The under-performance of the early-war German economy

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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stg 44
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Re: The under-performance of the early-war German economy

Post by stg 44 » 14 Nov 2020 01:04

wm wrote:
13 Nov 2020 19:02
stg 44 wrote:
11 Nov 2020 18:30
That's a pointless data point (and an incorrect number, 80% wasn't horse based), because it tells you nothing about actual hauling capacity. This book series debunks the horse issue
I believe the number was true in the last year of the war.
Horses are cute but nobody uses them today - for some strange reason. The Red Army wasn't modern either but at least had (big) friends.

But it doesn't matter - the point was that the statement "Germany should never have lost the war" was crazy considering how non-modern the Wehrmacht was (and the German fleet almost non-existent, the Luftwaffe vastly inadequate.)
Who said 'Germany never should have lost the war'? I think you're arguing against a strawman. And ignoring my point entirely.

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stg 44
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Re: The under-performance of the early-war German economy

Post by stg 44 » 14 Nov 2020 01:08

Mori wrote:
13 Nov 2020 19:16
stg 44 wrote:
13 Nov 2020 18:29
How do you account for the Overmans study not holding up to archival cross referencing?
viewtopic.php?t=226986
By definition Overmans doesn't, because it's a wholly different approach. It wouldn''t have much value if it ended up with exactly the same results as the archives :)
If the statistics aren't borne out by comparing his statistical approach to records when the reporting system was still functioning there is a problem with his statistical method. Plus his numbers have been widely criticized on this very forum among other places.
Mori wrote:
13 Nov 2020 19:16
The thread you refer to includes major errors because the author failed to understand the operational situation of the combat engagements. I know some (not all, far from it) of the operations he listed and I couldn't agree with the figures he kept. A case example is operation Grenade in Feb-March 1945, where he refused to believe there could have been 3 times more German casualties than American. Obviously he didn't even have a quick look at what the operation was about: a smashing US breakthrough which overran all German defenses between the Roer river and the Rhine.

And, if I may add, when I compiled German military losses (and only strictly military) for Feb-March 1945, I actually realized German records gave 20-30% more losses than what Allies estimated...

Yet that's not my point. My remark was only that the source you refered to, Nigel Askey, has unfortunately published pseudo-researched papers where he unintentionally revealed his lack of basic understanding of the subject matter.

So he is a questionable reference at best.
Sounds like you don't like the author's conclusions, so you're flailing about try to find any nitpick to try and discredit him rather than engage with the substance of his points.

Edit:
Just checked out the Askey pdf and you're not even presenting his argument against Overman's study. For the Ruhr pocket he's not claiming that German losses weren't 3x what the Allies were, he's saying that the Allies didn't kill more Germans in 4 months of combat in 1945 than the Soviets managed to do in all of 1944 when they managed to destroy multiple German armies, which is what the Overman's study claims. He's also pointing out that the unrepresentative sample, which included all sorts of losses outside of combat including from non-combat related illnesses and issues whether said soldier actually died during the war, was then used to figure out losses per year, which does not match up to the accurate combat loss reports per front.
viewtopic.php?t=226986
However, there were also critical voices, namely that of Swedish military historian Niklas Zetterling, who argued that Overmans’ sample may not be reliable, [bt]hat some of his assumptions (especially the one that the absence of information about an individual’s fate in a sample file necessarily means that said individual died during the war) are unrealistic[/b], and that his claims about the inaccuracy of the German casualty reporting system, at least before 1945, are untenable.[8]
Thereafter O. estimates that of the 1,230,045 deaths (only Eastern and Western Front, without Italy, without deaths in captivity etc.) about two-thirds occurred on the Eastern Front (p.265). This would however mean that in 1945 about 400,000 soldiers were killed in the West alone – a glaringly high number not even remotely confirmed by any other source (for the Ardennes Offensive one must assume a maximum of 20,000, for the Ruhr Pocket 10,000 dead). In total the number of deaths on the Western Front in 1945 was probably less than 100,000.

Mori
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Re: The under-performance of the early-war German economy

Post by Mori » 14 Nov 2020 10:39

stg 44 wrote:
14 Nov 2020 01:08
Edit:
Just checked out the Askey pdf and you're not even presenting his argument against Overman's study. For the Ruhr pocket he's not claiming that German losses weren't 3x what the Allies were, he's saying that the Allies didn't kill more Germans in 4 months of combat in 1945 than the Soviets managed to do in all of 1944 when they managed to destroy multiple German armies, which is what the Overman's study claims.
My reference to "x3 German losses" wasn't either Askey pdf or the Ruhr pocket:
- It wasn't Askey but the other AHF thread you pointed (which, incidentally, Askey also quotes as a reference...).
- It wasn't the Ruhr pocket but operation Grenade, which took place before the Rhine crossing.
Last edited by Mori on 14 Nov 2020 10:53, edited 2 times in total.

Mori
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Re: The under-performance of the early-war German economy

Post by Mori » 14 Nov 2020 10:53

stg 44 wrote:
14 Nov 2020 01:08
If the statistics aren't borne out by comparing his statistical approach to records when the reporting system was still functioning there is a problem with his statistical method.
I will not discuss whether the reporting system was still functioning, or whether it was extensive and reliable, all statements that can be questioned. That's because this reporting system can be relevant for other matters, e.g., what data generals had when taking decisions.

But Overmans didn't care about the reporting system because he didn't limit his research to army personnel but compiled total losses whatever the uniform. That was a breakthrough in understanding German casualties. Army reporting systems were limited to soldiers in combat units. Overmans showed it was a poor proxy to total German casualties.
He's also pointing out that the unrepresentative sample, which included all sorts of losses outside of combat including from non-combat related illnesses and issues whether said soldier actually died during the war, was then used to figure out losses per year, which does not match up to the accurate combat loss reports per front.
Yes, that's Overmans: he included all casualties and didn't care whether they were from an artillery shell, a bomb dropped by a strategic bomber during a furlough, an accident while loading explosives in a truck, typhus or other sickness. He didn't care what the uniform of the victim was, which was a fundamental point to assess late war German casualties (when the US army sorted its PoW from April 1945, it realized less than 15% were soldiers from regular units).

What's the issue?
Last edited by Mori on 14 Nov 2020 13:27, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The under-performance of the early-war German economy

Post by Mori » 14 Nov 2020 10:58

stg 44 wrote:
14 Nov 2020 01:08
Sounds like you don't like the author's conclusions, so you're flailing about try to find any nitpick to try and discredit him rather than engage with the substance of his points.
Sounds like you don't like my conclusions, so you're flailing about try to find any nitpick to try and discredit me rather than engage with the substance on my point on basic statistics / representative sample / confidence level.

More to the point: I did lose confidence in the Askey paper when I realized Askey really thought he knew about statistics while showing his complete ignorance of the most elementary statistics science.

Politician01
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Re: The under-performance of the early-war German economy

Post by Politician01 » 14 Nov 2020 13:31

Yes - German war economy in the 1939-1941 period was quite inefficent and could have done much better if properly mobilized. IMO there were several reasons for this:

1. No proper central organization until 1942, no proper push to maximise production until the Stalingrad catastrophe. There were a lot of wasted resources a lot of wasted manpower a lot of inneficent production methods and the constant quarrelling between Gauleiters, factories, firms ect

2. Hitlers orders switching the priority of armaments production between Army and Navy and Air force

3. In the 39-41 period a sizable part of the German economy was still constructing consumer goods. For example in 1941 some 79 000 flats/apartmens were built in Germany and still some 49 000 in 1942 (quoting from memory)

4. It was believed that the production was sufficent. After all the Germans were constanly winning. I recall a passage (From Murray Luftwaffe?) where a German Luftwaffe General marveled at all the aircraft that were to be built, asking: "What are we going to do with all these fighter aircraft"?

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Re: The under-performance of the early-war German economy

Post by stg 44 » 15 Nov 2020 04:24

Politician01 wrote:
14 Nov 2020 13:31
I recall a passage (From Murray Luftwaffe?) where a German Luftwaffe General marveled at all the aircraft that were to be built, asking: "What are we going to do with all these fighter aircraft"?
IIRC it was Jeschonnek responding to Milch when he offered him something like double the fighters in the next year and Jeschonnek responded with something like "I don't know what I would even do with that many".

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