German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
HistoryGeek2019
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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 04 Nov 2019 06:18

From the data that has been presented in this thread, it's clear that Allied pre-war shipping capacity was not sufficient to support an American invasion of France from Britain. The Allies needed to increase their pre-war level of cargo shipping substantially in order to transport sufficient troops and equipment to Britain to launch an invasion of France. See the increase in shipping from 1942-1944 here:

https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... ml#page103
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... ml#page135
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... ml#page237

Thus, the U-boats merely decreased the rate of increase in Allied shipping capacity, and nearly all of this decrease happened during a brief window in late 1942 to early 1943, as shown in this chart from the same source:
Cargo to UK 1942.png
Thus, while the US Army reached a strength of 5.4 million men in 1942 (https://history.army.mil/documents/mobpam.htm), it's not clear that anything substantially greater than the forces deployed in Operation Torch (roughly 100 thousand men) could have been deployed for an invasion of France in 1942, with or without the U-boats. There were also other constraints, such as a lack of landing craft and insufficient air superiority that led Churchill to strongly reject any Allied landing in 1942 (and the plans called for British troops to make the initial landing, so Atlantic shipping capacity wasn't really an issue there).

Hitler left 54 divisions in France in 1941, and this number would have only increased in 1942. Thus, even with the OTL's failed Barbarossa tying down most of the Heer in Russia for the duration of the war, Germany still deployed a force strong enough to counter any Allied invasion of France in 1942. Had Barbarossa seriously crippled the Soviet Union in 1941, Germany would have been able to spare even more divisions for France, and had Germany concentrated its industrial output on supporting its army, such divisions would have been much better equipped.

From the data I presented earlier, Germany was spending almost as much on ship production as on tank, vehicle and weapons production combined. The German army that marched into Russia in 1941 was woefully under-armed and lacked the capacity to replace equipment lost through attrition. The Russians were outproducing Germany 42,000 to 7,000 in artillery, 6,590 to 5,200 in tanks, and 15,735 to 11,776 in aircraft (all of which were tactical aircraft rather than useless medium bombers) in 1941 - when a good deal of Russia's industrial capacity was overrun or else being shipped to the Urals. German panzer divisions lost about 70% of their tanks in the initial phase of the invasion, due largely to the poor quality of Russia's roads, and a sizeable portion of their trucks for similar reasons. German rail capacity was insufficient to meet the needs of their soldiers at the front. In short, there was room for a great deal of improvement in the equipment and logistics of the Ostheer in 1941, and the main constraint that historians have identified in German production was manpower. The manpower devoted to naval construction and manning ships could have been devoted to equipping the Heer. Tooze also identifies steel as a primary constraint, and Germany's ship building programs were steel intensive.

Thus, Germany needed to better equip its invasion force for Barbarossa, it had the manpower and resources to do so by diverting production away from the Kriegsmarine (and the Luftwaffe's medium bomber programs), and it is not clear that the Kriegsmarine, in either its surface or U-boat arm, achieved anything during the war that was worth having a weaker army. And while every ton of steel and hour of labor mattered for the limited production capabilities of Germany, the Allies had industrial capacity to spare and time to build up various aspects of their forces (e.g., shipping capacity) before switching production to other armaments as the circumstances dictated.

Finally, I would note that "buying time" wasn't really a strategy that Germany pursued, or ever would have wanted to pursue, during World War II. Time was not on Germany's side. Germany was vastly outmatched by the Allies in every category and was only going to get relatively weaker the longer the war dragged on. In order to have any chance of survival, let alone some form of victory, Germany needed to crush the Allies as soon as possible. If you had told Hitler (or any sensible leader of Germany) before the war that the U-boats would not knock Britain out of the war, but that they would merely buy one or two years before the Allies could invade France, at the cost of an 84.6% casualty rate and a spending amount equal to essentially the entire Heer's armaments budget, while the Heer remained woefully under-equipped, he would have sent Dönitz and Raeder into forced retirement and spent everything on the Heer in order to cement his hold on continental Europe.
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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Nov 2019 09:19

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Thus, the U-boats merely decreased the rate of increase in Allied shipping capacity, and nearly all of this decrease happened during a brief window in late 1942 to early 1943, as shown in this chart from the same source:
What this chart shows is the tonnage landed in Britain. You're right about the trend but I don't understand your conclusion. There could be at least 2 explanations for the dip in tonnage in late-42:
  • 1. The Allies didn't have any more troops or material to move to Britain.
  • 2. The Allies didn't have shipping to move their troops or material to Britain.
Given that the U.S. had 5.4mil troops in 1942, #1 is obviously wrong and #2 seems the obvious choice. (to say nothing of material/men from Canada)

What explains the dip in army deliveries to Britain in late 1942 is that we shipped to Africa (from US and UK) in support of Torch/Husky.

What explains the rise in UK Army deliveries after mid-1943 is the Bolero buildup for D-Day.

This returns me to the hypo I posed upthread: What would have happened if the Uboats hadn't sunk millions of tons of shipping during '39-42? Clearly the Allies would have moved moved some of America's millions of troops and dozens of divisions to Britain. Assuming the ~10mil tons of shipping lost to Uboats could make 4 round trips on average by mid-1942, that's 40 million tons of supplies moved to the UK. That's 6x higher than what was moved to UK by mid-1944, so obviously 40 mil isn't going to happen. What likely happens is the Allies stop building so many ships and build more landing craft, tanks, guns, etc. instead. OTL the Allies built too much shipping from ~1943 onwards, as they didn't foresee - were actually shocked by - the decisiveness of their victory over the Uboats.

By the way - what explains the seemingly ridiculous Allied cargo lift absent Uboats, compared to OTL, is this: Most cargo capacity supported Britain's war economy/sustenance to the tune of 28mil tons/year IIRC. Shipping for Bolero was allocated after British needs; therefore any X% delta to total shipping capacity is going to enable multiples of X% delta to Bolero capacity. The sensitivity of the Bolero delta to total shipping delta is what caused the Allies massively to overestimate their shipping needs when projecting in 42-43 for later periods of the war.

In addition, there's the ~5mil tons of shipping lost in the Atlantic to other causes, mostly planes and the LW (the KM's surface ships contributed little). By the logic of your argument, those resources were wasted as well: better to use the fuel/planes/pilots/resources in all non-Uboat anti-shipping warfare to build up the Ostheer. That means the Allies have ~15 million more tons of shipping in the period we're discussing (assuming they haven't shifted production to weapons/LC's from shipping).

From there, they'd be poised to strike at France.

I'll partially concede your points here:
There were also other constraints, such as a lack of landing craft and insufficient air superiority that led Churchill to strongly reject any Allied landing in 1942 (and the plans called for British troops to make the initial landing, so Atlantic shipping capacity wasn't really an issue there).
Landing craft was the big one. But the the U.S. shifted production priority from LC's to shipping precisely because of the shipping quandary - no point building LC's for crossing the Channel if you don't have enough ships for crossing the Atlantic. [I will run across the citation for this again, I couldn't find it at hand right away].

Air cover was an excuse for Churchill not to do something he opposed for many reasons. The Allies were superior in the air by this point; they just lacked total air supremacy. If it's a matter of losing the SU or losing a few transports to the LW, Roosevelt, Marshall, Eisenhower et. al. would have driven the operation forward.
Finally, I would note that "buying time" wasn't really a strategy that Germany pursued, or ever would have wanted to pursue, during World War II.
You're begging the question. If I'm right that Germany could have secured Europe for decades given time/strength to defeat the SU by 1943, then "buying time" is a good strategy. If you're right that they're screwed no matter what happens in the East, then you're right that buying time is a bad strategy. You may be right on the ultimate question but you can't smuggle your ultimate rightness into a supporting argument.
The Russians were outproducing Germany 42,000 to 7,000 in artillery, 6,590 to 5,200 in tanks, and 15,735 to 11,776 in aircraft
True but careful with the artillery stats. SU counted mortars; Germany didn't.
My currently-gestating post is one that compares the economic output of Germany, SU, and UK during 1941-42. It'll argue that, in terms of the real military value of stuff made, Germany's economy was operating as if it were the 6th/7th-largest in the world instead of the 2nd.
If you had told Hitler (or any sensible leader of Germany) before the war that the U-boats would not knock Britain out of the war, but that they would merely buy one or two years before the Allies could invade France, at the cost of an 84.6% casualty rate and a spending amount equal to essentially the entire Heer's armaments budget, while the Heer remained woefully under-equipped, he would have sent Dönitz and Raeder into forced retirement and spent everything on the Heer in order to cement his hold on continental Europe.
Are you using Uboat spending as equivalent to Heer weapons or total shipbuilding? A Type VII Uboat cost ~4mil RM; in 1940 Germany built 50 of them. That's ~200mil RM, ~0.2% of Germany's GDP, and <1% of its military budget. (wikipedia figures)

We agree that Germany under-funded the Heer but the waste wasn't in Uboats. Look at the LW budget instead, at fortifications, and at surface ships. Bismarck, Tirpitz, Prinz Eugen were all completed in 1941; work on Seydlitz and Graf Zeppelin continued into 1940. That's ~400mil RM to sink one WW1 battlecruiser (Hood). In addition, the KM finished ~15 destroyers during the war and built scores of large torpedo boats, minesweepers/layers, and other littoral combat ships. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_K ... rine_ships

Priority shifted towards U-boats once war started but naval construction has long lead times and I'd be surprised if Uboats represented 30% of pre-Barbarossa naval expenditure.

Re the casualty rate - that's the wrong metric; the numerator matters independent of the denominator. If the Ostheer had suffered 85% casualties in Barbarossa but used only 3 divisions to achieve the same outcome, that'd be stupendous (in 1942 Ostheer can have ~1mil more men). That's about the size of the Uboat personnel: each had ~50 crew so for 200 boats you need ~10,000 men. Call it 50k men all in and that's ~3 divisions of manpower. The Germans lost ~30k in the entire Battle of the Atlantic - about what they lost in an average month in Russia.

Same goes for the material casualty rate. At ~4mil RM per Uboat, the 783 submarines lost over 5+ years cost ~3.1 billion RM, <1%% of Germany's 5-year GDP, and ~1/10th of the economic impact on the Allies (https://web.archive.org/web/20080409052 ... aigns.html).
it is not clear that the Kriegsmarine, in either its surface or U-boat arm, achieved anything during the war that was worth having a weaker army
Agreed re the surface arm, as my other ATL's argue. To sum up on the Uboats, however:

Uboat costs:
  • ~3 divisions of manpower employed
  • <1% of German wartime production value
  • ~30,000 personnel lost
Uboat benefits: damage inflicted and/or forced Allied investments with no non-ASW value:
  • ~$15bn of shipping lost to Uboats [see last link for quantification]
  • ~$10bn spent on warships to fight the Uboats
  • ~$1.5bn spent on aircraft fighting the Uboats
  • ~70,000 Allied men lost at sea
  • Allied Grand Strategy delayed for years by the Shipping Quandary
I just cannot see any reasonable argument that the Uboats weren't well worth it. 3 more divisions in Barbarossa isn't a game changer; 3 million US soldiers in Britain during 1942 absolutely is.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Nov 2019 10:25

TheMarcksPlan wrote:Landing craft was the big one. But the the U.S. shifted production priority from LC's to shipping precisely because of the shipping quandary - no point building LC's for crossing the Channel if you don't have enough ships for crossing the Atlantic. [I will run across the citation for this again, I couldn't find it at hand right away].
@HistoryGeek2019, here's a good quote from the war-time report of the War Production Board on landing craft:
One of the reasons for the low relative priority assigned by the Navy to landing craft during the first quarter of 1942 was the menace of the German submarines, which required concentration on building vessels for anti-submarine work, principally destroyer escorts. After the destructive German submarine campaign throughout 1940 and 1941, the Navy had let sizeable orders for destroyer escorts in October 194l, and again in January 1942. The attitude held by the Navy about the urgent need for these ships is indicated in its choice of construction yards. These yards were among the more efficient shipyards of the country.
https://play.google.com/books/reader?id ... .SL16-PA13

...it is impossible to look at any constraint in Cross-Channel operations without the broader context of anti-Uboat warfare, its extreme urgency to Allied resource usage, and its directly-associated Shipping Quandary. Absent Uboats, landing craft would have been at the top of shipyard construction priorities from at least Pearl Harbor but probably even earlier - as discussed in the WPB report, Britain had requested US assistance on landing craft design and production pre-Pearl; absent the Shipping Quandary that request would have predominated over Britain's frantic efforts to obtain merchant shipping lift from U.S. shipyards. The learning curve for large-scale landing craft production would have moved forward; total Allied landing capacity would have dramatically increased.

It should also be mentioned that the U.S. diverted many (most?) of its landing craft to the Pacific early in the war, especially after the rejection of Operation Sledgehammer. Should Roosevelt/Marshall/Eisenhower have perceived the ability to stage a decisive, large-scale intervention in Europe instead, Pacific diversions of landing craft would have been nixed pursuant to our Europe First grand strategy.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Nov 2019 10:50

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:(and the plans called for British troops to make the initial landing, so Atlantic shipping capacity wasn't really an issue there)
The Sledgehammer plans called for primarily British troops because they were the only ones on that side of the pond.
They were the only ones on that side of the pond because of the Shipping Quandary.
No Shipping Quandary, no practical limit to sending most or nearly all of America's ~5mil soldiers to Britain.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by Peter89 » 04 Nov 2019 10:51

Armament spendings must be in line with the grand strategy and the operational reality.

Barbarossa didn't fail because the Germans didn't double their spendings on panzers, weapons and whatnot. It failed because it was a bad strategy, its goals were economically unfeasible (see Georg Thomas' assessments), militarily way beyond the Reich's capabilities, politically a serious miscalculation (the bolshevik system had a firm grip on power, and it would continue to fight to Vladivostok; also, the SU was a multiethnic, multireligious empire itself, so it could be divided better with political offers), and it was a disaster in the international politics. (Germany forged an alliance of competing superpowers against him, while it failed to bring Japan into war at the critical moment at the gates of Moscow.)

Had it been a complete success, the economical benefits of this conquer would show up after the Wallies could build up their forces for an invasion / atomic bomb / whatever. Most likely, the Germans would spend resources found in the SU for welfare and not for armament anyway. The golden year of Nazism at 1940 June - 1941 June was not really about building up reserves, trainings, research & development, etc. It was about consolidating power. War raged on only at the seas and in the air.

Just think about for a moment, how a German admiral could feel:
- they have spent their early years in a competition with the British
- they have clashed with them once, and stood their "ground" in the ensuing fight at Jütland
- they had to scuttle their own ships, including some of the best ships operated by some of the best crews in the world
- they started to rebuild their fleet, and launched a program to be able to compete with the British fleet again
- Hitler starts a war when the whole Kriegsmarine was weaker than the I Scouting Group of the Hochseeflotte at Sunderland
- all capital ship production is halted

It was an impossible task to compete with the British fleet. The most they could do was to chip away some isolated warships and endanger the British supply lines. Which they did with great success until the grand strategy changed again: the war with the SU drew away their air cover, the fuel, etc., and the US joined the war. So a nearly impossible task became truly impossible. Yes they continued to harass supply lines, but the surface fleet only existed as a fleet-in-being, and the U-boats were quickly wiped out by mid-1943.

Now, let's take a look at your proposal, the Heer.
Like I cited before, Georg Thomas advocated for the "war in depth" and against the "war in width"; but the German High Command did exactly the the opposite. They created a fighting force that could only fight short, sharp wars for some months. The whole German war machine was not geared up for a battle of attrition.

Everyone knows about the most famous signs of this: they lack of mass production, the terrible logistics, the lack of winter uniforms and equipment, but it goes deeper than that. (Pun intended.) The Germans had no plan how to wage a war of attrition with mechanized units.
As the German Army became more heavily engaged in Russia, the supply situation within the North African theater became more precarious and tank maintenance personnel had to rely mainly on improvisation and cannibalization. For the Russian campaign the Germans intended to apply a slightly modified, but essentially centralized system of tank maintenance. Most of the tank repairs were still to be performed in the zone of interior. On the other hand, each of the three army groups in the Russian theater was to have spare parts depot. Improved maintenance vehicles, recovery vehicles and better shop equipment were issued to the maintenance units in the field. No further planning was considered necessary because both the military and political leaders assumed that military operations would reach their climax during the autumn of 1941 and most of the armored forces would return to Germany before the winter.
source: https://history.army.mil/html/books/104 ... _104-7.pdf

The picture is even more worse when you take a look at the Schwere Panzer-Abteilungen. Most of them were not even lost in combat (712 vs 997); a big many of them were destroyed by their own crews (654 / 997).

The best example is the Battle of Arracourt, when a numerically and technologically superior German panzer formation failed to destroy the opposing American forces in 1944.

Not even another panzer army could result a successful Barbarossa or a successful defense of Normandy. A few bombing raids on POL plants or the Maybach factory could result in a decrease of quality or a complete halt of training programs or production.

The same goes for the aircrafts:
He noted that the number of fighters in frontline units had remained the same and that the diversion of recent production to the front had only resulted in the wastage of more aircraft to little effect. If Hitler refused to protect the fuel plants, Speer warned, there would not be adequate fuel for the Luftwaffe.55 By mid-summer, as fighter production reached its wartime high, the Germans were approaching the situation where the hundreds of aircraft their industry turned out had neither fuel to fly nor pilots. Pilot training schools were already shutting down for lack of fuel. The circumstances recall a somewhat ironic remark that Göring made in early 1943:
. . . furthermore I am of the opinion that the building of our aircraft should not depend in any way on the fuel programme. I would rather have a mass of aircraft standing around unable to fly owing to a lack of petrol than not have any at all.
And also:
The attrition rate caused a ripple effect throughout the force structure. Pressure to get pilots through training schools was such that German pilots had half the training hours of their Allied counterparts, a point previously mentioned. More costly was the fact that a German fighter pilot received 60 to 80 hours of training in operational aircraft, while his opponent in the RAF or Army Air Forces averaged 225 hours flying time in operational aircraft. Consequently, the product of German training schools was even more inadequate than the ratio between total flying hours suggests.
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/AAF ... ffe-7.html

If Germany could produce more aircraft, it could only lead to lower quality training, lower operational availability and such. If Germany produce more POL for aircrafts AND more aircraft, the lack of proper airfield installations and the lack of maintenance personnel would be the problem (especially after Göring conscripted tens of thousands to fight as light infantry in Luftwaffe Field Divisions). If Germany produces more POL for aircrafts, more aircrafts, keeps up the training quality, trains enough personnel for maintenance, establishes proper airfields, even then, the logistical problems would arise, because how do you transport the huge amount of materiel through a hostile territory with limited means? But even if they could accomplish all these things, THEN WHY SHOULD THEY ATTACK SU IN THE FIRST PLACE? The investment will never pay dividends.

Long story short: in a losing war like this, you should invest into things that can actually force a bigger response. U-Boats were a good investment up until 1943, so the Germans correctly invested into them.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 04 Nov 2019 15:26

Peter89 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 10:51
Long story short: in a losing war like this, you should invest into things that can actually force a bigger response. U-Boats were a good investment up until 1943, so the Germans correctly invested into them.
If it's a "losing war" then you should just surrender. Wasting everyone's time with U-boats in order to delay the inevitable is the strategy of a madman who wants to kill as many people as possible, or the strategy of bitter generals who didn't like the fact that their country surrendered in the previous war.

The rational approach to war is: how can our country win, if it can win at all? You're up against the three strongest countries on the planet. Relative to you, they have unlimited manpower and resources. They can afford to "waste" resources on diversionary theaters that serve no purpose other than to fuel propaganda reels. Two of these powers can't be beaten at all (the US and UK), whereas the Soviet Union can be directly fought with your greatest asset, your army.

Yes, it would have been better not to fight the Soviet Union at all, but that's not what happened. This thread is looking at how Germany actually prosecuted the war and how it actually spent its resources, and asking whether that was a rational use of resources given what it was up against.

Hitler did plan for a "war in depth". He didn't expect war to begin in 1939, but he did expect the eventual war to last 10-15 years. He is on record (see Overy) as saying that quick victories were a thing of the past. But that all changed when France fell in 6 weeks. Rather than acknowledging that they got extremely lucky, the German high command believed their own hype and thought they could win a quick lightning war against the Soviet Union. So they neglected spending on their army and overspent on their navy and air force.

@TheMarcksPlan I've posted numerous charts in this thread showing that Germany spent more on its navy throughout the war then on tanks, vehicles and army weapons. Once Tirpitz was complete, the only ships they were building were destroyers, E-boats and U-boats, so U-boats were a significant drain on Germany's resources, and it's entirely speculative that they saved Germany from invasion in 1942. You seem awful quick to conclude that the Allied pre-war merchant fleet was large enough to supply an Allied invasion in 1942 and that Germany couldn't have defeated such an invasion if it had spent its resources on the land and air units what were meant to do exactly that. I would have to see an analysis from a scholar showing that such an invasion was feasible in 1942 sans U-boats, but there doesn't seem to be anyone who has advanced such a thesis.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by Peter89 » 04 Nov 2019 16:41

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 15:26
Peter89 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 10:51
Long story short: in a losing war like this, you should invest into things that can actually force a bigger response. U-Boats were a good investment up until 1943, so the Germans correctly invested into them.
If it's a "losing war" then you should just surrender. Wasting everyone's time with U-boats in order to delay the inevitable is the strategy of a madman who wants to kill as many people as possible, or the strategy of bitter generals who didn't like the fact that their country surrendered in the previous war.
Exactly!

But (probably because your point of view is from a democratic perspective in 2019) you value effectiveness and results, and casualties are important for you. Totalitarian systems and leaders in the 1930-1940's didn't look it that way. They grabbed and held the power by terror and enforcement, their defeat meant their death and eternal despise (like the Nazi regime) of their own people. The victor will be celebrated as a harsh leader for harsh times (like Stalin). They would fight to their bitter end and then some more, if that what it takes.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 15:26
The rational approach to war is: how can our country win, if it can win at all? You're up against the three strongest countries on the planet. Relative to you, they have unlimited manpower and resources. They can afford to "waste" resources on diversionary theaters that serve no purpose other than to fuel propaganda reels. Two of these powers can't be beaten at all (the US and UK), whereas the Soviet Union can be directly fought with your greatest asset, your army.
Yes, but this could only be achieved by some miracle, so the Germans started to work on Wunderwaffen. Because that was the only thing that could save them. They came astonishingly close with V2 and their nuclear bomb projects. If the invasion of Normandy could have been delayed by another year - the consequences must have been dire.
The majority of the Germans - the population and the high command included - didn't realize the actual situation up until 1943. And by then, it was too late.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 15:26
Yes, it would have been better not to fight the Soviet Union at all, but that's not what happened. This thread is looking at how Germany actually prosecuted the war and how it actually spent its resources, and asking whether that was a rational use of resources given what it was up against.

Hitler did plan for a "war in depth". He didn't expect war to begin in 1939, but he did expect the eventual war to last 10-15 years. He is on record (see Overy) as saying that quick victories were a thing of the past. But that all changed when France fell in 6 weeks. Rather than acknowledging that they got extremely lucky, the German high command believed their own hype and thought they could win a quick lightning war against the Soviet Union. So they neglected spending on their army and overspent on their navy and air force.
Adolf Hitler said a great many things; often contradictory ones. One of the obvious traits of a totalitarian dictator is the zero respect for the consequences of his own words, and the un-timely nature of their perspective, as if past didn't happen at all. That's why they are always after us first: their best interest is to destroy the intelligentsia. Just take a look at this picture of a coin from the Tag der Arbeit http://www.narvikmilitaria.com/Tag-der-arbeit-1934 in 1934. A perfect composition of totalitarianism.

Yes, Hitler's plans of the "war" aimed to conquer the whole world and reshape it. It would definately take 10-12 years, but he meant to conquer everything by then. He actually planned a series of "wars in width", which he successfully did from 1938-1940. Please don't ignore the various sources I cited: the plan of the Reich to dominate the world was almost nonexistent. Besides, to maintain a worldwide empire like the British Empire became more and more diffucult, and most colonial systems broke up by the 1960's. Just take a look at Portugalia under Salazar, and how the Portuguese became the last colonial empire and the poorest nation in western Europe - simultaneously. Hitler's ideas were outdated by 1941.

If I was in Hitler's position in the early June of 1941, I would probably gave back the freedom of the occupied countries, at least to France, Greece, Norway and Denmark; and struck a sensible deal for the German-populated areas of Poland, Czech Republic and Yugoslavia. Technological advancements demolished the colonial sturctures. More qualified workforce, investments into R&D, welfare state, etc. could result an unprecedented amount of growth in 10-12 years.
Did you know that the British citizens experienced a rationing for years after the war? :D

Btw I agree with this part of your post, I just don't agree with its conclusions.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 04 Nov 2019 18:09

 He actually planned a series of "wars in width", which he successfully did from 1938-1940.
I suggest you read "War and Economy in the Third Reich" by Richard Overy. He makes a very convincing case that Hitler was planning for a long war in depth that would begin no earlier than the mid-1940s. Germany was spending immense sums on autarky measures in the late 1930s that were only scheduled to be completed in the mid-1940s. Both Hitler's words and actions make it clear that he wasn't expecting the Allies to go to war over Poland in 1939. More than Germany's allocations to the Kriegsmarine and Luftewaffe, Germany's immense autarky projects explain the low output of the German armaments industry in the early years of the war.

It should also be made clear that the Heer was actually capable of defeating the Red Army when it was properly equipped and supplied, as demonstrated in 1941, but that the Heer couldn't keep itself properly supplied due to poor logistics and low armaments production. In contrast, the war at sea was always a losing proposition. German naval losses were large from the beginning of the war, and they never stood a chance of gaining naval superiority or disrupting Allied sea lanes for more than a few months or years.

It was also far cheaper to equip the army than to build ships, even U-boats, which my charts make clear. For a fraction of the cost it took to construct and operate the U-boats, Germany could have fully equipped its 50+ divisions in France to repel any Allied landing in 1942.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 04 Nov 2019 18:32

Peter89 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 16:41
If I was in Hitler's position in the early June of 1941, I would probably gave back the freedom of the occupied countries, at least to France, Greece, Norway and Denmark; and struck a sensible deal for the German-populated areas of Poland, Czech Republic and Yugoslavia.
I agree with this. Hitler should have just stopped fighting after France fell. Make a separate peace treaty with France and the other countries it conquered, withdraw all German troops and send them home. Keep the Danzig corridor and declare Poland a protectorate of the Reich, the same thing they did with the Czechs. It would be hard for Churchill and FDR to justify war against Germany at that point, and even harder to prosecute. The only thing the Allies could have done is strategic bombing and sail all the way to Germany to land troops, which would have been easy to defend.

The one problem is that Britain could maintain the blockade against Germany indefinitely, which would have left Germany with a poor standard of living indefinitely, and there would have been enormous popular pressure in Germany to wage war against Britain to lift the blockade.

It seems Germany was screwed no matter what it did.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Nov 2019 22:33

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:I've posted numerous charts in this thread showing that Germany spent more on its navy throughout the war then on tanks, vehicles and army weapons.
I don't dispute the charts; I just dispute the Uboat percentage. Tirpitz and Bismarck each cost about as much as the entire Uboat production for 1940. Prinz Eugen was ~60% as much, same with Seydlitz had she been completed. Graf Zeppelin cost as much as Tirpitz/Bismarck and the Germans nearly finished her. Uboats were incredibly cheap relative to surface warfare.
HistoryGeek wrote:You seem awful quick to conclude that the Allied pre-war merchant fleet was large enough to supply an Allied invasion in 1942 and that Germany couldn't have defeated such an invasion if it had spent its resources on the land and air units what were meant to do exactly that.
By the topline numbers, I don't see how it's debatable that, absent Uboat losses, the fleet would have been large enough. Given no Uboats that's ~10mil tons more shipping. As said above, total cargo delivered to UK by May 1944 was ~22mil tons. That's ~2 round trips for the delta to the merchant fleet. 2 transatlantic roundtrips/year was feasible for colonial-era sailing ships so easily doable in 1941-42.

And it's not just a matter of France. As we've discussed elsewhere, if the SU falls then the Middle East and Central Asia are the crucial theater for ensuring Germany's oil supply by protecting Baku. If the Allies have practically unlimited shipping in 42-43, they can probably check Hitler's ambitions in that theater and damage Baku. With the Uboats, however, they'd be lucky to support 20 divisions in theater and the Heer would chew these up.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:I would have to see an analysis from a scholar showing that such an invasion was feasible in 1942 sans U-boats, but there doesn't seem to be anyone who has advanced such a thesis.
The value added of scholars is their time to dig deeply into the details. Beyond that there's no reason to assume that scholars are smarter than you or me. I'm certain that many scholars/historians are of mediocre analytical abilities. You are capable of arriving at novel judgments on your own.
Here the topline numbers answer the question decisively IMO: The Allies could have moved a 1944-sized army to Britain in 1942 given even 5mil more tons of shipping. You don't need a scholar to know this; it's just arithmetic: how much was moved before D-Day and how much moved with 10mil tons shipping?
The landing craft question is more interesting and detail-dependent.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by Peter89 » 04 Nov 2019 22:44

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 18:09
 He actually planned a series of "wars in width", which he successfully did from 1938-1940.
I suggest you read "War and Economy in the Third Reich" by Richard Overy. He makes a very convincing case that Hitler was planning for a long war in depth that would begin no earlier than the mid-1940s. Germany was spending immense sums on autarky measures in the late 1930s that were only scheduled to be completed in the mid-1940s. Both Hitler's words and actions make it clear that he wasn't expecting the Allies to go to war over Poland in 1939. More than Germany's allocations to the Kriegsmarine and Luftewaffe, Germany's immense autarky projects explain the low output of the German armaments industry in the early years of the war.

It should also be made clear that the Heer was actually capable of defeating the Red Army when it was properly equipped and supplied, as demonstrated in 1941, but that the Heer couldn't keep itself properly supplied due to poor logistics and low armaments production. In contrast, the war at sea was always a losing proposition. German naval losses were large from the beginning of the war, and they never stood a chance of gaining naval superiority or disrupting Allied sea lanes for more than a few months or years.

It was also far cheaper to equip the army than to build ships, even U-boats, which my charts make clear. For a fraction of the cost it took to construct and operate the U-boats, Germany could have fully equipped its 50+ divisions in France to repel any Allied landing in 1942.
Well, the German efforts to reach autarchy were aimed to make the country less dependent on imports; it had a very little to do with the concept of war in depth.

Yes, I have read that book from Overy, and I consider it one of the principal sources for WW2, like Wages of Destruction, USSB Survey, etc.

Forgive me for saying this, but you seem to ignore my points. The KM was effective when it was used as a tool for a proper strategy. I presented you the figures between 1939-1942. From 1943 onwards, the riflemen, the artillery, the panzers, the machinegunners, etc. were not effective. Increased numbers would only mean increased casualties. Eg. the fourth largest naval power of the time, the French Navy was neutralized without a gun fired. It changed the balance of power in the Mediterraneum for the next years. Etc etc. German / Axis situation at the sea was not that bad at April 1941.

The imaginary Allied landing in 1942 is not my idea, I don't think it was possible.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by Peter89 » 04 Nov 2019 22:54

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 18:32
Peter89 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 16:41
If I was in Hitler's position in the early June of 1941, I would probably gave back the freedom of the occupied countries, at least to France, Greece, Norway and Denmark; and struck a sensible deal for the German-populated areas of Poland, Czech Republic and Yugoslavia.
I agree with this. Hitler should have just stopped fighting after France fell. Make a separate peace treaty with France and the other countries it conquered, withdraw all German troops and send them home. Keep the Danzig corridor and declare Poland a protectorate of the Reich, the same thing they did with the Czechs. It would be hard for Churchill and FDR to justify war against Germany at that point, and even harder to prosecute. The only thing the Allies could have done is strategic bombing and sail all the way to Germany to land troops, which would have been easy to defend.

The one problem is that Britain could maintain the blockade against Germany indefinitely, which would have left Germany with a poor standard of living indefinitely, and there would have been enormous popular pressure in Germany to wage war against Britain to lift the blockade.

It seems Germany was screwed no matter what it did.
No, I think limited objectives could have crushed the Empire sooner or later. Iraq and Syria were in open rebellion, and if the Germans would concentrate on the Mediterraneum, plus the Atlantikschlacht, they might force out a peace on more favorable terms.

This myth of "poor standard of living" is not true at all. Germany kept on fighting for 4 years with waaay more war expenditures and millions of dead and injured.

Yes, Germany was screwed. There was a Hungarian general in the High Command who said that Hungarians should not align their interests with the Germans, because they will lose. He said it in the spring of 1941, when Hungarians betrayed their NAP with Jugoslavia, and the PM of Hungary killed himself because of this.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 04 Nov 2019 23:39

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
04 Nov 2019 22:33
Given no Uboats that's ~10mil tons more shipping. As said above, total cargo delivered to UK by May 1944 was ~22mil tons.
Maybe it's been posted on here and I can't find it, but do you know of a chart that gives the month-by-month change in the size of the Allies' merchant fleet for every month of the war (ideally it would show losses as well as new construction)? Everything I've read suggests that the net losses in 1941 and 1942 were either small or more than offset by new construction and better management. Here are Stahel's exact words:
In 1941 merchant-shipping losses amounted to 3.6 million tons. In that same year new production replaced 1.2 million tons, while austere management of shipping imports and improved port management saved an estimated 3 million tons. Thus, in spite of losses the United Kingdom ended 1941 with a moderate surplus in shipping tonnage.

Stahel, David. Kiev 1941 (p. 17). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
Stahel is citing Marc Milner in the Oxford Companion to the Second World War.

Likewise, Alan Levine in World War II: Crucible of the Contemporary World writes;
Actually, sinkings of Allied merchant ships by all enemy causes during 1942 only slightly exceeded the total of Allied merchantship construction for that year. The curve of construction actually passed that of U-boat sinkings alone in 1942.

Lee, Lily Xiao Hong. World War Two: Crucible of the Contemporary World - Commentary and Readings . Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.
Last edited by HistoryGeek2019 on 04 Nov 2019 23:57, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 04 Nov 2019 23:48

Peter89 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 22:44

Forgive me for saying this, but you seem to ignore my points. The KM was effective when it was used as a tool for a proper strategy. I presented you the figures between 1939-1942. From 1943 onwards, the riflemen, the artillery, the panzers, the machinegunners, etc. were not effective. Increased numbers would only mean increased casualties. Eg. the fourth largest naval power of the time, the French Navy was neutralized without a gun fired. It changed the balance of power in the Mediterraneum for the next years. Etc etc. German / Axis situation at the sea was not that bad at April 1941.
Sorry, I didn't mean to ignore your points. In general, I agree with everything you've written. I agree that Barbarossa was poorly planned and required an incredible stroke of luck (the encirclement at Kiev) to stave off disaster for another 2 years. I agree that from 1943 onwards the Wehrmacht was not an effective fighting force. There were a lot of reasons for this. Most (or at least many) of its best trained soldiers and pilots were dead, captured or wounded. The Luftewaffe was heavily outnumbered on every front (the Allies had more planes in the Mediterranean theater alone than the entire Luftewaffe). Germany lacked the fuel to conduct large scale operations of maneuver, and the Russians had amassed so much strength that there were no longer any weak points in their lines that the Germans could exploit to conduct battles of encirclement. The Americans had a ridiculous superiority in the use of artillery (and artillery was the single largest source of casualties in the war). And the Allies had completely countered the U-boat threat by 1943 through a combination of better convoy tactics, air, radar and cryptography.

In many respects the Germans got lucky in the early years of the U-boat war due to poor Allied tactics in countering them. Dönitz' staff told him in December 1941 that the U-boat war was lost, but he was too stubborn to admit it (source: Levine, Alan J. (1991). "Was World War II a near-run thing?". In Lee, Loyd E. (ed.). World War II: Crucible of the Contemporary World).

As Alan Levine writes, all of Germany's successes in World War II owed to their early battles of encirclement. However, the High Command didn't recognize this and foolishly believed after the fall of France that Germany was actually a great power that could contend for global military hegemony. Once Germany was no longer able to execute major battles of encirclement, it was crushed swiftly and decisively.

The main thing I wanted to do in this thread is call attention to the way Germany allocated its military expenditures among the different branches, and affirm, in my belief, that this was an irrational allocation given Germany's strategic situation.

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Re: German armaments spending in WW2 by sector

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Nov 2019 00:12

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
04 Nov 2019 23:39
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
04 Nov 2019 22:33
Given no Uboats that's ~10mil tons more shipping. As said above, total cargo delivered to UK by May 1944 was ~22mil tons.
Maybe it's been posted on here and I can't find it, but do you know of a chart that gives the month-by-month change in the size of the Allies' merchant fleet for every month of the war (ideally it would show losses as well as new construction)? Everything I've read suggests that the net losses in 1941 and 1942 were either small or more than offset by new construction and better management. Here are Stahel's exact words:
In 1941 merchant-shipping losses amounted to 3.6 million tons. In that same year new production replaced 1.2 million tons, while austere management of shipping imports and improved port management saved an estimated 3 million tons. Thus, in spite of losses the United Kingdom ended 1941 with a moderate surplus in shipping tonnage.

Stahel, David. Kiev 1941 (p. 17). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
Stahel is citing Marc Milner in the Oxford Companion to the Second World War.

Likewise, Alan Levine in World War II: Crucible of the Contemporary World writes;
Actually, sinkings of Allied merchant ships by all enemy causes during 1942 only slightly exceeded the total of Allied merchantship construction for that year. The curve of construction actually passed that of U-boat sinkings alone in 1942.

Lee, Lily Xiao Hong. World War Two: Crucible of the Contemporary World - Commentary and Readings . Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.
This is all true but besides the point - I don't think Stahel understands this. In his zeal to show how Dumb and Bad the Nazis were, he's often grasping (He portrays the Ostheer in Kiev as on the brink of collapse, for example, yet only weeks later it executed the biggest-ever double-envelopment during Taifun).
The Allies' goal wasn't merely to maintain shipping at pre-war levels to ensure continued British production.
It was that plus simultaneous execution of the two largest transoceanic military expeditions in history.
The ~22mil tons of cargo moved for Bolero alone represent ~75% of British imports. And that's just the cross-channel prong of the Allied global war effort. To maintain pre-war shipping was far from sufficient to achieve Allied goals. Shipping needed to grow dramatically; for that the Uboats needed to be defeated.

Re the monthly figures I will post them as soon I find them again. There's a great chart in, IIRC, Vol. 6 of DRZW, but I've returned that book to the library.

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