German vs. Soviet production in 1942

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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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by LWD » 26 Jul 2012 22:34

Guaporense wrote: ... Also, developed countries have more resources to invest in training, leadership and military doctrine. Hence, soldiers in developed countries have more firepower, ammunition, better training and better leadership than soldiers in developing countries.
I'm not sure a close look at some early war US units will bear that out.
Italian forces had terrible performance in WW2, they were worse than Soviet and Japanese forces. That's not because Italy was less industrialized than Japan and the Soviet Union but because Italy was less mobilized for war:
I've seen a host of other reasons that make more sense to me.

As for US Japanese casualty rates the nature of fighting on islands may be more critical. If the attacker can mass a clearly supperior force the defender will loose pretty much 100%. In the first few months of the war that favored the Japanese, once they lost the initiative it favored the allies.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Guaporense » 26 Jul 2012 22:42

LWD wrote:From what I've read Soviet losses due to frostbite were higher in 41 and 42 than they were in later years.
Soviet losses to frostbite totaled 0.3% of their losses during the whole war. If you give 100% of their losses in 1942, that still doesn't alter anything.
That's of little import however as you have a couple of very serious confounding factors that make your effort of little value.
You didn't even had the time to study my analysis and you automatically claim it is of "little value". Clearly, you are simply hostile to actual logical analysis of the matter in question.
1) Training differences.
2) Doctrinal differences.
3) Strategic factors
4) Operational factors
5) Tactical factors
Not to mention things like usage rates, lend lease, espionage, etc.
Those are included in A.

The whole matter is that you have these two options:

1 - The Germans were a million times more efficient than the Soviets, as they were able to make each soldier to inflict in 13 times the casualties the Soviet soldiers inflicted with less resources.

2 - The Germans were significantly more effective than the Soviets and enjoyed a large margin of superiority in resources.

The simple fact is that anyone with some knowledge of history knows that Russia has always been less developed than Western Europe, including UK, Spain, France, Italy and Germany. From the Late Middle Ages to the Present.

The Soviet Union never was a developed country, and in fact, they had their finest moment in 1970-1975, when they were almost reaching the level of development attained in Chile.

In 1940 the Soviet Union were a very primitive country, with 60% of the labor force working in agriculture (the same proportion as France and Germany in the 18th century (http://s451.photobucket.com/albums/qq23 ... ulture.png)), a life expectancy 20 years lower than Western Europe and 22% of the level of British per capita income in terms of market rates (in 1938).

Manstein even complained about the fact that he didn't find good houses to sleep, as most Soviet houses were huts, while in France he confiscated luxurious country houses.

Soviet village:
Image

That's almost medieval. And note that 70% of the population of the Soviet Union lived in villages spread in the countryside. While Germany was urbanized, about 2/3 of the population lived in cities.

They even suffered from famines in the 1930's, such as those in Ukraine. Very typical of primitive medieval societies.

When one says that the Soviet Union enjoyed material superiority in the Eastern front (in the sense of saying that Soviet soldiers had more equipment per head), well, one only shows that he doesn't know the basics.
Last edited by Guaporense on 26 Jul 2012 23:02, edited 2 times in total.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by LWD » 26 Jul 2012 22:51

But they are all variables not constants as you seem to be treating them. Furthermore they very likely interreact in a very nonlinear way.
I can't see anyway you can support this hypothesis with fact and logic which means it is going to end up as simply your opinion.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by LWD » 26 Jul 2012 22:55

Then there are even further confounding factors. For instance when and how long it takes to produce something vs when it would have a combat effect. An example
1) Munitons can be produced very quickly and for make there way to the battlefield fairly quickly as well. In the case of some Soviet factories it may have taken only a few days possibly less.
2) Battleships. These typically take 3+ years to build. Then they are working up for 6 months to a year and then they are avaialble for combat but don't necessarily engage in it for some months more.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by ljadw » 27 Jul 2012 07:57

about the claim by Guaporense that 2/3 of the German population lived in cities:
1) Following the 1939 census,the distribution was :
in towns with less than 10000 inhabitants :50 % of the population
in towns with 10000 till 50000 inhabitants :14 % of the population
in towns with more than 50000 inhabitants :36 % of the population
Thus,the claim of Guaporense is questionable,unless he considers a village of 5000 people as a city,which also is questionable
2)The claim that the degree of civilisation,of development of a country is depending on its degree of urbanisation,is very questionable :it is the typical 21first century yuppie argument of people who have no knowledge of agriculture and the country,and the origin of which is the old feeling of superiority of the city inhabitants and their disdain for the peasants.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by mescal » 27 Jul 2012 12:43

Guaporense wrote: Using a conventional Cobb-Douglas casualty production function, where the volume of casualties is determined by the equation:
Enemy casualties = A x M^{z} x P^{1-z} (1)
Guaporense wrote: That's it, I give z a value of 0.5, that's the only assumption I make in this post.
Err, no.
You also assumed a lot of other things. Among them :
- that the production of casualties can be modeled by a two-factor Cobb-Douglas function.
- that P is the whole force strength (i.e. it includes non-combat units)
- that M includes all kinds of ammunitions (i.e. you assume that a $10,000 tanks is equal to a hundred $100 rifles w.r.t inflicting caualties)
- "The main reason was that Germany was much richer and hence could afford to invest a greater amount of physical capital on their soldiers." That's also an assumption.
- that tactical & strategic choices are either irrelevant or determnined by your model
- that M(german)/M(soviet) is computable
- that your model is relevant

Guaporense wrote: The fact that German forces were better equipped than Soviet forces is obvious
Really ? Care to ask a Landser on the Vistula or in Koenigsberg in 1945 ?
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Factoring Protection/Defense on casualty infliction

Post by Guaporense » 27 Jul 2012 22:25

I think that I need to include an additional element into this model which will reduce the need for such massive discrepancies of munitions required by the equation: introducing defense as a function of munitions invested per soldier.
Guaporense wrote:So how we could determine the value of munitions? Well, the ultimate function of weapons is to inflict casualties on the enemy (gains in territory occur when the enemy forces are either destroyed or retreat due to superior enemy casualty infliction capabilities in proportion to the forces engaged).

Using a conventional Cobb-Douglas casualty production function, where the volume of casualties is determined by the equation:

Enemy casualties = A x M^{z} x P^{1-z} (1)

Which can be interpreted as the equation determining the output of the military sector of the economy given by the number of casualties it inflicts on the enemy.

Where:

A = fighting power parameter (total factor productivity of the armed force, i.e. efficiency)
M = munitions
P = personnel

z = parameter between 0 and 1 that yields the relative importance between munitions and personnel, in civilian sectors, human resources are usually around 60% while capital (i.e. munitions in the military sector) are 40%. However, workers have human capital, which is not taken into account here (we abstract human capital away from personnel and allocate it to parameter A). So I would give 50% / 50% of the relative contribution of personnel and material capital (munitions) to the output of an armed force. That's it, I give z a value of 0.5, that's the only assumption I make in this post.

Note that if we double both M and P we will double our casualty infliction capability. That makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, an army twice the size with twice everything should inflict twice the casualties. One thing that I don't consider in this model would be the size of the enemy forces, that's it, the density of enemies along the front. If there are few men to man the frontlines, artillery barrages, for instance, would tend to produce fewer casualties than if manpower is plenty.
Anyway, my objective is to determine M(german)/M(soviets)given that we know P, A and the number of casualties. These are the statistics for Germany and the USSR on force strength and the number of casualties:

German force strength:

2,500,000 - March 1942
2,550,000 - May 1942
2,600,000 - June 1942
2,600,000 - July 1942
2,500,000 - August 1942
2,490,000 - October 1942

Average: 2,540,000

German casualties:

1,080,950

Soviet force strength:

1st quarter 1942 - 4,186,000
2nd quarter 1942 - 5,060,300
3rd quarter 1942 - 5,664,600
4th quarter 1942 - 6,343,600

Average: 5,313,600

That means that Germany had 47.8% of the personnel strength of the Soviet Union in the Eastern front in 1942.

Soviet casualties:

7,369,278

However, Soviet casualties include besides killed, wounded and missing also sick and frostbitten, while German casualty figures don't. I don't have 1942 sick and frostbitten numbers, but during the whole war they were 12.4% of all Soviet losses. So cutting down 12.4% of the Soviet numbers we reach:

6,455,488 casualties.

That means that Germany inflicted 597% of the casualties using 47.8% of the personnel. The main reason was that Germany was much richer and hence could afford to invest a greater amount of physical capital on their soldiers.
The additional element I think needs inclusion is "armor". Defined as the capability of resisting attack, in other words, reducing the opponents casualty infliction. We defined as B = basic casualties, which is the value determined in equation (1). C = inflicted casualties would follow a simple equation:

C = B x 1/(M/P)^{z} (2)

Where M is the value of munitions of the enemy and P is the manpower/personnel. That's it: the number of casualties inflicted is the number of basic casualties divided by a function of munitions per capita. Meaning that better equipped armies will be able to resist attacks suffering fewer casualties and also, that armies with the same amounts of munitions invested, if they have fewer soldiers they will tend to suffer fewer casualties since each soldier would be better equipped.

Where better equipped means the use of tanks, aircraft, fortifications, armored infantry transports, helmets and other things that make harder to kill or wound the enemy. Using eq. 2 with 1 will help to increase the overall effectiveness of munitions in determining casualties.

Applying this model to the Eastern front in 1942 we have adding equations 1 and 2:

C = A x M^{z} x P^{1-z} x 1/(M(enemy)/P(enemy))^{z}

A is equal to 250%,

Soviet casualties / German casualties = 2.5 x (M(German)/M(Soviet))^{z} x P(German)/P(Soviet)^{1-z} x [(P(Soviet)/M(Soviet))/(P(German)/M(German))]^{z}

Using z = .5,

Soviet casualties / German casualties = 2.5 x (M(German)/M(Soviet))^{1/2} x (2.54/5.314)^{1/2} x [(5.314/M(Soviet))/(2.54/M(German))]^{1/2}

----->

Soviet casualties / German casualties = 2.5 x (M(German)/M(Soviet))^{1/2} x (0.478)^{1/2} x [(2.092 x M(German)/M(Soviet))]^{1/2}

----->

Soviet casualties / German casualties = 2.5 x 1.446 x (M(German)/M(Soviet))^{1/2} x (0.478)^{1/2} x [M(German)/M(Soviet))]^{1/2}

----->

6,455,488 / 1,080,950 = 3.615 x (M(German)/M(Soviet)) x 0.691

----->

5.97 = 2.49 x (M(German)/M(Soviet))

So, with this modification, where if I increase the munitions per soldier by 100% it become 41% harder to kill/wound the soldiers, we reach a very reasonable estimate that the Germans invested 239.7% of the value of munitions the Soviets invested.

And this implies that each German soldier had 5.014 more munitions invested in him in 1942 than each Soviet soldier in 1942 on a per head basis. A reasonable discrepancy that fits with the long run difference in economic development between the two countries, where Germany's GDP in terms of munitions goods (which are tradeable goods and thus reflected in Market Exchange Rate GDP and not on Maddison's GDP numbers) is usually around 5 times Russia's.
Last edited by Guaporense on 27 Jul 2012 22:38, edited 1 time in total.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Guaporense » 27 Jul 2012 22:37

A challenge to the believers in the "Soviet Material Superiority Goddess":

Find another conflict that produced massive discrepancies in casualties equal or greater than the discrepancies in the Eastern front in WW2 and that the side that suffered at least 5 times the casualty of the enemy had material superiority.


I.e. Try to find a campaign, war, large operation, etc, such that one side had material superiority and still suffered 5 or more times the combat casualties the other side suffered.

Note: combat casualties, I don't mean the 5 million men that the Allies lost when France surrendered, so that doesn't count.

The numbers must be reliable. An Ancient Chinese account of a semi mythological battle where the Monkey King defeated the Sacred Panda of the Yellow Emperor with an army of 4,000 barechested and bareheaded soldiers with copper swords while the Sacred Panda had 50,000 men in disposition with steel swords and armor in 1632 BC is not valid example.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Guaporense » 28 Jul 2012 00:46

Market rates GNP Approach

From: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 1#p1719581

I have calculated the distribution of world GNP using exchange rates. Now I will calculate German and Soviet GNP using the 1938 values and their estimated evolution in The Economics of WW2, Harrison:

1938:
Germany: 46.0 billion
USSR: 23.02 billion

1940:
Germany: 50.7 billion
USSR: 26.7 billion (most of the increase came from Poland's 5 billion GNP shared between Germany and the USSR)

However, from 1940 to 1942, Soviet population declined from 198 million to 130 million, and GNP collapsed as a result. While German GNP continued to increase. So in 1942 we had such balance of resources:

1942:
Germany: 53.5 billion (plus 7.9 billion of occupation taxes, which is better than GNP because you don't need to leave part to the civilians, it would be equivalent of having an additional 16.4 billion of GNP, yielding Germany's de facto GNP of 69.9 billion)
USSR: 17.5 billion

So, tanking into account all the relevant factors, Germany had in terms of De Facto resources (GNP + taxes from occupied territories) about 4 times the Soviet resources, using the market exchange rates of 1937-1938. Note that as Germany spent about 60% of their resources on the Eastern front, that would mean that they would have about 2.4 times the resources than the USSR had.

Notice that using my production functions based on casualties I have reached that Germany had 2.397 times more material resources than the USSR in the Eastern front.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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British Economy compared to the Soviet Economy 1942

Post by Guaporense » 12 Aug 2012 23:21

Actually, even UK had greater material resources than the Soviet Union. Even though in 1942, the USSR produced much more ground related equipment, such as tanks and guns, the actual war related production of the UK surpassed those of the USSR. The difference was that the quality of British equipment was higher and also that the USSR managed to produce equipment at a smaller cost and focused on low cost equipment, such as small arms, tanks and guns. But ammunition, aircraft and naval production were the focus of the British war production effort.

In 1942, this was the respective relation of resources between UK and the USSR:

--------------------------------------------------- UK ------- USSR ----- USSR/UK ratio
GDP (billions 1939 dollars) ------------------- 33.81 ---- 17.57 ---- 0.52
Military outlays (billions 1939 dollars) ------ 18.26 ---- 10.68 ---- 0.59
Energy supply (MT of coal equivalent)* ----- 208.2 ----- 94.55 --- 0.46
Steel (thousands of metric tons) ------------ 12,968 --- 8,070 ---- 0.62
Iron (thousands of metric tons) ------------- 7,726 ----- 4,779 ---- 0.62
Electricity (thousands of KW/hour) --------- 36,903 ---- 29,068 --- 0.79

*derived from Coal, Lignite, Oil production converted at 29 MJ = Coal, 15 MJ = Lignite, 42 MJ = Oil. I don't have oil imports for the UK in 1942, but considering oil reserves were 5.2 million tons they cannot have been greater than 10-15 million tons, so over 90% of UK's energy supply came from coal mined domestically.

It appears that the USSR had around 50-60% of the resources of UK in 1942. Energy supply was less than half, and that without counting the oil imports of the UK, only domestic coal production. The difference was only less than 60% in the case of electricity, but that reflected the fact that the USSR had developed a younger industry than the UK and hence used more electricity in proportion to it's size (another example is Italy, whose electricity supply was 19.6 billion KW/hour, more than half UK's supply and it's GDP was 1/4 of the size).
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by LWD » 13 Aug 2012 20:01

Guaporense wrote: ... I.e. Try to find a campaign, war, large operation, etc, such that one side had material superiority and still suffered 5 or more times the combat casualties the other side suffered.

Note: combat casualties, I don't mean the 5 million men that the Allies lost when France surrendered, so that doesn't count. ....
The Mongol invasions of Europe and the Mid East would seem to qualify. So would the Greco Persian wars not to mention Alexanders campaigns vs the Persians. Then there were the English campaigns vs France that resulted in Agincourt, Poiter, and Crecy. Not to mention the German campaign vs France. That should be enough for now.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Alixanther » 25 Jan 2013 19:53

LWD wrote:
Guaporense wrote: ... I.e. Try to find a campaign, war, large operation, etc, such that one side had material superiority and still suffered 5 or more times the combat casualties the other side suffered.

Note: combat casualties, I don't mean the 5 million men that the Allies lost when France surrendered, so that doesn't count. ....
The Mongol invasions of Europe and the Mid East would seem to qualify. So would the Greco Persian wars not to mention Alexanders campaigns vs the Persians. Then there were the English campaigns vs France that resulted in Agincourt, Poiter, and Crecy. Not to mention the German campaign vs France. That should be enough for now.
All those were clearly successful blitzkriegs, if I may joke a little :). Of course you don't expect anyone to believe that ancient wars have anything to do with "the economy of war". I can only think of only 1 attrition war during the entire ancient times, the Roman-Parthian millenial war. Which, even it was sparingly led at chosen times.
Even if they manage to bring 1 million soldiers on the battlefield, if the technological disparity is so big you're going to hack through their morale in no time even if you only have 10,000 troops, and that's the way wars were concluded back then: by which side was fleeing off the battlefield, no matter the losses.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by LWD » 25 Jan 2013 22:16

The Peloponnesian war was attritional. There was an attritional element to the Grecko Persian wars as well. AS for it having much to do with "economy of war" it had more to do with someone not knowing what they were talking about as usual.

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German population

Post by nebelwerferXXX » 26 Jan 2013 06:49

ljadw wrote:1) Following the 1939 census, the distribution was:
in towns with less than 10,000 inhabitants: 50% of the population
in towns with 10,000 till 50,000 inhabitants: 14% of the population
in towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants: 36% of the population
You could derived from the above statistics by Germany's 1939 population of 68,400,000.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 05 Mar 2013 18:40

The comparison of the world economies before and during WW2 has been covered in various books before. The most recent that I can find is "Accounting for War" dated 2002 which gives the following GDP figures:
wartime economies.jpg
These do not seem to show the same picture as the GNP figures above.
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