Was the German war effort badly run?

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
steverodgers801
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by steverodgers801 » 01 Sep 2016 02:02

due to Germany's lack of motorization its farms were about 30 years behind America and thus required a lot of labor, its the big irony that Germany had the manpower it needed after 1941, but it didnt have the food to feed them

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Guaporense » 01 Sep 2016 04:01

Boby wrote:So when the aircraft industries introduced the double shift? In 1942? 1943? 1944?
Never, even in mid 1944 when aircraft output peaked at 4,000 units a month the aircraft industry was not being fully utilized. Output increased from 800 aircraft a month when the war began to over 4,000 about 5 years later, however, at no point these industries worked at full utilization of installed capacity. Although utilization increased in 1943 and 1944 it never reached full levels: about 100 hours of work per plant.

For example, in 1943 while all the UK's metal working industries only had 740,000 machine tools installed, Germany had 2,100,000 machine tools installed. However, in the UK industries worked usually between two and three shifts while in Germany nearly all industries worked on a single shift, even in 1944. In fact, even the US's industry had fewer metal working machines than Germany's.

Actually this reveals how well Germany planned to fight WW2: their investment in war related industries was so great that enabled their industrial workforce to work only on day shifts while supplying the armed forces with adequate amounts of equipment and ammunition. They never used much of the industries in occupied countries because domestic industry alone was enough to supply the armed forces. Also, I should point out that the workweek in Germany did not increase during the war at all: it was 48 hours in 1939 and it was 48 hours in 1944. In the Soviet Union, by contrast, the workweek increased by 40% when the war started. 8O

Thing is that production of aircraft couldn't be increased from historical levels because Germany lacked the oil to make fuel to use additional aircraft. In fact, output of aircraft closely followed increases in output of synthetic fuel which were the main constraint: supply of aircraft fuel was 50,000 tons a month when the war started and peaked at 180,000 tons a month in early 1944. Consumption of fuel by the airforce was about 95% production over the 5 years between 1939 and 1944, leaving a small reserve of 500,000 tons of aircraft fuel by the time the Allies destroyed the synthetic fuel plants.

Overall, if one thinks, actually, Germany's war effort can be regarded as the most efficient of all belligerent countries in WW2. They used their resources to produce the adequate amount of army equipment for their 4 million strong field army and the amount of aircraft that their limited fuel supply could support. The only thing in my opinion that appears inneficient was their output of ammunition in 1941 and 1942, which was too low given the activity in the Eastern front and was too low because Hitler didn't expect the USSR to survive Barbarossa. It was caused by a strategic miscalculation.

By contrast, the Soviet Union can be said to be inefficient in their tank fetish: they produced too many tanks and too little ammunition, they used tanks excessively instead of integrating all the weapons and equipment in their ground combat tactics, as result they usually lost 4-5 men for each German soldier they took out. While the Western Allies had an aircraft obsession, spending up to 20% of their military budgets on aircraft even though air attacks only caused 1% of all battle casualties in the war and it's main effect was psychological. The US overall produced just too much stuff that they never used in the war and ended up with enormous amounts of equipment in storage that were never used: they lost only 9,000 tanks in WW2 and produced 10 times that figure. Overall, given that Germany managed to hold these enemies who had 5 times Germany's manpower resources over 5 years demonstrates how efficient the Germans were and how comparatively inefficient the Allies were.
Sources, please.
USSBS Report "The Effects of Strategic Bombing on the German War Economy" (1946), still the best book about the German war economy in WW2.

Link: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... =1up;seq=3
Last edited by Guaporense on 01 Sep 2016 04:28, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Guaporense » 01 Sep 2016 04:20

steverodgers801 wrote:due to Germany's lack of motorization its farms were about 30 years behind America and thus required a lot of labor, its the big irony that Germany had the manpower it needed after 1941, but it didnt have the food to feed them
Actually, Germany's agricultural productivity was higher than Europe's average, in 1930 the productivity per male in German agriculture was 104% of the British and 20% higher than the French:

Image

US's productivity was still higher but they had way more land. Output per unit of land was over 5 times higher in Germany in 1930 than in the US. Also, further motorization of farms was not possible because Germany didn't have oil to power tractors anyway.

And what manpower they gain in 1941 you talk about? Conscription of Greeks and Soviets into the Wehrmacht? One thing about Nazi Germany is that their ideology prevented the integration of most of the population under German control into their armed forces: by 1941 they had control of over 300 million people but only 85 million were ethnic Germans and thus could be conscripted into the Wehrmacht. They tried to conscript foreigners as well but without much success: even in 1944, 98% of the Wehrmacht remained ethnic German while British and Soviet armies were only 50% native British or Russian.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by EvanHarper » 01 Sep 2016 07:35

So, Tooze continually discusses manpower shortages, calls manpower "the cardinal problem," describes the Wehrmacht "scraping the manpower barrel" as early as 1941, forced to furlough fighting men with machine tool experience after 1940 so they could go back to arms factories, etc. You don't answer whether you have actually read his book that you're rubbishing.

This story about the Wehrmacht being satiated with equipment has some real holes. 6th Panzer went into Barbarossa with its main tank complement made of Czech LT-35s. Does an equipment-satiated army rely for some of its main striking forces on obsolescent, non-standard foreign light tanks? A satiated Wehrmacht would have had every division with their standard complement of long-barrel Pz III supported by Pz IV. Going into battle with a miscellany of often obsolete and foreign models tells you a very different story about the relationship between equipment needs and actual production.

You talk vaguely of industry in occupied territory lying idle. But it is well-known that the Germans were very keen to exploit the French aircraft and automobile industry. The Bf 108 training and utility aircraft literally became the Nord 1000, they transferred production entirely to France. More than 1,000 Gnome-Rhône 14M aircraft engines. Built new MB.170s as Luftwaffe trainers, reused engines and parts from the design to build Me 323 transport planes. Louis Renault died in prison and Renault company was nationalized as punishment for extensive industrial collaboration including building 30,000 vehicles for the Germans. (A similar number from Citroën.)

Again, why does a fully topped-up air force, or Wehrmacht motor pool, have to go searching every corner of occupied Europe for miscellaneous trucks and aircraft parts? The disadvantages of doing it this way, if you actually have more than enough domestic capacity already, are obvious. You lose standardization. The plants are further away from your transport centres, more exposed to British bombers and political / Resistance shenanigans.

I think the reason that the Germans raided every tank depot in Central Europe, and milked French factories for all the aero engines and trucks they could get, was... they were short of tanks and aircraft and trucks, because they didn't actually have such a lavish and efficient military-industrial base that they could equip every single soldier to the absolute peak of his fighting potential... despite your increasingly fulsome rhetoric to that effect.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Boby » 01 Sep 2016 12:49

Guaporense wrote:
Boby wrote:So when the aircraft industries introduced the double shift? In 1942? 1943? 1944?
Never, even in mid 1944 when aircraft output peaked at 4,000 units a month the aircraft industry was not being fully utilized.
It seems the Jägerstab introduced a "Zwei-Schichten" in most aircraft factories in March 1944.

Boby

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by ljadw » 01 Sep 2016 16:24

Geschichte der deutschen Kriegswirtschast ( P 194) : In der Eisen - und Stahlindustrie gingen die Konzerne unter erheblichen Schwierigkeiten davon die Drei-Schichten auf den Zwei-Schichten Betrieb umzustellen .

Period is winter 1941-1942 .

This means that before that period there were a lot of concerns with 3 shifts .

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Michael Kenny » 02 Sep 2016 03:01

EvanHarper wrote: This story about the Wehrmacht being satiated with equipment has some real holes. 6th Panzer went into Barbarossa with its main tank complement made of Czech LT-35s. Does an equipment-satiated army rely for some of its main striking forces on obsolescent, non-standard foreign light tanks? A satiated Wehrmacht would have had every division with their standard complement of long-barrel Pz III supported by Pz IV. Going into battle with a miscellany of often obsolete and foreign models tells you a very different story about the relationship between equipment needs and actual production.
Facts never make an impression on this poster. He has seen the graphs and he 'knows' everyone else got it wrong and he is right.
No matter how many mistakes you point out he will simply ignore all that contradicts his deeply flawed analysis and continue posting his fantasy

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 3#p2034463

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Guaporense » 02 Sep 2016 09:19

EvanHarper wrote:So, Tooze continually discusses manpower shortages, calls manpower "the cardinal problem," describes the Wehrmacht "scraping the manpower barrel" as early as 1941, forced to furlough fighting men with machine tool experience after 1940 so they could go back to arms factories, etc. You don't answer whether you have actually read his book that you're rubbishing.
Of course I read it. However you must understand that if someone disagrees with some points of a book it does not mean that someone disagrees with EVERYTHING that's written in the book.
This story about the Wehrmacht being satiated with equipment has some real holes. 6th Panzer went into Barbarossa with its main tank complement made of Czech LT-35s. Does an equipment-satiated army rely for some of its main striking forces on obsolescent, non-standard foreign light tanks?
Of course. Why not use this equipment if it's lying around? And everything in WW2 was obsolescent, otherwise
A satiated Wehrmacht would have had every division with their standard complement of long-barrel Pz III supported by Pz IV. Going into battle with a miscellany of often obsolete and foreign models tells you a very different story about the relationship between equipment needs and actual production.
I never meant "satiated" in the sense that it was perfectly equipped.

If they really, but really, required more panzers, they would have increased production because the amount of resources they spent on tanks was insigficant, specially in 1940-1941: expenditures on panzers were ca. 400 million RM in 1941 compared to 70 billion RM in military outlays.
You talk vaguely of industry in occupied territory lying idle.
It was idle, look at the statistics of industrial production in France, Belgium and Netherlands: industrial output feel by 30-40% in these regions from 1938 to 1943. And in 1938 these industries were not remotely near full capacity either (the effects of the Great Depression).
But it is well-known that the Germans were very keen to exploit the French aircraft and automobile industry. The Bf 108 training and utility aircraft literally became the Nord 1000, they transferred production entirely to France. More than 1,000 Gnome-Rhône 14M aircraft engines. Built new MB.170s as Luftwaffe trainers, reused engines and parts from the design to build Me 323 transport planes. Louis Renault died in prison and Renault company was nationalized as punishment for extensive industrial collaboration including building 30,000 vehicles for the Germans. (A similar number from Citroën.)
That's anecdotal evidence. You need to provide broad statistics to make a robust point regarding a large territory such as France and not a few examples. Let me do it for you:

The number of aircraft built in France in WW2 was tiny. Britain produced 130,000 aircraft, France produced a few thousand (only 1,700 in 1942-43 compared to British output of 46,000 in the same years).

For comparison, in WW1, France produced 280 million artillery shells, while Britain produced 220 million. Therefore, France's industry was of comparable capacity to Britain and hence France had the capacity to produce ca. 100,000 aircraft in WW2 if it's industry were focused on that objective. Why they didn't? Because there was no demand for more than a few thousand cheap trainers.
Again, why does a fully topped-up air force, or Wehrmacht motor pool, have to go searching every corner of occupied Europe for miscellaneous trucks and aircraft parts?
Why not? Continental Europe became all part of Germany after the fall of France. Therefore it's expected that the Nazi government would use it's stocks and resources in the same way it uses domestic resources, because, well, they are now domestic resources.
The disadvantages of doing it this way, if you actually have more than enough domestic capacity already, are obvious. You lose standardization.
Because the costs of losing standardization were regarded as smaller than the benefits of getting equipment for free. The stereotype is that Germans are efficient and being efficient means not wasting equipment inside your territory.
The plants are further away from your transport centres,
Not really. Plants in Eastern Europe were closer to the Eastern front, plants in France and the low countries were closer to the army in the OB West.

Germany was the point farthest away from the armies.
more exposed to British bombers
Not in plants in the East. Also, British strategic bombers had no really significant impact on German industrial production during the first 5 years of the war. When bombing started to be relevant the war was already long lost.
and political / Resistance shenanigans.
But the output was brought from firms in occupied territories, the firms were from the people living there.
I think the reason that the Germans raided every tank depot in Central Europe, and milked French factories for all the aero engines and trucks they could get, was... they were short of tanks and aircraft and trucks
If they were short why did they had problems with fuel? If you have more than enough trucks and aircraft to use all the 10 million tons of oil you have per year, why make more?

I have statistics that show that consumption of fuel was always the same as supply, which means that the Germans were using all the fuel they could get their hands on, therefore, the restriction on expanding the use of motor vehicles and aircraft was not industrial capacity which was plentiful over Europe, but fuel supply.

Which is rather obvious; the oil supply of Continental Europe was ca. 10 million metric tons during the war while the oil supply of the Western Allies was 200-220 million tons during the war. While the pre-war GDP and industrial output of continental Europe was comparable to the GDP and industrial output of the Western allies.
because they didn't actually have such a lavish and efficient military-industrial base that they could equip every single soldier to the absolute peak of his fighting potential...
Usually, all soldiers had rifles, while all divisions had their stated complement of guns and mortars and machine guns (besides those divisions in process of reconstruction or formation). There never was a shell crisis during the war and during the whole war on all fronts German soldiers were superior to the Allies on a per soldier basis. Clearly, they were doing something right.

Also, equipment output was clearly very elastic given the fact that it increased so much during the war while the equipment stock of the army did not increase:

Image

Production increased to replace losses, before Barbarossa, the losses were very small and hence there was no demand to maintain the army with it's complement of 12,000 guns over 100 mm, 200,000 machine guns, etc. You had about 50-60 artillery pieces over 100 mm per division which is usually the ideal number and about 1,000 machine guns per division, which is again pretty much the ideal number.

I would expect army stocks of equipment to increase over time if they were not satiated, isn't it? Specially given the massive increase in production of army in the 30 months between June 41 and January 1944. This increase in production occurred not because divisions were badly equipped in 1941 but because they suffered massive losses and so had to increase production to replace the equipment lost. German munitions production was demand driven and not supply driven, unlike the Western Allies.
despite your increasingly fulsome rhetoric to that effect.
Your definition of fulsome rhetoric:

1) In 1942, 92% of all German factories were on a single shift, while in other countries like the USSR and Britain, it was more like 10-20% of war related industries were on the single shift.

2) Between January 1942 and June 1944, a period of 2.5 years, fighter output increased 10 fold while in the 2 years before that the increase was . Therefore I conclude that fighter output was quite elastic, it was not increasing earlier clearly because they choose to not increase it earlier.

German aircraft output by types:

(fighter, bomber, transport,trainer,misc,total)
Image

3) Why would they? They did not see the need to increase fighter output, because they lacked to fuel to use more fighters and because their officers didn't know what to do, one of the officers even said that he didn't know what to do with a supply of 480 fighters per month.

4) In 1943, there were 5.6 employees per machine tools in Britain while in Germany there were 2.3. Which indicates that the machine tool using industries were working at 40-45% of the British intensity. Pretty much all industries related to munitions are machine tool using industries or raw material industries like steel mills, about 5 million workers in 1943 worked in machine tool using industries and 550,000 worked in basic metal industry. But in proportion to the total labor force which was 45 million in 1943, these individual industries
Last edited by Guaporense on 02 Sep 2016 22:47, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Guaporense » 02 Sep 2016 09:28

Boby wrote:
Guaporense wrote:
Boby wrote:So when the aircraft industries introduced the double shift? In 1942? 1943? 1944?
Never, even in mid 1944 when aircraft output peaked at 4,000 units a month the aircraft industry was not being fully utilized.
It seems the Jägerstab introduced a "Zwei-Schichten" in most aircraft factories in March 1944.

Boby
According to the USSBS aircraft industry report it was still not fully utilized in 1944:

http://www.angelfire.com/super/ussbs/airrep.html
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by pugsville » 02 Sep 2016 09:29

You cant work the factories if you lack the raw materials, or the workers, nor can you without transport capacity to move stuff around. The German war economy was serverly constrained by these factors. Talking reources, transport and workers from the occupied territories as well as being cute off from their traditional suppliers meant the occupied territories industrial production was in general pitiful.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Guaporense » 02 Sep 2016 09:35

pugsville wrote:You cant work the factories if you lack the raw materials, or the workers, nor can you without transport capacity to move stuff around.
Germany's raw material supplies were enormously larger than the USSR's (black coal, for example, in 1942, was 355 million tons in German occupied Europe compared to 55 million tons in the USSR) even though the USSR's managed to produce more equipment than German occupied Europe did.

What makes you think that they completely lacked transport capacity?
The German war economy was serverly constrained by these factors. Talking reources, transport and workers from the occupied territories as well as being cute off from their traditional suppliers meant the occupied territories industrial production was in general pitiful.
However, the population of all occupied territories was 220 million, they took about 7-8 million workers from these territories, that's 3-4% of the total population and hence that doesn't explain why industrial production collapsed by 30-40%. Lack of a few strategic raw materials also do not explain why industrial production in occupied territories collapsed.

Although I was reading a book about occupied Europe and they explain that the Nazis let France's economy collapse because they didn't feel they needed France so they didn't supply it with coal, for instance. Economies more integrated with Germany like Denmark and Netherlands, did not suffer from collapse under German occupation.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Boby » 02 Sep 2016 10:54

I have a lot of problems with your views. You quotes many statistics but never provided what experts in the field said, planned, expected, asked, etc.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Stiltzkin » 02 Sep 2016 11:01

I just have one question: Why did Jentz state that the German tank industry was already "strained"?

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Sep 2016 17:30

Stiltzkin wrote:I just have one question: Why did Jentz state that the German tank industry was already "strained"?
Because they never realized they had to hand the ultimate resource in almost unlimited quantity. Thus, they failed to produce the little known Panzer VII Schwarzkuhle. Built by all those happy European laborers the Reich "took...from those territories" apparently with incentives such as free tickets to Eurovision.

Meanwhile, in the real world, you might note that the increased German tank production matches the plant expansion of the German tank industry. You might also notice it doesn't use the moribund French tank manufacturing industry. So why? Well, perhaps because German tank designs were fundamentally dependent on the use of rolled armor plate and welded structure, while the French relied on cast armor and bolted structure. Also that in the aftermath of the Armistice German commissioners descended on France like a plague of locusts, hoovering up all the raw materials and machine tools they could find for use in German industry, taking them either as reparations or "paying" for them with French reparations monies. Thomas Laub's After the Fall demonstrates the reality of what all that "enormous raw materiel supply" did for Germany.
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Stiltzkin » 02 Sep 2016 17:50

I certainly like humor, sarcasm and cynical comments but I am just saying that this does not match Guaporenses percentage of allocation theory... (not to mention that any occupant would loot and salvage everything possible, that is nothing extraordinary as the Soviets usually dismantled whole factories)

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