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.
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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Yoozername » 12 Apr 2017 23:13

Which brings us back to an earlier point - were Germans really working that hard? After all, to take one example, in 1944 Germany, with a population of some 80 million people and the machine tools of a continent at its disposal, only produced about the same number of aero-engines and weight of airframes as the metropolitan UK, which had little more than half the population.
They were behind the curve possibly from limitations from the WWI surrender. Britain was making planes, and plans on how to bomb with them, before the Germans. So, population numbers may not come into it.

The Germans did increase work week hours to 60 (?) I believe. And using slave and POWs will have motivational issues. The Germans did start using special tools and machining that increased productivity and reduced hand-labor.

In some cases, there were rewards for meeting production goals and improvements including for the workers. They were not given money (since they really could not find things to buy), but rather hard to get items and this had a double benefit, they saved time from having to hunt for food items etc.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Guaporense » 13 Apr 2017 02:02

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Guaporense,

You are missing some important points that go beyond man-hours-lost and direct damage. Actual German production was far below what was planned for a number of reasons, including
It wasn't far below planned. Only after mid 1944 that German output of aircraft was below planned levels, for example. Same for other munitions.
1) German industry underwent a massive dislocation in order to hide itself from Allied bombing. Moving factories severely disrupted planning and production costing weeks or months of output.

2) The air war distorted production priorities. The equipping of the Reich with tens of thousands of flak guns could only be done at the expense of other uses to which such high velocity barrels could be put, such as anti-tank guns. During 1944 it also forced the almost exclusive production of fighters at the expense of bombers and other types.

3) Not everything that was produced even reached the front due to the increasing aerial disruption of the rail and water transport networks.

4) Finally, when the remainder did reach the front its use could be constricted by fuel shortages brought about by Allied bombing.

In haste, Sid.
The question, were those effects significant on the aggregate? I don't think so.

The quantity of munitions reaching the front steadily increased through the war. In fact, the quantity of ground projectiles fired by German guns grew at approximately the same rate as that fired by Soviet guns, a country that was not bombed, from 1942 to 1944.

In the end it's impossible to know how much bombing impacted German industrial production, however the comparative evidence (such as the one above) points out that at least before the 4th quarter of 1944, it's effect wasn't substantial at all.

I would say, munitions production decreased by perhaps 7% in the 3rd quarter of 1944 due to strategic bombing, combining the physical and psychological effects of air raids: 4.5% loss in manhours directly plus an increase of 5% in abstention rates above US levels, assuming 50% of it was caused by bombing, which yields 7%. That was way after the war was lost, before mid 1943 the effect of bombing was null, from mid 1943 to june 1944, the effect was around 2-3%. Reaching about 6-7% in the 3rd quarter 1944.
"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 Guaporense » 13 Apr 2017 02:09

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi John,

Which brings us back to an earlier point - were Germans really working that hard? After all, to take one example, in 1944 Germany, with a population of some 80 million people and the machine tools of a continent at its disposal, only produced about the same number of aero-engines and weight of airframes as the metropolitan UK, which had little more than half the population.

Might it not just be that German industry was not particularly efficient earlier in the war and that Speer's "production miracle" of 1944 just brought Germany up to international norms?

Cheers,

Sid
No, German aircraft industry was substantially more efficient than British. Thing is, they didn't NEED aircraft nor had the required fuel for it: they produced 480 fighters a month because the head of the fighter force said they couldn't do anything with more than 480 fighters a month. The Luftwaffe was tasked with supporting the ground troops and it did it's role well flying tens of thousands of sorties every month in the Eastern front, that's it, until the fuel supply collapsed in may 1944.

If you compare German production of guns and artillery shells, which were the most important munitions for both world wars since they represented the bulk of the firepower of the armed forces: German production was about 4 times the British level: 128,000 guns over 75 mm and 312 million shells over 75 mm compared to British output of 38,000 guns and 72 million shells.

German munitions production was a function of perceived needs: they increased production when they perceived the need for more, fighter production increased in response to bombing: from 400 fighters a month in mid 1942 to about 3,000 fighters in September 1944. Artillery ammunition production also increased or decreased in response to the perceived needs: ammunition production boomed from September 1939 to June 1940, after France collapsed the level of ammunition production quickly decreased 3 times, until when Barbarossa failed, in December 1941, ammunition production began to increase again from 1/3 of the mid 1940 levels as expectations of a long land war were being realized, then ammunition production increased 8 fold from January 1942 to mid 1944. Since fighter production increased at the same time, it became a "myth", but it's just normal. In WW1 munitions production in Germany, France, UK behaved in the same fashion as in Germany and the USSR WW2.

While the weight of Soviet projectiles fired by the army grew at a similar rate as Germany army's from 1942 to 1944, reflecting similar overall munition production trajectories.
Last edited by Guaporense on 13 Apr 2017 02:16, edited 1 time in total.
"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 Guaporense » 13 Apr 2017 02:10

histan wrote:This is the extract from the US Strategic Bombing Survey - German Morale that is the original source of the 1943 statement:

German Morale.jpg

Regards

John
So 85% was the critical mass value: where the probability of losing the war was so high it didn't make a sense to work for it.
histan wrote:Hi Sid

This is the quote in the original post:
"why work hard if there is no point, since victory is no longer feasible?"

My point is that they knew that victory was no longer feasible in mid 1943 yet continued to work hard and increased production throughout the rest of 1943 and until the autumn of 1944.

Here is one possible hypothesis:

They knew that the war was lost but were not sure what that would actually mean to them when the end happened. The idea of unconditional surrender and what that might mean to them didn't seem acceptable. Perhaps something other than unconditional surrender might be possible if Germany kept fighting and they kept working hard to support the men at the front. By September 1944 the allies were at Germany's borders and the end was actually approaching. Perhaps it was not an acceptance that the war was lost but an acceptance that the war was lost with unconditional surrender and all that that implied and that this was better than continuing to live and work under their current conditions. I think this has been summed up as something like - an end with terror rather than endless terror.

There is also a mass of evidence that the bombing campaign - in particular the attack on transportation also had a significant impact.

Regards

John
Agreed completely. Also, note the most effective attacks on transportation were done by light tactical bombers, since they flew near the targets and had some level of precision and not the heavy strategic bombers who just dropped bombs randomly from a very high height and never had the precision to hit their targets.
Last edited by Guaporense on 13 Apr 2017 02:54, edited 1 time in total.
"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 Michael Kenny » 13 Apr 2017 02:36

Guaporense wrote:
Agreed completely. Also, note the most effect attacks on transportation were done by light tactical bombers, since they flew near the targets and had some level of precision and not the heavy strategic bombers who just dropped bombs randomly from a very high weight.
Here are a couple of photos of 'random' bombs' dropped during GOODWOOD.

viewtopic.php?f=54&t=223485

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Yoozername » 13 Apr 2017 04:46

Also, note the most effective attacks on transportation were done by light tactical bombers, since they flew near the targets and had some level of precision and not the heavy strategic bombers who just dropped bombs randomly from a very high height and never had the precision to hit their targets.
You really are just blathering.
6/7 December 1944

Giessen: 255 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 8 Lancasters lost. There were two aiming points for this raid. 168 aircraft were allocated to the town centre and 87 to the railway yards. Severe damage was caused at both places.
Image

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 Apr 2017 06:25

Hi Guaporense,

You appear to be making it up as you go along.

You write of the Germans, "Thing is, they didn't NEED aircraft.........". This will come as something of a surprise to all concerned, as about 40% of armaments investment went into aircraft production.

You write of armaments production, "It wasn't far below planned." I would draw your attention back to my post about the Tiger II:

"In other words, although 489-492 Tiger II's were completed, some 657 others could not be because of Allied bombing, etc.

Of course, the figure of 489-492 does not tell us how many actually reached their designated units.
"

You write, "German aircraft industry was substantially more efficient than the British" yet in 1944 it only produced about the same number of aeroengines and weight of airframes as the metropolitan UK, which had little more than half the population.

It was impressive the way the Germans managed to sustain much core military production so late in the war, but the proposition that they produced what they wanted, when they wanted, and were unaffected by Allied bombing does not stand up.

From the moment in 1943 that Allied bombing began to force them to relocate factories their actual production began to diverge from their production targets ever more widely. The effect of Allied bombing is most evident in what was not produced.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Hop » 16 Apr 2017 23:02

Guaporense wrote: No, German aircraft industry was substantially more efficient than British.
Are you sure of that? Sebastien Ritchie in Industry and Airpower points out that the German aircraft industry employed more people, yet produced fewer aircraft, less aircraft by weight, and fewer aero engines than the UK aircraft industry.

In 1940, for example, the Germans had 1 million people in the aircraft industry, produced 10,247 planes and 15,510 aero engines. The UK aircraft industry, with 973,000 employees, produced 15,049 planes and 24,047 aero engines.

In 1941 the figures were 1,850,000 employees in Germany producing 11,776 aircraft, 68 million pounds of airframe weight and 22,400 engines. For the UK 1,259,400 workers produced 20,094 aircraft, 87 million pounds of airframe weight and 36,551 engines. (source: Overy, The Air War). (1940 figures for employment are for April for Germany, December for the UK)

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by histan » 18 Apr 2017 23:27

I know this can be regarded as anecdotal but here are a few interviews conducted after the surrender in Italy
Strategic Bombing 01.jpg
Strategic Bombing 02.jpg
The first interview supports the numerical information that coal was piling up at the pit heads and not being distributed.

I haven't yet found an interview that says strategic bombing was a waste of time.

Most of them support the current thinking that after destroying the Luftwaffe, attacks on oil and transportation were highly effective.

Regards

John
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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Guaporense » 19 Apr 2017 04:42

Hop wrote:
Guaporense wrote: No, German aircraft industry was substantially more efficient than British.
Are you sure of that? Sebastien Ritchie in Industry and Airpower points out that the German aircraft industry employed more people, yet produced fewer aircraft, less aircraft by weight, and fewer aero engines than the UK aircraft industry.

In 1940, for example, the Germans had 1 million people in the aircraft industry, produced 10,247 planes and 15,510 aero engines. The UK aircraft industry, with 973,000 employees, produced 15,049 planes and 24,047 aero engines.

In 1941 the figures were 1,850,000 employees in Germany producing 11,776 aircraft, 68 million pounds of airframe weight and 22,400 engines. For the UK 1,259,400 workers produced 20,094 aircraft, 87 million pounds of airframe weight and 36,551 engines. (source: Overy, The Air War). (1940 figures for employment are for April for Germany, December for the UK)
Your data is wrong. The German aircraft industry had 450,000 employees in 1940-1941, increasing to 750,000 employees in 1943 and 800,000 at it's peak in 1944. And these tonnage figures for Germany are BS produced by the USSBS (they guessed that a Me-109 airframe was only 2,800 pounds for instance).

Second, it was operating far below installed capacity which meant a lot of idleness. The reason was lack of fuel to operate more aircraft: the German aircraft industry only began to operate at capacity in 1944, before it was able to supply the Luftwaffe all the aircraft it requested.

Now, the correct way to measure productivity is to look at the number of manhours to produce an airframe.

In 1943:
Me-109: 2,000 manhours
Ju-88: 7,000 manhours

By comparison, for the British industry Spitfire took 13,000 manhours to make in 1940-1941. At that time the learning curve of the Me-109 wasn't as advanced as in 1943, but it took about 4,000 manhours to make. (http://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet ... 104266182/). The German superiority in it's aircraft industry productivity was incredible, it was even more efficient than the US's (whose manufacturing was in general the most productive in the world) who took more manhours to produce airframes of the same category: they took twice the manhours to produce a P-51 airframe: The manhours for the P-51's airframe went from 12,000 hours in October in 1941 to 2,077 in August 1945... For P-51 and P-51D respectively: So the Me-109 in 1943 was being produced at similar efficiency as the P-51 was in 1945, in 1942-43 the US was making a P-51 at the same number of manhours the Germans used for a 2-engine aircraft.
"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 histan » 19 Apr 2017 09:36

Ritchie's figures are not BS, since the actual title of his book is "Industry and Air Power: The Expansion of British Aircraft Production, 1935-1941"

So quoting 1943 figures is not a valid criticism of a comparison that ends in 1941.

Graph of Ju 88 Man Hours for 1939 to 1941:
Ju 88 Manhours.jpg
Regards

John
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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Stiltzkin » 19 Apr 2017 15:11

So quoting 1943 figures is not a valid criticism of a comparison that ends in 1941.
You are quoting from Scherners and Strebs armament miracle demystification, yet you do not realize what it actually means.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by histan » 19 Apr 2017 17:17

I am simply posting a graph based on material from the Barcih that shows that shows Average working hours per unit Ju 88 from 1939 to April 1941 so that others can post equivalent information for the UK for the same period in order to get an accurate comparison for the period 1939 to 1941.

I leave it to others to say what it actually means

What I see is a significant reduction in man hours, which if continued could lead to the figure of 7,000 in 1943 - am I wrong?

Regards

John

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by Stiltzkin » 19 Apr 2017 18:55

post equivalent information for the UK for the same period in order to get an accurate comparison for the period 1939 to 1941.
Thats not how it works, it is always related to allocations and learning effects.

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Re: German economic collapse in 1944-45

Post by histan » 19 Apr 2017 19:51

Not my choice to use the Ju 88 - why use it as an example for comparison of the industries in 1941 - why not use an aircraft where the learning effects have already taken place? Why not state that this aircraft was still in the learning stage and find a UK aircraft that was in the same stage of development and production?

Before you say that someones data is BS find some proper data to prove your point. Find two similar aircraft at the same stage of development and production and compare them. That, of course, requires actual research in the archives.

Or are you saying that it's not possible to find two aircraft at the same stage of development and production - and so it is not possible to compare the industries in terms of man-hours per unit?

I'm not making any claims - just trying to provide information to facilitate the discussion

Regards

John

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