Man hours and tank production – SU compared to Germany

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paspartoo
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Man hours and tank production – SU compared to Germany

Post by paspartoo » 21 Oct 2013 17:17

Here is something I thought of recently. I’ve noticed that in books and internet forums there is mention of great differences in man hours needed for tank production in Germany compared to the SU.

For example a commenter in my site said that the Tiger needed 100.000 manhours. The T-34 according to ‘Accounting for war’, p226 needed 8.000 in 1941 and 3,700 in 1943. This makes it seem like the Germans could have produced orders of magnitude more if their vehicles were as ‘simple’ as the T-34.

However is that true? From various online sources I’ve seen a figure of 55.000 manhours for the Panther (and 48.000 for Sherman?). Let’s assume that the German vehicles have similar numbers in the period 1941-44.

What I see is that during that period there is roughly 10-1 advantage of the SU in the ‘manhours’ but only 2-1 advantage in production. This despite having huge facilities, assigning a higher priority for AFV production, having 10-1 superiority in manhours and building zero armored personnel carriers.

How can this be explained?

One explanation could be the ‘apples vs oranges’, meaning the Soviet manhours and the German manhours are nor directly comparable. Maybe the Soviet number is for assembly only or something like that.

What would be a second explanation?
A simple economist with an unhealthy interest in military and intelligence history.....
http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.com/

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LWD
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Re: Man hours and tank production – SU compared to Germany

Post by LWD » 21 Oct 2013 18:44

It could also be that one or more of the estimates has GFE (governement furnished equipment) included where others do not. This can include things like the radios, mgs, and even the main gun.

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stg 44
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Re: Man hours and tank production – SU compared to Germany

Post by stg 44 » 21 Oct 2013 19:55

paspartoo wrote:Here is something I thought of recently. I’ve noticed that in books and internet forums there is mention of great differences in man hours needed for tank production in Germany compared to the SU.

For example a commenter in my site said that the Tiger needed 100.000 manhours. The T-34 according to ‘Accounting for war’, p226 needed 8.000 in 1941 and 3,700 in 1943. This makes it seem like the Germans could have produced orders of magnitude more if their vehicles were as ‘simple’ as the T-34.

However is that true? From various online sources I’ve seen a figure of 55.000 manhours for the Panther (and 48.000 for Sherman?). Let’s assume that the German vehicles have similar numbers in the period 1941-44.

What I see is that during that period there is roughly 10-1 advantage of the SU in the ‘manhours’ but only 2-1 advantage in production. This despite having huge facilities, assigning a higher priority for AFV production, having 10-1 superiority in manhours and building zero armored personnel carriers.

How can this be explained?

One explanation could be the ‘apples vs oranges’, meaning the Soviet manhours and the German manhours are nor directly comparable. Maybe the Soviet number is for assembly only or something like that.

What would be a second explanation?
One problem was that the Germans sanded down their welds to make the finished product look nicer, which added time. IIRC they also spent more time adding paint vs. the T-34. Of course the Soviets also had less reliability, which stemmed from their desire for mass production.

Your potential explanation makes sense, but I don't know what the answer is.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 9&t=147548
Soviets as first uses automatic welding for hulls and turrets / 5 to 6 time faster /. In connection to very simple construction it can gives such efect.
The cast turrets I'm sure helped, especially once they went to more boxy turrets instead of the curved early versions.
I suspect the 3,000 figure for T34s was like the Liberty ship built in a week phenomenom a one off special.

Typical build time was 20-25,000 manhours and cost $25,000 (Sherman was 17-25,000 and $25,000)

Panther was 55,000 hours and $52,000, so a T-34 or Sherman 'cost' about half the 'cost' of a Panther.
Maybe?

http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/ww2-ge ... print.html

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ain92
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Re: Man hours and tank production – SU compared to Germany

Post by ain92 » 22 Oct 2013 16:36

Hello all.
I've found these data for Soviet tanks:
T-34 at January 1941: 9465 labour hours [source: "Soviet tanks in battle" by Baryatinsky];
T-34 at January 1943: 5100 labour hours at plant No. 183 ["Combat vehicles of the Uralvagonzavod: T-34" by Ustyantsev & Kolmakov];
T-34-85 at January 1945: 3251 labour hours at plant No. 183 [the same];
But all these numbers don't include details produced on cooperative plants (IMHO, this numbers are only for incomplete hull and turret), Ustyantsev and Kolmakov estimate the full laboriusness at 1 Jan. 1943 as 17600 labour hours.
Also some data from the internet:
KV-1 of 1939: ≥25000 manhours;
KV-1 at May 1941: 23453 manhours;
KV-1 at January 1942: 9007 manhours.
Looks unrealistic, maybe the second one is without radio, engine, armament etc.
PS
About labour hour (Russian "нормочас" in modern orthography, transliterated normochas): it should be theoretically calculated as approximate manhour spent by an average worker, but the state wanted to pay minimum to the worker so there was a tendency to overestimate a single unit and underestimate the whole number.
With best regards, Ilya.

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Re: Man hours and tank production – SU compared to Germany

Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 22 Oct 2013 17:09

I don't think you are comparing the same numbers. In Spielberger's Panther & Its Variants, a total of 2000 hours for MAN is mentioned, including:
  • Hull production: 55 hours
  • Turret production: 38 hours
  • Chassis assembly: 485 hours
  • Turret assembly: 150 hours
  • Final assembly: 85 hours
The problem is that we don't know what is included, and how it's counted. Does it include components, or only the time used by MAN? Is production time for steel components counted as the time from start to finish, or only the time when they were being worked on?

It can be easily determined that not all the components are included in those 2000 hours. The 7,5 cm Kw K 42 (L/70) alone took Rheinmetall-Borsig about 1500 hours to make. More likely, the number of those of MAN alone. This would add the hours for Maybach's engine, Bosch's optics, and the armor of Dortmund Hörder Hüttenunion, Eisenwerk Oberdonau, Ruhrstahl, Böhler, and Bismarckhütte. The 55 000 hours sounds vastly exaggerated, however. By comparison, the 218 ton K 5 (E) 280 mm railroad gun required 100 000 work hours.

paspartoo
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Re: Man hours and tank production – SU compared to Germany

Post by paspartoo » 23 Oct 2013 08:57

That’s the problem with cumulative totals. If you don’t know what they include you can’t be sure of their meaning. Obviously the numbers given for German vehicles are not directly comparable to the Soviet ones.
A simple economist with an unhealthy interest in military and intelligence history.....
http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.com/

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