In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

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Avalancheon
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In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by Avalancheon » 24 Feb 2018 04:22

After Germany embarked on operation Barbarossa in June of 1941, they relied very heavily on the railways that were seized from the Soviets to supply their troops in the field. Since they failed to capture much in the way of rolling stock, they had to make up the shortfall by diverting trains from within central Europe over to the Eastern front. The sudden vacuum in rail traffic (especially in the occupied countrys) made it difficult to move supplys to Germany, especially the bulk shipments of coal that were their lifeline.

My question is this: If the Germans had made it a priority, could they have produced more locomotives and rolling stock? If so, then what programs would they need to cut back on? Would the benefits of extra railcars have been worth the tradeoff?

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by Bob423 » 24 Feb 2018 16:16

This is my first post in the forum.

You have asked an excellent question that I can answer.

The Germans had an overabundance of rolling stock that they could easily use to supply their frontline units. The problem that the Axis faced was that the Russian Empire standardized their railroad tracks with a gauge of 5 feet or 60 inches. The gauge is the measurement from the inside of the left railroad tie to the inside of the right railroad tie. The Soviet Union kept the Russian gauge as their standard. The entirety of continental Europe had setup their rail lines to the standard gauge of 1,435 mm or 56-1/2 inches. So the axles of a German locomotive or a captured French or Polish boxcar was 3-1/2 inches too small to operate on a Soviet railway. The only way a continental engine or boxcar could operate on a Soviet rail line would require the dismounting of the locomotive or boxcar and the replacement of the axle assembly with 60 inch axles.

Army Group North had an advantage in the beginning in that most of the rail lines in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were still at the standard gauge so the Germans could use the track to supply their soldiers. The remainder of the Soviet Union was a different story including the Soviet occupied areas of Poland and Romania that have been converted to the Russian gauge. The German construction engineer battalions could not rebuild the tracks fast enough from Russian gauge to Standard gauge to keep pace with the German advance so the trains pilled up in massive jams while waiting to be off loaded or for the laborers to convert the track. The condition of the Soviet railways in 1941 was also a severe impediment to the Germans because the Soviets followed the tradition of the Russian Empire in investing and building canals to connect the rivers inside the soviet Union together. The majority of transportation inside the Soviet Union was done by river barges using the existing canal network. Most of the Soviet railways consisted of only a single track with an occasional spur line built in to allow for a train to pull off to the side so a train can pass going the opposite direction. The Germans also fell way behind the advance in laying down new track alongside the existing lines so trains can go in both directions to bring forward supplies to the frontline soldiers. Railroad bridges were also a major bottleneck that would jam up trains in the Soviet Union because the majority of the bridges were build with only a single track crossing them. Again, the German construction of rail road bridges to cross rivers could not keep pace with the German advance.

The greatest weakpoint the Germans had in Operation Barbarossa was the lack of truck companies. The Germans could bring the trains forward until the construction blocked their advance but they lacked the trucks to offload the supplies into that could rapidly deliver what was needed to the frontline soldiers. The horse drawn wagons were just too slow to deliver the supplies to the front. What the Germans actually needed for Barbarossa to succeed was an additional 200,000 to 300,000 trucks.

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by Avalancheon » 25 Feb 2018 05:37

Hi Bob, thank you for the response. I knew about the different gauges used in Russia, but not about the supporting role of the canals. Thats definitely an interesting detail.
Bob423 wrote:The German construction engineer battalions could not rebuild the tracks fast enough from Russian gauge to Standard gauge to keep pace with the German advance so the trains pilled up in massive jams while waiting to be off loaded or for the laborers to convert the track.
WRT the railway conversion efforts, the amount of backlog varied from day to day. In optimal conditions, an Eisenbahnpionier battalion could convert the track from broad to standard gauge at the rate of about 20 km per day. I'm not exactly sure how many of these railway pioneer battalions were in action during Barbarossa.

However, I do know that by August 8th, 1941, they had converted 16,148 km of track, and 4414 km of that was in Army Group Centers sector. There was a substantial backlog in the first few months of the invasion, but this wasn't caused solely by slow conversion efforts. It was aggravated by poor discipline in the running and scheduling of the trains, the scorched earth policy of the Red Army, and other things.
Bob423 wrote:Most of the Soviet railways consisted of only a single track with an occasional spur line built in to allow for a train to pull off to the side so a train can pass going the opposite direction.
Just out of curiosity, do spur lines serve the same purpose as a siding? I ask because the German and Soviet railways actually used different operating systems.

The German lines used more sidings and more advanced signalling, which enabled them to run trains at different speeds and safely pass them. Hence, their railways could accommodate a higher volume of traffic than the Soviet lines. This was one of the reasons why, even after the Eisenbahnpionier had converted the lines, they were still not able to move forward all the supplys required by the army.
Bob423 wrote:The Germans also fell way behind the advance in laying down new track alongside the existing lines so trains can go in both directions to bring forward supplies to the frontline soldiers.
Are you sure that the railway pioneers were trying to lay down new track along the single-track lines? Thats a pretty major task. From what I had read, they were focused solely on converting the broad gauge railways as quickly as possible. The task of actually upgrading the lines (by adding depots, signalling equipment, refueling and watering stations) was left to the Feldeisenbahn-Direktion, and even they struggled to do this due to bad organisation and equipment shortages.
Bob423 wrote:The greatest weakpoint the Germans had in Operation Barbarossa was the lack of truck companies. The Germans could bring the trains forward until the construction blocked their advance but they lacked the trucks to offload the supplies into that could rapidly deliver what was needed to the frontline soldiers. The horse drawn wagons were just too slow to deliver the supplies to the front. What the Germans actually needed for Barbarossa to succeed was an additional 200,000 to 300,000 trucks.
Sure, theres truth to that. The German industry should have made a better effort to produce more trucks and enhance the armys mobility. But my question wasn't really aimed at the logistics of Barbarossa. I was simply wondering whether it would have been financially possible for the Germans to make more locomotives and railcars.

After all, the diversion of so many trains to the eastern front caused economic problems that prevented them from achieving a real expansion to the armaments industry. If they had built more rolling stock in early to mid 1941, this would have positive knock on effects for the rest of their industry. More locomotives and railcars means they won't suffer those annoying shortages of coal, which also affects the steel industry! These things are all tightly connected with each other.

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by PZ38t » 29 Dec 2018 21:47

This one topic, on all else ( long distance supply, movement , for non stop long distance blitz) depends, We know WHAT they did - and did not work - so what if - railway conversion meant several thousand rail cars in Poland re gauged for operation over Russian gauge rail system all the way - on every route- to Moscow and beyond, repair crews left do do only repair work! Admit wider drivers on several hundred locomotives ARE more complex being inter connected - but one and 3/4 inch spacers on each wheel PRIOR to 6-22, would save a lot of grief after!

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by PZ38t » 29 Dec 2018 22:05

as to more trucks - sorry, forget it - problem with the 500, 000 they did have - no roads ( paved ) for them except the one " invasion highway," - Minsk to Moscow. I love trains - the efficiency of even a tiny train - say 20 4 wheel cars of 30 feet ( total length 600 feet) capacity - 500 -600 tons, equal to about 300 Opel 3000 trucks - with ZERO petrol use for each train - and crew of maybe 5 - to feed!

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by Mark in Cleveland, Tn. » 22 Jan 2019 00:18

BoB423,,thank you for the detailed guage and backlog paragraphs. I read a book ma few months ago about the German Armies and their problems in the Eastern Front battles ,and every other page was a refer. to trains being jammed up at some rear area packed with supplies and the Germans saying they could not get the supplies, the author did not expand as to why, your repl;y fills in some gaps I wanted to know.Good answer. thanks

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by g6337772 » 31 Jul 2019 13:23

Actually, they could and did-in sharp contrast to the USSR.I believe the germans produced 20,000 locomotives , and until 1944 their production priority for same was in the top 5.O'brien,"How the War was Won".The soviets shut their rolling stock production down completely after june 1941 and converted it to tanks(they may have produced as few as 100!! locomotives).The Allies did ship 5,000+ locomotives to the USSR as part of Lend Lease

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by Hanny » 05 Aug 2019 14:57

Avalancheon wrote:
24 Feb 2018 04:22
After Germany embarked on operation Barbarossa in June of 1941, they relied very heavily on the railways that were seized from the Soviets to supply their troops in the field. Since they failed to capture much in the way of rolling stock, they had to make up the shortfall by diverting trains from within central Europe over to the Eastern front. The sudden vacuum in rail traffic (especially in the occupied countrys) made it difficult to move supplys to Germany, especially the bulk shipments of coal that were their lifeline.

My question is this: If the Germans had made it a priority, could they have produced more locomotives and rolling stock? If so, then what programs would they need to cut back on? Would the benefits of extra railcars have been worth the tradeoff?
To bring the oil from Roumania to central Germany took 10,000 extra rail wagons, ( it needed 6500 wagons for 1.5 million tons, rising to 10,000 for 2.4 million tons of oil) Germany only had a total of 4000 oil wagons, and built 4000 more in 1940/41 rail lines took, 120k tons of steel, used over 100k labourers and 20k technicians, cost 400,000,000 RM and took 20 months to more than double its rail oil wagon capacity. It was a cheaper option than a pipeline that Goring wanted.
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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Aug 2019 07:11

Bob423 wrote:The problem that the Axis faced was that the Russian Empire standardized their railroad tracks with a gauge of 5 feet or 60 inches.
The gauge-switching issue is overrated IMO. It was a relatively simple operation to change gauges (pull up one rail, move it a couple inches, nail it back down) and the Eisenbahntruppen were able to do this at a rate of ~30km/day - far faster than the strategic pace of the Ostheer (30km/day gets you from Poland to Moscow in 4-5 weeks).

The bigger issue is the quality of rebuilding, not the rate. Germany didn't supply its Eisenbahntruppen with sufficient signals/communication equipment to last beyond 60km. It didn't anticipate that the Soviets would destroy their depots and water stations and therefore made no allowance to replace them quickly. Despite the obvious increase in ton-mileage posed by supplying a massive army 1000km from the Reich, Germany made no effort to build more rolling stock ahead of Barbarossa.

All of these factors meant that, even after conversion to standard gauge, the rail capacity was insufficient to meet army needs.

Re the original question - yes, the Germans could have built more rolling stock. Steel allotments to the railroad industry declined by 56% during early war years; that was from a pre-war state of disinvestment in the Reichsbahn. Later in the war Germany was able quickly to accelerate rolling stock construction.

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 07 Dec 2019 19:16

Refer to my Journal of Slavic Military Studies article which you can read here: https://www.hgwdavie.com/blog/2018/3/9/ ... r-19411945

Also see the German Railways in the East thread here viewtopic.php?f=66&t=203286 where a group of railway afficiandos discuss the German railway effort.

In short,
1) Germany controlled in June 1941 the railway rolling stock of Germany, France, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Serbia, Slovakia and had access to those of Bulgaria, Roumania, Hungary, Finland.
2) Railway traffic had been greatly reduced from pre-war norms even allowing for military traffic.
3) So in reality there was plenty of excess capacity in the European system, it was structural reasons that kept motive power undeployed.
4) June 1941 to February 1942 the Heer controlled all the railways in Russia, through the Eisenbahnpionere, Feldeisenbahnkommando (Graueisenbahner) and effective military control of the Reichsverkerdirektion (RVD) even though the latter were provided through the Reich Ministry of Transport.
5) As TheMarcksPlan states the main problem is that the military do not understand railways as a strategic transport system, they only view it in narrow tactical terms, so they change the gauge and rebuild it to a low standard, keeping within a week of the advancing armies and so keeping their horse drawn transport supplied with small lorry fleet.
6) The consequences of this is that despite capturing two sets of double track railways in the area of Heeresgruppe MItte they are unable to move the Supply Districts forward from Poland to Minsk on time and then are unable to move them forward again to Smolensk to support Operation Typhoon in October 1941.
7) The FEDko and RDV lack all engineering means to correct this situation in their zone so the situation is perpetuated.
8) It is a failure by the Heer, especially the EBP Command to understand their role in a deep penetration operation with three successive bounds of 300km each as they envisaged the first bound supported from depots in Government General/East Prussia and the second from these depots carried forward 300km to MInsk, Kiev.
9) The Heer had around 160,000 trucks with an additional 60,000 tonnes from the Grosstransportraum providing support to link the railhead and the advancing Panzergruppe and Armies. The railways keep within a week of the advance so around 100-150km but even so there are shortages and stoppages.
10) The correct way to support the advance was a) use the DRB engineering teams to rebuild the first 300 km through Soviet occupied Poland in a second Otto Plan and then b) equip the FEDko/RVD with DRB engineers and equipment so that they can reconstruct the next 300km along one major route for each Heersgruppe.

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Dec 2019 06:28

Der Alte Fritz wrote:
07 Dec 2019 19:16
Refer to my Journal of Slavic Military Studies article which you can read here: https://www.hgwdavie.com/blog/2018/3/9/ ... r-19411945

Also see the German Railways in the East thread here viewtopic.php?f=66&t=203286 where a group of railway afficiandos discuss the German railway effort.

In short,
1) Germany controlled in June 1941 the railway rolling stock of Germany, France, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Serbia, Slovakia and had access to those of Bulgaria, Roumania, Hungary, Finland.
2) Railway traffic had been greatly reduced from pre-war norms even allowing for military traffic.
3) So in reality there was plenty of excess capacity in the European system, it was structural reasons that kept motive power undeployed.
4) June 1941 to February 1942 the Heer controlled all the railways in Russia, through the Eisenbahnpionere, Feldeisenbahnkommando (Graueisenbahner) and effective military control of the Reichsverkerdirektion (RVD) even though the latter were provided through the Reich Ministry of Transport.
5) As TheMarcksPlan states the main problem is that the military do not understand railways as a strategic transport system, they only view it in narrow tactical terms, so they change the gauge and rebuild it to a low standard, keeping within a week of the advancing armies and so keeping their horse drawn transport supplied with small lorry fleet.
6) The consequences of this is that despite capturing two sets of double track railways in the area of Heeresgruppe MItte they are unable to move the Supply Districts forward from Poland to Minsk on time and then are unable to move them forward again to Smolensk to support Operation Typhoon in October 1941.
7) The FEDko and RDV lack all engineering means to correct this situation in their zone so the situation is perpetuated.
8) It is a failure by the Heer, especially the EBP Command to understand their role in a deep penetration operation with three successive bounds of 300km each as they envisaged the first bound supported from depots in Government General/East Prussia and the second from these depots carried forward 300km to MInsk, Kiev.
9) The Heer had around 160,000 trucks with an additional 60,000 tonnes from the Grosstransportraum providing support to link the railhead and the advancing Panzergruppe and Armies. The railways keep within a week of the advance so around 100-150km but even so there are shortages and stoppages.
10) The correct way to support the advance was a) use the DRB engineering teams to rebuild the first 300 km through Soviet occupied Poland in a second Otto Plan and then b) equip the FEDko/RVD with DRB engineers and equipment so that they can reconstruct the next 300km along one major route for each Heersgruppe.
Greetings and thank you again for writing that article and sharing it online! For a long time it was my only good source on the Ostheer's rail situation.

I am working my way through The Most Valuable Asset of the Reich: A History of the German National Railway Volume 2, 1933-1945 by Mierzejewski. https://www.amazon.com/Most-Valuable-As ... 0807825743 [I'm sure you're familiar with it but for those reading along]

I'm particularly interested in your point (10) above - what would a well-planned rail network behind the Ostheer have looked like?

As a first matter, OKW should have consulted Dorpmuller and the DRB prior to June 22. Failure to do so is just ridiculous though probably explained by the bad relations between OKW/OKH and the DRB. Barbarossa was practically an open secret in official Berlin; it's not like consulting DRB officials would have blown the lid. Had they done so, and had Hitler acceded to fund/supply a "second Otto" behind the advancing Ostheer, it seems that nearly all of Barbarossa's rail logistical problems could have been fixed. At least that's my initial impression.

Mierzejewski recounts steps taken later during the Ostbau programs, most of which seem plausible to have planned in early 1941:
  • acquiring more railroad stock from SNCF and elsewhere, as occurred belatedly during the crisis of winter 41-42 (40,000 French railroad cars taken during the '41-42 winter crisis IIRC).
  • building more rolling stock, as Dorpmuller at all were pleading for literally for years by then.
  • Planning to build train warming sheds along the lines and stockpiling materials, plans, and labor in advance for such construction (Mierjzejewski says 80 were built during the Ostbau program)
  • Building bypass lines around congestion sites like large cities
What's particularly amazing is that *even after* the start of Barbarossa, when Dorpmuller realized the demands of Barbarossa and started clamoring about impending disaster in the rail system, practically nobody was listening. So the German state absolutely had the expertise and probably the resources to improve the Ostheer's strategic logistics; plain incompetence by OKW/OKH prevented a solution.

Although not all of the Ostbau goals were met due to materials shortages, the labor, money, and steel involved across all Ostbau programs seem to be on the order of Operation Otto. I.e. they were not beyond the demonstrated capacity of the DRB/Ostbahn/RVD to execute on a timline measured in months. It was of course impossible to avoid all supply problems as even within Germany the winters caused shortages during 39/40, but prudent planning like the later Ostbau could have greatly improved Barbarossa - my impression so far anyway. What's your take?

Beyond those specifics bits gleaned from Mierzejewski, could the Germans (all rail authorities considered together) have upgraded at least a few mainlines to German standards? By that I mean laying new tracks - presumably parallel to existing - over a new bed of crushed rock and with strong, German-standard ties. This would have enabled running trains at German speeds instead of the Soviet crawl. It would have enabled much more efficient use of rolling stock, especially for trains bound from Poland all the way to, say, the Donbas. Did the Germans lay new rock substrate for any lines in the East or did they always keep the weaker Russian substrate?

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Der Alte Fritz
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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 12 Dec 2019 09:41

I think you have two separate items here:

Supporting the 1941 invasion - this needed a second Otto Plan to bridge the old eastern Polish network and it needed restoration of one or two main lines behind each Heeresgruppe to give them 70-100 trains a day capacity up to 600km into the country and it needs this done quickly enough to support the advance. To achieve this requires larger better equipped FEDko and RVD and the EBP continue to provide the basic service in the military zone. From the strategic point of view this requires significant amounts of steel and a change in the structure of European railways so that the fleet can be reorganised and sent East. So the Heer loses control of French railways, etc.

Running a railway in USSR - I am going to disagree with Mierzejewski here on the grounds that the NKPS ran one of the most efficient railways in the world and that the German war effort cannot afford to upgrade the Soviet network to German standards. So outside of the "Polish gap" which will require upgrading and minor works to address specific problems (and a large part of the Ostbau was in the Polish gap), I would think that changing operating principles to Soviet standards would be the most cost efficient way to go. You maintain the large labour inputs, slow speeds and low track strength but gain capacity for low investment. This requires re-trained personnel and use of existing Soviet personnel. After all, other than the military demands, feeding the Ostheer from local sources, the USSR provides relatively little imports for the Reich compared to France. So why invest heavily - as the Germans thought in colonial terms - have a colonial railway.

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Dec 2019 05:51

Der Alte Fritz wrote:I think you have two separate items here:
Yep, thanks.
To achieve this requires larger better equipped FEDko and RVD and the EBP continue to provide the basic service in the military zone. From the strategic point of view this requires significant amounts of steel and a change in the structure of European railways so that the fleet can be reorganised and sent East. So the Heer loses control of French railways, etc.
This seems like the right diagnosis for ideal conditions, but even partial adaptation of these recommendations would have had material benefits.
I can't see the Wehrmacht rolling over on the control issue but they'd have no problem accepting more labor and funding for rolling stock, track, sheds, signals equipment, etc. They'd use these resources worse than would the civilians but still would have a better railway than the one they actually had.
It would surely require significant amounts of steel but Germany exported 8mil tons in 1940 alone for political purposes, retaining some of that seems feasible.
I am going to disagree with Mierzejewski here on the grounds that the NKPS ran one of the most efficient railways in the world and that the German war effort cannot afford to upgrade the Soviet network to German standards.
I'm convinced by your argument that NKPS was super-efficient but my suggestion is far short of upgrading the entire Soviet network to German standards. Rather, I'm just imagining a single double-tracked line from around Lublin to roughly Rostov. Although the Germans historically didn't export much from Ukraine to Germany, they certainly had plans to do so and, given time and better military success (they only conquered half the Donbas in 1941 and most of it was still within artillery range of RKKA until well into Blau), they would have seen significant production from Ukraine by 44 at the latest IMO. I have a mini-thread on the topic in case you're curious. viewtopic.php?f=55&t=243100&hilit=explo ... e#p2212611

The utility of that single line would be to move ore from Nikopol and Krivoy Rog, supply the AG South, and support ongoing industrial development in the Donbas. It could also be used, temporarily, to move oil from the Caucasus until Black Sea shipping arrangements could be made.

Any idea as to the cost of rock substrate for German train lines, the amount of material used per track-mile, and the location of supplies/production of crushed rock?

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by Avalancheon » 16 Dec 2019 04:46

Der Alte Fritz wrote:
07 Dec 2019 19:16
Refer to my Journal of Slavic Military Studies article which you can read here: https://www.hgwdavie.com/blog/2018/3/9/ ... r-19411945

Also see the German Railways in the East thread here viewtopic.php?f=66&t=203286 where a group of railway afficiandos discuss the German railway effort.
Thank you for the detailed response, Der Alte Fritz. Your article about the use of railways on the Eastern front is a classic. I read it last year and have used it heavily as a reference. It is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the logistics of the Russo-German war.

Just so that we're on the same page, I should point out that I opened my thread on locomotive production after reading through David Stahels books. He provides some commentary on the effect that operation Barbarossa had on the Reichsbahn (and hence, on the European railways at large). Stahel claims that since the Soviets evacuated their locomotives in the initial phases of the invasion, the Germans were forced to divert more and more locomotives out of the occupied countrys. The deficit of railway traffic caused economic problems in the fall of 1941. At the time I opened this thread, I was going off of these two comments in particular:


''The second complication of the German failure to capture large numbers of Soviet trains was that the deficit had to be made up by the already overextended Reichsbahn (German railways). By the autumn of 1941 some 2500 German locomotives and 200,000 railcars had to be employed in the east, creating additional stresses for the German economy.''
-Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East, by David Stahel.

''As it happened, Germany did possess a large annual coal surplus and could, together with the Eastern European coal surplus countries, theoretically have covered most of the deficit. The problem, however, was one of logistics and production. The rail network was not sufficient to transport that amount of coal to the countries that required it, especially since Germany had expropriated a significant amount of rolling stock from the conquered countrys to fill troubling gaps in the domestic Reichsbahn.''
-Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East, by David Stahel.
Der Alte Fritz wrote:
07 Dec 2019 19:16
In short,
1) Germany controlled in June 1941 the railway rolling stock of Germany, France, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Serbia, Slovakia and had access to those of Bulgaria, Roumania, Hungary, Finland.
2) Railway traffic had been greatly reduced from pre-war norms even allowing for military traffic.
3) So in reality there was plenty of excess capacity in the European system, it was structural reasons that kept motive power undeployed.
4) June 1941 to February 1942 the Heer controlled all the railways in Russia, through the Eisenbahnpionere, Feldeisenbahnkommando (Graueisenbahner) and effective military control of the Reichsverkerdirektion (RVD) even though the latter were provided through the Reich Ministry of Transport.
viewtopic.php?p=1843345#p1843345

In the above thread, you state that the Reichsbahn had 25,209 locomotives, 690,000 wagons, and 68,900 carriages in 1938. That number would have grown significantly after the German victorys of 1939-1941, when they controlled most of continental Europe. The question is, how much did their rolling stock increase? Was it truly enough to cover the demands represented by operation Barbarossa?

By the fall of 1941, they were employing 2500 locomotives and 200,000 railcars on the Eastern front alone. That is equal to 1/10th of the locomotives and 1/3rd of the railcars which the Reichsbahn possessed in 1938. It would perhaps not be so surprising that there was a shortage of railway traffic in the occupied countrys, and even in Germany itself.
Der Alte Fritz wrote:
07 Dec 2019 19:16
5) As TheMarcksPlan states the main problem is that the military do not understand railways as a strategic transport system, they only view it in narrow tactical terms, so they change the gauge and rebuild it to a low standard, keeping within a week of the advancing armies and so keeping their horse drawn transport supplied with small lorry fleet.
This strategy could have worked if they hadn't insisted on running the trains at high speeds, which the railways were not built to accommodate. The Germans tried to run a few fast trains, rather than a bunch of slow trains. I remember you telling me this in an e-mail discussion last year.
Der Alte Fritz wrote:
07 Dec 2019 19:16
6) The consequences of this is that despite capturing two sets of double track railways in the area of Heeresgruppe MItte they are unable to move the Supply Districts forward from Poland to Minsk on time and then are unable to move them forward again to Smolensk to support Operation Typhoon in October 1941.
Exactly. This is why all those scenarios involving a German attack on Moscow in August 1941 are doomed to failure. They would never be able to build up a large enough stockpile of supplys.
Der Alte Fritz wrote:
07 Dec 2019 19:16
10) The correct way to support the advance was a) use the DRB engineering teams to rebuild the first 300 km through Soviet occupied Poland in a second Otto Plan and then b) equip the FEDko/RVD with DRB engineers and equipment so that they can reconstruct the next 300km along one major route for each Heersgruppe.
When did the Germans succeed in bridging the Polish gap? Your other thread gives the impression that they never succeeded.

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Re: In 1941, could the Germans have produced more locomotives?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Dec 2019 05:00

Avalancheon wrote:Exactly. This is why all those scenarios involving a German attack on Moscow in August 1941 are doomed to failure. They would never be able to build up a large enough stockpile of supplys.
Doomed unless there's a change to rail preparations behind Barbarossa. AGC had at least two double-track railways behind it; by German standards (signalling, not speed) that should have enabled 144 trains/day. They reached 24/day in July 1941. That would have required investment in signals equipment ahead of Barbarossa, not in laying any new track or lines. Also would have required more personnel to unload trains.
Avalancheon wrote:When did the Germans succeed in bridging the Polish gap? Your other thread gives the impression that they never succeeded.
What do you mean by "bridging the Polish Gap?" Making rail east of the border as good as west? If so then probably never but DAF will know better.
If you mean "when did the Ostheer begin seeing better rail connections" then I'll note that train movements across the Polish border increased from 1,330 during December 1941 to average of 3,214 during 1942 (despite early 1942 being as bad as late-41). The Most Valuable Asset of the Reich: A History of the German National Railway Volume 2, 1933-1945, page 131.

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