On estimating the relative size of military expenditures

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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Guaporense
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Re: On estimating the relative size of military expenditures

Post by Guaporense » 29 Aug 2016 06:43

Expenditures on ammunition

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It appears expenditures on ammunition for both Germany and the US to be about 5.5-6% of military expenditures during the war. Germany in 1943, spent 5.5% of all expenditures on ammunition* while US expenditures on ammunition were ca. 18 billion dollars out of 300 billion dollars in expenditures or 6%.

In terms of tonnage there is the issue if both statistics are computed using the same method (i.e. if they weight just the projectiles in terms of arty or with the case (in most cases the difference is not big, however the British 18 pounder had 84% of it's round weight in the projectile), so total weight figures may vary by perhaps 10-15% using different methods (including weight of things like bombs and mortars).

Note also that the cost per ton appears to be 2,650 RM in Germany in 1943 compared to ca. 1.400 dollars for the US in 44-45, which would yield a purchasing power parity of munitions of ca. 1.8 to 1. While in terms of machine tool prices the average ratio of prices weighted by US sales from 1940-44 was 1.78 to 1, in terms of aircraft cost per ton of medium bomber (Ju-88 and B-25) it was 1.73 to 1.

*Assuming that Wagenfuhr's cost figures are consistent with expenditures.

References not cited before:
US data: Gropman (1996)
Ger data: Atlas Third Reich, Overy (munitions tons), USSBS Report Effects Strategic Bombing on the German War Economy (figures for costs)

Costs are supposed to be constant in 1943 marks for Germany but they vary because the tonnage figures don't fit quite precisely with the index figures from the USSBS.
Last edited by Guaporense on 29 Aug 2016 07:09, edited 2 times in total.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

John T
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Re: On estimating the relative size of military expenditures

Post by John T » 29 Aug 2016 07:02

Guaporense wrote:
antwony wrote:
Russia maintained forces in Pacific Russia right through the war and eventually attacked Japan in 1945 (as well as being involved in battles with them before).
Not significantly though. They had ca. 500,000 troops in the border and they never fought so consumption of equipment, ammunition, etc, was zero until after the war.
No, training formations does cost ammo and other resources too.

Reality vs Theory

/John

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Re: On estimating the relative size of military expenditures

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Aug 2016 18:10

John T wrote:No, training formations does cost ammo and other resources too.

Reality vs Theory

/John
Yes John, there is a lot of unreality going on in this and other threads. :roll: US Army replacement factors for the ZI for items like "service shoes" on 15 December 1943 was 8.3%. That meant the assumption was the two to three million personnel in the Zone of the Interior required 207,500 replacement pairs of shoes each month. And every other bit of equipment that might wear out. By 15 June 1944, it was realized that 0.5% of M1 Rifles in the ZI needed replacement every month. And so on. Plus, the troops needed be housed, fed, and paid.
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Guaporense
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Re: On estimating the relative size of military expenditures

Post by Guaporense » 03 Sep 2016 03:18

Using PPPs data from Williamson JG (1995) The evolution of global labour markets since 1830: background evidence and hypotheses. Explor Econ Hist 32:141–196 and price indexes from a variety of sources I have constructed the following estimates of military outlays for UK, Germany, US, USSR and Japan:

Image

The USSR's data is the most problematic, Harrison (1994) estimated it's GDP per capita to be 1,440 (1980) dollars so I converted to 1927 dollars and then used Willianson's PPP to convert to pounds. While Japan's figure comes from Fukao, Ma, Yuan (2007) estimate of PPP's between the dollar as well, so I converted everything into pounds from Willianson's PPP into dollars.

I also compared total expenditures with total manpower in the armed forces, while German expenditures appear to be the highest in the 40-44 period (US expenditures using the CPI appear to be very distorted due to the price freezing during the war combined with high monetary expansion by the US government), since they had the highest average number of military personnel over the period their military expenditures per unit of personnel are lower than US and UK.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Guaporense
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Re: On estimating the relative size of military expenditures

Post by Guaporense » 05 Sep 2016 01:39

I also used the data above to estimate expenditures per person in the armed forces:

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So US had the highest expenditure per person, followed by the UK, then Germany and with USSR and Japan with a much lower level near the bottom. This matches quite closely the pre-war ranking in per capita income as well.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: On estimating the relative size of military expenditures

Post by Guaporense » 09 May 2017 09:06

I did a general re-estimation based on consumption purchasing power parities for 1937 for US, UK, Germany and Japan. I converted all the values in 1905 pounds. The question: did the Allies manage to mobilize their resources more effectively than the Axis? Yes. In 1942, the Axis controlled about 75% of the GDP of the Allies, but their military outlays were 62% of the Allies', while in 1943, their military expenditures were only 60% of the Allies while their GDP was 70% of the Allies'.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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