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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Der Alte Fritz
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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 05 Aug 2016 09:36

In terms of industrial and developmental level the Soviet Union was at the same level as Italy nonetheless it achieved a far higher level of combat performance.

Similarly the British Empire was at a level similar to Germany but never achieved a similar level of military performance.

The USA the richest most developed country in the world again only achieved 80% combat performance against the far smaller, poor, less well developed Germany. See:
http://www.hpu.edu/CHSS/History/Graduat ... Willis.pdf
Zetterling, Martin van Creveld, etc for both sides of the argument.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by stg 44 » 05 Aug 2016 15:13

Der Alte Fritz wrote:In terms of industrial and developmental level the Soviet Union was at the same level as Italy nonetheless it achieved a far higher level of combat performance.
Per capita sure but in terms of total industry it was much superior to Italy and arguably equal in total national GDP to Germany in 1941 before the invasion. Comparing it to Italy at all is pretty pointless given that nationally it was achieving an output similar to Greater German occupying most of Europe, while being quite a bit more technically advanced in Italy in military terms.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Stiltzkin » 05 Aug 2016 17:25

Per capita sure but in terms of total industry it was much superior to Italy and arguably equal in total national GDP to Germany in 1941 before the invasion. Comparing it to Italy at all is pretty pointless given that nationally it was achieving an output similar to Greater German occupying most of Europe, while being quite a bit more technically advanced in Italy in military terms.
We are going around in circles.

These GDP and GNP calculations are misleading and should be used with caution, there was a CIA study (calculations) showing that eastern germany was richer than the west (Harrisons data is highly doubtful and should be used as a mere indicator). The Soviet Union had absolutely no reason to publish realistic figures, making these values pretty much useless. Furthermore, Germany was not poor, the differences were not that high, certainly not in per capita values (that myth is getting tiresome, Germany was in many areas, ahead of the US).

Different units are going to have different tactical performances, experience will also play a big role. Quality is a relative term, as Zetterling stated and should be always compared to the respective adversary. A lesser developed system is usually going to have higher losses on the tactical level (compare RKKA, offense and defense, Israel - Egypt, US in Korea).
The USSR was highly militarized (with the military receiving the best materials), while the population (on average) was extremely poor (that is the nature of dictatorships). The USSR bridged the gap with human resource, espionage, license builds, lots of territory and an important alliance that allowed it to stay in the fight. Lets take a look at Soviet equipment: Simple solutions which had to be reliable and effective. SMGs, based off the Bergmann/Schmeisser/Lahti designs (streamlined into 9 parts). Tanks based off British, French and American Systems, Rockets R-1 designed after A-4/V-2, the Atomic Bomb plans handed out by willing imbeciles like Klaus Fuchs etc. (the T34's christie suspension didn't differ substantially from the original patent, while the British already installed modified solutions in their Cruiser tanks). They represented a 3rd world system with 1st world military expenditures. After WW2 they absolutely harvested the new captured territories, (to a much higher degree than the US did with the Western nations), Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Eastern Germany, Estonia, Lithuania, Karelia and again, most of this tech had military application.

Lets take North Korea and compare it to the South:

http://www.globalfirepower.com/countrie ... it=COMPARE

The South has a higher living standard paired with more potential but is lesser militarized (just like the democratic US was in the 30s). The South would inflict significantly higher losses on the assailant, but without foreign intervention it would be eventually overrun (especially if N.K. would be backed up by China).

Guaporense emphasized the importance of economy during wartime. The quantity of produced goods does not say anything about its quality, only a highly developed country can produce top gear. The USSR had to pay a higher price i.e. they had to achieve a "break even point" to ensure success (for example for Kursk it is 1.98:1).
Lets make a jump back to the ancient times, the Romans rarely developed new weapon systems, they perfectionized existing ones (especially sieging, italian or iberian scutarii sword and throwing weapons). Cherusci would usually pick up Roman weapons because they were more sophisticated, would break less/sharper etc.

Italy never prepped for Total War and used only a small percentage of its GDP for military spendings, the esprit d'corps was also questionable. It is more of a failure of grand strategy and leadership than anything else. If it would have used its assets it could have been a major player (the majority of its industrial power lay in the north anyway). It was Italy who developed one of the first SMGs during WWI. Their planes were of higher quality than that of the Soviets, they had a respectable fleet, as well.
A lesser developed system can still put up a hard resistence if the respective nation is highly militarized/fanatical/indoctrinated or if the geostrategic situation and diplomatic relations will allow it.

Today, Italy is economically stronger than Russia, just like it was in the 40s (before it was devastated that is).
Similarly the British Empire was at a level similar to Germany but never achieved a similar level of military performance.
Not true, the average daily losses in direct confrontation do not show the disparity that is present on the eastern front. Compare Africa and the Battle of Britain (their pilots are as well trained as their Axis counterparts).

These issues have been pointed out in many posts in this forum before and are becoming redundant.
Going back to the OP: I would take a look on the production in the subsequent year, in 42 the RKKA increases mostly in size, while the share of equipment extends in 43.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 06 Aug 2016 08:44

stg 44 wrote:
Der Alte Fritz wrote:In terms of industrial and developmental level the Soviet Union was at the same level as Italy nonetheless it achieved a far higher level of combat performance.
Per capita sure but in terms of total industry it was much superior to Italy and arguably equal in total national GDP to Germany in 1941 before the invasion. Comparing it to Italy at all is pretty pointless given that nationally it was achieving an output similar to Greater German occupying most of Europe, while being quite a bit more technically advanced in Italy in military terms.
We are comparing developmental levels (ie. how advanced their industries are, not the overall size of the economy. In the first case Italy and Russia are pretty similar, in the second completely different. Both had advanced aero industries, but lacked many other sectors needed such as electronics.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by stg 44 » 06 Aug 2016 14:33

Der Alte Fritz wrote: We are comparing developmental levels (ie. how advanced their industries are, not the overall size of the economy. In the first case Italy and Russia are pretty similar, in the second completely different. Both had advanced aero industries, but lacked many other sectors needed such as electronics.
I'd say the Soviets then were more industrially advanced technologically. Just look at the quality of the AFVs the two nations produced. The Italians were still making riveted armor in 1943, the Soviets were casting entire hulls in one piece. Part of that was US LL providing machine tools after 1941, but the Soviets were making T-34s in 1941, which were well in advance of anything Italian industry was making. The Soviets also had early radar in 1941, the Italians were having to use German units.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Stiltzkin » 07 Aug 2016 05:10

I'd say the Soviets then were more industrially advanced technologically. Just look at the quality of the AFVs the two nations produced. The Italians were still making riveted armor in 1943, the Soviets were casting entire hulls in one piece. Part of that was US LL providing machine tools after 1941, but the Soviets were making T-34s in 1941, which were well in advance of anything Italian industry was making. The Soviets also had early radar in 1941, the Italians were having to use German units.
Soviet Metallurgy quality. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/011426.pdf

No Radio, bad optics, bad FCE, no cupola, inferior metalworks (cracks). Ironically, a lot of the steel used (besides the LL) was prepurchased Kruppstahl from the 40s...
The quality of Soviet AFVs was actually subpar and only boosted by exaggerations and literature. They lost around 46000 of ca. 55000 T-34s produced, thats is 84% of the total stock, not a sign of quality. Quality however, is a relative term.

Radar in 41? The only reason they could have Radar in 41 would be due to Britain, otherwise I don't see how. Soviet literature has created a lot of myths throughout the decades to make the world believe they were technologically superior to everyone. I have analyzed so many of their sources, occasionally they are simply embarrassing.
I would check infrastructure, Aggregate/Gensets (that would answer the electronics issue) and standards for both factions, Italy did not invest too much into tank development (look at their territorial location). Italy had the best combat swimmers of WW2, not that it matters though.
You have to look on more indicators than just military equipment, that is the only sector the USSR invested into, nothing else.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Guaporense » 27 Aug 2016 19:57

Stiltzkin wrote:
Per capita sure but in terms of total industry it was much superior to Italy and arguably equal in total national GDP to Germany in 1941 before the invasion. Comparing it to Italy at all is pretty pointless given that nationally it was achieving an output similar to Greater German occupying most of Europe, while being quite a bit more technically advanced in Italy in military terms.
We are going around in circles.

These GDP and GNP calculations are misleading and should be used with caution, there was a CIA study (calculations) showing that eastern germany was richer than the west (Harrisons data is highly doubtful and should be used as a mere indicator). The Soviet Union had absolutely no reason to publish realistic figures, making these values pretty much useless. Furthermore, Germany was not poor, the differences were not that high, certainly not in per capita values (that myth is getting tiresome, Germany was in many areas, ahead of the US).
1937 Per capita production of industrial commodities (average of coal, iron, steel, electricity, soap, paper, sugar and cement):

US ---------- 100
Germany -- 81.5
Japan ------ 22.6
USSR ------- 21.8

US and Germany were regarded as industrialized advanced economies. USSR and Japan were developing economies that were far below US and Germany. Italy was actually more developed than USSR and Japan but less so than Germany and US. While France and UK were about the same level of Germany.

Maddison's project per capita income 1939 in 1990 dollars:

Switzerland ---------- 8,092
US --------------------- 6,561
UK ------------------- 6,262
Germany ------------ 5,406
Western Europe ----- 5,095
France --------------- 4,793
Italy ------------------ 3,521
Japan ----------------- 2,301
USSR ------------------ 2,237
Brazil ----------------- 1,250
Korea ----------------- 690
India ------------------ 674
China ----------------- 619

In some industries, German productivity was equal or higher than the US's. For example, according to Junkers to produce a Ju-88, the number of hours required was as low as 7,000 by 1943, that's 800 hours per ton. Compare to 19,000 hours to produce a B-17 in 1944, about 1,150 hours per ton. In other industries productivity was much lower, like the motor vehicle industry, there productivity was perhaps 35-40% of US's level.
They represented a 3rd world system with 1st world military expenditures.
Indeed. It was the discrepancy between the USSR's military power and it's underdeveloped economy that explains why:
1) they won the war.
2) why Hitler though it was feasible to take then down with a single offensive.
Italy never prepped for Total War and used only a small percentage of its GDP for military spendings, the esprit d'corps was also questionable. It is more of a failure of grand strategy and leadership than anything else. If it would have used its assets it could have been a major player (the majority of its industrial power lay in the north anyway). It was Italy who developed one of the first SMGs during WWI. Their planes were of higher quality than that of the Soviets, they had a respectable fleet, as well.
I should add:

Shell production in the First World War, thousands:

Italy ---- 90,940
Russia -- 64,937
US ------ 50,940

Italy outproduced Russia and United States in WW1. :thumbsup: And Italy's output was about 40% of the UK's.
"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 Aug 2016 20:37

Der Alte Fritz wrote:The USA the richest most developed country in the world again only achieved 80% combat performance against the far smaller, poor, less well developed Germany.
Well, in terms of firepower per capita soldiers from both armies were similar. In fact, French, British, German and American troops had the same general level of firepower per soldier in WW2.

For example, in engagements in November-December 1944 an a campaign when air power had little effect these are the numbers of US and German troops and the ratio of firepower available modified by environmental variables:

engagement n. --- US troops ---- German troops --- ratio of firepower

609 ---------------- 99,583 ------- 23,588 ------------- 4.44
610 ---------------- 92,393 ------- 28,282 ------------- 3.07
611 ---------------- 88,941 ------- 32,396 ------------- 2.94
612 ---------------- 90,078 ------- 30,712 ------------- 2.85
613 ---------------- 89,977 ------- 31,501 ------------- 3.10

page 236-237 Numbers, Predictions and War

On average, German firepower per soldier in these 5 engagements was 98% of US's firepower per soldier and most of this difference can be explained by the fact US troops had little air support while German troops had none. Apparently, even with the massive production of material of the US, the fact was that because of technological constraints, to operate the equipment of the time it required a certain amount of soldiers so that firepower per soldier was usually the same among developed countries.

Also, daily average ammunition consumption per 10,000 soldiers in the theater of operations in 1944-45:

USA ------- 15.4 tons
Germans - 13.8 tons
Soviets --- 5 tons

source: https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads ... w2.308559/

Notice the close correlation between ammunition consumption and per capita incomes in 1939:

US --------------------- 6,561
Germany ------------- 5,406
USSR ------------------ 2,237
"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 Stiltzkin » 27 Aug 2016 20:53

I wonder if the industrial advantage was somehow negated by the environment in the sense that it had a certain bottleneck of effectiveness, e.g. Vietnam conditions or the wide expanses of the Eastern front. I would assume that a lesser industrialized country with a worse infrastructure is generally harder to conquer (logistical challenge, less salvaging), while its Army might have less firepower per capita.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Guaporense » 29 Aug 2016 23:26

Certainly, the type of war favored the USSR's manpower resources: wide spaces to deploy their vast manpower and encircle the Germans. While Germany's economic superiority couldn't compensate these disadvantages.

While Japan was fighting the US under the geographical conditions that amplified their economic inferiority: it was based on naval warfare which is basically dependent on the capacity of shipyards to produce ships. In terms of manpower Japan's inferiority was much smaller but Japan lacked the natural resources and landmass to force the US to invade them after their Navy was defeated (if Japan were a larger country and had substantial natural resources the US would need to invade it's landmass if like they invaded Europe and Japan could use their relatively large labor force to their advantage).
"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 » 30 Aug 2016 00:14

Stiltzkin wrote:
Similarly the British Empire was at a level similar to Germany but never achieved a similar level of military performance.
Not true, the average daily losses in direct confrontation do not show the disparity that is present on the eastern front. Compare Africa and the Battle of Britain (their pilots are as well trained as their Axis counterparts).
Still, their performance was inferior: British troops had much higher casualties in WW1 than Germany.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=69350

For example, November-December 1916, 60,000 British casualties compared to 36,000 German casualties. And the British had greater numbers and firepower than the Germans in that front.

Usually, in WW1-WW2 the Germans were about 50% more effective than British-Americans-French who had similar level of firepower. While they were 200% more effective than the Russians-Soviets who had much lower level of firepower.

So it's true that the Wehrmacht was considerably superior in it's capacity to transform firepower into military power. If you measure by economic terms they were vastly superior to the Americans in WW2, whose troops had significantly more material invested per soldier but were substantially inferior in performance. I guess that in terms of conversion of economic resources to military power the Americans are usually less efficient than other countries (see Vietnam or well, any war the US does: they spend enormous resources to do the most simple things).

I think that the US's case in particular is that its a democratic individualistic country that doesn't have significant military tradition and was placed as the world's policeman unwillingly due to WW2, as a result its military tends to be ineffective relative to it's resources.
Last edited by Guaporense on 30 Aug 2016 00:36, 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 Richard Anderson » 30 Aug 2016 00:23

Guaporense wrote:page 236-237 Numbers, Predictions and War

On average, German firepower per soldier in these 5 engagements was 98% of US's firepower
No, it isn't. That is the ration of score effectiveness of the weapons systems modified by terrain, weather, and other considerations. It has little to do with their actual firepower.
Also, daily average ammunition consumption per 10,000 soldiers in the theater of operations in 1944-45:

USA ------- 15.4 tons
Germans - 13.8 tons
Soviets --- 5 tons

source: https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads ... w2.308559/
Sorry, already falsified. The "estimate" for US ammunition consumption is completely wrong.

Yet another example of falsified "data" being reposted in a different thread, by the same poster, waiting for the dust to settle so the same false "conclusions", supported by the same false "data", can be "proven." It is the große Lüge again.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Stiltzkin » 30 Aug 2016 01:30

The "estimate" for US ammunition consumption is completely wrong.
Do you perhaps have the correct values? It would be great to have the comparison.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Richard Anderson » 30 Aug 2016 03:04

Stiltzkin wrote:
The "estimate" for US ammunition consumption is completely wrong.
Do you perhaps have the correct values? It would be great to have the comparison.
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 1#p2031571 and following.
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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Stiltzkin » 30 Aug 2016 03:35

Thank you

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