German economic collapse in 1944-45

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
Yoozername
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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Yoozername » 07 Apr 2017 02:37

True, it is a sum of the parts. The 'Macro' view is always trying to twist a tale...

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Guaporense
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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Guaporense » 07 Apr 2017 03:54

Stiltzkin wrote:
Luftwaffe's air superiority in 1941-1942 was also not very substantial for thev USSR's army as well.
In fact, the OKW realized that the Luftwaffe had too much personnel in 42 and shifted it to the ground forces. Furthermore, air-ground forces coordination was abysmal during 1940, combat reports show that they improved to an acceptable level during the summer campaign in 42.

On the Eastern Front, there was one plane for 2500 enemies. Each German plane had to cover an area of 500km². In Normandy, there was 1 plane for 100 Axis soldiers, so one Allied aircraft for every 1km².
And even in Normandy, Zetterling didn't find very clear evidence that airpower caused significant amount of German casualties, therefore, in the Eastern front the effects of airpower would be almost insignificant.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Stiltzkin » 07 Apr 2017 04:00

in the Eastern front the effects of airpower would be almost insignificant.
Most likely, I would guess that recon was the most important task. Aside from disruptive effects, hunting airlift units was probably the biggest impact.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Apr 2017 04:15

Guaporense wrote:
And even in Normandy, Zetterling didn't find very clear evidence that airpower caused significant amount of German casualties, therefore, in the Eastern front the effects of airpower would be almost insignificant.
What he actually says is:

Page 51, Normandy 1944.

''This chapter does not argue that air power was ineffective. Instead it must be understood that physical destruction was-with the exception of railroads and bridges-not a very important effect of air attacks''


However it is clear Zetterling's chapter on 'Air power' contains some serious errors. You can find the details here:

viewtopic.php?p=231184#p231184

In brief on page 34 of his Normandy 1944 book Zetterling uses 2 examples that he believes illustrate the 'ineffective' nature of Allied air power. In reality the first example he used was not a bombing raid and his second example that he claimed went completely unnoticed by the Germans was indeed noticed and was effective. Zetterling was using secondary sources that let him down badly.
The evidence presented by Zetterling to back his claim Air power had little direct effect in Normandy was wrong and thus he has no evidence to reference his claim.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Stiltzkin » 07 Apr 2017 06:40

The evidence presented by Zetterling to back his claim Air power had little direct effect in Normandy was wrong and thus he has no evidence to reference his claim.
It is not a question of ineffectiveness, but rather how effective (overall) it was (on individual unit formations). Furthermore, did you just compare CAS and airfield raids to strategical bombing of large cities?

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Apr 2017 11:27

Stiltzkin wrote: did you just compare CAS and airfield raids to strategical bombing of large cities?
I said what I said. The book that is generally dismissive of the Allied air effort in Normandy contains seroius errors of fact. The two examples used to illustrate the 'ineffecctive' bombing are in one case not a bombing raid and in the other simply wrong on the results of the bombing.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Apr 2017 11:33

Stiltzkin wrote:
The evidence presented by Zetterling to back his claim Air power had little direct effect in Normandy was wrong and thus he has no evidence to reference his claim.
It is not a question of ineffectiveness, but rather how effective (overall) it was (on individual unit formations)
Formations like (for example) sPzAbt 503 and the Pz IV Regiment 21st Pz Div on 18/7/44?
I would say very effective.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by histan » 07 Apr 2017 14:25

I guess my problem is that my interpretation of the "facts" has been tainted by reading the views of the Germans actually responsible for fighting the war and managing the industry coupled with a focus on outcomes rather than output figures and on looking at "effectiveness" rather than measuring "efficiency". The last two, I guess, due to too much working with with actual warfighters.

This leads me to question this statement:
"Which leads me to conclude that the aggregate effect of allied airpower in hampering the functioning of the German army was not very substantial"

Quotes from the Chief of Staff of AOK 7:
[Talking about Panzer Group West] "However, the situation in the air remained the decisive factor for the inferiority of the German conduct of offensive combat. The almost complete absence of the German Air Force had brought about such an overwhelming enemy air superiority that not only were all movements confined to the night hours, but also all large-scale offensive operations by mobile forces were necessarily doomed from the start. Consequently, the mission of the Panzer Group was a purely defensive one,...."

"The consequent mastery of the air on the Allied side created such unequal combat conditions for the ground forces that it must be considered the main reason for the steadily increasing, decided superiority of the Allied forces. Since all tactical movements and supply activities could take place only during the hours of darkness, all German measures were characterized by the fact that they were 'too late.'"

"On 30 July, activity by enemy low-flying aircraft increased to the highest point of intensity reached in the entire war. The allies carried out continuous and uninterrupted air attacks in the American sector, and were complete masters of the situation. The Allied air forces controlled events.

From the weekly reports of Heeresgruppe B:
11 June 1944: "Owing to the enemy's overwhelming air superiority it was not possible to bring up the Ist SS Panzer Corps, the 7th Mortar Brigade, III Flak Corps and II Paratroop Corps (Meindl) quickly into the area between the Orne and the Vire, or to make a counter-attack on the enemy forces that had landed."

19 to 26 June 1944: "The increasing supply crisis at the battle front deserves special attention. Owing to the lack of space, the breakdown of the railway system, and incessant enemy air attacks, it is impossible to guarantee a regular flow of supplies for our own operations."

27 June to 2 July 1944 "[Situation in the Air] "Widespread reconnaissance was transformed into active attack almost immediately, and movements were practically impossible"

Military activities produce outputs, such as casualties, vehicles destroyed, etc. While these output measures provide some useful information they do not indicate whether these military activities are achieving the desired outcome - why they were undertaken in the first place. Effectiveness is about achieving the desired outcomes.

Examining the statements quoted above:
"all large-scale offensive operations by mobile forces were necessarily doomed from the start. Consequently, the mission of the Panzer Group was a purely defensive one,...." - two desired outcomes both measures of effectiveness
"all German measures were characterized by the fact that they were 'too late.'" - a desired outcome and a measure effectiveness
"The Allied air forces controlled events." - a desired outcome and a measure of effectiveness
"...it was not possible to...make a counter-attack on the enemy forces that had landed." - a desired outcome and a measure of effectiveness
" it is impossible to guarantee a regular flow of supplies for our own operations." - a desired outcome and a measure of effectiveness
"movements were practically impossible" - a desired outcome and a measure of effectiveness

There is an overwhelming mass of evidence that the effect of air power was to significantly hinder the functioning of the German army.

You won't, however, find it by examining the "physical effect outputs" (casualties, tanks destroyed, etc) because these do not measure the effectiveness of air power in achieving the desired outcomes.

Regards

John

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Sid Guttridge » 07 Apr 2017 16:27

There was a massive gulf between what Germany's planned to produce in 1944-45 and what it actually did. Furthermore, once produced much of it never reached a front as communications collapsed. (Is it true that as many as a third of completed Tiger II tanks were still undelivered to combat units at the close of the war?)

Indeed, it is open to question to what degree there was ever a real productive miracle under Speer in 1943-44. Perhaps Germany was just catching up with its competitors? For example, in 1944 Germany "only" produced about the same number of aeroengines and the same weight of airframes as the UK, a country with little more than half the Reich's population. Furthermore, in doing so Germany had abandoned the production of entire classes of weaponry, such as most piston engined bombers, in order to build fighters to tackle the Allied bombers.

Much of this must be put down to the Allied strategic air offensive, which prevented much armaments production, distorted its priorities and prevented many deliveries.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by histan » 07 Apr 2017 17:33

Here are some "input" figures into the discussion - tons of bombs dropped in the Combined Bombing Offensive
CBO Tonnage.jpg
Original source is on the picture but I took it from:
"Oil as a Factor in the German War Effort 1933 - 1945" Chiefs of Staff Committee: Technical Sub-Committee on Axis Oil, A.O.46(1) dated 8 March 1946.

To me it shows how misleading aggregate figures can be.

In analyzing the impact of bombing on German Industrial man-hours, I would suggest removing the bombs dropped on Category III and IV targets (Transportation and Tactical).

Looking at June 1944 as an example: All tonnage 142,356; Tonnage on Category I and II Targets 52,153; Tonnage on Industrial Targets other than oil 3,040

So about 2% of the bombs dropped in June were specifically dropped on non-oil industrial targets and would have a direct impact (the main impact?) on man-hours lost to air attack.
The man-hours lost as a result of the bombs dropped on oil targets would then have to be added in - what proportion of total man hours was made up by the oil industry?
Also to be factored in would be the impact of the area bombing and this will probably depend on per-conceived views. Those who believe it was "terror Bombing" will down play its impact. Those who take the view that it was mainly carried out against German industry will play up its impact.

More interesting, though is that I think the attacks on German industry were more specifically aimed at certain element - such as aircraft and tank production.
As Michael Kenny has shown in the figures that he has posted these specific attacks can be very effective in achieving the desired outcome of fewer tanks reaching the front line.

The data is also consistent with the statement that the bombing didn't have a significant impact on man-hours lost across the whole of German industry.
But, so-what if that wasn't the intended outcome but just an aggregate output measure.

Regards

John
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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Stiltzkin » 07 Apr 2017 20:59

Formations like (for example) sPzAbt 503 and the Pz IV Regiment 21st Pz Div on 18/7/44?
I would say very effective.
And that makes how many percent in total? How many units were destroyed by air power during the entire war compared to other weapons ? 5, 6-9 %?
But, so-what if that wasn't the intended outcome but just an aggregate output measure.
Your post contradicts your original assertion. It is a summation of the USSBS and if I just understood the essence of your last sentence correctly, you said "so what that it did not show the desired effects" You know, thats what this whole discussion was about, in the first place.
I think we can at least all agree that it was not particularly precise.
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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Apr 2017 22:11

Stiltzkin wrote:
Formations like (for example) sPzAbt 503 and the Pz IV Regiment 21st Pz Div on 18/7/44?
I would say very effective.
And that makes how many percent in total?
c. 30% of I Tiger Abteilung in an hour. A unit left so devastated it never fielded more than 20 (and even then briefly) Tigers at any time afterwards. Both the other 2 Tiger Abteilung were also hit by heavy bombers. Given the few Tigers that actually got to Normandy you get an idea what it was like for Pantheras and Pz IV. If you look you will find Youtube footage of half-buried Panthers and Pz IV during COBRA. Not to mention the PzIVs from 21 Pz Div that were hiding near the 503 Tigers. 16 Luftwaffenfeldivision also got hammered. Totally destroyedi n fact.
Every sneering attempt to downplay Allied airpower can be countered with examples of the devastation they wrought on the enemy.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Apr 2017 22:16

Stiltzkin wrote: How many units were destroyed by air power during the entire war compared to other weapons ? 5, 6-9 %?

How many locomotives were stopped by artillery and how many by aircraft?

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Stiltzkin » 07 Apr 2017 22:30

How many locomotives were stopped by artillery and how many by aircraft?
If I recall correctly you said locomotives were irrelevant for warfare...in the East, a lot of railways and stations have been attacked and bombarded. Yet, it did not stop the Red Army. Air power was useless in Schmidt and Kommerscheid. The men who went through that hell experienced losses comparable to those on the EF. To state that air strikes caused the German defeat in the West is simply ridiculous (if anything it was the impact of the EF). It played its role and was an important asset of the WAllies forces. Overall, it inflicted less than 7-9% of the Wehrmachts losses. The impact on the German industry was not more than 15%. The infrastructure, surely, but still you had to actually capture that territory.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Apr 2017 22:55

Stiltzkin wrote:If I recall correctly you said locomotives were irrelevant for warfare...in the East,
Your memory is a faulty as the rest of your argument.

Stiltzkin wrote:To state that air strikes caused the German defeat in the West is simply ridiculous

You must immediately identify the scoundrel who made that claim. I confess I never saw it but it must have been said because otherwise you would be making things up. Name and link please.


.
Stiltzkin wrote:but still you had to actually capture that territory.
As the Allies did. Starting in Egypt furthest Axis advance)and working their way up through Italy and the heart of Germany. From 1939 no less and not 1941 either.

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