Was the German war effort badly run?

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Michael Kenny
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Michael Kenny » 03 Sep 2016 12:51

Stiltzkin wrote:German tank losses are actually replaced, contrary to Soviet losses which sometimes exceed their production values

Dinardo,Germany;s Panzer Arm page 28
Hpool Portrait987.jpg
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Stiltzkin » 03 Sep 2016 14:17

Hillebrand, das Heer. Kursk Statistical Analysis.

The overall number stays more or less even (Total AFVs), the average can be drawn at around 95, so your demonstration kind of fails. I like the big Stalingrad and Winter Storm jump ("moments snapshot", after large Battles build up phases follow). These are monthly comparisons in relation to the engagements, of course they are going to show such fluctuations. This would be more relevant to the replacement system than actual production rates.

German tank strength from 41-45 with production % (all fronts, without Assault Guns, APCs, IFVs etc. and they even include captured)
This does not even include SPGs and other AFVs this would make the figure lower. Strength, Production, Losses, Percentage of production.

41 5,300 3,300 2,800 0,84
42 4,900 4,300 2,650 0,61
43 5,700 6,000 6,370 1,06
44 5,300 9,160 6,400 0,70
45 6,300 1,100 7,400 6,73

See where this is going. This is statistical number baubling. Annually they can replace them, look closely on Panzer strength in correlation to production. Such losses occur after serious offensives, i.e. they are relative to the combat intensity, only Barbarossa and Stalingrad produce noteble, temporary setbacks. Want me to calculate daily? Produced tanks per day vs nothing, nothing, nothing and then jump because they get engaged. The jumps would be insane. This statistic wants to demonstrate extreme German irreplaceable losses. Show me a faction which can directly replace its losses after major battles (additionally over such distances). After the Summer of 41 and Kharkov 42 the Red Armys tank demand surely increased.
The hilarious thing about this statistic is, that it fails to show that German AFV losses increase drastically late war, because production jumps are indirectly ignored, this would actually support Guaporenses thesis about demand (or loss oriented for that matter) driven allocations.

However, here is an interesting thought I would like to direct towards Guaporense, lets say they would improve the rate of production for AFVs, wouldn't a more fluent replacement system park make more sense (equivalent to its maintenance)? Allied supplementary driven production seemed to have a superior absorption advantage (I know the buildup is the more important fact, but lets just imagine this scenario, this would of course imply that veteran crews survive for the most part). My question is simply how far this "build up" could go and Richard Anderson might have a point here, as well (because Guaporenses views seem to be a bit utopic).

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Michael Kenny » 03 Sep 2016 16:30

Stiltzkin wrote:
This statistic wants to demonstrate extreme German irreplaceable losses.
Surely you would have to have the book to make that claim?
There are 11 graphs in total by the way.

1943 was a very bad year for Germany.
Tank park..............jpg

This fron Jentz.
jx entz0001.jpg
A bit pointless to get a record number of finished tanks out the factory door but then fail to manufacture enough spare engines or transmissions so they can be kept running.

Don't mind if I call you shirley do you?
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by John T » 03 Sep 2016 19:05

Michael Kenny wrote:
Stiltzkin wrote:
This statistic wants to demonstrate extreme German irreplaceable losses.
Surely you would have to have the book to make that claim?
There are 11 graphs in total by the way.
Then, Why did you choose a graph that did not support your point?

Do the book, or any other source, that have comparable graphs on Soviet inventory over time?

Cheers
/John

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Michael Kenny » 03 Sep 2016 20:26

John T wrote:
Then, Why did you choose a graph that did not support your point?
It did support my point German losses were sometimes greater than production. Granted if you make the time period long enough you can 'average out' the losses so that production catches up.
John T wrote: Do the book, or any other source, that have comparable graphs on Soviet inventory over time?
The book no.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Guaporense » 03 Sep 2016 21:31

Stiltzkin wrote:
If they reduced the manpower of the armed forces a little bit they could have increased the labor force for these industries by a huge margin. Why didnt they? Simple, because they needed men at the front and more equipment wouldn't have made any difference in 1943.

As Emile Despres noticed there was no general problem with equipment for the Wehrmacht. The problem was the lack of manpower to use additional equipment. I conjecture the the manpower problem was fundamentally caused by the racist ideology of the Nazis
I understand the allocation and flexibility issue, I know that. The weapon production is equivalent to the armoured forces size. The tank production is also linked to the allocated investment and has to cover the losses (German tank losses are actually replaced, contrary to Soviet losses which sometimes exceed their production values). I was just confused why Jentz was talking about "strains". Especially is they did not exceed their maximum capabilities. This makes no sense.
However, under the circumstances that were present (as Rich stated), I doubt that the output could have been that large, or lets say switching from one to another wouldn't necessarily equate in the same productivity efficiency, I find that hard to believe (not to metion the difficulties that were present with the different tank types).
Lets assume the following: Germany has a higher labour/manpower pool and decides to make more tanks, surely the value would go up, but can they outproduce the US with the given (ardent) methods? Perhaps it might be too oversimplified to just look at the macroeconomical scale, other than the details at hand.
It basically sounds like the Nazis industrial productivity was solely limited by labour scarcity (and usually oil). Is that really the case? Why did prolific researchers like Harrison or Tooze perpetuate the old "outproduction" story, there must be something to it.
Well, I think that if the Germany increased tank production further from historical levels the costs of producing additional tanks would decrease because of economies of scale. Hence, if they increased the amount of expenditures on tanks by 5 fold, the amount produced would probably increase more than five fold like 6 fold.

Could they outproduce the US? Well, the industrial capital stock of Nazi occupied Europe was larger than the US's as was the size of the labor force of Nazi occupied Europe. Therefore, the basic factors of production were there. And in 1944, German tank production was similar to the US in weight, both at about 550,000 metric tons. Soviet production was greater at about 750,000 tons.

German tank strength, beginning of the year:

---------- strength ----- production of tanks (not counting SP guns)
1941 ---- 5,262 -------- 3,256
1942 ---- 4,896 -------- 4,278
1943 ---- 5,648 -------- 5,966
1944 ---- 5,266 -------- 9,161
1945 ---- 6,284 -------- 1,098

Historically, the tank strength was around 5,000 - 6,000 which was the number required to equip the ca. 30 armored divisions they had. Production was a function of losses: increased tank losses meant that production had to increase to replace losses. If they increased tank production further then they wouldn't utilize all these additional tanks and that would be a waste of resources.

Same thing with other pieces of equipment: the stocks of machine guns, artillery pieces, etc, were relatively constant over the war. Production increased to replace increased losses. Both in terms of tanks and in terms of guns, total monthly output was valued at only 250 million RM in 3rd quarter of 1943, or only 2.5% of total German military expenditures. And that was in 1943, when output was much higher than earlier years.

So why historians like Harrison and Tooze are obsessed with equipment production, specially cool things like aircraft and tanks? Well, in my opinion it's because there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way war was fought. Over 95% of casualties were NOT caused by tanks and aircraft, tanks and aircraft represented a tiny proportion of total casualties and their role was not ultimately decisive for allied victory which was essentially the product created by tens of millions of Soviet infantry. Aircraft and tanks did their role supporting the infantry but one shouldn't think equipment are perfect substitutes for soldiers. The idea that equipment effectiveness is strictly monotonic: "if you double the amount pf tanks produced the army would be more powerful." is just plain stupid. An armed force should have the amount of equipment it needs to function, not more and not less.

German equipment production was smaller than Allied equipment production because the number of soldiers conscripted was smaller and hence the demand for equipment was smaller.

Also, obsession with cool pieces of equipment is the mark of an amateur soldier, and neither Harrison nor Tooze are soldiers, German soldiers on the other hand, like Kesselring, did not complain about their equipment and supplies, Kesselring said his supplies or ammunition were good both in terms of quantity and quality. As Despres claims German officers did not say they had problem with weapons.

The question is, if Germany increased equipment production would their military be better off? No, it wouldn't. German equipment production reflected the demands of the armed forces: they kept the number of tanks proportional to the number of armored divisions and their requirements. In fact, if they focused on increasing the volume of production while sacrificing the quality of output, the armed forces would end up with massive stocks of unused equipment while the equipment they used would be of inferior quality. They would be worse off.
However, given that they had this ample supply of free equipment they saved billions of RM from producing the equipment.
There are certain problems attached to utilizing looted equipment, especially tanks, so in hindsight they are never totally "free" (tools, upkeep, maintenance, especially Soviet T-34s were difficult to implement into the forces).
The cost of production of captured equipment was zero, however. Hence the gain in capturing equipment.
Because the USSR focused more of their vastly smaller resources into producing tanks
True. They had to cover the losses and it was part of their doctrine that was developed in the 20s-30s.
Is that hard to understand? If you wish to prove they didn't produce many tanks because they lacked the basic resources to do so
I do not think that this was his point (this isn't even about quantity vs quality), it was more about the ability to convert that potential aka did Germany have the facilities to make that happen, if they chose to invest more. The Soviets created gigantic tank facilities on Henry Fords example way before the war. The US created gigantic factories in a short amount of time. German factories could never exceed a certain size because of their vulnerability to bombardment (see Walter S. Dunn). Factory floor is a good key word. The Nibelungenwerke were the only ones close in dimensions and relatively safe but never fully utilized.
Well, given their smaller and supposedly less efficient scale of production they produced tanks at a cost of around 100,000 RM per unit. If they increased the size of facilities to maximize economies of scale they could reduce costs to perhaps 80,000 RM per unit.

Overall it doesn't change the fact that with more resources diverted to tank production, production of tanks would be larger: historically in 3rd quarter of 1943, tank production, excluding the cost of guns, was valued at 78 million RM per month which was equivalent to 30,000 tons of panzers or about 1,200 units, at 67,000 RM per unit.

For effect of comparison, at the period German military expenditures were 10 billion RM per month, ammunition production was 220,000 tons a month valued at about 600 million RM, black coal production was 26.5 million tons a month (including coke), valued at 300 million RM, steel production was 2.6 million tons a month and German railways carried about 60-70 million tons of goods per month. Of the 2.6 million tons of steel only about 100,000 tons were allocated for Panzer production.

Interestingly, the cost per ton of ammunition was similar to tank's at about 2,600 - 2,700 RM per ton. However, ammunition output in 1943 was 2.6 million tons while panzer output was about 340,000 tons.

Overall, it does not appear that tanks were a substantial fraction of German resources and that they constituted a large fraction of total resource allocation even in 1943, when output was several times larger than in 1940-1941. Tank production was a very small fraction of the Nazi war effort and output could and was increased to replace increasing losses during the war.
The Sherman looked like a WW1 tank in terms of design
Actually it was an overall good weapon system which improved substantially during the war, the negative remarks were usually politically motivated (tommy cookers, airpower saved them etc., actually it was leftist propaganda).
Well, the negative remarks I remember were from veteran soldiers, the ones who actually used the American and British tanks and they said that the people who designed those pieces of garbage should be put in prison.

In my opinion, given the strategic situation of the Western Allies it would be more efficient for them to focus on producing a smaller quantity of higher quality tanks. What they did was essentially what they shouldn't have done: the UK and US combined produced 120,000 tanks and SP guns while they saw very limited action (since they never fought ground warfare in a large scale). That was a waste of resources. Of course they didn't know if the Western front would have lasted 5 years or not. But in 1944 it was pretty obvious the war would be over quickly and they still continued to produce oceans of cheap tanks.
Last edited by Guaporense on 03 Sep 2016 23:25, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Guaporense » 03 Sep 2016 21:37

Stiltzkin wrote:However, here is an interesting thought I would like to direct towards Guaporense, lets say they would improve the rate of production for AFVs, wouldn't a more fluent replacement system park make more sense (equivalent to its maintenance)? Allied supplementary driven production seemed to have a superior absorption advantage (I know the buildup is the more important fact, but lets just imagine this scenario, this would of course imply that veteran crews survive for the most part). My question is simply how far this "build up" could go and Richard Anderson might have a point here, as well (because Guaporenses views seem to be a bit utopic).
You might mean maintaining a small park of a few thousand tanks to replace losses in the short run? Well, when they invaded the Soviet Union they did not expect it to survive while after Barbarossa failed they didn't have the time to do that. Overall I don't see a general problem though as tank strength was maintained at about 180-200 tanks per armored division.

Maybe the problem was that they did not shift Panzer IV tank production completely to Panthers. But that was because they had to continually replace losses at the front so they couldn't stop all tank production and wait for the factories to learn how to manufacture Panthers. Maybe a strategic replacement stock would have been useful for just this type of case.
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Guaporense » 03 Sep 2016 21:46

German aviation fuel supply and consumption:

Image

Clearly, the Luftwaffe consumed all the fuel they had in supply. Hence, increasing aircraft production would be also a waste of resources. In fact, they didn't even had the fuel to effectively use their historical aircraft stock since they had to cut the fuel supply for pilot training. As the number of hours of training for pilots gradually decreased over time.
Last edited by Guaporense on 03 Sep 2016 23:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Sep 2016 21:48

So now the "benefits" of your wonderful Nazis include the first European free trade zone. Neat. Next we'll no doubt hear about the health benefits of Zyklon-B delousing efforts.

I'm done with this character and done with this repetitive stupidity.

Y'all have a nice day!
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Stiltzkin » 03 Sep 2016 23:44

Then, Why did you choose a graph that did not support your point?

Do the book, or any other source, that have comparable graphs on Soviet inventory over time?
No he can't because he does not even accept the TsAMO numbers (which Miles Krogfus presented in this forum) or Krivosheevs (which are incomplete and rounded), he believes them to be way lower.
Also, obsession with cool pieces of equipment is the mark of an amateur soldier, and neither Harrison nor Tooze are soldiers, German soldiers on the other hand, like Kesselring, did not complain about their equipment and supplies, Kesselring said his supplies or ammunition were good both in terms of quantity and quality. As Despres claims German officers did not say they had problem with weapons.
You will find plenty of remarks and an obsessive habit in literature about German "inferior" equipment. Especially Soviet propagandistic sources and post war general reports like v.Mellethin or Guderian.
Furthermore, the casualty infliction ratio/percentage varied from battle to battle, I have never found a homogenous, consistent figure. Tanks were a breakthrough and encirclement weapon (or a digged in defensive weapon for that matter), their value in WW2 was high, especially for the Blitzkrieg. For the Germans it was an Elite arm of the forces, the Soviets on the other hand had a large "cavalry" system. Soviet Infantry was also not a horde, they had an extremely high share of mortars, SMGs and artillery.
while the equipment they used would be of inferior quality
German AFVs were made under a scrutiny management, i.e. they tried to maximize quality for minimum resources, this in mind, the quality was not always high, especially late war Panther armour was horrible. T-34s for example although made in a 3rd world system, had the best materials selected. Quality is a relative term, this Quality vs Quantity issue presented in literature is also quiet misleading and an overall outdated view.
Overall it doesn't change the fact that with more resources diverted to tank production, production of tanks would be larger: historically in 3rd quarter of 1943, tank production, excluding the cost of guns, was valued at 78 million RM per month which was equivalent to 30,000 tons of panzers or about 1,200 units, at 67,000 RM per unit.

For effect of comparison, at the period German military expenditures were 10 billion RM per month, ammunition production was 220,000 tons a month valued at about 600 million RM, black coal production was 26.5 million tons a month (including coke), valued at 300 million RM, steel production was 2.6 million tons a month and German railways carried about 60-70 million tons of goods per month. Of the 2.6 million tons of steel only about 100,000 tons were allocated for Panzer production.
Do you perhaps have Soviet, UK or US numbers to compare their allocations and resources?
oceans of cheap tanks
It is hard to judge that if you can not compare AFV prices (except under respective nations), which I tried to do for a long time. Developing a new potent AFV takes time, the Soviets started their programme in the 20s.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Stiltzkin » 04 Sep 2016 00:28

So now the "benefits" of your wonderful Nazis include the first European free trade zone. Neat. Next we'll no doubt hear about the health benefits of Zyklon-B delousing efforts.
:D , oh man I should not laugh about this.
The thing is though, Guaporense is an economist, so I am interested in his insight, History is not an isolated Island, it goes hand in hand with Politics and Economy. This is usually neglected by many "experts".
I would not call anything "free" under Nazi occupation though.
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 Sep 2016 00:31

Stiltzkin wrote:
So now the "benefits" of your wonderful Nazis include the first European free trade zone. Neat. Next we'll no doubt hear about the health benefits of Zyklon-B delousing efforts.
:D , oh man I should not laugh about this.
The thing is though, Guaporense is an economist, so I am interested in his insight, History is not an isolated Island, it goes hand in hand with Politics and Economy. This is usually neglected by many "experts".
Sure you should, since this entire thread has descended into low comedy. Not that it was begun with much deep thought.
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Guaporense » 04 Sep 2016 01:12

Stiltzkin wrote: :D , oh man I should not laugh about this.
The thing is though, Guaporense is an economist, so I am interested in his insight, History is not an isolated Island, it goes hand in hand with Politics and Economy. This is usually neglected by many "experts".
I would not call anything "free" under Nazi occupation though.
That was the plan for "the new order":

https://archive.org/stream/worldeconomi ... 5/mode/2up

The real volume of imports from the occupied territories to Germany increased greatly, though it was obtained at super-devalued exchange rates for the occupied countries and massive current account deficits followed which were paid by the central banks of occupied countries. As result during the war there was massive inflation in occupied countries while in Germany prices were stable thanks to cheap imports. Although German exports to occupied countries were in similar RM value to imports, since imports were made under artificially devalued exchange rates the real value of imports was much higher than exports.

For example, German production of coal in 1942-43 was ca. 340-350 million tons while internal consumption was 280-290 million tons and about 60 million tons were exported to keep the occupied countries running as their domestic output was only ca. 100 million tons.

It was not a coincidence that the EU was started just after the war: they understood that if Europe became a free trade and movement zone there would not be interesting for anybody to be at war. The EU is essentially one single country in economic terms now, given most of it uses the same currency (which is actually a renamed mark).
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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Stiltzkin » 04 Sep 2016 01:25

The EU is essentially one single country in economic terms now, given most of it uses the same currency
:D :D
Oh man, you should really redefine your views of the EU, maybe in theory (yes there were no major conflicts between the larger Western Nations, however War in Europe, that certainly still exists). Its more like economically strong countries are bound by the € to finance the crooked ones (it was foolish to put economies with such disparities under one currency), with the EU led by the chaotic Benelux nations (the Brits already showed what they think about the path it took, it was more labour and migrant related though). For the "castrated" former Axis countries the time before the introduction of the common currency was a better one but hey, everyone can smell the living standard.

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Re: Was the German war effort badly run?

Post by Guaporense » 04 Sep 2016 01:41

Stiltzkin wrote:Do you perhaps have Soviet, UK or US numbers to compare their allocations and resources?
I have this data on steel allocation for 1944 (Germany is 3rd quarter and Soviet is the whole year):

Image

At that point Germany was allocating 3 times more rolled steel for the whole war effort than the USSR and 4 times more steel to ammunition (440,000 metric tons of rolled steel per month to produce >300,000 tons of ammunition) but less steel for tanks. German steel production was 2.6 million metric tons around mid 1944 compared to .9 million metric tons for the USSR.

And Speer complained that they couldn't raise ammunition production further due to shortage of steel (estimated installed capacity to produce ammunition 460,000 metric tons a month, that would require 600,000 tons of rolled steel or twice the amount of steel the USSR allocated for the war effort (and more than the UK's)) but the USSR managed to reduce the discrepancy in ammunition production by using pig iron to make shells. They were lower quality but worked. Austria-Hungary did the same in WW1 when they lacked steel to make ammunition.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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