Panzers instead of U-boats

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
Sid Guttridge
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Sid Guttridge » 02 Apr 2019 05:18

Hi rcocean,

Exactly, "Armor plating is just specially treated high quality rolled steel". It is not exactly the same stuff as U-boat hulls, even if almost all the raw materials are the same. That is why I wrote "specialist extra armour".

In the winter of 1942/43 Hitler stopped redundant heavy surface warship production to conserve materials. By contrast, U-boats were never redundant. If they weren't sinking things, they were at least causing the Allies global problems by causing them to spread convoy protection worldwide. (Only the Pacific coast of South America had no convoys throughout the war).

One of Germany's problems was that development of productive capacity takes time, but Germany's leader had such run-away early success that his targets, and therefore armament requirements, kept changing rapidly. The assault on the USSR had an unusually long lead up of nearly a year, but was this enough time to produce significantly more armour by restricting U-boat production?

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by ljadw » 02 Apr 2019 07:37

And where would Germany get the additional crews, mechanics,trucks,truck drivers, truck mechanics, infantry, artillery, fuel, ammunition , trains to move all this ?

gracie4241
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by gracie4241 » 07 Apr 2019 19:01

Everybody is making this ridiculously more complicated than it is: at end 1942 10.9% of german armaments effort was devoted to the U Boat program in labor and materials, with 4.7% to the AFV program(inc APC ,armoured cars etc).TWICE as much. The Adolf Hitler panzer program was initiated in January 1943 upping the panzer priority.By mid 43 it was 9.7% to 6.4%.By end 43 it was 6.6% to 7.9%.In other words not until late 43 did the panzer program surpass in importance the U Boat program, which until then had had relative priority over it. Period. This comes from the USSBS Tank Industry Report, European Theatre I Table 4.This silly argument about transferability is just that.The variability in absolute and percentage terms of armament production was largely a function of the labor and (relevant)raw material assigned it, and those figures are known .Germany made a conscious decision through most of the War to give higher priority to U Boats and the Battle of the Atlantic than tanks and AFV.Whether this was wise, or necessary can be argued until the cows come home, but there it is.(my two cents as an opinion is that this reflected mostly an overconfidence as to its ability to defeat an underestimated Russia with its existing level of effort and resource allocation)

Richard Anderson
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Richard Anderson » 07 Apr 2019 19:49

gracie4241 wrote:
07 Apr 2019 19:01
Everybody is making this ridiculously more complicated than it is: at end 1942 10.9% of german armaments effort was devoted to the U Boat program in labor and materials, with 4.7% to the AFV program(inc APC ,armoured cars etc).TWICE as much. The Adolf Hitler panzer program was initiated in January 1943 upping the panzer priority.By mid 43 it was 9.7% to 6.4%.By end 43 it was 6.6% to 7.9%.
I'm sorry, but you are actually misstating what Table 4 in the Tank Industry Report says. At the end of 1942 the allocation was 4.7 percent to AFV production and 10.9 percent to "warships", not "the U Boat program". In 1942, the naval program allocations resulted in the production of 238 U-Boote, 41 S-Boote, 53 M-Boote, 46 R-Boote, 295 Marine-Fähr-Präme, 17 Kriegsfischkutter, 4 T-Boote, and 3 Zerstörer.

If you include the allocations for motor vehicles and tractors you get a much more accurate comparison...11.3 percent versus 10.9 percent. By the end of 1943 it more than doubled, to 13.4 percent versus 6.6 percent...and yet naval construction still increased or remained the same in most categories (the biggest drop was in the production of the MFP, from 295 to 156.

BTW, the ammunition, weapons, and powder allocations are spread among all the services.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Blackarrow
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Blackarrow » 08 Apr 2019 09:53

Let 's not forget all those torpedoes that also had to be produced to arm all those U-boats - and other ships - in the German Navy. A figure I see for total German production of torpedoes in WW2 is over 70,000. How many Panzer Mk 4 could be produced instead: 10,000, 15,000? How much did it cost to produce a torpedo compared to an AFV for the Germans?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Sid Guttridge » 08 Apr 2019 10:10

Hi Blackarrow,

If there was no 1:1 correlation between the resources needed to build U-boats and tanks, how much less must there have between torpedoes and tanks?

Theoretically if all the Iron Crosses were melted down, it would also have produced enough iron to, if properly processed, provide armor for a tank. How far down this road are we going to go?

The simple fact is that Germany needed both in different proporgions at different times and transferring resources from one to another inevitably took time. If the prime enemy was the UK, then U-boats were a priority. If it was the USSR, tanks were priority. Germany ended up fighting both.

Cheers,

A sceptical Sid.

Blackarrow
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Blackarrow » 08 Apr 2019 12:17

Sid Guttridge wrote:
08 Apr 2019 10:10


The simple fact is that Germany needed both in different proporgions at different times and transferring resources from one to another inevitably took time. If the prime enemy was the UK, then U-boats were a priority. If it was the USSR, tanks were priority. Germany ended up fighting both.
All this discussion about German production of U-boats versus Tanks is really just citing an example of just how much of the German war effort was split between the Eastern and Western fronts. Germany pretty much didn't need to carry out any warship production against the Soviet Union, and then can also you factor in all those tens of thousands of anti-aircraft guns used to defend the Reich against Western air raids, which also could then be sent to the Eastern Front. Discussing how long it would take to convert production from U-boats to tanks is fairly well academic if the subs were never even needed in the first place.

ljadw
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by ljadw » 08 Apr 2019 12:20

Blackarrow wrote:
08 Apr 2019 09:53
Let 's not forget all those torpedoes that also had to be produced to arm all those U-boats - and other ships - in the German Navy. A figure I see for total German production of torpedoes in WW2 is over 70,000. How many Panzer Mk 4 could be produced instead: 10,000, 15,000? How much did it cost to produce a torpedo compared to an AFV for the Germans?
Why would/could additional Pz4 be produced if no torpedos were produced for submarines ?

Blackarrow
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Blackarrow » 08 Apr 2019 12:28

ljadw wrote:
08 Apr 2019 12:20
Blackarrow wrote:
08 Apr 2019 09:53
Let 's not forget all those torpedoes that also had to be produced to arm all those U-boats - and other ships - in the German Navy. A figure I see for total German production of torpedoes in WW2 is over 70,000. How many Panzer Mk 4 could be produced instead: 10,000, 15,000? How much did it cost to produce a torpedo compared to an AFV for the Germans?
Why would/could additional Pz4 be produced if no torpedos were produced for submarines ?
Much of the skilled manpower, materials, machine tools and facilities could be used to produce something else that can be used to wage the war against the Soviet Union - not necessarily tanks, by the way.

ljadw
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by ljadw » 08 Apr 2019 15:19

What is something else ?
Besides, 10000 additional Pz4 would be useless,unless
there would be additional tankists for these tanks
there would be additional mechanics for these tanks
there would be additional spare parts for these tanks
there would be additional fuel and ammunition for these tanks
there would be additional trucks for these tanks
there would be additional drivers,spare parts,fuel,mechanics for these trucks
there would be additional infantry and artillery for these tanks and trucks
unless there would be additional weapons, ammunition, fuel,trucks for this infantry and artillery
unless there would be additional road space for all this
unless the railways would have additional waggons, locs,coal, staff to transport all this .
unless ,unless ,....

Richard Anderson
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Richard Anderson » 08 Apr 2019 17:34

Blackarrow wrote:
08 Apr 2019 12:17
All this discussion about German production of U-boats versus Tanks is really just citing an example of just how much of the German war effort was split between the Eastern and Western fronts. Germany pretty much didn't need to carry out any warship production against the Soviet Union, and then can also you factor in all those tens of thousands of anti-aircraft guns used to defend the Reich against Western air raids, which also could then be sent to the Eastern Front. Discussing how long it would take to convert production from U-boats to tanks is fairly well academic if the subs were never even needed in the first place.
Um, no, what the discussion keeps missing is the simple inertia built into a nation-sized manufacturing effort, the assumptions planners started with, and how both affected planning.

For example, prewar the German planning included the production of various warships, AFV, motor vehicles, weapons, munitions, equipment, and aircraft to support the expanding Wehrmacht under numerous contracts with numerous manufacturers, based upon a planned expansion of that force. For submarines, as of 1 September 1939, it included existing contracts for vessels under construction with:

Flenderwerft, Lübeck for 2 U-IIB
Deutsche Werke, Kiel for 2 U-IIC
Germaniawerft, Bremen for UA, 7 U-VIIB
Deschimag, Bremen for 1 U-IXA, 14 U-IXB, 10 U-IXC
So 37 boats.

The outbreak of war led to an immediate expansion of contracts and builders, including with:

Vulcan, Vegesack for 4 U-VIIB
Flenderwerft, Lübeck for 5 U-VIIB
Deutsche Werke, Kiel for 16 U-IID
Germaniawerft, Bremen for 4 U-VIIC
Howaldwerke, Hamburg for 9 U-VIIC
Blohm u. Voss, Hamburg for 24 U-VIIC
So 62 boats.

From there, contracts and construction expanded exponentially, especially since the perception was the U-Boote offensive was successful. By the end of 1940, for U-VIIC alone, Vulcan was working on 16, Germaniawerft 19, Nordseewerke (Emden) 4, Schiffbau Gesellschaft (Flensburg) 8, Howaldwerke (Hamburg) 18, Danziger Werft 9, Schichau (Danzig) 12, Deutsche Werke 8, Blohm u. Voss 44, Stülcken (Hamburg) 6, and KMW (Wilhelmshaven) 11, for a total of 147.

That meant, of course, that all the various subcontractors were busily working at or tooling up to support that production. For example, the prime contractor for the diesel engines was MAN...which was also already producing the Panzer II and Panzer III. However, the engines for those were produced by Maybach.

Meanwhile, similar expansion was also going on in the production of AFV and another expansion was taking place in the aircraft industry, which was by far the most capitol intensive industry. So much in so that much of the expansion was by sacrificing much of the motor vehicle industry built up during the 1930s, which converted to aircraft component manufacture.

Why would the Germans change any of that, especially early enough to have a real effect?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

gracie4241
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by gracie4241 » 08 Apr 2019 20:43

The Uboat program ate up 90% of the naval program, which while we're splitting hairs here included costs for building the massive bomb proof shelters which they hid under, as well as the fortifications/fortress artillery guarding the bases, naval security personnel etc etc. This site is too consumed with minor trivia and loses the forrest from the trees.Bottom ,uncontestable fact, is that the german U boat program, and for that matter the entire naval effort(750,000 men at peak ) overwhelmingly was directed at the West and SIGNIFICANTLY reduced available resources for the german tank program(and other army efforts)Gosh almighty,have no idea what the argument is about when there should be none.This pigeon holing of the Battle of the Atlantic, Air War over germany, Eastern Front etc obscures the central fact that they ALL were part of ONE war

Richard Anderson
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Richard Anderson » 08 Apr 2019 23:57

gracie4241 wrote:
08 Apr 2019 20:43
The Uboat program ate up 90% of the naval program, which while we're splitting hairs here included costs for building the massive bomb proof shelters which they hid under, as well as the fortifications/fortress artillery guarding the bases, naval security personnel etc etc.
I'm not so sure about that. The U-VIIC by 1943 were down to around RM 2-million each and earlier were apparently more costly - volume production brought the cost down. So the 147 under contract by the end of 1940 was about RM 300 million. Bismarck, completed and commissioned in August 1940, cost RM 197 million. Tirpitz, still under construction, cost RM 181. The Graf Zeppelin project was RM 97.1 million and Flugzeugträger B was RM 92.4 million. The 4 T-Boote and 3 Zerstörer completed in 1942 cost about RM 80 million.

Meanwhile, although the KM studied the necessity for building U-Boote-Bunker in the 1930s, it was autumn 1940 before work began on the first two began and the bulk of the work started in 1941. So again, the decision to build them or not coincides with the decision to expand the U-Boote-Waffe or not. By fall of 1940 both were well underway, long before any major expansion in Panzer production beyond the monies already spent on the Nibelungewerk, Alkett, and MNH plants.

Ditto regarding coast defense fortifications most in Germany already existed, but the seizure of Norway, Holland, Denmark, and France simply required the expansion of those defenses...much of which was supplied by the Heer BTW.

That isn't splitting hairs, but rather its reality.
This site is too consumed with minor trivia and loses the forrest from the trees.
Yeah. Details, schmetails. :lol:
Bottom ,uncontestable fact, is that the german U boat program, and for that matter the entire naval effort(750,000 men at peak )
Peak of the KM was actually 1944 at 810,000, but I suppose that is one of those minor, trivial details that add too much DeForrest Kelly to the trees. :lol:
overwhelmingly was directed at the West and SIGNIFICANTLY reduced available resources for the german tank program(and other army efforts)Gosh almighty,have no idea what the argument is about when there should be none.This pigeon holing of the Battle of the Atlantic, Air War over germany, Eastern Front etc obscures the central fact that they ALL were part of ONE war
Er, yeah...that is precisely the point. The Germans were not fighting a "tank war". They were not fighting a "U-Boote war". They were not fighting an "air war". So arguing that shifting resources already committed to naval construction in order to crank out tens of thousands of tanks would have been easy is specious.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

rcocean
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by rcocean » 10 Apr 2019 04:34

gracie4241 wrote:
08 Apr 2019 20:43
The Uboat program ate up 90% of the naval program, which while we're splitting hairs here included costs for building the massive bomb proof shelters which they hid under, as well as the fortifications/fortress artillery guarding the bases, naval security personnel etc etc. This site is too consumed with minor trivia and loses the forrest from the trees.Bottom ,uncontestable fact, is that the german U boat program, and for that matter the entire naval effort(750,000 men at peak ) overwhelmingly was directed at the West and SIGNIFICANTLY reduced available resources for the german tank program(and other army efforts)Gosh almighty,have no idea what the argument is about when there should be none.
The real question is why did the Germans produce so few AFV's in 1942 and 1943? And part of the reason is that there wasn't enough raw materials and skilled labor to go around, and the Germans decided to use their raw steel/skilled labor to build U-boats,Warships. AAA Guns, Shells, etc. instead of Tanks. Hitler wanted to increase AFV production to 12,000 per year after the Fall of France, and was told by "the experts", that could only be accomplished by cutting back on other things, like U-boats. I'd submit that Germany would've better off with 5,000 more AFV's on the Eastern Front in 1943 even if that meant producing fewer subs, Bombers, AAA guns, etc.

BTW, Germany built hundreds of U-boats in 1943 and 1944 and their effect on the war was minimal. After May 1943, the VII U-boat was obsolete. Radar, Huff-Duff, Better Sonar, strong ASW techniques all made it impossible for a U-boat designed to fight on the surface and only submerge from time to time, to accomplish anything. And the XXI elctro-boat simply soaked up resources and accomplished nothing in 1944. It was put into production too fast and too late in the game. You can make the same case for the V-2. A Nice toy but worthless. And the German was desire to build BB was a fools game. No wonder Hitler fired Admiral Raeder in 1943, the man was an idiot.

Richard Anderson
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Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Richard Anderson » 10 Apr 2019 16:58

rcocean wrote:
10 Apr 2019 04:34
The real question is why did the Germans produce so few AFV's in 1942 and 1943?
What are "few" in this context? In 1940, the Germans produced 1.729 tank chassis, 3,816 in 1941, 5,847 in 1942, 11,949 in 1943, and 19,091 in 1944. So production more than doubled in 1941. In terms of percentage increase over time it was:

1941 - 221%
1942 - 153%
1943 - 204%
1944 - 160%

In terms of tonnage, the increase was:

1940 - 37,235
1941 - 83,188 - 223%
1942 - 140,454 - 169%
1943 - 369,416 - 263%
1944 - 622,322 - 168%
And part of the reason is that there wasn't enough raw materials and skilled labor to go around, and the Germans decided to use their raw steel/skilled labor to build U-boats,Warships. AAA Guns, Shells, etc. instead of Tanks. Hitler wanted to increase AFV production to 12,000 per year after the Fall of France, and was told by "the experts", that could only be accomplished by cutting back on other things, like U-boats.
I'd appreciate a reference for that? AFAIK, Hitler's direct influence on Panzer production was the 23 January 1942 decision to develop and produce the Panther and Tiger and the formulation of the 1942 Panzer program as expressed by Hitler in September 1942 (1,400 per month by 1944) and January 1943 (to 1,500-2,100 per month by 1944).

Meanwhile, ammunition production decreased by 54% from 1940 to 1941, before increasing steadily, by 346% in 1942, 172% in 1943, and 121% in 1944.

U-Boote production increased 251% in 1941, but only 121% in 1942, 120% in 1943, and decreased 20% in 1944.
I'd submit that Germany would've better off with 5,000 more AFV's on the Eastern Front in 1943 even if that meant producing fewer subs, Bombers, AAA guns, etc.
Why? Until spring of 1943 the objective view was the U-Bootewaffe was ravaging the allied Atlantic lifeline, effectively preventing the industrial capacity of the United States from being fully brought to bear against Germany. The Luftwaffe was already expending more resources in the defensive air war and the requirement for offensive air weapons, especially in its primary role of tactical air interdiction and support, hadn't gone away.
BTW, Germany built hundreds of U-boats in 1943 and 1944 and their effect on the war was minimal. After May 1943, the VII U-boat was obsolete. Radar, Huff-Duff, Better Sonar, strong ASW techniques all made it impossible for a U-boat designed to fight on the surface and only submerge from time to time, to accomplish anything.
So the Germans were supposed to be prescient?
And the XXI elctro-boat simply soaked up resources and accomplished nothing in 1944. It was put into production too fast and too late in the game. You can make the same case for the V-2. A Nice toy but worthless.
Again, the Germans were supposed to be prescient? It was the design that was supposed to replace the obsolescent Typ VII and revive the successes of 1940-1943.
And the German was desire to build BB was a fools game. No wonder Hitler fired Admiral Raeder in 1943, the man was an idiot.
Um, both Gneisenau and Scharnhorst were complete and commissioned at the outbreak of war, Bismarck and Tirpitz were launched and fitting out, but
H and J, although laid down, were cancelled, along with K, M, and N, as well as the battlecruiser O. That hardly seems to be a "desire to build BB"?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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