What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 May 2019 14:42

thaddeus_c wrote:my speculation is that the KM could have applied more effort in the initial stage of the invasion and been able to stop the evacuations from Tallinn, Hanko, and Odessa.
Fair enough as far as first-cut speculation goes. My understanding is that the Gulf of Finnland was heavily mined and swarming with Russian subs, such that no naval commander would risk his blue water fleet attempting to interdict evacuations there. Given the actual contribution of the blue water fleet to Germany's war, maybe losing it would have been worthwhile. That's too much hindsight to be reasonable, IMO.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by thaddeus_c » 31 May 2019 02:03

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 May 2019 14:42
thaddeus_c wrote:my speculation is that the KM could have applied more effort in the initial stage of the invasion and been able to stop the evacuations from Tallinn, Hanko, and Odessa.
Fair enough as far as first-cut speculation goes. My understanding is that the Gulf of Finnland was heavily mined and swarming with Russian subs, such that no naval commander would risk his blue water fleet attempting to interdict evacuations there. Given the actual contribution of the blue water fleet to Germany's war, maybe losing it would have been worthwhile. That's too much hindsight to be reasonable, IMO.
was thinking the KM should have hindsight of Moon Sound from WWI and want a good showing as part of Barbarossa? but you are again mentioning larger warships and that was not my speculation but rather a more robust effort with the same types of ships used historically, sorry if that was unclear.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_ev ... of_Tallinn and later https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Odessa_(1941)

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 May 2019 02:17

thaddeus_c wrote:
31 May 2019 02:03
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 May 2019 14:42
thaddeus_c wrote:my speculation is that the KM could have applied more effort in the initial stage of the invasion and been able to stop the evacuations from Tallinn, Hanko, and Odessa.
Fair enough as far as first-cut speculation goes. My understanding is that the Gulf of Finnland was heavily mined and swarming with Russian subs, such that no naval commander would risk his blue water fleet attempting to interdict evacuations there. Given the actual contribution of the blue water fleet to Germany's war, maybe losing it would have been worthwhile. That's too much hindsight to be reasonable, IMO.
was thinking the KM should have hindsight of Moon Sound from WWI and want a good showing as part of Barbarossa? but you are again mentioning larger warships and that was not my speculation but rather a more robust effort with the same types of ships used historically, sorry if that was unclear.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_ev ... of_Tallinn and later https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Odessa_(1941)
Not a terrible idea but probably not a war-winner. Maybe start a separate thread? Sorry just don't want to make it to difficult to follow my ATL.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Paul Lakowski » 31 May 2019 04:31

As early as 1927 the Reichswehr purchased farm tractors and mounted hundreds of 37mm PaK & 77mm K light gun and distributed these to the infantry divisions, while 287 light tanks were also ordered & 19 prototyped {Leichtertraktor/Grosstraktor/Neubaufahrzeug} . Early in the 1930s new plans were drawn up for thousand of light tanks plus hundreds of medium tanks built through the 1930s. These became the >1800 Pz-I hulls and >1200 Pz-II hulls plus the ~600 Pz-III/IV hulls.

It appears Krupp prototype for the Pz-I and Pz-II was the same vehicle ,just with bigger 20mm gun turret in the Pz- II version and twin mg in the smaller Pz-I turret. Thus the Pz-I could have been built from the start as Krupp version with a 20mm gun turret, even if it meant diverting those guns from the historic Pz-II production plus existing 20mm Sdkfz 222 armored car production [< 500 gun turrets or 1700 by wartime].

To make a difference between Pz-I & II models, the later scout Pz-II hull production could be enlarged to accommodate a 37mm gun turret like the Czech Pz-35t/Pz-38t. This would require sacrificing AFV production tonnage & guns from other sources, like the existing Pz-III/IV production. To fill such an order for the Pz-II with 37mm gun turrets should require a 9 ton hull and 1.8 ton turret plus 37mm gun, which is 1200 x 2 tons more or 2400 tons. The Pz-IV production up to war time was ~ 4000 tons leaving just 1600 tons –after building 1200 Pz-II -37L45.

The Pz-III production amounted to only 3000 tons for just 166 tanks. Combined with the left over Pz-IV production allows total of 256 Pz-III/4 models.

Wartime tank force starts as

1800 PzI-20mm Gun & 20mm armor.
1200 PzII-37mm Gun & 20mm armor.
256 Pz- III Gun & 30mm armor.

------Or--------

1995 Pz-II/35/38t = 37mm gun + 20mm/30o armor
Plus 1800 PzI = 20mm gun+ 20mm/30o armor

That's enough to fill ~ 38 Panzer battalions or 19 Panzer Regiments or 9 - 4 battalion Panzer divisions or a dozen 3 battalion Panzer divisions.

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Paul Lakowski » 31 May 2019 07:45

Next step is to establish a fleet of support tracked armored fight vehicles to make such panzer force into fighting units that have operational / strategic reach.

The historic recon forces are sufficient for now with 1200 armored cars at wartime. Over 100-140 armored cars for 9-12 panzer divisions or 70-75 distributed over 17-16 mobile divisions.

How do you enlarge the mobile forces?

The Wehrmacht wartime vehicle inventory started with 5600 semi tractor/SPW plus ~ 300,000 trucks/cars/motorcycle. Mobile divisions required about 1500 trucks plus 900 cars & 1200 motorcycle. This suggest 84 mobile divisions are possible, however each Korps & Army structure requires similar amount of vehicles.....limiting this force structure to roughly 5 armies and 24 Korps plus 55 mobile divisions - with maybe a 12 to 14 Panzer divisions limiting them to 316 to 270 tanks each.

Historically 1939 Wehrmacht had 550,000 horse/donkeys. Each infantry division required 5400 horse + 900 wagons & 536 trucks plus 400 cars and over 500 motorcycle.100 trailers are included with a total cartage of ~1500 tons. The absolute minimum motor vehicles for an infantry division should be 160 trucks for the signals/command network plus medical evacuation and hospital & kitchen power. As such 70 more cars & motorcycle would accompany the power trucks.

This would still need 6000 horse for the wagon cartage, plus 3000 more for officers cavalry and light gun limbers etc.This all suggests possibly 61 wagon divisions. These divisions would be limited to 4600 105 LeFH artillery , while the mobile divisions would be limited to 2400 150 sFH.

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jun 2019 00:27

Paul Lakowski wrote:How do you enlarge the mobile forces?
German spending on all land vehicles was 4.7% of its military budget in 1939 and stayed at around that level during the early war. There are many ways to work the details of a larger mobile force but given different strategic priorities it would have been imminently feasible. The biggest bottleneck is rubber; there they would have had to make more investment than OTL for early-war production needs.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jun 2019 00:35

Paul Lakowski wrote:Wartime tank force starts as
A larger tank force is the easiest of the problems, as your posts imply. During the balance of payments crisis of 1939, the Wehrmacht cut its Panzer III/IV 1940 procurement target from 1,200 to 600. At the very same time, Hitler refused to allow cuts to the naval building program, much of which was going to laying down a couple H-class battleships, procuring their 16in guns, and ordering their machinery.

With hindsight we know the foolishness of those strategic priorities; my ATL supposes that Hitler was not quite so strategically wrong-headed in the run up to war. In part, accurate strategic intelligence about the USSR motivates Hitler to emphasize his land forces unless and until he has defeated all continental enemies.

Had the tank program not been cut in 1939, investments in plant would have occurred from which further escalation of the tank program would have been much easier, including after the Battle of France when the supremacy of the mobile forces became obvious.

At ~100,000RM per Mark IV, producing 500/month would have cost 600mil RM or ~0.6% of Germany's GDP.
There's simply no good reason for Germany not to have had an enormously larger panzer arm in 1941, apart from misplaced confidence that the USSR was going to collapse with relative ease.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jun 2019 00:49

Paul Lakowski wrote:The Wehrmacht wartime vehicle inventory started with 5600 semi tractor/SPW plus ~ 300,000 trucks/cars/motorcycle. Mobile divisions required about 1500 trucks plus 900 cars & 1200 motorcycle. This suggest 84 mobile divisions are possible, however each Korps & Army structure requires similar amount of vehicles.....limiting this force structure to roughly 5 armies and 24 Korps plus 55 mobile divisions - with maybe a 12 to 14 Panzer divisions limiting them to 316 to 270 tanks each.
Germany invaded Russia with ~600,000 trucks, many of which came from occupied Europe. The vast majority of these trucks served in the Grosstransportraum, ferrying supplies from railheads to the divisions. An additional 20 mobile divisions requires ~30,000 more trucks, ~18,000 more cars, and ~24,000 more motorcycles. This is on the order of 10% more total vehicular lift than OTL.

Again, given the relatively small portion of economic effort devoted to motorization, a 10% increase in German total vehicular lift by June 22, 1941 would have been doable given an appropriate strategic conception (i.e. preparation for at least a 2-year Russian campaign). We are talking about something on the order of a 5% total shift in production resources towards the mechanized forces.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Paul Lakowski » 01 Jun 2019 04:14

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jun 2019 00:49
Paul Lakowski wrote:The Wehrmacht wartime vehicle inventory started with 5600 semi tractor/SPW plus ~ 300,000 trucks/cars/motorcycle. Mobile divisions required about 1500 trucks plus 900 cars & 1200 motorcycle. This suggest 84 mobile divisions are possible, however each Korps & Army structure requires similar amount of vehicles.....limiting this force structure to roughly 5 armies and 24 Korps plus 55 mobile divisions - with maybe a 12 to 14 Panzer divisions limiting them to 316 to 270 tanks each.
Germany invaded Russia with ~600,000 trucks, many of which came from occupied Europe. The vast majority of these trucks served in the Grosstransportraum, ferrying supplies from railheads to the divisions. An additional 20 mobile divisions requires ~30,000 more trucks, ~18,000 more cars, and ~24,000 more motorcycles. This is on the order of 10% more total vehicular lift than OTL.

Again, given the relatively small portion of economic effort devoted to motorization, a 10% increase in German total vehicular lift by June 22, 1941 would have been doable given an appropriate strategic conception (i.e. preparation for at least a 2-year Russian campaign). We are talking about something on the order of a 5% total shift in production resources towards the mechanized forces.
From 1936 Fromm & Blomberg promised the Wehrmacht that- if war came before they would be ready -they would release 120,000 trucks from the civilian economy, which sported 3.5 million vehicles [trucks cars & motorcycle] at wartime [G & SWW vol-1]. So the so called enlarged army need only follow the demand of more from Blomberg/Fromm. The best option is more efficient utilization of existing assets. Otherwise you need to increase fuel stocks /troop training and new unit formation.

Wehrmacht entire inventory of trucks in mid 1941 was only 200,000 plus 150,000 cars and 210,000 motorcycle [USSBS]. The various Axis allies had another 50-60,000 vehicles [ Romania Bulgaria & Hungry etc]. When losses accumulated they always raided the civilian economy first to bolster the merger production. It should be hardly surprising that only 180,000 vehicles were in German civilian economy on VE day.

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Paul Lakowski » 01 Jun 2019 05:40

1939

Completing the start war cycle 8000** semi tractors were built mostly as gun towing vehicles , while most mobil units employed trucks 1/4 ton up to 4.5 tons -through out the war. A more effective employment of both LIMITED PRECIOUS ASSETS would be to mount these guns on the semi tractors themselves as improvised self propelled guns....with obvious caveats. Thus reviving the mechanized gun concept- envisaged in the 1920s. Already by 1939 , 88mm Flak were mounted in 360o pedestaled mounts on the 12 ton and 18 ton semi tractors [ Sd.Kfz.8 & Sd.Kfz.9]

These tractor had weight limits of 21 tons for the Sd.Kfz.9 "18 ton semi tractor" putting ground pressure at about 12lb/in^2 and top speed of maybe 46kph. Adding the 14mm armor around the tractor front & cab, increased this weight to 25 tons -with ground pressure at 13 lb/in^2 and top speed down to maybe 45 kph. This big 5 ton pedestal 88mm flak mount did allow 360o traverse and elevations up to 85o, but the tractor would have to halt first and deploy out rigging/jacks etc- slowing the deployment time to maybe 1/4 hour [?].

For an artillery mount , this elevation/traverse would be limited to 45o and In the case of the 88mm flak gun, the mass should drop from 5 tons to 3.5 tons, while a PaK mount, should be limited to 30o and drop gun weight from 5 tons to 3 tons.The self propelled 88mm artillery AFV [14.5mm armor] on 18 ton tractor would be 23.5 tons[46kph & 12 lb./in^2]; while a PaK 88mm AFV [88L56 & 14.5mm armor] should be 23 tons [46.5kph & 12 lb./in^2] .

The same weight reduction should also occur for the 12-17 ton ZUG XII [ Sd.Kfz.8] = 20 tons with the 14.5mm armor around front and cab.

Once you've made this transition; both the 150mm sFH 18 Artillery piece and K-100 Korps gun, should also work. However the gun length and recoil force of both such guns are bigger ; requiring a lower rear-end mounting , with the gun loaded from the ground and recoiling over the tractor rear end.

The 2 ton 105mm LeFH, could similarly be mounted on a lighter semi tractor- like the 5 ton Sd.Kfz.7, although Hitler demanded mid war that that gun be mounted on the lighter 3 ton Sd.Kfz.11 semi tractor[Spielberger HTV of GA-1909-1945] .To that end the 1.8 ton 150mm infantry gun could also be mounted on the 5 ton semi tractor as a regimental gun battery. The 1 ton & 3 ton semi tractor could also be employed in the regimental gun battery as well as battalion AFV self propelled guns mounting the 37mm PaK or the 75mm IG.

** [3453 ZuG-I ton + 595 ZuG- III ton + +2016 ZuG-V ton + 1501 ZuG-VIII ton + 600 ZuG-XII ton] Actual inventory numbers at wartime were only 5600, suggesting high attrition.

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by ljadw » 01 Jun 2019 18:17

Paul Lakowski wrote:
01 Jun 2019 04:14
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jun 2019 00:49
Paul Lakowski wrote:The Wehrmacht wartime vehicle inventory started with 5600 semi tractor/SPW plus ~ 300,000 trucks/cars/motorcycle. Mobile divisions required about 1500 trucks plus 900 cars & 1200 motorcycle. This suggest 84 mobile divisions are possible, however each Korps & Army structure requires similar amount of vehicles.....limiting this force structure to roughly 5 armies and 24 Korps plus 55 mobile divisions - with maybe a 12 to 14 Panzer divisions limiting them to 316 to 270 tanks each.
Germany invaded Russia with ~600,000 trucks, many of which came from occupied Europe. The vast majority of these trucks served in the Grosstransportraum, ferrying supplies from railheads to the divisions. An additional 20 mobile divisions requires ~30,000 more trucks, ~18,000 more cars, and ~24,000 more motorcycles. This is on the order of 10% more total vehicular lift than OTL.

Again, given the relatively small portion of economic effort devoted to motorization, a 10% increase in German total vehicular lift by June 22, 1941 would have been doable given an appropriate strategic conception (i.e. preparation for at least a 2-year Russian campaign). We are talking about something on the order of a 5% total shift in production resources towards the mechanized forces.
From 1936 Fromm & Blomberg promised the Wehrmacht that- if war came before they would be ready -they would release 120,000 trucks from the civilian economy, which sported 3.5 million vehicles [trucks cars & motorcycle] at wartime [G & SWW vol-1]. So the so called enlarged army need only follow the demand of more from Blomberg/Fromm. The best option is more efficient utilization of existing assets. Otherwise you need to increase fuel stocks /troop training and new unit formation.

Wehrmacht entire inventory of trucks in mid 1941 was only 200,000 plus 150,000 cars and 210,000 motorcycle [USSBS]. The various Axis allies had another 50-60,000 vehicles [ Romania Bulgaria & Hungry etc]. When losses accumulated they always raided the civilian economy first to bolster the merger production. It should be hardly surprising that only 180,000 vehicles were in German civilian economy on VE day.
The USSBS figures are wrong : in June 1941 Germany had 1,132,000 trucks, busses and special trucks and 2,208,000 light transports and cars and more than 247000 motor cycles ( 247000 is without those of the conquered and occupied countries ) .Of these 1.132,000 75 % can be classified as trucks .Germany had 450000 trucks in July 1939 .
Source: Operation Barbarossa Volume II B PP 110, 112, 114 By Nigel Askey

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Jun 2019 19:38

ljadw wrote:
01 Jun 2019 18:17
The USSBS figures are wrong
Sigh...no, the USSBS figures are not "wrong", but they are not what you and Paul seem to think they are. The figures that Paul used are the totals for the distribution of motor vehicle production from the German manufacturers to the military 1934-1941. However, those figures do not include Austria production 1934-1938 nor acquisitions upon the Anschluss. It does not include Czech production 1934-1930 nor the acquisitions after the German occupation. It does not include acquisitions from Poland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Yugoslavia, and Great Britain in 1939 and 1940 nor French production for the Germans (Citroen alone produced c. 30,670, Peugeot c. 27,800, and Renault c. 29,000 for the Wehrmacht 1940-1944.
in June 1941 Germany had 1,132,000 trucks, busses and special trucks and 2,208,000 light transports and cars and more than 247000 motor cycles ( 247000 is without those of the conquered and occupied countries ) .Of these 1.132,000 75 % can be classified as trucks .Germany had 450000 trucks in July 1939 .
Source: Operation Barbarossa Volume II B PP 110, 112, 114 By Nigel Askey
Why, yes, but of those, 159,613 trucks, 117,383 cars, and 165,228 motorcycles were produced by "German" manufacturers 1934-1941 specifically for the Wehrmacht, many to Einheits-Fahrgestelle standards (c. 17,521 l.gl.Einheits-PKW, c. 34,771 m.gl.Einheits-PKW, c. 10,036 s.gl.Einheits-PKW, and c. 12,307 gl.Einheits-LKW). The rest were seized from conquered territories, requisitioned from civilian sources, or produced by non-German manufacturers.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Paul Lakowski » 01 Jun 2019 22:25

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Jun 2019 19:38
ljadw wrote:
01 Jun 2019 18:17
The USSBS figures are wrong
Sigh...no, the USSBS figures are not "wrong", but they are not what you and Paul seem to think they are. The figures that Paul used are the totals for the distribution of motor vehicle production from the German manufacturers to the military 1934-1941. However, those figures do not include Austria production 1934-1938 nor acquisitions upon the Anschluss. It does not include Czech production 1934-1930 nor the acquisitions after the German occupation. It does not include acquisitions from Poland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Yugoslavia, and Great Britain in 1939 and 1940 nor French production for the Germans (Citroen alone produced c. 30,670, Peugeot c. 27,800, and Renault c. 29,000 for the Wehrmacht 1940-1944.
in June 1941 Germany had 1,132,000 trucks, busses and special trucks and 2,208,000 light transports and cars and more than 247000 motor cycles ( 247000 is without those of the conquered and occupied countries ) .Of these 1.132,000 75 % can be classified as trucks .Germany had 450000 trucks in July 1939 .
Source: Operation Barbarossa Volume II B PP 110, 112, 114 By Nigel Askey
Why, yes, but of those, 159,613 trucks, 117,383 cars, and 165,228 motorcycles were produced by "German" manufacturers 1934-1941 specifically for the Wehrmacht, many to Einheits-Fahrgestelle standards (c. 17,521 l.gl.Einheits-PKW, c. 34,771 m.gl.Einheits-PKW, c. 10,036 s.gl.Einheits-PKW, and c. 12,307 gl.Einheits-LKW). The rest were seized from conquered territories, requisitioned from civilian sources, or produced by non-German manufacturers.
Agreed completely- but most vehicles commandeered from occupied territories were tiny amounts and since of "local" design , were best suited to remain in the vicinity to "leapfrog" supplies munitions troops etc, to which ever front.

This is why I included 50-60k for "Axis troops" .The total numbers are just for war not year by year. USSBS does report some production.

FRANCE 1943= 4757 *3.5 ton & 9359 4.5 ton.
Italy 1944 = 4251+ 2151 *3 ton & 646 *4.4ton
Czech 1943=1376 *3 ton truck plus 1920 trucks =1944.

1943 =12,535 AXIS truck production compared to German MILITARY 1943 production of 92,580 trucks. German Civilian production 1943 was 12900 trucks while export was 3513 trucks.

USSBS estimated for 1942 German truck inventory range from 240,000 to 340,000 trucks and I estimated another 50,000 trucks from the civilian economy plus 92,000 from German 1943 industry plus another 12,500 from AXIS industry . Total of 495,000, but the Wehrmacht inventory lists the 1943 figures start as 345,000 truck.

That suggest 1943 inventory was 70% of the summation of the 1942 inventory plus 155,000 produced or commandeered from production sources.

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Jun 2019 23:29

Paul Lakowski wrote:
01 Jun 2019 22:25
Agreed completely- but most vehicles commandeered from occupied territories were tiny amounts and since of "local" design , were best suited to remain in the vicinity to "leapfrog" supplies munitions troops etc, to which ever front.
Tiny amounts? Upon the kickoff of BARBAROSSA, 88 infantry, 3 motorized infantry and 1 Panzer division were wholly equipped with French motor vehicles. That is roughly 98,000 French motor vehicles alone, most of them Beute vehicles seized from the French military. Then add in the expansion of the GTR for the campaign, which was almost entirely through confiscated French vehicles. I suspect the number is well over 100,000 in total.
This is why I included 50-60k for "Axis troops" .The total numbers are just for war not year by year. USSBS does report some production.

FRANCE 1943= 4757 *3.5 ton & 9359 4.5 ton.
Italy 1944 = 4251+ 2151 *3 ton & 646 *4.4ton
Czech 1943=1376 *3 ton truck plus 1920 trucks =1944.
As I already mentioned, just Peugeot, Citroen, and Renault produced at least 90,000 for the Germans, 45,700 in 1941 alone.
1943 =12,535 AXIS truck production compared to German MILITARY 1943 production of 92,580 trucks. German Civilian production 1943 was 12900 trucks while export was 3513 trucks.

USSBS estimated for 1942 German truck inventory range from 240,000 to 340,000 trucks and I estimated another 50,000 trucks from the civilian economy plus 92,000 from German 1943 industry plus another 12,500 from AXIS industry . Total of 495,000, but the Wehrmacht inventory lists the 1943 figures start as 345,000 truck.
Which USSBS report may those figures be found in? I'm looking at the Motor Vehicle Report and only seeing the vague charts included as Appendix J, which would indicate a total truck inventory of perhaps 340,000 in mid 1942, but no indication of "another' source and the January 1943 figure appears to be 400,000, not 345,000?
That suggest 1943 inventory was 70% of the summation of the 1942 inventory plus 155,000 produced or commandeered from production sources.
I'm sorry, but I do not see where you derive those figures from? They are certainly not in the USSBS.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Jun 2019 00:15

Paul Lakowski wrote:
31 May 2019 04:31
As early as 1927 the Reichswehr purchased farm tractors and mounted hundreds of 37mm PaK & 77mm K light gun and distributed these to the infantry divisions,
Hundreds? There is absolutely no evidence for anything other than a few prototypes of the 3.7cm WD Schlepper 25PS and 7.7cm WD Schlepper 50PS ever being built. Those that were went to the seven existing Kraftfahr-Abteilungen in the Reichswehr infantry divisions.
while 287 light tanks were also ordered & 19 prototyped {Leichtertraktor/Grosstraktor/Neubaufahrzeug} . Early in the 1930s new plans were drawn up for thousand of light tanks plus hundreds of medium tanks built through the 1930s. These became the >1800 Pz-I hulls and >1200 Pz-II hulls plus the ~600 Pz-III/IV hulls.
Huh? Four (4) Leichttraktor were ordered in October 1928, two from Rheinmetall and two from Krupp. They were completed in soft steel in May 1930. They were quickly turned down due to the rear drive, which threw tracks too easily, so Krupp was awarded the contract for single soft steel Kleintraktor in March 1932. The armament of two MG was decided in October 1932 and Krupp was awarded a contract for one in armor plate in March 1933 and four more in soft steel. In July 1933, Krupp received a contract for 135 in armor steel as Landwirtschaftlicher Schlepper (La.S.) without superstructure and the additional Kleintraktor were delivered in August 1933.

The design of the Panzer I was finalized February 1934 and the first production began in April 1934. By 8 October 1935 a total of 1,578, plus 180 Befehlswagen were authorized. 1,589 MG-armed, 184 Befehlswagen, 295 instructional vehicles (without superstructure), and 147 SP chassis were completed by the outbreak of war. Of those, 1,445 MG-armed were still in service as were 1,223 Panzer II, but only 98 Panzer III and 211 Panzer IV.
It appears Krupp prototype for the Pz-I and Pz-II was the same vehicle ,just with bigger 20mm gun turret in the Pz- II version and twin mg in the smaller Pz-I turret. Thus the Pz-I could have been built from the start as Krupp version with a 20mm gun turret, even if it meant diverting those guns from the historic Pz-II production plus existing 20mm Sdkfz 222 armored car production [< 500 gun turrets or 1700 by wartime].
I'm not sure how you got to that assumption? The Panzer IA weighed 5.4 tons, the IB 5.8 tons. The Panzer production Panzer IIC weighed 8.9 tons, and the IID 11 tons. The Panzer II was half t three-quarters of a meter longer, was wider and taller. The IA used a 60 HP engine, the IB a 100 HP one. The production Panzer II was 140 HP.

The Panzer II was developed specifically because they could not figure out how to mount a 20mm gun in a tank the size of the Panzer I. The contact was let in July 1934. It was October 1935 before the first soft steel prototype was tested, so you would think if it was possible to fit the 20mm in the smaller chassis they would have figured out how by then?
To make a difference between Pz-I & II models, the later scout Pz-II hull production could be enlarged to accommodate a 37mm gun turret like the Czech Pz-35t/Pz-38t.
That may have worked better than the 20mm-armed Panzer I idea, but more problematically, the Heer did not want a pint-sized 37mm-armed light tank. They wanted a larger and more capable light tank to pair with the proposed 75mm-armed medium tank.
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