The original Connor numbers that I quoted are now over 20 years old so I am not surprised that they have been superceded.
Well, the ones I quoted are more than 50 years old and were just as available in 1987 as they are today, so that doesn't really enter into it.
The numbers you supplied were fine but now make the Russian numbers look bad!
Given that, what are the comparable Russian strengths for June 41, 42, 43, 44?
From the same table in Glantz ("Colossus rebuilt"), 5.5 m on 1 July 1941, 7.4 m on 11 September, 9.8 million on 5.5.42, 11 million on 5 July, 10.15 m on 7 October, 10.3 m on 2.2.43, 11.1 m on 9 July. But as previously quoted, this does not seem to be inclusive of the Navy, NKVD or Commissariat personnell, which at least from mid-1942 would add more than 1.5 million to the figures at any given point. The figures do include wounded and sick in hospitals (as do the Wehrmacht and Ersatzheer strength figures).
The idea is to look at some of these areas that Tooze only covers in passing. Given that in June 41 when the war in the East starts, he states that all the eligible German men were either in the Wehrmacht or in war production. That leaves only the new age cohorts every year for expanding the size of the army and replacing losses.
Yes - except insofar as men can be released from the economy, for example by being replaced with a foreign worker.
What was the annual new age cohort? I think the army got 600,000 men a year from this? But may be wrong.
It varied a lot from year group to year group.
If so then the losses of 1941 were covered by the new cohort of 1942 and allowed some expansion.
No, it's not quite that simple. The army had about 320,000 trained men prepared as replacements for Barbarossa in the ersatzheer before the campaign began, plus roughly 80,000 men in the Feldersatzbataillone of the Divisions. This was supposed to be sufficient to cover losses through the summer, when the Barbarossa plan presupposed that the serious fighting would be over. This more or less sufficed to cover the bulk of the losses through September. After that however, the Ersatzheer relied on calling up the year group of 1922, which was an uncommonly large year group. Moreover, because of the impact on the economy of the call-up, they primary medium term priority on armaments production and the expectation that Barbarossa would be a quick campaign, the call-up was put off for as long as possible. In the field of manpower mobilisation, there was thus very little room for error. This Fromm (as head of the Ersatzheer) was very aware of, and was holding crisis meetings as early as February 1941, discussing various emergency measures to improve the situation. In the event, JG22 was called up in the fall, and formed the core of the large replacement flow to the East in the spring and early summer of 1942. The intervening gap was filled by various emergency measures: Drafts from the divisions in the West, comb-out from rear services both at home and at the front. The losses however could not be replaced, although this was partially a product of the refusal to disband Divisions, resulting in an ever.increasing number of divisions with an ever-decreasing average strength in the East.
But the heavy losses in winter of 1942 (as shown in the table in Tooze) (Stalingrad and Tunisia) exceeded this number and again the heavy losses during Operation Bagration did the same in 1944. This meant that the army could only shrink in size unless it drew those middle aged family men out of industry, which is what happened.
This is in my opinion a weakness in Tooze - he does not have a good grip on this issue. Firstly he is using Overmans' data, which, whatever one may think of their reliability, are in my opinion completely unsuited to being used as a measure of the manpower drain on the Eastern Front, simply because of the way Overmans has defined "casualties". One effect of that is that rather than the almost constant heavy drain you will find if you consider all of the combat losses, you get very marked spikes in special cases like Stalingrad, which makes it appear as if the problem were a few decisive battles of enormous cost. This is in my opinion an essentially arbitrary way of looking at the figures. For example, there is an enormously high figure in January 1943 when the Stalingrad losses were written off. Since very few of these men survived captivity, these losses end up almost completely included in Overmans' figure. But the fact that they died in captivity is irrelevant to their attritional effect on the German war effort. If they had all survived captivity, that effect would have been exactly the same. But there would have been no spike on Overmans' graph in that month. It is quite simply impossible to account in a meaningful way for the process of manpower drain by regarding only the dead. Killed in Action and dead from wounds and illness (as opposed to dead in captivity), wounded (who had long average recovery times and of whom almost half did not return to full functionality) and captured all impacted fundamentally on this situation, and since the relation between the three could vary dramatically, it is impossible to represent the situation satisfyingly by using only one of them. It is in my opinion also fundamentally unviable to accord a place of fundamental importance to any individual battles. The drain of the east was a steady grind.
The main issues I wanted to explore was
a) the decline in Ostheer strength from a much earlier period that people expect, as early as 1941/2
In numbers of men, the peak point of the Ostheer was July 1943, when it fielded well above 3 million men.But in a different sense it is certainly possible to speak of a decline already from the beginning of the campaign. Strength was maintained and in part increased by adding more Divisions. At the same time, by the spring of 1942 an extremely large proportion of the divisions already present were gravely understrength. Hence, the condition of the German forces in the East were gradually deteriorating almost from the beginning of the campaign.
b) the use of war industry men to replace losses as described in Tooze
A snip I've written about that issue based on the relatively comprehensive Wehrersatzplan 45:
According to the accompanying statistics, the total number of UK-gestellten on 1 January 1945 was 3,309,592. This still represented a considerable manpower reserve for the Wehrmacht, though not one that could be easily dipped into without consequences for an armaments industry that was already entering a state of crisis, especially as more than half of them were occupied in the industry. These 3.3 million men were distributed thusly among the different sectors of the German economy:
Wehrmacht offices 7,077
In all, 3,310,102
The German population, based on the 1939 census, presupposing normal peacetime mortality rates, and taking no account of territories added to the Reich after the outbreak of war, is estimated in the study as 38,872,000 men and 41,724,000 women. Of the male population, 28,163,000 were economically active and of these, 25,963,000 were considered to be of economically and militarily relevant age (JG79-30, or aged 15 to 65 in 1945). Of these, 12,819,000 were in the Wehrmacht by the end of September 1944, a figure which includes the killed and missing up to that point. This leaves 13,144,000 for economic purposes. The number of people killed by air bombing up to the end of September 1944 is put at 238,000, which statistically implies a loss of roughly 39,000 men from these 13.1 million, not a significant factor.
However, the actual number of German men employed in the German economy was 391,000 higher than this in September – 13,535,000. The main reason for this according to the study was a considerable number of men who continued working after reaching the age of 65. Workers were distributed in this manner by age:
JG01-29 (aged 16-44) 5,667,000
JG94-00 (aged 45-51) 2,735,000
JG 70-93 (aged 52-75) 5,133,000
Only the two former are considered suitable for military service. Deducting 970,000 men who were medically incapacitated leaves a total of 7,430,000 men who were employed in September 1944 and who enters the picture with regard to possible military use, or roughly half the male German labour force.
Concerning women, out of a total female population of 41,724,000, 22,857,000 belonged to the age groups (JG 94-30, or aged 15-51 in 1945) who were subject to Arbeitsmeldepflicht . Of these, 12,645,000 were actually employed. A further 2,252,000 had been registered as eligible for work (Erwerbstätig) in September 1944, something which is attributable largely to women older than 50 who were still working. As the study notes, no notable mobilisation of the female workforce had been achieved since the beginning of the war, when 14,626,000 were employed, against 14,897,000 in September 1944. The demographical structure of the population had contributed to these weak results. In all, approximately 500,000 women had entered the workforce since the beginning of the war, while approximately 230,000 had left it.
By the end of 1944, this was how the various segments of the male population were being utilised:
TABLE XXX ECONOMIC AND MILITARY USE OF THE GERMAN MALE POPULATION BY THE END OF 1944
OF WHOM IN
GROUP AGE (44) TOTAL EMPLOYED MILITARY SERVICE
70-78 66-74 2,120,000 391,000 (18.4%) -
79-83 61-65 1,612,000 1,006,000 (62.4%) -
84-93 51-60 3,900,000 3,444,000 (88%) 118,000 (3%)
94-00 44-50 3,633,000 3,437,000 (94.6%) 702,000 (19.3%)
01-05 39-43 3,351,000 3,250,000 (97%) 1,247,000 (37.2%)
06-22 22-38 10,574,000 10,439,000 (98.7%) 8,222,000 (77.8%)
23-26 19-21 2,573,000 2,480,000 (96.4%) 2,405,000 (93.5%)
27 18 597,000 547,000 (91.6%) 125,000 (20.9%)
28 17 610,000 525,000 (86.1%) -
29 16 592,000 455,000 (76.9%) -
30 15 594,000 410,000 (69%) -
These figures show with clarity that the militarily useful manpower reserves of the Third Reich were largely expended, and that JG28-30 represented the only remaining resource of note by early 1945.
Between the outbreak of war and September 1944, the labour force of the German economy declined by 3,495,100 as a total of 10,952,800 call ups to the Wehrmacht , while only 7,457,700 new workers were procured, including both foreigners and Germans and women as well as men:
German (men/women/total) Foreign (men and women) POWs
31.5.39. 24,488,100 / 14,626,000 / 39,114,100 300,600 -
31.9.44 13,335,500 / 14,896,000 / 28,431,900 5,738,400 1,749,300
Hence, a profound change in the demographic structure of the German workforce had taken place between these two points. Foreign workers (including POWs), who were a negligible factor in 1939, now constituted 29.5% of all male workers. The female part of the workforce stood at 37% in 1939, but was 47% in 1944, if all groups are considered. Looking at just the German workforce, it was 52.4%. The increased role of women in the economy is, according to the Studie, primarily to be attritubed to the use of foreign female labor (against the half a million German women who had entered the workforce since the beginning of the war, no less than 1.8 million non-German women had done the same). Of the remaining 13.5 million male German workers, 6,582,900 had had their military service deferred as UK-gestellten.
TABLE XXX CALL-UPS FOR THE WEHRMACHT
The Wehrmachtersatzplan analyses the manpower development of each separate branch of the German economy separately, and this is useful for our purposes in the sense that it provides a picture of the extent to which each of the sectors had already contributed to military manpower, and which potential it had for continuing to do so. Hence, it seems justified to devote some space to this. For all sectors, the comparison points are 31.5.1939 and 30.9.1944 respectively.
Industry was not only the sector of the economy that was most important to the war effort, it was also economy’s biggest reservoir of manpower. At the outbreak of war, 8,070,700 German men were employed here. This declined to 4,710,700 through the period. Against 91,900 foreign workers in 1939, there were 1,898,800 in 1944, plus 703,600 POWs. The overall number of male workers had declined from 8,162,600 to 7,313,100. The number of German women employed was essentially unchanged – 2,764,900 in 1939, 2,769,400 in 1944. Foreign female workers had increased sharply, from 18,200 in 1939 to 775,600 in 1944. In all, the result was a slight drop in the overall industrial labor force, from 10,945,700 to 10,808,100. During this period, 3,499,500 German men were called up to the Wehrmacht from the industrial sector, while 2,657,800 UK-gestellte remained in september 1944. In other words, 56.8% of the theoretically military useful manpower in industry had been used up by 1 October 1944.
TABLE XXX CALL-UPS FROM THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 1.6.39-31.9.44
In Agriculture, the number of male German workers had been declining steadily since the outbreak of war, when it was 4,836,700 and to the end September 44, when it was 2,805,700. Of these, 928,700 were UK-gestellt. The number of foreign workers had increased from 94,800 to 1,086,200, plus 656,300 POWs. The number of German women in the sector had also declined slightly, from 5,973,000 to 5,706,700. But the number of foreign female workers had increased from barely 23,900 to 799,000. In all, this left the agricultural sector with 11,053,900 workers, which was 124,900 more than at the outbreak of war. In summation: The agricultural sector released more than 2 million German men for other tasks in the war effort, of whom 1,926,400 called up to the Wehrmacht, up to the end of September 1944, and at that time still retained not much less than a million men of theoretical military use.
TABLE XXX CALL-UPS FROM THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR 1.6.39-31.9.44
In the forestry sector, the number of German male employees had been effectively halved since the outbreak of war, declining from 217,800 to 115,100. Of these, 77,500 were UK-gestellt. Only about 1,000 foreigners were employed here at the outbreak of war, in 1944 this had risen to 21,100 plus 26,100 POWs. Hence, the total number of male employees had declined by 57,100. The number of German women had similarly declined, from 75,300 to 49,900. Only a very modest increase in foreign female labor had been noted, of some 6,500. Hence the overall number of employees in the forestry sector had declined by almost a third – from 294,900 to 218,900. The overwhelming reason for this was of course call-ups of German men to the Wehrmacht, which totalled 105,600. Most of the men remaining in this sector belonged to older year groups, of little military use.
TABLE XXX CALL-UPS FOR THE WEHRMACHT IN THE FORESTRY SECTOR
In view of the realities of the situation, the Studie is remarkably sanguine, stating: ”Am beginn des sechsten Kriegsjahres kann also von einen guten Arbeitskräftebilanz gesprochen werden. Zwar stehen nennenswerte Reserven nicht mehr zur Verfügung, doch wird es nach Auffassung des Leiters der Planungsabteilung dem GBA auch im Jahre 1945 möglich sein, die normaler Weise zu erwartenden Abgänge zu decken und den dringendsten Neubedarf zu befriedigen”.
c) could the wehrmacht have organised itself better (politics aside) to get more men in the front line in the East and how many were wasted through things such as the Luftwaffe ground units.
It depends on what you are prepared to presuppose. If we change major parameters in the contemporary view of the situation and the priorities (f.e., not expecting Barbarossa to be short, not attempting a massive build up of aerial strength before Barbarossa was over and so on), then that opens up possibilities and changes what can reasonably be expected. But if we do not, then the list of things that can unequivocally be characterised as mistakes grows shorter. For my part I would include on it:
1. As you mention, manpower allocation between the services. More men should have gone to the army, fewer to the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe. It was clear to everyone at the time that the latter were getting more men than they could profitably employ, while the army had a screaming manpower shortage. I do not think this had a decisive or very major effect in itself however. The LW-FD represented fewer than 200,000 men. These would certainly have been very welcome as replacements in late 1942, buyt would hardly have changed anything decisively.
2. A more fundamental point: Failure to adjust the number of Divisions to the ability to maintain them. Here Hitler simply refused to accept the logic of the OKH on the grounds that dissolving divisions would be detrimental to home front morale.
This had much more far-reaching consequences than one might think. It meant that the available manpower (and for that matter, equipment, of which there was also a perpetual shortage) was spread out on a larger number of divisions than neccessary, and that a large proportion of the divisions were always understrength.
Consider what happens to a normal infantry divbision with a standard early war structure under this scenario. It enters combat with a rational and intentional distribution between combat and support elements - the latter having been calibrated so as to be able to provide the former with a suitable level of support - let us say for the sake of simplicity 60/40. Then after two months of combat it has taken about 1/3 losses in its combat elements, almost none in its support. Since the general volume of losses have exceeded the overall replacement capacity, only half of these losses have been replaced. As a result, the relation between combat and support elements is now 50/40. Being understrength in its combat elements, the division can no longer function as effectively as before. Additionally, a smaller proportion of its manpower is combat related - there are now more cooks, mechanics, drivers etc supporting each combat soldier than there was before.
If you multiply this by 120 Divisions, then you have a serious structural imbalance, and one that is only likely to get worse. How can you address this problem?
The most obvious way is to reduce the number of Divisions. Let us say our hypothetical divison belongs to a Corps that has 5 other divisions in a similar situation. If they dissolve one of these divisions and distribute its combat personnell among the other five, then all five divisions will be back up to strength. Additionally, you have a full divisional support services cadre that you can send home and use as the basis for a newly raised division, saving you the need to find for that division thousands of expensive and scarce specialists (of whom there are many more in the support services than in the combat arms). The manpower is pretty much the same, your divisions remain more effective, you erase a structural imbalance and greatly help any future force building. This is what the Organisationsabteilung in the OKH wanted to start doing in late 1941.
Now, if that option is denied you, what can you do? If you can neither procure enough men to keep your combat units up to strength, or reduce the number of divisions they are distributed among, then there is only one solution left - you must reduce the number of men in the support services, and transfer then to the combat elements. And this was indeed what the army attempted to do.
They did this partly by cutting back on the Divisions' support services. However, as OrgAbt well knew and pointed out, this does not solve the problem, because it is much easier to pare back combat units than their support. Running a kitchen to supply 500 men takes more than half as many men as one to supply 1000. In the ID44, specifically designed to maximise firepower and minimise non-combat support, the relation between combat and non-combat personnell was LESS favorable than in a standard 1939 infantry division. If the division is understrength, then the problem increases. OrgAbt remained convinced that that the latter represented a far better way or organising resources than the small late-war divisions.
They moreover made sustained and major efforts to transfer younger men to combat units, from support services. This was clearly neccessary within these limitations, but it is not in itself a rational use of manpower. These men represented, in many cases, valuable and scarce specialist competence that was much, much harder to replace than the simple skills of an infantryman. To give them a rifle and put them in the frontline was a waste of resources. Also, they will in many cases probably not have been very good combat soldiers, since that was not what they were trained as.
In other words, the army was doomed to pursue remedies that came at a high cost and also could not solve the problem. This resulted in most of the divisions in the East being seriously understrength at any given point. This again meant that an increasing proportion of the men in the Ostheer were not combat soldiers, and also that there were few divisions available who were capable of more than defensive missions. This in turn forced another measure which exacerbated the situation further: If they were to have fresh divisions, they had to raise new ones. Which they did. In large numbers.
Consider the implications of that in a situation defined by the above. You have literally hundreds of thousands of excess non-combat personnell on the Eastern Front, in Divisions who are greatly reduced in their combat elements. At the same time, you are expending precious resources training mechanics, drivers, signallers and so on, in order to raise new Divisions. Or, which is just as bad, you are removing them from the economy, where they are critically needed. You supplement them with thousands of newly trained combat soldiers, who could have filled up the ranks of several existing divisions. Then you send it to the Eastern Front, where within a couple of months it has added one more Division that cannot be maintained at a rational relation between combat and non-combat elements, thus increasing the problem. The existing problem makes the solution much more expensive, and the solution in turn adds to the problem. Talk about a negative dynamic.
That's probably enough for one post.