Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
Mil-tech Bard
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Mil-tech Bard » 07 Dec 2015 16:06

>>Just a nit pick, the Wehrmacht is all the armed forces together, the Heer is the army. Otherwise I agree.

I bow to the significant Heer/Wehrmacht nit. And further agree with you on Luftwaffe ground based air defense, which also included 90% of German electronics production for radars & radios.

Finally, the production of U-boats definitely took at least 10% or more of German productive capacity.

Thus we see air and sea weapons in fact outweighed ground weapons for the Germans.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Guaporense » 26 Jul 2016 00:20

stg 44 wrote:Also FLAK was under the Luftwaffe, which I don't think are factored into these numbers. In terms of budget according to the USSBS aircraft purchases were a pretty consistent 40% of the budget throughout the war, so I'd really like to know where Guaporense's numbers are coming from.
I go into more detail here:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0#p2028470

In Germany, armament sales were 21.7 billion RM in 1943, aircraft was about 8 billion RM of ca. 35-40% of that. However, if we count all classes of military equipment, sales to the Wehrmacht from the metal-working sector of the German industry which were 2.2 billion RM monthly in mid 1943, compared to aircraft sales of ca. 700 million, so the aircraft share falls to 30%. However, even sales of military equipment of all types were very small compared to total government expenditures: north of 125 billion in 1943. There were also substantial direct Wehrmacht purchases of equipment from occupied countries like France, Belgium and the Netherlands whose purchases were in the order of several billion RM.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by EL KAISER » 14 Sep 2017 19:09

KDF33 wrote:Here, to compare production. I added indirect fire shell production (without naval), in metric tons. Data is Germany / USSR:

1942:

Tanks and SP guns: 6,180 / 24,640
Armored cars: 982 / 2,623
Half-tracks: 10,152 / 0
Trucks: 81,276 / 30,947
Cars: 27,895 / 2,567
Locomotives: 2,637 / 9
Train cars: 60,892 / 147

Artillery and mortar shells: 825,000 metric tons / 635,000 metric tons

1943:

Tanks and SP guns: 12,063 / 24,092
Armored cars: 806 / 1,820
Half-tracks: 16,964 / 0
Trucks: 109,483 / 45,545
Cars: 34,478 / 2,546
Locomotives: 5,243 / 43
Train cars: 66,263 / 108

Artillery and mortar shells: 1,410,000 / 850,000

1944:

Tanks and SP guns: 19,002 / 28,983
Armored cars: 485 / 3,000
Half-tracks: 17,143 / 0
Trucks: 89,069 / 53,467
Cars: 21,656 / 5,382
Locomotives: 3,495 / 32
Train cars: 45,189 / 13

Artillery and mortar shells: 1,735,000 / 1,100,000
Which is the Source for these figures? Somebody knows?

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Peppi » 08 Sep 2018 04:31

EL KAISER wrote:
14 Sep 2017 19:09
Which is the Source for these figures? Somebody knows?
No idea. I have a source for Soviet ammunition here on page 22 . https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics ... tprint.pdf , "The Soviet Defense Industry Complex in WWII, Mark Harrison University of Warwick" .

German ammunition production is more difficult however , however I have a source here ,
Image
which is from , page 691 of "Germany and the Second World War Volume V/II: Organization and Mobilization in the German Sphere of Power: Wartime Administration, Economy, and Manpower Resources 1942-1944/5".

Direct comparisons between German and Soviet artillery shell production are available here, https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics ... erp276.pdf , page 42 , Mark Harrison , "Resource mobilisation for World War II: a comparative View of the Soviet Productive Effort" . Note that this disagrees with other sources (appears to be incomplete in some ways lacking some calibers and shell types as far as I can glean), including some of Mark Harrisons own later work, so this should only be taken as suggestive.

There are sources for German and Soviet production (mainly german) here scientiamilitaria.journals.ac.za/pub/article/download/1178/1204 (download) [EDIT : Bad link , better link here https://www.ajol.info/index.php/smsajms ... 281/140858 ], "A Re-assessment of the German armaments production during World War II, by Ioannis-Dionysius Salavrakos , from pages 117-120 (maybe some more), however this has few estimates for non tank vehicles (although does have estimates for Guns which aren't in the above) .
There are estimates for a bunch of countries starting on page 31 here , https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/4171/7 ... cc0b11.pdf , "The Economics of World War 2 : an Overview" , Mark Harrison

Specific comparisons between German and Soviet production is here https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e039/7 ... f63d61.pdf , page 14 , Mark Harrison , "Industrial mobilisation for World War II: a German comparison"

To summarise usually a lot of sources focus on tanks and guns, but ignore armoured halftracks, & supply vehicles, so information on those are somewhat harder to come by.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Typhoon_MkII » 23 Nov 2018 14:22

I think that there is another difference between the economic potentials of the USSR and Nazi Germany: the potential for growth. The Soviets increased by ridiculous amounts their war production from 1942 to 1944, and that's AFTER moving the mainstay of their industry behind the Urals.

If the German industry might have been bigger than the USSR's in 1941, its potential for growth in terms of manpower, resources, infrastructure etc was much, much smaller than the USSR's (let alone the American industry!), and the latter could develop its industrial output as to massively outproduce the Third Reich. Plus, the Soviet factories managed to simplify their production so much that producing some weapons ended up costing one fourth of what the exact same model costed in early 1941 (the T-34 tank is a great example, a 1940 model costs as much as 4 T-34-85s or Mod.43s), while the Germans never managed to do this and built things in a clean, precise way that's appropriate for a luxury car in peace time but not for a tank in the middle of a total war in which you're short on resources.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Stiltzkin » 26 Nov 2018 17:30

I think that there is another difference between the economic potentials of the USSR and Nazi Germany: the potential for growth. The Soviets increased by ridiculous amounts their war production from 1942 to 1944, and that's AFTER moving the mainstay of their industry behind the Urals.

If the German industry might have been bigger than the USSR's in 1941, its potential for growth in terms of manpower, resources, infrastructure etc was much, much smaller than the USSR's (let alone the American industry!), and the latter could develop its industrial output as to massively outproduce the Third Reich. Plus, the Soviet factories managed to simplify their production so much that producing some weapons ended up costing one fourth of what the exact same model costed in early 1941 (the T-34 tank is a great example, a 1940 model costs as much as 4 T-34-85s or Mod.43s), while the Germans never managed to do this and built things in a clean, precise way that's appropriate for a luxury car in peace time but not for a tank in the middle of a total war in which you're short on resources.
Let me sum this up one more time, since there seems to be confusion, still:

a)The USSR already produced a substantial amount of assets prewar, in fact it prepared for expansionistic campaigns since the 20s (compare: Samuelson). The share of the Eastern USSR in defense industry enterprises before the war was already at 26% for the tank industry (18% total), so we are basically talking about backup facilities in the absence of conflicts. The USSR was on a permanent war footing. Centralized dictatorships with expansionistic ambitions have this in common.
There was significantly less leeway in their inventory to troop ratio, already in 1941 (see Askey, Barbarossa). They relied on foreign aid and had to drastically cut consumption (who knows how many starved).

b)The reason why Soviet output in quantity was so high because their losses of equipment were so high, so that they had to compensate for the increase of losses (and they had a larger army), e.g. Saddam Hussein had more tanks than the UN forces (it depends on the focus, doctrines and allocations).

c)Tanks only inflicted a small number of casualties, mortars and field guns (primarily 76mm, with subpar projectile quality) inflicted the majority of casualties sustained by the German Heer. It was technically achieved in a Great War fashion, with (horse drawn) rifle divisions. Judging that T-34s were shot to pieces in each quarter, I can hardly see how they are so relevant, i.e. any other tank would have sufficed. It is just a byproduct of wartime propaganda.
Note that Tank costs etc. lowered with mass production and learning effects, for all belligerents. T-34s were quite expensive and not cost effective weapons (for a developing system, which lacked basic commodities and luxury goods). They were in the range of fully outfitted Shermans (76mm variants).
Panthers were not substantially more expensive than Allied "MBTs" (such a term hardly existed during WW2 though), their survivability on the battlefield justified the difference (compare, Zetterling: Normandy 1944).
Many German weapons were quite cost effective, see the MG-42, the epitome of steel stamping. GPMGs are a standard in todays armies, anyone who served in the armed forces should know that. The Soviets lacked modern steel stamping procedures and could not achieve that before acquiring German technology after the war. The first real, fully steal stamped, Soviet weapon suitable for mass production and mass distribution world wide was the AKM.
I fail to see how German production methods and or equipment had any decisive impact on their defeat.

d) Germany outproduced the Soviet Union (especially in 1944), since it controlled the entire capital stock of the most developed part of the world. The USSR had advantages in the following fields, to name a few: More territory/favourable geostrategical situation (resource base), politics (they were able to hide their crimes)/reliable Allies and most importantly, demography (a more expendable population).
Compare, military outlays (economies of WW2) and steel allocations (which were quoted in this thread if I recall correctly). Regarding "growth": Soviet levels doubled during the years, while German levels increased by a factor of seven (achieved by leeching off the occupied territories).
Individual casualty infliction potential of a German soldier was 6.25 vs 0.21 for a Soviet soldier, in the period in which apparently "outproduction" took place - that is the average WW2 enthusiasts perception. German and US levels were similar (1.35 vs 0.75), on the other hand Soviet, Polish, Norwegian and Japanese levels were much closer to each other.
Germany was constrained by the number of men suitable for military service and could not effectively recruit great numbers of potential soldiers out of the territories controlled by the Nazis.

e)German arms production rose during 1943-44 as well, since their casualties and equipment losses started to rise (control of battlefield and holding the initiative is a crucial factor), while they had to cover the ever increasing demand for new formations and fronts, their overall inventory did not rise though, which is a sign of manpower shortages.

f) Yes, the US was the economic backbone of the Allies, but all economic limitations Germany possessed cannot explain its defeat, since their main enemy, the USSR, was economically weaker and less developed. Oil was the only significant discrepancy in the raw material situation (and the RKKA did not have greater motorization levels either).
While economy is a variable in the equation, it is not the main determinant for the outcome of the conflict in Europe (contrary to its significance in WW1). The situation in the Pacific was different.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by South » 26 Nov 2018 20:25

Good afternoon Stiltzkin,

It was a pleasure to read your above post. Danke.

May I ask you to amplify / clarify:

d) Germany ... controlled ... most developed part of the world".


~ Bob
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Stiltzkin » 27 Nov 2018 10:00

d) Germany ... controlled ... most developed part of the world".
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... DI.svg.png

Back then you only had the US and Western Europe (former colonies need to be factored in as well of course). Nations such as Japan and South Korea joined the league, as will more in the time of globalization.
Another thing: In terms of pure "potential", Russia should be competing or be ahead of the United States, since it is controlling such a landmass/resources, but it is not. The US possesses less than half of the oil reserves Russia has.
Britain once controlled half the world with a few colonial troops. Size of a nation and its economy are relative, just as how developed and diverse the economy can be.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by South » 27 Nov 2018 19:24

Good afternoon Stiltzkin,

Appreciate reply with link.

Now I understand what your point was re Germany controlling .....

I use a different overall definition. Germany was definitely present in France and the low countries with the (for example) important port of Rotterdam, etc. As far as generating the wealth needed to prosecute a global conflict, Germany's control, like the nation itself, was just too new and lacked the "depth" to exploit their conquests to the max. Plus, the Third Reich had a time line working against them. The strategic depth of the USSR was a Soviet asset and a German danger.

......

Many diamonds were mined at Irkurst, Ru and much gold at Magadan,USSR - but Russia is not and was not controlling its land mass any way near what US exploitation of the contiguous US witnessed. The contiguous US is, for the most part, relatively speaking, especially when compared to the USSR (and China), habitable and threaded with quality transport routes on both the east-west axis (eg 3 railroads and the water routes via the Panama Canal) and the north-south routes (eg Mississippi River). The Soviets never finalized their Davidov project to harness their rivers for economic development and the downstream (no pun intended !) military applications.

The Soviet Union was just not developed and the nation did not have the institutions to modernize the place. Czar Liberator did start the program and Sergi Waite, Minister of Finance/etc, kept pre Soviet Russia in debt during the 1890s to get their railroad built. The Lenin crowd thought they could improve on the situation.

Oil reserves are state secrets. It's somewhat difficult to compare. I will say that America's largest scandal, prior to Watergate, was "Teapot Dome". Teapot Dome was the name of a US Naval petroleum reserve. There are others also. Besides the goo - the petrol - the USSR and the Third Reich did not have the institutions to exploit petroleum, less for internal use. London and New York did.

To return to a more narrow focus; In arguendo that the Third Reich controlled resources and territory that could be exploited for their war efforts, most of the support systems were not available. The Third Reich was boxed in.

Now, you're right that even a small country can have immense wealth (eg contemporary post WWII Denmark, Singapore), the economic support systems are required or it's like have pearls on a desolate island. One economic support system is a growing population. Another support system is the commodity markets. WWII oil's had much of it priced from the US Gulf Coast (Houston, New Orleans). Post WWII, pre disestablishment of the USSR, most global oil was priced by London and New York City.

.......

I'm glad current events are verbotten to discuss here.....they're not history. This restriction allows me to at least say it's getting interesting out there on the global scene !

~ Bob
eastern Virginia, USA

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Nov 2018 11:45

Hi Guys,

In heavy industry and weight of production numbers the USSR was certainly a competitior.

However, simple production statistics of finished weapons do not reflect other weaknesses in Soviet industry that impinged on military effectiveness. For example, radios were poor and in short supply in 1941. As a result, initially most tanks signaled with and were directed by flags! This was crippling for tactical flexibility. Artillery was mostly still directed by telephone at that stage, whereas all German artillery was directed by radio. By the end of the war, as I understand it, Soviet aircraft were largely equipped with American radios for similar reasons.

I suspect that, while Soviet heavy industry was competitive in quantity and weight, its higher tech industries were seriously deficient when compared with Germany.

Cheers,

Sid.

South
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by South » 28 Nov 2018 11:59

Good morning Sid,

Completely concur.

~ Bob
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Art
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Art » 30 Nov 2018 17:39

Sid Guttridge wrote:
28 Nov 2018 11:45
Artillery was mostly still directed by telephone at that stage, whereas all German artillery was directed by radio.
That's not correct. A Soviet artillery battery from 1941 actually had more radios than a battery from 1945 (I'm not touching the question of their operational experience and expertise).
In general, if you take tables of organization of German and Soviet infantry divisions in June 1941, they were not much different in allocations of radios. There was, however, a growing gap thereafter.
I don't think that any US radios were installed on Soviet-produced airplanes.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Hanny » 30 Nov 2018 21:22

Russian rifle div 56 radio guards 71. Tnk corps 470, Mech Corps 525, Art Div 291, Rifle corps 300.

German Inf Div 400, Pzr Div 500.

Dunnigan Russian Front, Germanys war in the East.
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Art » 01 Dec 2018 08:54

It doesn't say a lot without specifying what TO&Es and what years you are talking about.
As of June 1944 Rifle Division was authorized about 150 radios. Of them in artillery units 3 radios per HQ of artillery battalion and 3 radios per gun battery. Corresponding German organization included 4 radios per artillery battalion HQ and 4 per gun battery:
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Zus ... giment.htm
Allocations to infantry battalion:
Soviet - 5 radios
German - 6 radios

As I've said there was a growing gap later as availability of communications in lower tactical echelons degraded.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Stiltzkin » 01 Dec 2018 16:12

Krivosheev lists the following numbers for radio equipment (of all types) on hand, in the active forces:

21.06.1941 ---- 37,400
01.01.1942 ---- 19,300
01.01.1943 ---- 39,800
01.01.1944 ---- 71,600
09.05.1945 ---- 113,700

that is a density of (based on actual strengths on the front), radio per

1941: 107
1942: 270
1943: 150
1944: 90
1945: 60
men.

Looks like LL kicked in late, density and total stocks increase, severe losses occured in 1941-42. It is the other way around, the forces in 1941 are of higher quality but have less radio comm.

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