Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 27 Nov 2021 16:17

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Nov 2021 12:17

...also fine if you're some guy curious about army performance, with no practical purpose.
Cult Icon wrote:This tall height was combined with an officer corps of lower educational status (SS officer candidates did not require a secondary school diploma unlike the Army) but had gone through an educational program that was more political/athletic in character (OCS at Bad Tolz and other places).
As height is only a proxy and intrinsically worthless to combat effectiveness (I'd guess), SS officers would be (I'd guess) of lower quality (ceteris paribus).
The thing is the top down statistical and mathematically correct result does not really illuminate much from the bottom-up. The complex causes and conditions, many of which are unknown or maybe even misdiagnosed/misgathered, is embedded in the data. People try to guess what is going on by looking at top-down statistics all the time, but the most straightward way is bottoms-up and the attitude of being satisfied with a hazy image. Personally I prefer the bottoms-up, ground perspective over the top down 10,000 feet view, if I had a choice I would usually choose the former, albeit with reservations.

According to the SS divisional histories/profiles it looks like the SS officers and SS units got very similar training as Army officers after Bad Tolz/etc. Notably however few SS officers received General staff training, there was a shortage of officers of this type in their divisions (which was remedied from assigning Army officers). This hints that they were in no way an intellectual elite.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by stg 44 » 28 Nov 2021 15:44

Cult Icon wrote:
27 Nov 2021 16:17
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Nov 2021 12:17

...also fine if you're some guy curious about army performance, with no practical purpose.
Cult Icon wrote:This tall height was combined with an officer corps of lower educational status (SS officer candidates did not require a secondary school diploma unlike the Army) but had gone through an educational program that was more political/athletic in character (OCS at Bad Tolz and other places).
As height is only a proxy and intrinsically worthless to combat effectiveness (I'd guess), SS officers would be (I'd guess) of lower quality (ceteris paribus).
The thing is the top down statistical and mathematically correct result does not really illuminate much from the bottom-up. The complex causes and conditions, many of which are unknown or maybe even misdiagnosed/misgathered, is embedded in the data. People try to guess what is going on by looking at top-down statistics all the time, but the most straightward way is bottoms-up and the attitude of being satisfied with a hazy image. Personally I prefer the bottoms-up, ground perspective over the top down 10,000 feet view, if I had a choice I would usually choose the former, albeit with reservations.

According to the SS divisional histories/profiles it looks like the SS officers and SS units got very similar training as Army officers after Bad Tolz/etc. Notably however few SS officers received General staff training, there was a shortage of officers of this type in their divisions (which was remedied from assigning Army officers). This hints that they were in no way an intellectual elite.
Have you read Doug Nash's books on the IV SS Panzer corps? He explains the lack of general staff trained officers; basically the army refused to train them and it was a rapidly expanding organization, so there simply was not enough resources to create the numbers needed during the war given the casualty rates on top of other shortages. But has anyone really claimed they were an intellectual elite?

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Nov 2021 17:18

The SS was perceived during the war as an elite. The school Tolz' aim was to create a generally-trained SS officer that could potentially be utilized in the various departments of the SS as whole, including the Waffen SS. If it followed the "elite" label, Bad Tolz would have had a large portion of general-staff qualified candidates then, but this seems to be not the case, especially with their lower educational entry barrier. The SS units did have a grave shortage of trained leadership due to the expansion after 1943.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 29 Nov 2021 02:27

Cult Icon wrote:
28 Nov 2021 17:18
The SS was perceived during the war as an elite. The school Tolz' aim was to create a generally-trained SS officer that could potentially be utilized in the various departments of the SS as whole, including the Waffen SS. If it followed the "elite" label, Bad Tolz would have had a large portion of general-staff qualified candidates then, but this seems to be not the case, especially with their lower educational entry barrier. The SS units did have a grave shortage of trained leadership due to the expansion after 1943.
While you might characterize half of the first dozen divisions of the SS that way, maybe a bit less, the rest of those formed--primarily from foreign troops--were pretty much indifferent to absolute crap. So, out of the 30 something divisions the SS formed by the end of the war maybe 6 to 8 could be considered elite while the rest were next to worthless. This follows pretty closely the ratio of "elite" divisions in the Wehrmacht to run-of-the-mill formations of indifferent quality (a 20 to 80% ratio).

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 29 Nov 2021 02:42

Obviously the SS as entirely elite is a myth, everyone knows that.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 29 Nov 2021 05:52

I've noticed that through all the pages of stuff here, one of the most, if not the most, concise and thorough studies of US combat troop effectiveness isn't even mentioned. That is the Gilbert Bebee and John Appel study Variation in Psychological Tolerance to Ground Combat in World War II,. This study followed 100 infantry companies in the ETO and MTO from entry into combat until VE day. It was very thorough.

Bebee was the commensurate statistician and Appel a leading clinical psychologist. I can't find a copy of their study online, and have only a partial photocopy of it in my own files.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 29 Nov 2021 15:03

Information on the SS units is widely available and also widely variable. Obviously SS divisions 1-3 were the most consistently equipped and manned ones. However 1 and 2 were not as good as they used to be in 1944 due to an extreme lack of time for training. Most of the SS divisions between numbers 1-17 can be considered middling to superior for their respective functions. (Panzer, Panzer-grenadier, infantry, anti-partisan, mountain).

According to Michaels, Panzergrenadier divisions of the Waffen SS (which has data on each on them), and Stober's 17.SS vol. 1-3 the Panzer-grenadier divisions of the SS were generally markedly underequipped and undermanned particuarly after the 17th division. Basically they look much worse off than the ones used by the German Army. Of these the 11th division was proven to be very good.

After that most of them are divisions in name only, really just brigades and so forth with big shortages.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by stg 44 » 02 Dec 2021 03:15

Cult Icon wrote:
28 Nov 2021 17:18
The SS was perceived during the war as an elite. The school Tolz' aim was to create a generally-trained SS officer that could potentially be utilized in the various departments of the SS as whole, including the Waffen SS. If it followed the "elite" label, Bad Tolz would have had a large portion of general-staff qualified candidates then, but this seems to be not the case, especially with their lower educational entry barrier. The SS units did have a grave shortage of trained leadership due to the expansion after 1943.
You're claiming a junior officer's school was meant to churn out upper level staff officers?
T. A. Gardner wrote:
29 Nov 2021 02:27
Cult Icon wrote:
28 Nov 2021 17:18
The SS was perceived during the war as an elite. The school Tolz' aim was to create a generally-trained SS officer that could potentially be utilized in the various departments of the SS as whole, including the Waffen SS. If it followed the "elite" label, Bad Tolz would have had a large portion of general-staff qualified candidates then, but this seems to be not the case, especially with their lower educational entry barrier. The SS units did have a grave shortage of trained leadership due to the expansion after 1943.
While you might characterize half of the first dozen divisions of the SS that way, maybe a bit less, the rest of those formed--primarily from foreign troops--were pretty much indifferent to absolute crap. So, out of the 30 something divisions the SS formed by the end of the war maybe 6 to 8 could be considered elite while the rest were next to worthless. This follows pretty closely the ratio of "elite" divisions in the Wehrmacht to run-of-the-mill formations of indifferent quality (a 20 to 80% ratio).
III SS Panzer Corps would like a word. The Dutch, Baltic divisions, and Belgians fought very well despite not being part of the 'first half dozen' divisions. The rest being 'worthless' is not accurate either, they were no worse than the average Heer division by 1943. There were certainly absolute crap divisions of press-ganged troops like the Handschar division that revolted and killed their officers, but those were the exception rather than the rule.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 02 Dec 2021 07:54

stg 44 wrote:
02 Dec 2021 03:15
III SS Panzer Corps would like a word. The Dutch, Baltic divisions, and Belgians fought very well despite not being part of the 'first half dozen' divisions. The rest being 'worthless' is not accurate either, they were no worse than the average Heer division by 1943. There were certainly absolute crap divisions of press-ganged troops like the Handschar division that revolted and killed their officers, but those were the exception rather than the rule.
The best of the SS's infantry divisions were no better that anything the Wehrmacht was cranking out. That means they were useful only for defense.

Some more of the crap included:

6th Grebs. Miserable record in combat
7th Prinz Eugen. No better than the 6th
8th Florian Geyer (cavalry) Mostly used in a security role behind the lines
13th Handshar Had at least two mutinies and an abominable combat record
14th Galizische Pretty much trashed in it's first combat action
15th Lettische Indifferent infantry division
18th Horst Wessel. Never fully formed mostly used in anti-partisan role
Virtually everything above the 18th was a late war formed "division" of questionable training, equipment, strength, and capacity.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 02 Dec 2021 08:14

stg 44 wrote:
02 Dec 2021 03:15

You're claiming a junior officer's school was meant to churn out upper level staff officers?
Well, obviously not. Promising young officers were selected for further training at the kriegsakademie. The SS was already extremely combat experienced.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 02 Dec 2021 08:37

Anti-partisan does not mean "bad" in the German army, despite the atrocities associated with them. It is actually a specialized role in the German Army. The 7th was considered a good Anti-partisan division from the German point of view.

The 6th SS "Nord" was actually a very experienced mountain division. It was prematurely committed before it completed most of its training in 1941, and then after it completed its training/reorganization it amassed a lot of combat experience and training/cooperation with the Finns. It served on a quiet front, and was a strong unit that was lucky to not have high casualties. It was probably the best infantry/mountain unit in the Western front when it was suddenly shipped over to the West to attack in Operation Nordwind.

The 18th SS Horst Wessel was eventually built up to be as a normal, small motorized infantry unit, circa 10,000 man with a Stug-equipped "Panzer" battalion and deployed in conventional combat after Anti-partisan service. It was better equipped than a horse-drawn unit but inferior to the German Army's (mot.ID/panzer-grenadier divisions).

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by stg 44 » 02 Dec 2021 14:04

T. A. Gardner wrote:
02 Dec 2021 07:54
stg 44 wrote:
02 Dec 2021 03:15
III SS Panzer Corps would like a word. The Dutch, Baltic divisions, and Belgians fought very well despite not being part of the 'first half dozen' divisions. The rest being 'worthless' is not accurate either, they were no worse than the average Heer division by 1943. There were certainly absolute crap divisions of press-ganged troops like the Handschar division that revolted and killed their officers, but those were the exception rather than the rule.
The best of the SS's infantry divisions were no better that anything the Wehrmacht was cranking out. That means they were useful only for defense.

Some more of the crap included:

6th Grebs. Miserable record in combat
Huh? It fought well after the initial failures; overall combat record was impaired by how they were used, especially in 1945.
T. A. Gardner wrote:
02 Dec 2021 07:54
7th Prinz Eugen. No better than the 6th
Really only used for fighting partisans in Yugoslavia.
T. A. Gardner wrote:
02 Dec 2021 07:54
8th Florian Geyer (cavalry) Mostly used in a security role behind the lines
13th Handshar Had at least two mutinies and an abominable combat record
Agreed.
T. A. Gardner wrote:
02 Dec 2021 07:54
14th Galizische Pretty much trashed in it's first combat action
More a function of the situation and force ratios than their performance.
T. A. Gardner wrote:
02 Dec 2021 07:54
15th Lettische Indifferent infantry division
They were indifferent, just not talked about much.
T. A. Gardner wrote:
02 Dec 2021 07:54
18th Horst Wessel. Never fully formed mostly used in anti-partisan role
Virtually everything above the 18th was a late war formed "division" of questionable training, equipment, strength, and capacity.
Largely agreed, though as you point out that was more an issue of lack of manpower and equipment, plus time for training.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 02 Dec 2021 16:56

Panzerschlacht: Armoured Operations on the Hungarian Plains September-November 1944, Moore has the 18.SS division's actions (counterattacks and defense) in the operational history. The unit doesn't come across as incompetent or low powered. The historian Tieke has a unit history of this formation (he was a member of it), in english it is translated as "The Last row call".

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Dec 2021 06:17

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Nov 2021 08:28
For WW2 soldier ages the US was tallest, Commonwealth Dominions next, then Western Europe, followed by Eastern Europe (generally speaking). This roughly tracks national wealth levels, though ideally we'd want to see wealth levels and Gini coefficients: average wealth doesn't matter so much if the 8th Lord Peasantpounder is super wealthy and the proletariat very poor - I suspect this is why early-century Britain lagged in height relative to poorer (on average) Germany.
Came across some documentation of the wretched state of the British proletariat in our period, quotes from Barnett's Audit of War:
Plotting of health statistics also plainly delineates these same groupings.
It does more; it begins to describe the human quality of the British working-
class people who lived in them. A survey in 1926–9 discovered that at age
thirteen Christ’s Hospital schoolboys were 2.4 inches taller than council-school
boys; at age seventeen, 3.8 inches taller than ‘Employed Males’ of
the same social origins as the council-school boys. These were the age-groups
which by the time of the Second World War would be forming the
‘prime-of-life’ sections of the industrial workforce. Such disparities in
physique between the classes only reflected a long-established national
pattern: in 1883 British Association data showed that boys aged thirteen and
a half in an industrial school were on average 5.8 inches shorter than boys
of the professional classes.25 Then again, in 1942, out of every 1000 babies
born in South Wales, the North-west and the North-east of England, 61.5
died as against 40.2 per 1000 in South-east England.26
In every 1000 children aged one to two in these industrial areas seven died, compared with
four per 1000 in the South-east; three children per 1000 aged two to five
died compared with fewer than two per 1000 in the South-east.
This was particularly startling:
Glasgow’s infant death rate in 1937 was higher
than Tokyo’s.
Barnett also uncovers serious deficiencies in British education - especially below elite levels and especially when compared to Germany.

Anyway, this all supports my upthread/quoted hypothesis that greater levels of socioeconomic inequality in Britain skew her demographic/economic/educational fundamentals in ways that must be taken into account.

As many of us learned from Tooze, WW2-era Germany entered the war with a 30% agricultural population vs. something like 5% for Britain. Tooze and others infer that Britain was therefore the more modern nation; IMO the story is precisely opposite in many ways. Because a larger portion of British society was an impoverished, malnourished, uneducated urban proletariat, its basic human demographics (nutritional status as proxied by height, education levels) lagged its topline economic data (e.g. GDP or industrial output indicies). Germany, by contrast, had a large agricultural population that, while poorer than the average Brit, was probably healthier and certainly better educated. These factors may feasibly explain some part of differentials in battlefield combat effectiveness.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 22 Dec 2021 12:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Michael Kenny » 22 Dec 2021 06:53

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Dec 2021 06:17
Then again, in 1942, out of every 1000 babies
born in South Wales, the North-west and the North-east of England, 61.5
died as against 40.2 per 1000 in South-east England.

Google sayeth the German 1940 infant mortality rate was 89 per 1000 and in the USA 1940 it was 66 per 1000.
Glasgow’s infant death rate in 1937 was higher
than Tokyo’s

The Japanese 1940 rate (as opposed to just the the Tokyo rate) was 107 per 1000.

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