The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Volyn
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The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Volyn » 16 Feb 2019 18:20

A couple of questions about how the logistics were handled/mishandled by the Germans during Operation Barbarossa:

1. Does anyone know what the expected lead-time was for the German industries to deliver munitions, food, etc. from the factory to the front-line from June - December 1941?

2. Even with all of the Soviet industry issues moving their factories East, was there an expected delivery time for them as well?

3. How did the Germans overcome the Soviet rail gauge problem in 1941 in order to supply their soldiers?

4. Which of the Army Groups was easier to supply and maintain - North, Centre or South?

5. German Intelligence grotesquely underestimated the true Soviet military situation pre-Barbarossa, was the Logistics planning equally awful?

6. Is it known what military resources were used to support German Einsatzgruppen and other occupation forces that should/could have been used elsewhere?

7. If the German industrial base was not planning on a protracted war on all fronts, how prepared were they for the invasion of the USSR?

Hanny
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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Hanny » 16 Feb 2019 18:36

Volyn wrote:
16 Feb 2019 18:20
A couple of questions about how the logistics were handled/mishandled by the Germans during Operation Barbarossa:

1. Does anyone know what the expected lead-time was for the German industries to deliver munitions, food, etc. from the factory to the front-line from June - December 1941?

2. Even with all of the Soviet industry issues moving their factories East, was there an expected delivery time for them as well?

3. How did the Germans overcome the Soviet rail gauge problem in 1941 in order to supply their soldiers?

4. Which of the Army Groups was easier to supply and maintain - North, Centre or South?

5. German Intelligence grotesquely underestimated the true Soviet military situation pre-Barbarossa, was the Logistics planning equally awful?

6. Is it known what military resources were used to support German Einsatzgruppen and other occupation forces that should/could have been used elsewhere?

7. If the German industrial base was not planning on a protracted war on all fronts, how prepared were they for the invasion of the USSR?
1. You could calculate time and distance for delivery with a fair degree of accuracy. 91,000 tons of ammunition, half a million tons of fuel 40% of all fuel available to Germany at the time were stocked along Polands border.
4. AGN.
5. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Tu3 ... ia&f=false

If a page you want is not there let me know and ill provide it from my hard copy.
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Volyn
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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Volyn » 16 Feb 2019 19:18

Hanny wrote:
16 Feb 2019 18:36
1. You could calculate time and distance for delivery with a fair degree of accuracy. 91,000 tons of ammunition, half a million tons of fuel 40% of all fuel available to Germany at the time were stocked along Polands border
Hanny this is good information to determine the actual travel time, however, is it known how long it would actually take for the munitions, etc. to be manufactured and then arrive at the front - for example: Was it expected to have bullets/grenades assembled and delivered to the front for use within 2 weeks or longer?

Each Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe Division would need to be continually supplied throughout the campaign. So it might be reasonable to expect that the German industry was required to meet a delivery timetable for certain items to be produced and delivered. The German High Command should have developed some sort of anticipated backlog of deliverables; how else could they have adequately planned to maintain and resupply the advancing forces?

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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Hanny » 16 Feb 2019 19:44

Volyn wrote:
16 Feb 2019 19:18
Hanny wrote:
16 Feb 2019 18:36
1. You could calculate time and distance for delivery with a fair degree of accuracy. 91,000 tons of ammunition, half a million tons of fuel 40% of all fuel available to Germany at the time were stocked along Polands border
Hanny this is good information to determine the actual travel time, however, is it known how long it would actually take for the munitions, etc. to be manufactured and then arrive at the front - for example: Was it expected to have bullets/grenades assembled and delivered to the front for use within 2 weeks or longer?

Each Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe Division would need to be continually supplied throughout the campaign. So it might be reasonable to expect that the German industry was required to meet a delivery timetable for certain items to be produced and delivered. The German High Command should have developed some sort of anticipated backlog of deliverables; how else could they have adequately planned to maintain and resupply the advancing forces?
There was no Just in time going on in ww2, i actually have little to no knowledge of lead times, i know 85% of fit males where already in the forces in 41 and changing what was produced meant robbing peter to pay Paul.

Well one thing i know is that they planed to live of the land, in the East so as to ease the logistical burden, by 42 this was 50% of the requirement taken locally rather than delivered from the Reich.http://shron1.chtyvo.org.ua/David_Stahe ... st__en.pdf has some intresting bits for you.

When the logistics heads explained the limitations of Barbarossa, AH overruled those limitations/objections, as the campaign would be over before logistics curtailed operations.German Army from 22 June to Dec 31 transported 136,000,000 tons by Truck, by horse another 6,000,000 after it arrived to the rail depots.
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Volyn
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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Volyn » 16 Feb 2019 20:20

Thanks for the links!
Hanny wrote:
16 Feb 2019 19:44
When the logistics heads explained the limitations of Barbarossa, AH overruled those limitations/objections, as the campaign would be over before logistics curtailed operations.
This is very interesting, because someone would have given him some sort of report on the situation - how did the logisticians produce a report like that?

If they used 3.5 million soldiers to invade USSR, then how did they come up with this number? Did they choose 3.5M and then determine the necessary amount of supplies for the expected duration of the campaign, or were they limited by the domestic supply situation and so they could only adequately muster and equip 3.5M in June 1941?

An Operation of this complexity would have required enormous planning and attention to these kinds of details, which the Germans were famous for - except it seems, for the logistical/supply needs for 3 separate Army Groups beyond November of 1941.

Did the Allies have a delivery schedule for their munitions?

Hanny
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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Hanny » 16 Feb 2019 21:44

Volyn wrote:
16 Feb 2019 20:20
Thanks for the links!
Hanny wrote:
16 Feb 2019 19:44
When the logistics heads explained the limitations of Barbarossa, AH overruled those limitations/objections, as the campaign would be over before logistics curtailed operations.
This is very interesting, because someone would have given him some sort of report on the situation - how did the logisticians produce a report like that?

If they used 3.5 million soldiers to invade USSR, then how did they come up with this number? Did they choose 3.5M and then determine the necessary amount of supplies for the expected duration of the campaign, or were they limited by the domestic supply situation and so they could only adequately muster and equip 3.5M in June 1941?

An Operation of this complexity would have required enormous planning and attention to these kinds of details, which the Germans were famous for - except it seems, for the logistical/supply needs for 3 separate Army Groups beyond November of 1941.

Did the Allies have a delivery schedule for their munitions?
Your welcome :D http://militera.lib.ru/h/stolfi/11.html usefull but wrong at the same time. :lol: We had a chat on this recently so a quick copy past for you.

Indeed how many Divs could be supplied and for how long is in the link i posted. Its all based on FM x amount required per type of Div per day in normal/combat conditions, which could be a number of forms of expenditure based on posture.

Pre war planning ( wargames) gave how many Divs they needed to create.https://history.army.mil/html/books/104 ... 104-21.pdf

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a279709.pdf
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Germany/HB/HB-6.html
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=SDf ... sk&f=false
https://www.hgwdavie.com/blog/2018/3/9/ ... r-19411945
viewtopic.php?f=79&t=235629&start=15

Pre war logistical planning showed that after 20 days logistical effort, to support an operational bound of 300 miles in which Russian forced were to be destroyed and the war won) supplies would drop to 10-20% of requirments and an operational pause would result, so as to build up supplies for any further offensives.

Maths shows an average of 70 tons per day per formation was all that could be delivered.
If priority was given to the Panzer forces, then 33 formations daily requirements could be meet, leaving nothing for any other formations.

To go beyond the 300 operational bound ment resupply from the RR, first bound ended at Smolensk, RR conversion to German gauge took till August to convert, so 30 days after gettingb there, the logistical ability to go on from there became present.

The logistics branch of the OKH was blunt in its prediction for anothwer advance from smolensk to moscow: ( supply branch of the OKH warned Brauchitsch, Halder and Bock) 'if the intensity of fighting and the operational rythm was to be similar to that of the summer campaign, the supply system would be able to cover a bit over 50% of AGC's needs for a space of time of two weeks. More than that, and the system would collapse and the it would be able to deliver just between 10-20% of the total load of supplies needed'.


The 1941 munition supplies reaching the front by month.Source:Germany and WWII Tome
June :23077 tons
July :101594
August:118855
September: 107870
October:90563
November:68035

Which yields per Div per day.
June 5
July 22
Aug 26
Sept 23
Oct 20
Nov 15

German Munitions production by year.
1940 865000
1941 540000
1942 1270000
1943 2258000

We might get a ball park value from backtracking deliveries at the front by month, i have those figures but you can do ty from the gross numbers i just gave you, 150 ish Div over the time period received on average x amount from rail head, rail head advanced at roughly 20 miles a day by track conversion and 300klm per new depot would give you how much was supplied per day at the front and how much is locked up in the supply chain back to the Reich, so you wont need to actually work/research out lead times as you can aduce it from what was delivered over time compared to required over time.

Depends when you talking about, Normandy is well documented, so are several of the NWE campaigns, like Arnhem for example.
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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Feb 2019 22:46

Volyn wrote:
16 Feb 2019 20:20
Did the Allies have a delivery schedule for their munitions?
Yes. Well, at least the Americans did, but it was a schedule observed mostly in the breach. :lol:

Seriously, American ordnance logistical planning was based upon an expected 75-day turnaround from requirement to delivery. The problem was, the actual turnaround time for most major items was more than that in practice in Northwest Europe. It averaged around 100 days, of which 46 days was after arrival in Europe, for ammunition to be requested, then move from a depot in the US to a forward supply depot in France. Opening Antwerp helped to reduce that time, since of the 46 days spent in Europe, 23 days of them were awaiting a berth, then 15 days unloading, and 8 days transporting the supplies to the front. For heavier items, like medium tanks, it was worse, up to 160 days in the fall/winter of 1944. Part of the problem was requirement orders were based upon end-of-month reports of ordnance deficiencies rather than on a running count. So if, say, ordnance losses in June 1944 were skewed by the losses on 6 June and its immediate aftermath, it was 1 July, three weeks later, before the War Department began to take action on it.

Even then, the next possible delay was...was the necessary item available and where is it? In late 1943 the War Department had decided to curtail production of medium tanks in 1944 in order to prevent over production and introduce improvements. At the same time, Lend-Lease demand remained high, so the numbers available coming out of the factory were smaller. They then had to get to a port, which meant shipping by rail from Detroit to New York City, Baltimore, or Philadelphia, through a number of bottlenecks (rail traffic through Pittsburgh was particularly slow as were the antiquated Hudson River tunnels) and onto an available ship; most convoys carried anywhere from 1 to 51 tanks, spread across dozens of ships.

The next, huge delay, was unloading at the European end, especially if it was across the beach. By the end of June, 76 merchant vessels were swinging at anchor off the beaches of Normandy. In August, sailings from U.S. ports were reduced by 60 ships per month in order to relieve the backlog and free up cargo ships for other duties. Nevertheless, by early August over 100 ships were riding at anchor off Normandy waiting to unload and by September, some were ordered to up anchor and sail for southern French ports.

The next problem was that not only were the cargoes frequently poorly manifested, many times they were unloaded and dumped in depots without further accounting, the depots frequently were unclear what precisely they held, which led 12th Army Group to eventually send teams from various staff sections to the depots on fishing expeditions to locate critical material. Then that material when it was finally found, had to be shipped forward to the armies.

Nope, no JIT logistics for the American Army in NWE> :D
"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

Hanny
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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Hanny » 16 Feb 2019 22:58

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Feb 2019 22:46


The next, huge delay, was unloading at the European end, especially if it was across the beach.
Was that also crane weight issue?, UK cranes were not designed for the weight for the way it was packaged and sent?. LL had the same issue in Murmansk iirc.
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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Feb 2019 23:10

Hanny wrote:
16 Feb 2019 22:58
Was that also crane weight issue?, UK cranes were not designed for the weight for the way it was packaged and sent?. LL had the same issue in Murmansk iirc.
Unloading in British ports was yet another issue, but it wasn't crane capacity, it was rail capacity. In the run up to NEPTUNE, convoys were mostly unloaded in western British ports, especially Liverpool, then transported by rail to the American camps and depots mostly clustered around the southeastern ports used for the invasion convoys. That put a large strain on the British rail system, which was relieved - in theory - after the invasion when shipments went direct to the Continent. However, by September 1944 the situation was so backed up off the Continent that convoys from the States were diverted back to England so they could be unloaded then transshipped to the Continent by coasters, a truly roundabout way of doing it that did not help much other than then get the stuff ashore...clearing the beach depots was a huge bottleneck that did not solve.
"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

Volyn
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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Volyn » 16 Feb 2019 23:17

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Feb 2019 22:46
Volyn wrote:
16 Feb 2019 20:20
Did the Allies have a delivery schedule for their munitions?
American ordnance logistical planning was based upon an expected 75-day turnaround from requirement to delivery. The problem was, the actual turnaround time for most major items was more than that in practice in Northwest Europe. It averaged around 100 days, of which 46 days was after arrival in Europe, for ammunition to be requested, then move from a depot in the US to a forward supply depot in France. Opening Antwerp helped to reduce that time, since of the 46 days spent in Europe, 23 days of them were awaiting a berth, then 15 days unloading, and 8 days transporting the supplies to the front. For heavier items, like medium tanks, it was worse, up to 160 days in the fall/winter of 1944. Part of the problem was requirement orders were based upon end-of-month reports of ordnance deficiencies rather than on a running count. So if, say, ordnance losses in June 1944 were skewed by the losses on 6 June and its immediate aftermath, it was 1 July, three weeks later, before the War Department began to take action on it.
Great info!

It is the turnaround time that makes the big difference in resupply, how did the German High Command/Industry keep track of this information?

Since the Germans were able to continue to fight deep in Soviet territory for 3+ years, how did they overcome the logistical setbacks of 1941 and keep their forces "well-enough" supplied all the to the Volga and South Caucasus?

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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by MarkN » 17 Feb 2019 15:54

Volyn wrote:
16 Feb 2019 23:17
Since the Germans were able to continue to fight deep in Soviet territory for 3+ years, how did they overcome the logistical setbacks of 1941 and keep their forces "well-enough" supplied all the to the Volga and South Caucasus?
BARBAROSSA didn't fail because of logistics.

It didn't fail because of poor logistic planning, it didn't fail due to faulty intelligence on the logistic capacity, it didn't fail because the Red Army caused significant damage to the logistic system and it didn't fail due to unexpected logistic issues that cropped up once the unternehmen had begun. Nor did it fail due to poor industrial or economic planning beforehand.

Studying the logistics aspect of BARBAROSSA maybe an interesting subject for military logisticians during their own training. But as a focal point for understanding the outcome of the unternehmen, it is just a red herring. However, you try to tweek the logistics, the decisions about logistics, the decisions about manufacturing priorities etc etc, the result will always be the same: BARBAROSSA fail!

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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by Volyn » 17 Feb 2019 16:21

MarkN wrote:
17 Feb 2019 15:54
Volyn wrote:
16 Feb 2019 23:17
Since the Germans were able to continue to fight deep in Soviet territory for 3+ years, how did they overcome the logistical setbacks of 1941 and keep their forces "well-enough" supplied all the to the Volga and South Caucasus?
BARBAROSSA didn't fail because of logistics.

It didn't fail because of poor logistic planning, it didn't fail due to faulty intelligence on the logistic capacity, it didn't fail because the Red Army caused significant damage to the logistic system and it didn't fail due to unexpected logistic issues that cropped up once the unternehmen had begun. Nor did it fail due to poor industrial or economic planning beforehand.

Studying the logistics aspect of BARBAROSSA maybe an interesting subject for military logisticians during their own training. But as a focal point for understanding the outcome of the unternehmen, it is just a red herring. However, you try to tweek the logistics, the decisions about logistics, the decisions about manufacturing priorities etc etc, the result will always be the same: BARBAROSSA fail!
I do not say that logistics was the only reason, but it was a very important contributor to the overall failure and defeat. A military force that cannot be sustained in the field is always doomed to failure, this is a proven a fact in any era.

My questions about the German logistics are to better understand how they prepared themselves for a campaign with the thought that it would last only a few months, but instead dragged into years. History clearly shows that the German industry was not at all ready for the type of war that they found themselves in.

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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by ljadw » 17 Feb 2019 16:47

There wqas no problem for the Barbarossa logistics : they were sufficient for a short campaign and Barbarossa was conceived as a short campaign .
Thus, one can not blame logistrics for the German failure, neither intelligence, neither planning .

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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by MarkN » 17 Feb 2019 17:01

Volyn wrote:
17 Feb 2019 16:21
I do not say that logistics was the only reason, but it was a very important contributor to the overall failure and defeat.
I disagree. Logistics is a red herring.

Logistically, the Germans were able to support their forces in the field. It was not perfect, but given the difficulties and the ambitious nature of the entire undertaking, the logistics system stood up very well.
Volyn wrote:
17 Feb 2019 16:21
A military force that cannot be sustained in the field is always doomed to failure, this is a proven a fact in any era.
But the historical reality is that the fielded force was sustained. So the point is moot. The subject is a red herring.

It wasn't for lack of supplies, it wasn't for the late arrival of supplies, it wasn't for the arrival of the wrong supplies that BARBAROSSA failed; it failed because the German military simply did not have the capacity to achieve its stated objectives. The objectives were far beyond their capability.
Volyn wrote:
17 Feb 2019 16:21
My questions about the German logistics are to better understand how they prepared themselves for a campaign with the thought that it would last only a few months, but instead dragged into years. History clearly shows that the German industry was not at all ready for the type of war that they found themselves in.
You are confusing and conflating too many things which are separate issues and calling them 'logistics'. That's part of the reason why you're struggling to grasp this topic sufficiantly.

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Re: The Logistics of Barbarossa (or lack of it)

Post by ljadw » 17 Feb 2019 17:02

Volyn wrote:
16 Feb 2019 18:20
A couple of questions about how the logistics were handled/mishandled by the Germans during Operation Barbarossa:

1. Does anyone know what the expected lead-time was for the German industries to deliver munitions, food, etc. from the factory to the front-line from June - December 1941?

2. Even with all of the Soviet industry issues moving their factories East, was there an expected delivery time for them as well?

3. How did the Germans overcome the Soviet rail gauge problem in 1941 in order to supply their soldiers?

4. Which of the Army Groups was easier to supply and maintain - North, Centre or South?

5. German Intelligence grotesquely underestimated the true Soviet military situation pre-Barbarossa, was the Logistics planning equally awful?

6. Is it known what military resources were used to support German Einsatzgruppen and other occupation forces that should/could have been used elsewhere?

7. If the German industrial base was not planning on a protracted war on all fronts, how prepared were they for the invasion of the USSR?
1 It was not the industry that delivered supplies to the front, but the railways .
3 The Germans transformed the Soviet gauge in German gauge (IIRC from Potgiesser : 20 km a day )
5 Is not correct and irrelevant : FHO was giving the informations the OKH was asking for= informations indicating that Barbarossa was possible, besides FHO had no other informations .The decision for Barbarossa was made first and than FHO was asked for intelligence . Something which almost always happens .
6 These resources were meaningless : the manpower of the Einsatzgruppen was 3000 men = 1/1000 of the Barbarossa manpower .
7 Not correct : Germany prepared for 2 wars : a short war against the SU ,to make the UK surrender and a long war against the UK/USA ,which would happen if a successful Barbarossa did not compel Britain to surrender : on June 20 1941 !!! the long war against UK/USA got priority again : Barbarossa had to make do with what was available for a short campaign .

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