hagen wrote:The bifucaration of the topic has clouded the discussion.
Um, the bifurcation has not clouded anything, but the continued desire by some apparently to take a dicussion about cause and effect off the rails into what if territory has.
RichTO90 wrote:Put it anyway you like but the real answer is indifference.
Indeed, indifference to cause and effect relationships, aanalysis of data, and reality seems to be the norm for inveterate what iffers.
As you yourself observed prewar tonnage achievement was 10m yet the war seemed to have been fought on 4.5 million so you are going to need more information. What was the tonnage used for? How do you factor in servicing the Americans? What was really needed to run the war? How do we account for tonnage shipped directly to France? What about the needs to service the empire lifelines and support troops around the world? Adding in 1944 and 1945 details are not relevant as the U-boat war was effectively lost in 1943.
Sigh. Sure, but acting like that information is unknowable and not subject to analysis because it involves what everyone is knows about "the use and abuse of statistics" - wink, wink, nudge, nudge
- is simply silly. For example, the loss of tonnage was not the sole driver for decreased imports into the UK. Another, as I alluded to, was the convoy system itself - convoying creates inefficiencies in the transportation system. Another was the lost of the East Coast ports, especially London, which had just been renovated and expanded in the 1930's, to normal traffic. That placed a strain on the West Coast ports because so much traffic was coming in - it created bottlenecks, especially when British labor got into the act, at the docks and thence onto the rail system. Yet another was the loss of Continental coasting traffic, later partly replaced by traffic from Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, since a decrease to about one-quarter of the prewar totals were enough to sustain Britain, dissecting those imports and comparing them to afterwards should tell us something (which I hope to do later when I can access my sources).
Further, "servicing the Americans" actually tells us a bit more, since the OVERLORD buildup was primarily through the U.S. Army Transportation Corps and is extremely well documented...along with the problems they encountered. That is one major reason that looking at "1944 and 1945 details" is so important; it's what didn't change or didn't change as much as we would expect
that is revealing. British imports after the "defeat of the U-Boat" did not return to postwar levels, they returned to what they were early wartime.
The statistics I have seen most often used is the comparison between sinkings and new builds. The implicit savings from using the Med route for convoys rather then the Cape was one reason given for Sicily and the Italian campaign but perhaps the CIGS was just scoring political points.
Um, what you may have seen, as I have said before, are two datapoints in a rather more complex equation. So, just what is the starting point
? What was the tonnage on hand and what was acquired from Allies and Neutrals as the war expanded? Yes, if you take the prewar British long-haul merchant marine bottoms on hand and add new construction in the UK and subtract the losses you find that the British merchant service will disappear in 1941. Vanish. Poof! But add in the Allied Merchants acquired by the British (Norwegian, French, Greek, Dutch, and Danish ships that were either in British or neutral ports, at sea, or successfully fled German seizure), Axis vessels seized in British ports, and the neutral merchant navies, and the sustainability is rather longer...then of course add in the consturction capability of the US and Canada.
BTW, the Med route was a red herring by Winston to get what he wanted at Casablanca. There is little evidence that through Med routes ever were important.
Well the Americans and British had shadow factories as I recall so why don't we build two rather than one? As there is no war on the Eastfront at this point the materials can be shipped in thanks to the SU [topic bifucaration strikes again, one of the major issues of starting the Eastfront and a two-front war is the inability to 'beat' the blockade so you need to deal with your enemies sequentially; it worked well for Napoleon with the Austrians and Prussians]. Go to a total war footing and introduce Speer-style reforms. Once you have started the war in the east then you have reduced your access to materials and pushed the U-boat war down the agenda so winning it is going to be a whole lot more difficult.
Huh? Are you serious? "Shadow factories"? America had idle factory capacity because, unlike most of Europe, in the period 1938-1939 it was recovering from the disatrous recession of 1937. If you think the Germans could build British-style "shadow factories" then I suggest you consult Postan's British War Production
and Hancock's British War Economy
to see how and why they were built and compare them to the German capacility. And, even in the the British case, the "shadow factories" were not a panacea; the construction of "shadow" aero engine factories in the North did not mean they were immediately capable of production immediately as war broke out...engine shortages continued into 1942 and were only releived by the arrival fo American production.
In any case, the German experience with attempting to expand their U-Boat building capacity is real world again and not a what if
. Why in the world would you think that a "what if the Germans built shadow U-Boat factories" is more realistic an analysis that looking at what actually happened when they did attempt to expand that capacity
? And, yes, of course the number of U-Boats built increased, but not uniformly or predictably as yards, money, and resources allocated to them did.
Germany has a bigger population and access to the 'slave' labour and resources of much of Europe. It has problems bringing these advantages to bear but on what basis do you think they are going to lose? I think they lost because they maximised operational success without taking into account due strategic considerations and that latter failing is what I am seeking to correct. Then again Adolf was the man that he was.
Population doesn't neccessarily equal industrial output. The major German bottleneck, after critical resources, was labor, and "slave labor" did not solve that problem, it merely alleviated it, and that took time. But other bottlenecks were simply capacity...they simply did not have as many navy yards available as did the British or the skilled yardworkers idled during the 1930s in Britain...Germany was near full employment prewar and effectively fully mobilized except for converting civilian capacity to military use, which they were slow to do (but only marginally slower than Britain and everyone were snails in that respect compared to the Soviets).
Nor did they make efficient use of the captured capacity in France and the Benelux, but it is unclear given their imperatives that they could have. German industry simply took the stockpiled resources and machine tools that they wished and moved them to Germany...why should they want the French to be building military equipment when they could do it themselves?
BTW, yes, I agree that a large part of the German problem was simple strategic myopia, but that doesn't mean that they neccessarily had better solutions they could have picked.