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.
rcocean
Member
Posts: 240
Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by rcocean » 12 Apr 2019 17:15

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.
Actually yes. In July 1943, Donietz knew that even under their optimistic plan, significant number of XXI U-boats wouldn't be operational till the fall 1944. By which time the allies would have added what over 1,000 liberty and Victory ships. The USA wasn't keeping its merchant shipping construction a secret - we were boasting about it.

And he also knew the XXI U-boat wouldn't solve a big problem: namely locating convoys and tracking them so the U-boat wolf packs could attack them with significant numbers. The XXI solved one problem: U-boat survivablity. But it didn't solve the other problem: How to find, attack, and destroy the Allied Convoys.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2152
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Richard Anderson » 12 Apr 2019 19:11

Um, in July 1943, all the shipyards were fully tooled up and producing U-Boote. By German calculations it was at least six months to retool a tank factory to produce a new tank. Add in the complication that you are trying to convert a shipyard to vehicle production. It was too late by far.
"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
Member
Posts: 240
Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by rcocean » 12 Apr 2019 21:34

Richard Anderson wrote:
12 Apr 2019 19:11
Um, in July 1943, all the shipyards were fully tooled up and producing U-Boote. By German calculations it was at least six months to retool a tank factory to produce a new tank. Add in the complication that you are trying to convert a shipyard to vehicle production. It was too late by far.
Um, I don't know if this is directed at me, but I didn't say that Germany could convert shipyards to tank factories. You seem determined to "one-up" everyone, so I'll leave you "one-up".

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2152
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Richard Anderson » 12 Apr 2019 21:43

What the heck were you talking about then?
"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

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2152
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Richard Anderson » 12 Apr 2019 23:34

Never mind, sorry, perils of posting from a phone, it reduces situational awareness a bit. I see what you were replying to now. However, in July of 1943 the Germans were reacting to what they perceived as a setback in the battle of the Atlantic and they had received setbacks earlier and bounced back. It is difficult to tell if Doenitz was a true believer or not, if he really thought the Typ-XXI and the snorkel would be another game-changer or not. I'm not sure it matters that much though, because the expansion of the U-Boote yards and contracts was a done deal by July 1943...they could have redirected the raw material and labor elsewhere, but the capitol investment in the yard expansion was a done deal and a lot of games theory demonstrates that players - whether gamblers or world leaders - tend not to cut losses willingly in such a case.
"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

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 6402
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Apr 2019 07:16

Hi rcocean,

It is certainly true that "Germany built hundreds of U-boats in 1943 and 1944 and their effect on the war was minimal."

However, this was not true before May 1943 and it was not apparent that this was going to be the case until then. So any switch of production from U-boats to tanks after that date would have no influence on the number of tanks available in 1943, even if it were practicable.

If Germany had made peace with the UK before attacking the USSR, then most production of U-boats would have been superfluous. However, it did not, so they remained a necessity, not a luxury.

Cheers,

Sid.

gracie4241
Member
Posts: 67
Joined: 03 Aug 2018 16:16
Location: USA

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by gracie4241 » 13 Apr 2019 15:44

I don't understand this "re-tooling " plants argument. Sure, long term adding extra capacity would be great, but in fact TOOZE in "Wages of Destruction" emphasized the great investment boom 1940-42-at the cost of lower armament production in those years, an important but overlooked factoid-which included a large expansion in tooling and floor space at tank facilities. The limiting factor primarily on tank production 40-42 was the inability to go to multiple shifts at the existing tank plants for lack of labor and raw materials(steel);a wholesale shift of that labor and raw materials TO the tank plants FROM naval programs would have allowed for that relatively quickly(look how quickly ammunition production went up and down because of that at the same plants).There seems a notion that the same workers would have to stay at the same production facilities waiting for them to be "converted "; not so, the Nazi regime could order workers from one sector and facility to another, and reallocate raw materials at will.Obviously a longer time frame would produce larger numerical results,but if the strategic situation and priorities changed the germans could definitely have produced many more tanks at the expense of U Boats and naval vessels; they chose not to.The USSBS as I recall estimated a U Boat cost 20 tanks ( on average depending on the model).That's a lot of tanks(and assault guns)

ljadw
Member
Posts: 9187
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by ljadw » 13 Apr 2019 20:02

It is incorrect to say that the Nazi regime could order workers from one sector to another : people from Hamburg who were building UBoats in Hamburg could not be transferred to the other side of Germany to make tanks : Germans were stay-at-home- people ,they were not as the Okies .Besides : there was no place and no time to enlarge the existing tank plants or to buil new ones .
Last point : more tanks were useless unless more tankists were available .And there was no need for more tanks for operation Barbarossa .

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2152
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Apr 2019 16:44

gracie4241 wrote:
13 Apr 2019 15:44
I don't understand this "re-tooling " plants argument. Sure, long term adding extra capacity would be great, but in fact TOOZE in "Wages of Destruction" emphasized the great investment boom 1940-42-at the cost of lower armament production in those years, an important but overlooked factoid-which included a large expansion in tooling and floor space at tank facilities.
Overlooked? No, I think not. :D The wartime mobilization expansion, building on the four-year plan, was critical. It brought a large number of additional shipyards into the U-Boote contract pool to increase construction. For the Panzerwaffe, the major investments were the Henschel plant expansion, construction of Nibelungewerke, and the increase in the Panzer III construction pool (facilitated by the design finally getting finalized). The problem was the major investment in the Panzer III went nowhere, which led to the wholesale conversion of the Panzer III plant to Panther construction in 1943. So they were running real fast to stay in place.
The limiting factor primarily on tank production 40-42 was the inability to go to multiple shifts at the existing tank plants for lack of labor and raw materials(steel);
If you want to increase Panzer III production, you first need to have a settled design and then expend the resources and labor to expand the plants. Alkett expanded to construction in June 1940, MNH in early 1941, and VOMAG in mid 1941. And about the time they were happily plugging along building Panzer III they converted to Panther. Nibelungen production of Panzer IV peaked in October 1943 with 331 completed Panzer IV and June 1944 with 371 total chassis, but manufacture began in November 1941, before the plant was even complete.
a wholesale shift of that labor and raw materials TO the tank plants FROM naval programs would have allowed for that relatively quickly(look how quickly ammunition production went up and down because of that at the same plants).
Why yes, but that decision would have had to have been made 1940-1942 when the tank plant expansion occurred, but that was also during the height of the success of the U-Bootewaffe. To make such a shift in priorities required prescience and an ability to walk away from sunk costs, which would be unusual to say the least.
There seems a notion that the same workers would have to stay at the same production facilities waiting for them to be "converted "; not so, the Nazi regime could order workers from one sector and facility to another, and reallocate raw materials at will.
To a degree, yes, but doing so was limited for Reich workers. For one thing, they were in short supply in all industries due to the demands of the military. There was also the problem of housing, families, and morale, all of which factored into the problem as well. That wasn't really alleviated until the wholesale use of slave labor 1942-1945.
Obviously a longer time frame would produce larger numerical results,but if the strategic situation and priorities changed the germans could definitely have produced many more tanks at the expense of U Boats and naval vessels; they chose not to.
Indeed, they made specific decisions at specific points of time in order to follow what they thought then were critical strategic directions. One that they made that had impact was the prewar decision to convert much of the auto industry to aircraft component construction on mobilization, which begs the question of where do the B vehicles to support all those additional tanks come from?
The USSBS as I recall estimated a U Boat cost 20 tanks ( on average depending on the model).That's a lot of tanks(and assault guns)
I've read extensively in the USSBS reports and have never seen such an estimate.
"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

Globalization41
Member
Posts: 1023
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 02:52
Location: California

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Globalization41 » 16 Apr 2019 13:01

Seemingly, Germany could have had enough U-boats to defeat Great Britain if the resources used for the Bismarck had been allocated for subs instead of battleships. This would have eventually left the Soviets with less tanks, meaning a better Panzer ratio for the Germans.

6/21/1941; Maritime War Casualties, Tonnage Lost to Date

Globalization41.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 6402
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Apr 2019 10:41

Hi Glob41,

I would suggest that is an overly simplistic assertion, like the extra tanks proposition.

It is not just a matter of building ±500 U-boat hulls with the Bismarck's steel. The Bismarck did not have 1,000 U-boat engines, or 500 88mm/105mm guns, or 1,000 periscopes, or 500 radios, etc., etc., to transfer to U-boats.

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 9187
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by ljadw » 17 Apr 2019 11:53

AND , there is no proof that the result of more U Boats would be the surrender of Britain : it could also be the loss of more U Boats . What Globalisation 41 is ignoring that Germany had more U Boats in 1941 than in 1940 ,but the result was less sinkings of MV and more U Boat losses : 1940 :24 ,1941 35.
Besides : more U Boats does not mean more crew .

Globalization41
Member
Posts: 1023
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 02:52
Location: California

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Globalization41 » 17 Apr 2019 13:58

How many U-boats were there in 1941 just before the Nazi-Soviet war? How many in the Med.? How many in the Atlantic (maybe 100)? How many down for maintenance? … Battleships were a big fad in the early 1900s. Germany wanted to join the club. If the manhours and material initially allocated for the 50,000-ton Bismarck had instead been used to fabricate 300-ton U-boats, there would have been more German submarines available in the Atlantic and more British shipping under attack. U-boats were already strangling Britain in early 1941. More U-boats (instead of the ineffective and obsolete Bismarck) would have made it worse for Britain, which had already lost a 1,000 ships sunk. Britain's choices were continue fighting alone, make peace with Germany, or enlist more allies. If additional U-boats (theoretically available due to less German battleships) had forced Britain out of the war, then Hitler might not have had a reason or motivation to declare war on America, which resulted in the U.S. suppling Stalin with tanks, jeeps, locomotives, boots, ammo, etc. If the Soviets had had less tanks without American aid, then mathematically, the ratio of Panzers to Soviet tanks on the Eastern Front would have been better for the German side.

Globalization41.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 6402
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Apr 2019 10:40

Hi ljadw,

You post, ".....more U Boats does not mean more crew."

Surely it does? U-boats were not robotic or remote controlled. They had to be manned.

Cheers,

Sid

ljadw
Member
Posts: 9187
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Panzers instead of U-boats

Post by ljadw » 19 Apr 2019 06:31

No : the production of U Boats and the training of crew were two different things : it is not so that,if during a certain period 100 U Boats were built, during the same period ,crew would be available for these U Boats : the production of a U Boat took a year , how long lasted the training of the crew of this U Boat ?If it took less time, you would have crew without U Boat, if it lasted longer, you would have a U Boat without crew .
The same applies for tanks, aircraft...

Return to “Economy”