Was the German war effort badly run?

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
Michael Kenny
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Postby Michael Kenny » 13 Aug 2017 04:58

Stiltzkin wrote:. During high intensive periods no faction can restore everything in time, everyone is going to "lick his wounds".



Incorrect.

11th AD tanks,
Fit numbers EPSOM to GOODWOOD

June 25. 286
June 29. 193
July 6. 236
July 13. 278
July 17. 288
July 19. 128
July 21. 184
July 26. 238

Compare to (for example) 12th SS.

June 6. 139
June 26. 58
July 5. 58
July 9. 28
Aug 3. 61

Note that 11 AD dipped, recovered and replenished whilst 12th SS wasted away.



Stiltzkin wrote: If the industry was incapable of doing so then German units would have a significant shortage of AFVs before large operations like Zitadelle (or even thereafter, they replaced their losses faster than the Soviets even with LL). Which is obviously not the case. As the table demonstrates, during all armour heavy engagements the number of AFVs between Soviets, WAllies and Germans was quite similar, a stark contrast to the claims of many AHF members and as mentioned before operational readiness is not a good indicator of finding out how many tanks are and will be prepared for an upcoming engagement, this value fluctuates daily, sometimes even by the hour. Its like a F1 pitstop.


Rubbish.
The Germans built up units and then committed them to battle. Once action commenced then numbers declined rapidly and stayed low until a period of calm allowed a build up of numbers again. Allied Units were replenished during the combat period as well as during the calm afterwards.
Despite the much-quoted (and incorrect) claim by Jentz readiness rates for German units in combat were abysmal.

Rob Stuart
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Postby Rob Stuart » 13 Aug 2017 12:58

Stiltzkin wrote: ... the threads title is "was the German war effort badly run" - Economy. The point that is disuputed here is that the industry was incapable to provide. During high intensive periods no faction can restore everything in time, everyone is going to "lick his wounds". If the industry was incapable of doing so then German units would have a significant shortage of AFVs before large operations like Zitadelle ...

Your example actually disproves your argument. The launch of Zitadelle was delayed until early July because the German war effort could not produce the required materiel until then. The Soviet war effort was able to produce greater numbers of tanks, guns, aircraft and most other things during this delay.

Stiltzkin wrote:...during all armour heavy engagements the number of AFVs between Soviets, WAllies and Germans was quite similar ...

It will lead to a false conclusion to look only at "armour heavy engagements". The fact that no armour heavy engagement took place on certain occasions was due to the failure of the German war effort to produce the tanks needed for an armour heavy engagement to take place. For example, during Bagration the Germans had very few tanks and apparently never committed more than a single under-strength panzer division to any of their counterattacks. In other words, there was no armour heavy engagement because the Germans lacked to tanks to launch one.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Postby ljadw » 13 Aug 2017 21:02

I would warn for the Op ,because it implies that if the German war effort was better run ,Germany would have won,and that Germany was defeated because its war effort was badly run,something which is only parotting the old Speer propaganda .

The truth is that

a ) that the German war effort could not be run better

b) that,if it was run better, Germany would still be defeated


c) that Germany did not lose the war,but that the allies won the war .

Stiltzkin
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Postby Stiltzkin » 13 Aug 2017 22:36

Your example actually disproves your argument. The launch of Zitadelle was delayed until early July because the German war effort could not produce the required materiel until then. The Soviet war effort was able to produce greater numbers of tanks, guns, aircraft and most other things during this delay.

No, it does not, because once again you are looking on just the event and not at the entire, continous war of attrition with the believe that the Easter Front armies have teleporters and that AFVs are the No.1 priority to be delivered. The launch of Zitadelle was delayed because the Red Army decided to stand idle. They held the initative. They dictated the outcome of battles. Their insecurity enabled the preparation and launch of Zitdelle, that they needed a build up phase after the heavy fighting that occured before is obvious, as Soviet units were depleted even more. The myth that is presented here that they had to wait for Panthers and Tigers, is fostered in subpar literature and used as an excuse to explain the failure of the offensive. Postponing them or not, it was irrelevant as the force ratio dramatically changed into the Red Armies favour.
It will lead to a false conclusion to look only at "armour heavy engagements". The fact that no armour heavy engagement took place on certain occasions was due to the failure of the German war effort to produce the tanks needed for an armour heavy engagement to take place. For example, during Bagration the Germans had very few tanks and apparently never committed more than a single under-strength panzer division to any of their counterattacks. In other words, there was no armour heavy engagement because the Germans lacked to tanks to launch one.

Nothing will lead into false conclusions. That is all there is to say for tanks. Their importance is massively overinflated in this forum. All factions used a similar tank to inf ratio in all engagements (if you additionally include all sorts of combat vehicles, IFVs/APCs, Assault Guns the per captia ratio will be even in favour of the Axis). Deal with it.
Most people misinterpret the figures because they do not realize what kind of action is going on, which strategy is chosen, they cannot see through the soldiers eyes. They didn't commit because they could hardly attack at that time, nor did they have enough personnel to do it anyway. Units which are worn out due to continous heavy fighting can hardly achieve their full strength and TOE ratios. American troops had fewer tanks during the Bulge engagements and still prevailed, because they initially adopted a defensive posture. This is obviously difficult to understand for most people. Industry and Logistics are one variable, what the Army can work with another. The WAllies were rarely in such a situation and still despite fighting only a smaller part of the Wehrmacht they miscalculated.
The Soviets were hard pressed to find replacements, actually the most of all the major combatants partaking in WW2.

I compared all numerical strength to AFV ratios for most engagements of WW2 and found a correlation. For the most part all per capita values were the same, so if all factions had a similar value then how can there be a massive shortage of AFVs in the first place, here is the truth: There was overall none. There were periods of heavy fighting in which substantial material losses occured. No faction on the world would have been able to replace those in a single day.

The Germans built up units and then committed them to battle. Once action commenced then numbers declined rapidly and stayed low until a period of calm allowed a build up of numbers again. Allied Units were replenished during the combat period as well as during the calm afterwards.
Despite the much-quoted (and incorrect) claim by Jentz readiness rates for German units in combat were abysmal.

Have you compared them to the factions AFV focus and allocations, the available tank crew personnel, the units force ratios and all combat worthy soldiers? Have you compared the total stock that is distributed over 3 fronts? All you do is generally comparing total figures. The tank strength says also something about the total numerical advantage of a faction.
Observe here, 38 engagements from 1943 to 1991 , the majority of them offensives during WW2 (and the coeff. of determination):
AFV to S.jpg

I generally cannot see how there is supposed to be a substantial amount of underarmoured events and that is considering that some of these engagements were fought by one of the weakest 3rd World Economies at that time.
Note that 11 AD dipped, recovered and replenished whilst 12th SS wasted away.

No shit. Here is the explanation: They got no Army anymore. I didn't know the German Army had clone facilities and could miraculously raise units out of nothing.
Here is how the Allies did it: Pour in more men, they will drown in our blood.
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Guaporense
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Postby Guaporense » 23 Aug 2017 05:02

Stiltzkin wrote:
The best indicator is how many tanks Unit X had on any given day during periods of intense engagement. Looking at German formations mid-late war shows that during the first few days of action numbers drop off a cliff and reach a level (say <50%) where returning repaired tanks match those newly damaged. It is the ability to replace those losses whilst the unit is in action that is critical and that is where Germany failed badly. Producing tanks 'ad infinitum' would help keep front line units up to strength and the replacement tanks only need a driver rather than a 5 man crew!

This is absolute bollocks and you are obviously missing the point here, read again, the threads title is "was the German war effort badly run" - Economy. The point that is disuputed here is that the industry was incapable to provide. During high intensive periods no faction can restore everything in time, everyone is going to "lick his wounds". If the industry was incapable of doing so then German units would have a significant shortage of AFVs before large operations like Zitadelle (or even thereafter, they replaced their losses faster than the Soviets even with LL). Which is obviously not the case. As the table demonstrates, during all armour heavy engagements the number of AFVs between Soviets, WAllies and Germans was quite similar, a stark contrast to the claims of many AHF members and as mentioned before operational readiness is not a good indicator of finding out how many tanks are and will be prepared for an upcoming engagement, this value fluctuates daily, sometimes even by the hour. Its like a F1 pitstop.


Also, German panzer stocks increased during the whole war reaching a peak of 14,000 vehicles in June 1944. They only started to lose more tanks than they produced after mid 1944, when the war was more than obviously lost.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Postby Rob Stuart » 23 Aug 2017 09:53

Stiltzkin wrote:
Your example actually disproves your argument. The launch of Zitadelle was delayed until early July because the German war effort could not produce the required materiel until then. The Soviet war effort was able to produce greater numbers of tanks, guns, aircraft and most other things during this delay.

No, it does not, because once again you are looking on just the event and not at the entire, continous war of attrition with the believe that the Easter Front armies have teleporters and that AFVs are the No.1 priority to be delivered. The launch of Zitadelle was delayed because the Red Army decided to stand idle. They held the initative. They dictated the outcome of battles. Their insecurity enabled the preparation and launch of Zitdelle, that they needed a build up phase after the heavy fighting that occured before is obvious, as Soviet units were depleted even more. The myth that is presented here that they had to wait for Panthers and Tigers, is fostered in subpar literature and used as an excuse to explain the failure of the offensive. Postponing them or not, it was irrelevant as the force ratio dramatically changed into the Red Armies favour.

The spring of 1943 was a period of equilibrium during which either side could potentially take the initiative. It is true that, once their spies alerted them to Hitler's plan, the Soviets chose to let the Germans take the initiative, but thereafter the launch of Zitadelle was delayed by the Germans, and it was because the German war effort could not produce the required materiel until early July that it was not launched until then.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Postby Rob Stuart » 23 Aug 2017 10:09

Stiltzkin wrote:
It will lead to a false conclusion to look only at "armour heavy engagements". The fact that no armour heavy engagement took place on certain occasions was due to the failure of the German war effort to produce the tanks needed for an armour heavy engagement to take place. For example, during Bagration the Germans had very few tanks and apparently never committed more than a single under-strength panzer division to any of their counterattacks. In other words, there was no armour heavy engagement because the Germans lacked to tanks to launch one.

Nothing will lead into false conclusions. That is all there is to say for tanks. Their importance is massively overinflated in this forum. All factions used a similar tank to inf ratio in all engagements (if you additionally include all sorts of combat vehicles, IFVs/APCs, Assault Guns the per captia ratio will be even in favour of the Axis). Deal with it.
[...]
I compared all numerical strength to AFV ratios for most engagements of WW2 and found a correlation. For the most part all per capita values were the same, so if all factions had a similar value then how can there be a massive shortage of AFVs in the first place, here is the truth: There was overall none. There were periods of heavy fighting in which substantial material losses occured. No faction on the world would have been able to replace those in a single day.

Your "numerical strength to AFV ratios" do not prove what you think they do. If, in any given engagement, the Germans were as understrength in infantry and artillery as they were in tanks, then of course their "numerical strength to AFV ratio" may appear similar to that of their opponents, but that certainly does not demonstrate that the Germans had enough tanks.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Postby Stiltzkin » 23 Aug 2017 14:12

Your "numerical strength to AFV ratios" do not prove what you think they do. If, in any given engagement, the Germans were as understrength in infantry and artillery as they were in tanks, then of course their "numerical strength to AFV ratio" may appear similar to that of their opponents, but that certainly does not demonstrate that the Germans had enough tanks.


How do you demonstrate that historically the Germans had insufficient tanks relative to their opponents, or the number they actually needed? Better: How many tanks should they have produced?
The number of tanks stands in relation the tank crew personnel and when the number fits the assaulting infantry support ratio why would they need more tanks? People in here believe that tanks win you wars, that 90% of your army apparently need to be outfitted with tanks. Where does this believe come from? The Wehrmacht had on average a (maximum) 15% write-off figure, so they had to make up for that particular amount (except for heavy losses after the Winter of 42/43 and Summer 44, which took time) for the Soviets the number was above 40%.

To quote Müller Hillebrand:

In conclusion, and judging by the course of events after 1941, it may be regarded as an established fact that although tanks were subject to almost continuous commitment, the strength of the German tankforces could be maintained at a fixed level by monthly production of 10-15% of its over-all strength. A prerequisite for this, however, is that the tank forces have a repair service at their disposal to take care of all small and average repairs within the units themselves. A sufficient supply of spare parts and interchangeable units must be made available to unit repair installations to insure quick repair of damages sustained. Unless repair installations are able to work efficiently, the number of total losses quickly increases.


So it is more of a question of the actual situation they find themselves in and spare parts deliveries. If the front quickly collapses they will lose vehicles to the enemy, subsequent abandonment and blow up. Production went up to compensate for losses and to primarily equip new arriving formations. They had shortages during times of high attrition, this will result in delays. In all offensives that were undertaken (after the loss of the initative) the number of concentrated AFVs was mostly sufficient, while during their summer offensives before 43 they always enjoyed a better per capita AFV ratio than the Soviets.

the Germans were as understrength in infantry and artillery as they were in tanks, then of course their "numerical strength to AFV ratio" may appear similar

That makes absolutely no sense. If they were heavily battered then their number would be rather insufficient, it would be the opposite and should the number of units shrink, so will their demand. I compared desperate times figures, as well as imminent offensives (longer build up phases) with a large concentration of troops. The ratio is always similar, also note a defending unit does not need a high accumulation of tanks. The ratio of artillery to units and tanks to inf is not the same, it needs to be treated separately (and depends on each factions doctrines). All factions strive to reach their "goal", their "asymptote" of optimal strength. If they cannot reach it this is not necessarily imposed by insufficient production numbers. Overtime the Soviets actually managed to replenish their park, but only when you compare yearly and not weekly to monthly figures.

You could make a similar statement, an analogy: The Soviets produced 6 million SMGs, Germany 1 million. Conclusion: German troops were insufficiently supplied. However this is a general misunderstanding of tactics, numerical ratios and material losses: First of all mostly NCOs were wielding SMGs as their personal protection weapon. The German squad was based around the GPMG, while the Soviets were using the PPSH as their "assault rifle" so to speak, one of the reasons for their higher losses.

From Kursk Statistical Analysis https://books.google.de/books?id=lZb7AQ ... e&q&f=true

Guderian prophesied that Zitadelle would lead to tank losses that could not be replaced during 1943. In fact, German tank production during July alone surpassed the losses suffered during Zitadelle. In retrospect, it seems clear that he was wrong, unless of course one assumes that had
Zitadelle not been launched the Red Army would have stood idle during the rest of the summer. From what is known of the Soviet planning and operational considerations this seems implausible. For the Red Army the tank losses were worse than for the Germans. In fact, Soviet production did not suffice to keep up with losses. During the third quarter of 1943 production amounted to 5,761 tanks and assault guns. This can be compared with the fact that during six major operations alone, irretrievable losses amounted to 8,953 tanks and assault guns during the third quarter. During Zitadelle, the Orel and the Belgorod-Kharkov operations losses amounted to 6,064, according to Krivosheyev, thus during these 50 days of fighting around Kursk the Red Army lost 121 tanks, including assault guns, per day as write-offs. This trend continued for the rest of 1943. On 1 July, the Red Army had a tank strength of 9,888 in the front armies and 2,688 in Stavka reserves. Six months later the Red army had less than half that number in their field units and Stavka reserves. During those six months 11,890 tanks and assault guns had been produced. It must be emphasized that when a force suffers such extensive losses as the Red Army armoured forces did during the second half of 1943, production of tanks will not suffice to replace losses. There will also be delays before the new tanks are issued to combat units owing to the need for training new crews.


also:
What is of importance is not high production numbers, but rather the ability to keep the combat units well provided with tanks. Principally, this can be done in two ways, either by producing and delivering many tanks or by producing vehicles that survive combat. In reality, the combination of the two is what matters

The Soviets always had a reserve park to compensate for their losses.

You see there are two problems which contradict your assertions: Tanks lower the casualties of the advancing infantry forces as well as penetrate in an armoured spearhead etc., while Artillery inflicts the majority of casualties.
Shouldn't by your theory, an undersupplied Army sustain higher losses? They inflicted on average 4.7 times greater casualties on their enemy.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Postby Michael Kenny » 23 Aug 2017 16:28

Germany was short of tanks. So short that production was geared towards getting finished tanks out the door. As a consequence spare parts production suffered. That is to say damaged tanks that had no spare parts had to be written off. There is an example given in 'Repairing The Panzers' where some tiny part for a Tiger was needed but there were no spares available and it was easier for the Unit to get a replacement Tiger than to get spares for the damaged one.
The UK had made provision for losing up to 50% of her front-line tanks and had a replacement system able to deal with that type of turnover.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Postby Richard Anderson » 23 Aug 2017 16:40

Guaporense wrote:Also, German panzer stocks increased during the whole war reaching a peak of 14,000 vehicles in June 1944. They only started to lose more tanks than they produced after mid 1944, when the war was more than obviously lost.


Let's walk this dog a bit...

Wehrmacht total Panzer inventory of all types of gun tanks, AA, command, and recovery vehicles, as of 1 June 1944 was 7,141. Including 426 Panzer II and 229 Pz 38 (t). Total non-Panzer tracked AFV of all types (JgPz, StuG, StuH, StuPz, Marder, and Nashorn) was 5,206. Total was 12,347. Not 14,000.

All well and good.

However, as of 31 May 1944, of that total:

8,118 were combat vehicles actually assigned to operational units of the Heer and Waffen-SS. 65.7% of the total.

Of those, 1,773 were allocated from factory production, either still at the factory or in transit to the unit, leaving 6,345 actually with the units. 51.4% of the total.

Of those, 1,113 were in repair, leaving 5,232 actually operational with the units. 42.4% of the total.

Oh, BTW, the actual peak for "German panzer stocks" was probably c. 1 January 1945, with 6,284 Panzer (the peak was 1 July 1944 at 7,447) and 6,891 tracked AFV (the peak was 1 February 1945 at 7,171)...but only 4,704 were operational with units.


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