Guaporense wrote:The fact is that the prices of the same categories of munitions items in the 1940's were 2rm = 1dollar. In Germany single engine fighters cost between 80,000-100,000 rm, in the US, they cost between 40,000 to 50,000 dollars (except the P-47 with cost 85,000 dollars, but had the size of twin engine fighters). Germany's medium bombers cost 230,000 rm, in the US 110,000 dollars. Medium tanks cost between 80,000 to 120,000 rm, in the US, 45,000 to 55,000 dollars. The prices of naval construction were also equivalent to the exchange rates of 2rm per 1 dollar.
Sigh...I hesitate to get involved in this extended exercise in inanity, but this is just getting too silly.
The "prices" supposedly "paid" for individual items of US equipment are nothing of the sort. Typically these are derived by juvenile undergrads by taking the figures for total contract amounts paid and dividing it by the number of each item. They are then posted at fonts of wisdom like Wikipedia for all and sundry to ooh and aah over.
Unfortunately that is not what those prices actually reflect. The problem is, those are contract costs that include capitol costs, but that do not include certain government supplied items of issue...such as radios and armament (which was counted separately). Even better, contract payments varied from year to year and "cost plus" accounting meant that the final "price" paid on a contract was different from what was contracted initially. Actual Army and WPB attempts to derive individual equipment item "prices" show so much variability as to be almost meaningless. For example, the contract "price" of the M4 Medium Tank varied from about $47,000 to $85,000, depending upon when the cost was assessed and what was included as part of the cost. I might also wonder why in his list of "armored production by weight"
GIGO is so selective in his accounting? Why include American armored cars but not German? Why is the T23 not counted? Armored halftracks?
The German accounting is just as suspect, although for different reasons.
It s barely possible to compare program costs, but then that gets into questions as to what those program costs included. For example, the American program costs included construction of three brand new tank arsenals, Chrysler (Detroit), Ford (Detroit), and Fisher (Grand Blanc), each with greater capacity than the single German wartime tank arsenal built, the Nibelungenwerke.
Anyway, here is an "old"
post of mine on the subject, from last year
, maybe it's too much to expect that GIGO do a little homework before his little eructions? ...
""On 30 June 1940 the National Munitions Program was enacted, which among other authorizations approved the building of 1,741 M2A1 Medium Tanks, the project to be completed by 31 December 1941. Initial contracts were issued to American Locomotive Company and Baldwin Locomotive Company. However in June a member of the National Defense Advisory Commission, William S. Knudsen, President of General Motors, argued that the automobile manufacturers also had the capability of producing tanks (in Germany Daimler-Benz was already proving this was true). Between 17 June and 17 July 1940 negotiations went on that resulted in a contract to build a Chrysler Tank Arsenal at Detroit, Michigan for a projected cost of $21-million and an output of 10 tanks per day (roughly 220 per month based upon the then still standard five-day work week). The contract was signed on 15 August, with the intention of building 1,000 M2A1 Medium Tanks, the remaining 741 to be built by American and Baldwin." (from my incomplete history of US Army tank production in World War II) So you see the "cost" was actually $21,000 each for the 1,000 M2A1...but included the cost of building the factory to build them in.
Here is the information I have found on the cost of tanks. It is important first though to realize that, just as German “price” information on tanks did not include some items of the final equipment (including radios), US prices are for the tank without armament (and usually without the various items of “kit” that were added as stowed equipment prior to unit issue.
In September 1942 the 8th Report of the Army Service Forces Army Supply Plan was filed, which included some detailed information on the procurement plans, including the then current estimated costs, on “important” items of equipment.
Tank, Light, M3, M3A1, M5, M5A1 - $50,000
Tank Medium, M3 and M4 - $82,723
Tank, Heavy (undesignated) - $152,346
Gun, Tank, 37mm M5 and M6 - $1,425
Gun, Tank, 57mm - $5,500
Gun, Tank, 75mm M2 and M3 - $3,350
Gun, Tank, 76mm M1 - $3,500
Gun, Tank, 3” Heavy - $8,600
To compare the gun prices to the guns with carriage for use as antitank guns we find they are:
37mm - $3,480
57mm - $9,420
76mm - $21,300
Gun, 40mm AA, mobile - $17,830
Gun, 3” AA, mobile - $37,500
Gun, 90mm AA, mobile - $43,800
Gun, 90mm AA, fixed Anti-MTB Mount - $23,000
Gun, 4.7” (120mm) AA, mobile - $151,000
Machine gun cost estimates were:
MG, caliber .30, M191A4 (fixed and flexible) - $350
MG, caliber .50, M2 HB (fixed and flexible) - $1,050
The “Gun, Tank 3” Heavy” was a “one-off” adaptation of the old 3” AA gun and only seven were completed, likely the reason for the higher cost.
The same applies to the 76mm AT gun, which was the designation for a uncompleted design study for a completely new weapon. In practice it was decided in 1943 that it would be cheaper to produce the 3” gun on the 105mm M1 carriage as an AT gun, so again, a much higher cost is estimated.
These prices gradually changed in subsequent editions. A summary of equipment costs dated 29 April 1944 gives the following representative costs:
Tank, Light, M5 and M5A1 - $37,560
Tank, Medium, M4 - $58,197
Tank, Heavy (undesignated) - $325,368
The “Tank, Heavy” was in fact the M1, later re-designated as the M6. Only 40 were completed, so again the high relative cost for a limited procurement item.
Aircraft Cannon, 75mm - $4,500
Gun, 40mm AA, with carriage - $13,100
Machinegun, caliber .30 - $147
Machinegun, caliber .50 - $323
Finally, unit prices given for VJ-Day 1945 in a 1951 Army summary of costs were:
Tank, Medium, M4A3 - $47,339
Tank, Medium, M4A1 - $55,145
Tank, Light, M24 - $39,652
Tank, Medium M26 - $81,324
Note that the cost of the “standard” M4A3 was the lowest, which is logical given that it was the largest type under procurement at the time.
The real problem is that such cost-based "comparisons" are meaningless because they ignore a significant number of points.
The US was able to afford the material cost, labor cost, and capital cost of their tanks, while the German economy placed severe limitations on each cost factor. The Germans for example, built a single large-scale, purpose-designed tank assembly plant, Nibelungenwerke, the Americans built three such plants, all larger than the German plant. Construction of Nibelungenwerke was begun in 1938/1939 and it was operational in 1942, the first US plant, the Chrysler Detroit Tank Arsenal, was contracted for 15 August 1940 and began serial production in April 1941.
The US "costs" are final contract prices and include cost of labor, material, and capital amortization. For example the $21-million cost of the Detroit Tank Arsenal, $25,782-million cost of the General Motors Tank Arsenal (Fisher Body, Grand Blanc), and the $39-million cost of the Ford Tank Arsenal are included as well as conversions costs for the numerous heavy manufacturers that converted plants from peacetime to wartime production (American Loco, Baldwin Loco, Federal Machine, Lima Loco, Pacific Car, Pressed Steel Car, Pullman Standard, and many others).
So yes, an estimate of 800,000 RM for a Tiger versus $81,324 for an M26 may be reasonable. "