) - not one as implied by Forczyk - were begun in May 1942 and completed by August 1942. Panzer IV production at Nibelungenwerk finally started in November 1941. Again, how does a contract in spring 1942 affect production in fall 1941? BTW, 32 Panzer IV were completed in November 1942, so the planned "ramping up" was achieved.
Nibelungenwerke only had a limited production capacity in the first half of 1942, which was taken up by work on the prototype Porsche Tigers. In the second half of 1942, they were again burdened by work on the ninety production Porsche Tigers.
Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2023 18:08
Consequently, thanks to Porsche and Saurs Nazi cronyism, the Nibelungenwerke only built the minuscule total of 186 Pz IV tanks during 1942 instead of the 1800 planned. The Ferdinand programme prevented any significant increase in Pz IV production for months and it was not until June 1943 that the Nibelungenwerke was able to raise its monthly output to 120 Pz Iv Ausf H. Since the Nibelungenwerke was also responsible for producing spare road wheels for the Panzer IV, this output was also significantly impaired until spring 1943.''

-Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front, 1943–1945: Red Steamroller, by Robert Forczyk.
Output at Nibelungenwerk through 1942 actually exceeded the OKH contract requirement of 120, although it did not meet the maximum goal set by Panzerprogramm A of 252. Reaching 74% of maximum goal was pretty good performance.
So what is it, Richard? Did the Nibelungenwerke perform well, or did it perform badly? Try to remember your original point in bringing this up.
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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Apr 2023 18:56

Avalancheon wrote:
02 Apr 2023 01:06
There was slack in the German economy during the early years of the war; it was not performing at its full potential. This slack showed up in many cases. After Rustungsprogram B was completed in May 1941, there was a noted discrepancy between manufacturing capacity and the production output. Hitler grumbled to Georg Thomas about this underperformance.
Well, sure, who do you think was arguing there wasn't. There was also slack in the British and American economy during the early years of the war and they were not performing at their full potential. The slack in the Germany economy, as in those others, was due to many things. In Germany the expansion of military spending had been derailed by the 1937 recession, which was felt worldwide. It reduced government expenditures and the proportion spent on the military. That was followed by over-mobilization of manpower after the declaration of war, which led to the release of nearly a million men from the Wehrmacht in fall and winter 1940/1941 in an effort to get the armaments industry going again. Then there was the issue of centralized steel allocations, which was redirected from one sector to the next over and over as Hitler focused on one particular thing.
But none were as heavily undermined by bureaucratic chaos as the wartime German economy. It was a mass of conflicting authoritys with overlapping responsibilitys, as best illustrated by this diagram. Efficient production programs are not possible in such a bureaucratic morass.
Again, who argued differently? However, how do industrialists indulging in "Industrial self-responsibility" in Nazi Germany change the bureaucratic disarray? They were beholden to the Nazi government and not vice versa.

BTW, with a bit of effort I could probably draw just as convoluted a chart for the obligations within the American wartime economy. The system of material priorities alone was byzantine enough as to be unfathomable.
Wow, thats a whole lot of obfuscation your putting out, Richard. Your trying to muddy the waters in order to avoid conceding the point. What were we even arguing about originally? Your point was that rationalization did not (and could not) lead to increased production of tanks, by using the underperformance of the Nibelungenwerke factory as an example. Well, lets go into the history to show why your example is misleading, and does not substantiate your belief.
Wow that's pretty dishonest, whatever your name hiding behind your username is. You do not now know what you were arguing about but yet you feel you can create a "point" and attribute it to me even though your "point" has nothing to do with what I said or argued? That is a lot of obfuscation on your part.

To refresh your defective memory, you stated that the reason the manhours to produce the Panzer III were supposedly halved - a statistic with little or no evidence to support it - was because of "the introduction of flow production techniques". I simply pointed out the problems with that theory - there is little evidence that "flow production techniques" were employed in the Panzer III and that in the one factory known to be designed from the beginning for "flow production techniques" - Nibelungenwerk - output was a fraction of what it was designed to produce..
The Nibelungenwerke was producing Porsche Tigers (minus the turrets, which were produced by Krupp) throughout 1942. First they completed a contract for the prototypes, then they completed a contract for 90 more chassis. After the Army awarded the mass production contract to Henschel, the Porsche Tigers were converted into Elefant tank destroyers. All of this work was done at the Nibelungenwerke, and it interfered with the production of the Panzer IV. Thats why they weren't achieving their planned output levels at the time.
And to support your argument you are now falsifying history. No, the "Porsche Tiger" was not produced "throughout 1942". Nor were they all built minus the turrets. The first VK4501(P) was rushed to completion with one of the Krupp turrets in April, in time for Hitler's birthday. The second in June, the third in September, and the final seven in October 1942. Only five were completed with turrets, the other five as chassis. Hitler ordered the completion of the 90 Panzerjäger Tiger (P) on 22 November 1942. Production began in April 1943 and all 90 were completed by the end of May 1943.

No, production of the ten VK4501(P) did not interfere with production of the Panzer IV, which was already pointed out to you. Nibelungen exceeded its contract requirement. They were contracted to build 120 and built 186, while also completing the 10 VK4501(P).
''The first Henschel VK.4501 (H) was assembled using the new Krupp turret and 8.8 cm gun in April 1942. The two competitive designs were presented at the Wolfs Lair in Rastenburg on Hitlers birthday on April 20, 1942. Hitler was unable to decide which he preferred, and he ordered the start of production of 100 examples of both types. However, subsequent tests of the Porsche Tiger (P) were a complete catastrophe due to the immaturity of its novel powertrain. Furthermore, its production at the Nibelungenwerke was badly behind schedule.

In contrast, the Henschel Tiger (H) encountered no major stumbling blocks and the first serial production tank was sent for trials at the end of May 1942. Owing to confidence in the Henschel design, a second production contract for 300 more Tiger (H) tanks was awarded in July 1942. A final competitive trial between the two designs was conducted in November 1942. The tests went badly for the Porsche entry and further production beyond the initial batch of 100 was canceled. Instead of being used as a tank, the Porsche Tiger was constructed as an 8.8 cm Panzerjager tank destroyer.''

-Pershing vs Tiger: Germany 1945, by Steven J. Zaloga.
Steve messed up a bit in trying to compress things into an Osprey format. The order for 100 VK4501(P) was for hull production and went to Krupp in July 1941. Krupp was also given an order for 100 turrets with armament. All was to be delivered to and assembled at Nibelungenwerk. They were completed and delivered, with ten of the hulls assembled as complete vehicles at Nibelungenwerk as above. Ninety of the turrets eventually went to the VK4501(H1). The other ninety hulls remained at Nibelungenwerk until after Hitler's 22 November 1942 decision to complete them as Panzerjäger Tiger (P) (another hull was rebuilt by Alkett to give a total of 91).
Forczyk was probably referring to the completion of the third stage of late 1941.
Probably, but his using that term as applying to the factory was confusing. It is a modern term used for a weapons system...but the Panzer IV had already achieved IOC. The plant reached IOC when it was able to do work. It did so when it began repairing tanks.
Nibelungenwerke only had a limited production capacity in the first half of 1942, which was taken up by work on the prototype Porsche Tigers. In the second half of 1942, they were again burdened by work on the ninety production Porsche Tigers.
Sorry but that is simply wrong again. How do you get so mixed up over something that was already explained to you. The only work on the "Porsche Tigers" done at Nibelungenwerk in 1942 was on the ten VK4501(P) completely assembled as test vehicles April-October. The other 90 were hull castings delivered from Krupp. They were stored there but no more work was done to them by Nibelungenwerk until 1943 when the work was done in April and May to complete the Krupp-made hulls as Panzerjäger Tiger(P).

I am not sure how storing 90 inert hulls on site placed any "burden" on the capacity of Nibelungenwerk to produce Panzer IV, of which they produced 186. Sixty-six more than they were contracted to produce.
So what is it, Richard? Did the Nibelungenwerke perform well, or did it perform badly? Try to remember your original point in bringing this up.
You really did lose the thread didn't you whatever your name hiding behind your username is? Nibelungenwerk was designed for "flow production techniques" that supposedly would make it capable of producing up to 320 tanks per month. It did not do so until summer 1944. Could it possibly be because there were other factors at work besides the miraculous buzzwords "flow production techniques"? Nibelungenwerk was contracted by IN 6 to build 120 Panzer IV in 1942. Why? That question has zero to do with how well or how poorly Nibelungenwerk performed but demonstrates why the introduction of "flow production techniques" was not the be all and end all of increasing production you seem to believe it is.

Do try to remember your original point in bringing this up.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by paulrward » 02 Apr 2023 18:56

Hello All :

What we have here is the classic debate: on one side is a person who is proposing a
' What If ', and on the other side is a Historian who merely reiterates ' What Was '.

Er, no. I am not focused "solely to industrial capacity and the
labour force", I am focused upon measurable outputs rather than bullshit
buzzwords. Yes, I know that the bogus business about the Panzer III
reposted ad nauseum from one alt-history site to another.
The raw facts are simple: The Germans made a LOT of mistakes during WW2. They
missed clear opportunities to make valuble alliances, they squandered precious resources
on useless vanity projects, and they wasted time, manpower, and resources solving the
' Jewish Problem ', which during the War was a Non Problem.

When posters on this section of the Forum create a What If topic relating to the German
Mistakes in WW2, they have rich pickings. What they have to avoid is using 20-20 Hindsight,
and allowing the Germans to have technology earlier than they historically did.

Mr. Avalancheon has done nothing of this sort. He has simply posited the idea that,
' What If' the Germans, after their quick successes in Czechoslovakia, Austria, Spain, Poland,
Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and France, HAD NOT ASSUMED THAT THE
WAR IN RUSSIA WOULD BE A SHORT WAR !


The major problem for Germany was that Hitler had assumed, based on personal prejudices
and inadequate or incorrect information, that the Soviet Union was disorganized and weak,
that, " We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down,''
All the German planning for Barbarossa was that the fighting would be essentially over
by the time the snow fell, and that 1942 would be a mopping up campaign.

What Mr. Avalancheon has proposed is that Hitler does NOT make this mistake. And, in this light,
he orders the Wehrmacht to be prepared for a Long, Bitter War - a war to the death. And so, instead
of simply producing the number of tanks, guns, boots, greatcoats, and messkits that the planners
believe are necessary to win a short war, ALL of Germany's industry is put on a 24-7 basis to produce
as much as possible, as quickly as possible, and to keep up this pace until the Soviet Union surrenders.

In other words, " Start Digging, and DON'T STOP DIGGING UNTIL I TELL YOU TO STOP DIGGING ! "



The mistakes that Hitler and Himmler made with respect to the occupation of the Soviet Union are
massive and legendary. We might add to Mr. Avalancheon's What If,

What if the Germans had made an Ally of the Ukrainians, and recruited captured Ukrainians into
the German Army as Free Ukrainian Divisions ?


Now, two or three years ago, my suggesting this would have been greeted with laughter and derision
by the Historians on this Forum, but the events of the past year or so have shown the world what the
Ukrainians actually feel about the Russians.....
And, citing the much maligned Wikipedia :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian ... zi_Germany

It is obvious from a quick reading that there were numerous opportunities to use Ukrainian manpower
in a war against Stalin. As it was, the Germans ended up with some 80,000 Ukrainians who fought
against the USSR in 1944 and 1945. This process could have been started in the summer of 1941, by
simply separating out from the hundreds of thousands of Soviet POWs what would have probably been
roughly 100,000 Ukrainians. Offer them the chance to fight for a free Ukraine, issue them a Mosin-
Nagant with cartridge belt, a German Feldgrau Tunic and Greatcoat with Blue and Yellow Armbands,
repaint their Russian helmets in Feldgrau, and you can create another eight to ten infantry divisions
for second line work,
Ukrainian solcier.jpg
The real mistake that Hitler made in WW2 was his focus on Aryan Germanic Supremacy. He refused
to make allies by apparently never learning the Latin phrase, " Quid Pro Quo " ! Germany could
have brought Spain and Turkey into the War, and made better use of Finland, by simply offering the
leaders of those nations things they could NOT get on their own, but COULD get in an alliance with
Germany fighting against the Soviet Union. Things like LAND, and POWER ! The sort of thing that
makes EVERY tin pot dictator drool like one of Pavlov's dogs at the sound of the Dinner Bell....


Keep up the Excellent work, Mr. Avalancheon !

Respectfully:

Paul R. Ward
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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Peter89 » 02 Apr 2023 20:18

paulrward wrote:
02 Apr 2023 18:56
Germany could have brought Spain and Turkey into the War, and made better use of Finland, by simply offering the
leaders of those nations things they could NOT get on their own, but COULD get in an alliance with
Germany fighting against the Soviet Union. Things like LAND, and POWER ! The sort of thing that
makes EVERY tin pot dictator drool like one of Pavlov's dogs at the sound of the Dinner Bell....
Hello Paul,

the Germans tried and could not get Spain into the war; also they could not promise them anything from the Soviet spoils.

Turkey was courted by the Allies and the Germans as well, and they knew they will profit the most from neutrality. Germany had exactly 0 chance to pull them into the war against the SU before the SU was actually defeated (also the Turkish army had obsolete equipment, and Germany could barely equip its own forces).

Finland had a hard line against foreign influence. They only served the Germans as much as it coincided with their own national interests. If Leningrad fell to the Germans, the Finns would help the Germans more; but if Leningrad fell, the Germans didn't need the Finns that much anymore.

It is questionable whether the Germans actually had Hungary and Romania fighting for them in the SU with promises of land and power. I think these countries joined the Axis because at the time it seemed that Germany will decide about the borders in Europe, thus they had to placate them. In oder words, they did it out of fear, not so much out of ambition.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Apr 2023 21:07

Peter, you just don't understand. What ifs usually are made to work by eliminating poor decision making, greed, venality, complacency, and incompetence from the equation in order to fit the chosen narrative. And, if all else fails, the what iffer eliminates reality and simply substitute the reality they prefer. In a what if everything is possible, so obviously you simply don't like what ifs if you insist a measure of reality remain attached to it.
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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Avalancheon » 03 Apr 2023 03:51

Richard Anderson wrote:
02 Apr 2023 18:56
Avalancheon wrote:
02 Apr 2023 01:06
There was slack in the German economy during the early years of the war; it was not performing at its full potential. This slack showed up in many cases. After Rustungsprogram B was completed in May 1941, there was a noted discrepancy between manufacturing capacity and the production output. Hitler grumbled to Georg Thomas about this underperformance.
Well, sure, who do you think was arguing there wasn't. There was also slack in the British and American economy during the early years of the war and they were not performing at their full potential.
This trend was more pronounced in the German economy, however. The Soviet Union and the United States were able to achieve roughly 80% of their maximum production within about 15-18 months after they declared war. Germany did not achieve 80% of its maximum production until 40-44 months after they declared war. Their productivity actually declined from 1939 to 1941, and did not increase until 1942. The German war economy took much longer than any of the other major powers to achieve its maximum production. This shows that there was a systematic force at work (their own bureaucracy) preventing them from mobilising fully.
Richard Anderson wrote:
02 Apr 2023 18:56
The slack in the Germany economy, as in those others, was due to many things. In Germany the expansion of military spending had been derailed by the 1937 recession, which was felt worldwide. It reduced government expenditures and the proportion spent on the military.
Yes, thats true. The 1937 recession also affected Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union, and led to decreased budgets for the military. But when each of those countrys went to war, they were all able to achieve 80% of their maximum production much faster than Germany did.
Richard Anderson wrote:
02 Apr 2023 18:56
But none were as heavily undermined by bureaucratic chaos as the wartime German economy. It was a mass of conflicting authoritys with overlapping responsibilitys, as best illustrated by this diagram. Efficient production programs are not possible in such a bureaucratic morass.
Again, who argued differently? However, how do industrialists indulging in "Industrial self-responsibility" in Nazi Germany change the bureaucratic disarray? They were beholden to the Nazi government and not vice versa.
When Hitler issued the Fuhrer Order to rationalize the war economy, that set multiple things in motion. It enabled Fritz Todt and the Armaments Ministry to drive forward with their scheme for industrial self responsibility, making the heads of industry responsible for maximising production of weaponry. It enabled them to set up committees for managing the various types of weapons production, and to tightly control the allocation of raw materials (especially steel and coal).

It also created the situation whereby the various economic authoritys unanimously decided on the need for a single figure who could exert centralised control over the war economy. This is what led to Albert Speer assuming control of the Office of the Four Year Plan (supplanting Herman Goering), and becoming the central authority in the German economy.
Richard Anderson wrote:
02 Apr 2023 18:56
Your point was that rationalization did not (and could not) lead to increased production of tanks, by using the underperformance of the Nibelungenwerke factory as an example.
To refresh your defective memory, you stated that the reason the manhours to produce the Panzer III were supposedly halved - a statistic with little or no evidence to support it - was because of "the introduction of flow production techniques". I simply pointed out the problems with that theory - there is little evidence that "flow production techniques" were employed in the Panzer III and that in the one factory known to be designed from the beginning for "flow production techniques" - Nibelungenwerk - output was a fraction of what it was designed to produce.
Flow production techniques would be an example of rationalisation that led to increased production of tanks. You questioned whether such techniques actually did reduce the man hours of labour needed to produce a tank by pointing to the underperformance of the Nibelungenwerke. I attempted to explain that there wasn't any correlation between these two things. You still haven't convinced me that there is a correlation.
Richard Anderson wrote:
02 Apr 2023 18:56
The Nibelungenwerke was producing Porsche Tigers (minus the turrets, which were produced by Krupp) throughout 1942. First they completed a contract for the prototypes, then they completed a contract for 90 more chassis. After the Army awarded the mass production contract to Henschel, the Porsche Tigers were converted into Elefant tank destroyers. All of this work was done at the Nibelungenwerke, and it interfered with the production of the Panzer IV. Thats why they weren't achieving their planned output levels at the time.
And to support your argument you are now falsifying history. No, the "Porsche Tiger" was not produced "throughout 1942". Nor were they all built minus the turrets. The first VK4501(P) was rushed to completion with one of the Krupp turrets in April, in time for Hitler's birthday. The second in June, the third in September, and the final seven in October 1942. Only five were completed with turrets, the other five as chassis. Hitler ordered the completion of the 90 Panzerjäger Tiger (P) on 22 November 1942. Production began in April 1943 and all 90 were completed by the end of May 1943.

No, production of the ten VK4501(P) did not interfere with production of the Panzer IV, which was already pointed out to you. Nibelungen exceeded its contract requirement. They were contracted to build 120 and built 186, while also completing the 10 VK4501(P).
My argument was that Nibelungenwerkes production was disrupted because of its competing contracts for the Porsche Tiger and the Panzer IV. I was under the impression that much work had been done on the 90 Porsche Tigers, and that most of the chassis had been completed at the time the contract was cancelled in November 1942. After reading through my sources, that seems not to have been the case. So the impact of those competing contracts is not as great as I initially believed. I will acknowledge that much.

However, I still don't agree that this example supports your beliefs. The Nibelungenwerke being unable to meet its planned output until 1944 has no bearing on the labour savings offered by flow production techniques.
Richard Anderson wrote:
02 Apr 2023 18:56
Sorry but that is simply wrong again. How do you get so mixed up over something that was already explained to you. The only work on the "Porsche Tigers" done at Nibelungenwerk in 1942 was on the ten VK4501(P) completely assembled as test vehicles April-October. The other 90 were hull castings delivered from Krupp. They were stored there but no more work was done to them by Nibelungenwerk until 1943 when the work was done in April and May to complete the Krupp-made hulls as Panzerjäger Tiger(P).

I am not sure how storing 90 inert hulls on site placed any "burden" on the capacity of Nibelungenwerk to produce Panzer IV, of which they produced 186. Sixty-six more than they were contracted to produce.
Yes, I know that the hulls of 90 Porsche Tigers were stored at Nibelungenwerke. But I had assumed that the factory was busy producing components for them and installing them into the chassis, at the time the contract was cancelled in November 1942. After looking at my sources, I can't find evidence that any work was being done on those hulls. So it seems you are correct on that point; the work on the Porsche Tigers did not have a major effect om the Nibelungenwerkes production in 1942.
Richard Anderson wrote:
02 Apr 2023 18:56
You really did lose the thread didn't you whatever your name hiding behind your username is? Nibelungenwerk was designed for "flow production techniques" that supposedly would make it capable of producing up to 320 tanks per month. It did not do so until summer 1944. Could it possibly be because there were other factors at work besides the miraculous buzzwords "flow production techniques"? Nibelungenwerk was contracted by IN 6 to build 120 Panzer IV in 1942. Why? That question has zero to do with how well or how poorly Nibelungenwerk performed but demonstrates why the introduction of "flow production techniques" was not the be all and end all of increasing production you seem to believe it is.

Do try to remember your original point in bringing this up.
My point was that when flow production techniques were introduced to the tank plants, the number of man hours of labour on the Panzer III were cut in half. This was an example of how rationalisation could increase production. Similar reductions in man hours of labour were achieved in airframes and aero-engines.

You tried to detract from this by stating that the Nibelungenwerke didn't meet its planned output until 1944. I believed this could be explained by the impact of the factorys competing contracts on the Porsche Tiger and Panzer IV; in hindsight, this doesn't seem to have had any serious impact on their production program.

However, none of this disproves my core argument on the effects of rationalisation.

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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Avalancheon » 03 Apr 2023 04:22

Peter89 wrote:
01 Apr 2023 04:29
Guys, I appreciate the details you put forward, but even if there was a higher production of AFVs, the number of operational tanks on the front could not grow substantially with the maintenance system the Germans were operating in 1941. Especially if we are talking about a grand operation 500-1000 km + inside the Soviet Union.
My ATL does not involve substantially greater numbers of tanks. The Germans have 3 more Panzer divisions than OTL. That amounts to less than 500 extra tanks. That doesn't put much extra strain on their maintenance system. In fact, the 15 extra infantry divisions will have a far greater logistical footprint than the 3 extra Panzer divisions. But most of these additional forces are deployed in Romania, not Poland.
paulrward wrote:
02 Apr 2023 18:56
When posters on this section of the Forum create a What If topic relating to the German Mistakes in WW2, they have rich pickings. What they have to avoid is using 20-20 Hindsight, and allowing the Germans to have technology earlier than they historically did.
Precisely.
paulrward wrote:
02 Apr 2023 18:56
Mr. Avalancheon has done nothing of this sort. He has simply posited the idea that,
' What If' the Germans, after their quick successes in Czechoslovakia, Austria, Spain, Poland,
Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and France, HAD NOT ASSUMED THAT THE
WAR IN RUSSIA WOULD BE A SHORT WAR !


The major problem for Germany was that Hitler had assumed, based on personal prejudices
and inadequate or incorrect information, that the Soviet Union was disorganized and weak,
that, " We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down,''
All the German planning for Barbarossa was that the fighting would be essentially over
by the time the snow fell, and that 1942 would be a mopping up campaign.

What Mr. Avalancheon has proposed is that Hitler does NOT make this mistake. And, in this light,
he orders the Wehrmacht to be prepared for a Long, Bitter War - a war to the death. And so, instead
of simply producing the number of tanks, guns, boots, greatcoats, and messkits that the planners
believe are necessary to win a short war, ALL of Germany's industry is put on a 24-7 basis to produce
as much as possible, as quickly as possible, and to keep up this pace until the Soviet Union surrenders.

In other words, " Start Digging, and DON'T STOP DIGGING UNTIL I TELL YOU TO STOP DIGGING ! "
There seems to have been a misunderstanding. In my timeline, the point of departure comes from the OKH not irresponsibly concluding that the Red Army is fully mobilised. Instead, they understand that the Soviets would be expanding at breakneck pace, and that by the time hostilitys broke out in the spring of 1941, the Red Army would have mobilised significant new forces. Thus, the Germans would need to raise an invasion force that could not only defeat their current army, but the army they would field in the future.

They do not prepare for a longer war as such. They simply created a larger OstHeer in an attempt to win a short summer campaign.

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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Apr 2023 05:40

Avalancheon wrote:
03 Apr 2023 03:51
This trend was more pronounced in the German economy, however. The Soviet Union and the United States were able to achieve roughly 80% of their maximum production within about 15-18 months after they declared war. Germany did not achieve 80% of its maximum production until 40-44 months after they declared war. Their productivity actually declined from 1939 to 1941, and did not increase until 1942. The German war economy took much longer than any of the other major powers to achieve its maximum production. This shows that there was a systematic force at work (their own bureaucracy) preventing them from mobilising fully.
Production mobilization or productivity?

Anyway, German production increased 1939-1941. Tanks doubled year over year 1939 to 1940 and then again 1940 to 1941. Aircraft production increased as well, if not as dramatically. The Soviet Union was the most ruthless in stripping civilian economy for the military, while the United States had so much unrecovered slack in the industrial system from the Great Depression and Great Recession. So it makes comparison difficult. However, in terms of mobilizing for war, Germany was probably slightly slower initially than Britain but then exceeded Britain and the United States and matched the Soviet Union.

In terms of productivity, Britain, Germany, and the Soviet Union all saw productivity increase but all also paled in comparison to the U.S.
Yes, thats true. The 1937 recession also affected Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union, and led to decreased budgets for the military. But when each of those countrys went to war, they were all able to achieve 80% of their maximum production much faster than Germany did.
Um, the United States had virtually no military budget to speak of prewar and what it did have was plowed into the Navy. It was FY 1942 before that changed significantly. OTOH they had a largely idle industrial base and a large, idle workforce. The U.S. was able to achieve about 100% of their maximum production within a year of Pearl Harbor because of that. The Soviet military budget is not a subject I've gotten deeply into but given the size of the standing armed forces it must have been quite large prewar.
When Hitler issued the Fuhrer Order to rationalize the war economy, that set multiple things in motion. It enabled Fritz Todt and the Armaments Ministry to drive forward with their scheme for industrial self responsibility, making the heads of industry responsible for maximising production of weaponry. It enabled them to set up committees for managing the various types of weapons production, and to tightly control the allocation of raw materials (especially steel and coal).
Which Führer Befehle was that?
It also created the situation whereby the various economic authoritys unanimously decided on the need for a single figure who could exert centralised control over the war economy. This is what led to Albert Speer assuming control of the Office of the Four Year Plan (supplanting Herman Goering), and becoming the central authority in the German economy.
I wondered if you were talking about Speer's production miracle.
My point was that when flow production techniques were introduced to the tank plants, the number of man hours of labour on the Panzer III were cut in half. This was an example of how rationalisation could increase production. Similar reductions in man hours of labour were achieved in airframes and aero-engines.
The problem is that man hours of labor required on the Panzer III did not suddenly drop; certainly not by 100%. For the first twelve months of the war average production was 53.7 per month, the next twelve months 114 per month, the next twelve months 210 per month, and then it dropped off as production facilities shifted to producing the Panther. And during the same period manufacturers, workers, and plant facilities were added to the Panzer III production consortium, but as far as I can tell "flow production techniques" were not added.

Nor BTW is there evidence of that in the aero-engine industry. In that case the output of engines went up as more engine plants were devoted to them. On the outbreak of war, four plants produced DB engines for aircraft. Another was added in September 1942 and two more in January 1943.
You tried to detract from this by stating that the Nibelungenwerke didn't meet its planned output until 1944. I believed this could be explained by the impact of the factorys competing contracts on the Porsche Tiger and Panzer IV; in hindsight, this doesn't seem to have had any serious impact on their production program.
If in hindsight you find out you were wrong, then what is your new alternate hypothesis? And what did I try to detract from? That your assumption was wrong?
However, none of this disproves my core argument on the effects of rationalisation.
That's fine, since you still have not demonstrated a single concrete effect resulting from this supposed rationalization.
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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Peter89 » 03 Apr 2023 06:13

Avalancheon wrote:
03 Apr 2023 04:22
Peter89 wrote:
01 Apr 2023 04:29
Guys, I appreciate the details you put forward, but even if there was a higher production of AFVs, the number of operational tanks on the front could not grow substantially with the maintenance system the Germans were operating in 1941. Especially if we are talking about a grand operation 500-1000 km + inside the Soviet Union.
My ATL does not involve substantially greater numbers of tanks. The Germans have 3 more Panzer divisions than OTL. That amounts to less than 500 extra tanks. That doesn't put much extra strain on their maintenance system. In fact, the 15 extra infantry divisions will have a far greater logistical footprint than the 3 extra Panzer divisions. But most of these additional forces are deployed in Romania, not Poland.
In your WI, you assumed that the result of the deployment of these extra "divisions" is a stronger Heer. The Heer arrived to the Volkhov, the Volga and to the Don in November 1941. Again, I have to ask, what do you think the effect of a stronger Heer would be? A stronger Heer (it doesn't matter whether they disband, rebrand or keep the "divisions") means more machines and men, right? Machines break down, they consume fuel, lubricants, spare parts, etc. And they require repair shops, salvage teams, mechanics, etc. so basically you say that:

1. The Germans had enough supplies for them
2. They could haul these supplies for them
3. They had the manpower to maintain them
4. They had the capacity to salvage them
5. They had the repair shops with the personnel to repair them
6. They had the capacity to put the more damaged / broken ones on train and carry them back to Germany and then to the front

So what do you think, how much stronger the Heer would be in 1941 November if it was more successful in the border battles with its extra troops?
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Avalancheon » 07 May 2023 04:11

This post is the addendum to post #5 which describes the results of the border battles.


Summary

In the original timeline (OTL), the Red Army lost approximately 40 divisions during the border battles, which were concluded by early July. Generally, a division was only removed from the order of battle when its strength dropped below 1000 personnel, and/or when the divisional HQ was lost. [1] NorthWestern Front lost 5 divisions destroyed. Western Front lost 27 divisions destroyed. SouthWestern Front lost around 8 divisions destroyed. And of course, the number of divisions that were severely depleted eclipsed even this total of 40 divisions, with the total number of Soviet casualties approaching 1 million men.

In the alternate timeline (ATL), the Red Army lost roughly 70 divisions during the border battles, a staggering total. This was almost entirely the result of Army Group South being able to execute a double envelopment in the Ukraine, enabling them to annihilate SouthWestern Front. This brings the OstHeer much closer to its goal of destroying the bulk of the Red Army west of the Dvina-Dnieper river (although still falling short of that objective). It also impairs the Soviets ability to mobilise new forces in the aftermath of the German invasion.

Operation Barbarossa4.jpg

Historically, Army Group South had a difficult time breaking through the border of Western Ukraine. There were a variety of reasons for this. Compared to Army Group Center, they were operating on a narrower front while facing a greater number of Soviet troops. Indeed, the Germans were actually outnumbered by the ground forces of SouthWestern Front, and this disparity extended to the air forces as well. Another problem was that the fortifications of the Molotov line actually were partially complete in the Ukraine, whereas construction on the line wasn't complete at all in Belorussia or Lithuania. These fortifications imposed a notable delay on the German troops in some sectors, including Kovel and Ravva-Ruskaya. [2]

In fact, Panzer Group 1 was only able to achieve a breakthrough at Vladimir Volynsky and Sokal on the first day of the invasion. Supporting attacks on their left (at Kovel) and their right (at Rava Russkaya) were unsuccessful. Thus, they were forced to advance on a narrow front that only permitted them to employ three of their nine mobile divisions. This put Panzer Group 1 at a disadvantage when they attempted to exploit their breakthrough. Their vanguard was partially encircled when the Soviets launched an armored counter-attack. The battle of Brody was a desperate struggle that was won only by a narrow margin. Nor was it a total defeat for the Red Army: although they had failed to defeat the Germans, they were able to stop them from making a strategic breakthrough (and cutting off 6th and 26th Armys in Lvov).


In this alternative timeline, Army Group South had an easier time breaking through the border in Western Ukraine. 6th Army was allocated two extra divisions, which enabled them to make a faster capture of Kovel and Rava Russkaya. This in turn enabled Panzer Group 1 to make a breakthrough on a wider front, and put them in a favourable position to exploit it. They were able to win the battle of Brody by a wider margin, and make a real strategic breakthrough. They had freedom of maneuver and advanced at a faster pace than would otherwise have been possible. 6th and 26th Armys were cut off from the rest of SouthWestern Front. But that alone could not have led to the disastrous results of the ATL.

What compounded the situation was Army Group Souths breakthrough in Southern Ukraine. 11th Army and Panzer Group 5 were allocated 13 extra divisions. Moreover, they launched their attack on June 22, instead of July 2. They were able to drive the Soviets back with a rapid advance through Moldavia, crossing over the Pruth, Dniester, and southern Bug rivers in succession. They broke through the Stalin line and linked up with Panzer Group 1 at Vinnitsia. This was what enabled Army Group South to encircle the Red Army and score a decisive victory in the Ukraine.


[1] As Nigel Askey notes: A great many Soviet divisions were so badly damaged that in most Western Armies they would probably have been classified as destroyed. During WWII (especially in 1941-42), the Soviets often rebuilt divisions where the large majority of the division had been destroyed by very rapid attrition from heavy combat. This often occurred in a matter of days; with Soviet combat reports of rifle divisions taking 40-50% casualties (within the divisions combat elements) in singular combat operations.

[2] This is concisely explained in a short article: June 22, 1941, The Longest Day. It goes into detail about the citys along the border that were captured by the Germans on the first days of the invasion, and how they encountered delays in the Ukraine. https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads ... ay.395845/
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Re: An Alternate Timeline: Operation Barbarossa

Post by Avalancheon » 07 May 2023 08:41

Course of Operations

The border battles have ended in disaster for the Red Army. The scale and speed of the German attack were completely at odds with their pre-war expectations. Stavka not only underestimated the number of divisions deployed along the border, but also the speed with which they could be launched into battle. They failed to anticipate that the Germans would deploy their Panzer Groups into action on the very first day of the invasion. This seemingly reckless maneuver was what led to Western and SouthWestern Fronts being enveloped and destroyed. Joseph Stalin was despondent at the turn of events, and isolated himself at his Dacha. Only after much coaxing did he take command of the nation. Stavka was in a desperate situation, trying to scrape together enough new forces to rebuild their shattered military. The only thing saving them from complete disaster was the reserve armys deployed in the interior. There were 6 Armys of 57 divisions in the second strategic echelon, which had went completely undetected by the Germans before the war. The deployment of these reserve armys along the railways in early July was detected by Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft: this intelligence confirmed the suspicions of the OKH. However, the existence of these reserves did not cause them alarm, as they believed their numbers were limited. It was not until later that the OKH realised how much they had underestimated the Soviets.

Soviet-forces6.png

The Red Army deployed 20th and 21st Army to Belorussia, in order to reconstitute Western Front. They were moved along the Dnieper river, in an attempt to stabilise the frontline. 13th and 20th Army take up position along Mogilev and Orsha, while 21st Army is moved by rail to Vitebsk. After the Minsk pocket was liquidated on July 3, Army Group Center began moving quickly for the Dnieper river. Armored spearheads lead the charge, while the infantry lag behind. Panzer Group 3 encounters 20th Army on July 6, fending off a counter-attack by two Mechanised Corps. The Soviets lost most of their tanks in the battle of Lepel, and were driven back. Panzer Group 2 crossed the Dnieper river on July 10, avoiding the main crossing points at Mogilev and Orsha. Panzer Group 3 drove through the 'land bridge' between the Dnieper and Dvina river. They close in on the city of Smolensk from the north and south, attempting to trap the Soviet forves between them in a pincer. 20th and 21st Armys are hit hard, and forced into a headlong retreat. Panzer Group 2 captures Smolensk on July 16, and the Red Army streams East to escape the encirclement. Panzer Group 3 closes in from the North a couple days later, trapping the enemy forces in a giant cauldron. The fighting lasts for many days as the Soviet troops try to escape, but there is no way out. The battle of Smolensk ends on August 3 with the surrender of 300,000 soldiers.

In the Ukraine, meanwhile, the Red Army deployed 16th and 19th Army to reinforce SouthWestern Front. 16th Army takes up position in the capital of Kiev, while 19th Army was moved by rail to Belaya Tserkov. They were engaged in heavy fighting from early July onward. After the Vinnitsia pocket was liquidated on July 16, Army Group South had a decisive numerical superiority. The Soviets were quickly pushed back all over the Ukraine, having no chance to stem the tide. 16th and 19th Armys retreated behind the Dnieper river, leaving 9th Army at Odessa exposed. Its right flank was wide open, covered by nothing. Panzer Group 1 and 5 drove into the vacuum, conducting a nearly unopposed march across the steppes. The former advanced East to the Dnieper river, and the latter headed South for the Crimea. 9th Armys line of retreat was soon cut off by the armored spearheads, and a major battle erupted in Nikolaev. The Soviets attempt to break out of the pocket, and the Germans struggle to contain them. It is not until the arrival of 11th Army that they are able to seal off and reduce the encircled enemy troops. The Nikolaev pocket is liquidated on August 2, yielding over 100,000 prisoners. By this time, the Romanians had also successfully laid siege to Odessa, capturing the port city on July 27.

In the Baltics, the Soviets receive no reinforcements. NorthWestern Front is forced to fight with what they have at hand. The Germans had made a rapid advance up to the Dvina river, and were poised to make a drive to Leningrad itself. On July 3, Army Group North launched a renewed attack. Some of the Red Army troops retreat into Estonia, but most withdraw to Russia proper. Panzer Group 4 captures the city of Pskov on July 9, then splits in two groups. One advances to Veliky Novgorod, while the other marches to the Luga river. They aim to encircle the Soviet troops and then converge on Leningrad. However, things do not go as planned. The first Corps get bogged down on the Luga river by lack of supplys and infantry support, while the other Corps is ambushed on its way to Novgorod. Panzer Group 4 has effectively been brought to a halt. 16th Army guards their flank along lake Ilmen and the Lovat river. 18th Army launchs an attack into Estonia, but is repelled by the Soviets. They have to send reinforcements in order to continue the assault. The northern theater is the only sector of the front where the Red Army is managing to hold its own, but their luck would not last long.


Summary

The destruction of SouthWestern Front has consequences to the Soviet deployment of reserves. Historically, 16th and 19th Armys were stationed in Kiev, then redeployed to Smolensk. In this ATL, however, they are forced to remain in place in order to contain the threat posed by the Germans. This has knock on effects for the reconstituted Western Front, as they are now short of two armys. This forces them to redeploy 21st Army from Rogachev to Vitebsk. This in turn affects the battle of Smolensk, resulting in the total destruction of 20th and 21st Armys. The Red Army had no forces to guard the escape route at Solov'yevo, and Panzer Group 3 took the river crossing without a fight. As a result, no Soviets troops were able to escape from the encirclement at Smolensk. Even though there were only two armys involved in the battle (instead of three), the total number of prisoners is roughly similar. Army Group Center was able to easily screen its southern flank at Rogachev, due to the absence of 21st Army there. They are able to clear the Pripyat marshs of Soviet troops more easily, putting an end to the attacks in their rear areas.

In the Ukraine, 16th and 19th Army were able to avoid destruction by retreating behind the Dnieper river, but this in turn exposed 9th Army to encirclement and destruction. This leads to the Germans reaching the Dnieper river more quickly, and a serious weakening of the Red Army in the Ukraine. This forces them to deploy more of their reserves to that sector, leading to an overall weakening of the Soviets along the Eastern front. It sets into motion a gradual unravelling of their war effort as they are simply unable to stabilise their frontlines or replace their losses fast enough. The early capture of Odessa by the Romanians was a case in point. Historically, a total of 15 divisions were mobilised in the Odessa military district in August; the loss of this district will result in a smaller mobilisation in the crucial month of August.

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Original Timeline on July 16

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Alternate Timeline on July 16
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