Some of the issues raised by replies would derail a high-level discussion of strategy. While I'm sure that is acceptable to, and probably the goal of, a few individuals, I'd prefer to stay focused on the bigger picture. So I am going to split my more detailed response on Winter Crisis issues into a separate thread linked here (if necessary), and will respond here only insofar as the debate relates to high-level analysis.
Richard Anderson wrote:NOT "because Germany belatedly adopted a more rational approach to the Ostheer's economic/logistical underpinnings".
Richard's post is an equivocation on the meaning of rational in this context. As the author of "rational," I'll tell you what it means in my post - even though it's a restatement of the strategic analysis already stated and therefore might have been clear from original context.
provided the Ostheer with weak or no long-term economic/logistical underpinning in '41. It then rationally
- but belatedly - ramped up Ostheer production and logistical (rail) investment in '42. Due to the Winter Crisis and the inherent time-lag between investment and payoff, production ramp-up and deployable production, the Ostheer didn't fully benefit from a stronger - more rational
- strategic underpinning until '43.
Richard attempts to portray efforts to comb out manpower for the Ostheer as irrational but this equivocates between "rational" and something like "improvised" or "frantic." Improvised or frantic, it was rational to reinforce the Ostheer with personnel and material in '42-'43 and irrational to fail to do so in '41.
Max Payload wrote:I am not disputing the locomotive down-time repair problems, nor that they were exacerbated by winter conditions.
Max Payload wrote:But as you noted in your further quote of Davie, “The constant flow of engines eastwards had started to affect the wider German economy”
Respectfully, that you think the second quote undercuts my assertion shows that you don't understand the nature of the rail Winter Crisis and the point that I'm making.
The "constant flow of engines eastwards" does not reflect the magnitude of supply flow eastwards. It was a flow of engines that functionally replaced the loss of 70% of engines already dispatched
. The flow of engines was one-way: they were mostly stuck in the East.
As stated, I'm going to put Winter Crisis details into a separate thread if necessary.
Do you agree with the broad assertion that rail failure problems owing to both lack of warming sheds and other rail infrastructure deficiencies (e.g. water towers/stations) contributed to lower German production? Do agree with the broad assertion that Ostheer would have been materially stronger in '42 absent the Winter Crisis?
If you agree with those broad assertions, then our disagreement is only a matter of degrees and I'd rather not get bogged down in this thread with that.
Max Payload wrote:The point is that reliability and down-time was an issue prior to the winter, it was not simply an issue of insufficient warming sheds.
I've written extensively about other rail issues that contributed to rail downtime and unreliability. Lack of watering stations/towers (do a search for terms on my profile it you'd to check). In my two-paragraph summary to Tom from Cornwall
I mentioned warming sheds only.
I don't want to play a game here, I'm sure you don't either. Yes there were other factors. But as my copious citations attest, the biggest factor was warming sheds.
Let's stick to the high-level analysis and leave the games for others.
Max Payload wrote:Not just cause and effect, but dramatic effect ~30% stronger. But even if the effect could be attributed in its eternity to ‘a more rational approach’, 9% is of relatively low significance.
Let's step back once again to the high-level picture are my actual assertions.
Between Barbarossa and July 1943 Germany lost hundreds of thousands of men in the east and elsewhere. By '43 its defense burden in the West had increased. Yet on July 1, 1943 Ostheer personnel strength was about as strong as on June 22, 1941 and its equipment probably better overall (certainly its ammo supply and rail logistics were far better). Whether we measure from 1941 or 1942, whether the yard-stick is an increase in personnel strength or even a slight decrease, Germany's ability to strengthen - overall - the Ostheer despite all the catastrophes of intervening years reflects an irrational under-investment in the Ostheer in '41.
What part of that high-level picture do you actually disagree with? I've purposely phrased it widely this time so we can't drag the discussion down with a few % here or there.
Btw - your 9% Ostheer '43-'42 delta relies on a '42 personnel strength figure that even Richard called high. I'm not getting into the details of that, however, because I don't find it relevant to the high-level discussion.