HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Even if the absolute cost of a Uboat or V1 rocket is less than the cost of a liberty ship or B17 bomber, the Allies have resources to spare. Germany doesn't.
Just as I think it's an error to treat Soviet manpower as if it's infinite, so too it's an error to treat Allied economic resources as if infinite.
Mark Harrison has a good compendium of high-level economic stats here: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf
The charts on pages 23-24 are particularly relevant.
By 1942 the Axis block controlled territory with a 1938 GDP of $1,552bil (1990 dollars); for the Allied block the figure was $1,748.8 (excluding China - it's hard to quantify who controlled what in China by 1942 in terms of resources).
If you remove the unoccupied SU's $209bil GDP from the Allies and give most of it to the Axis (as in the ATL) then the bad guys actually control a greater portion of the world's resources than the good guys.
Now of course much of that is occupied Europe, not all of which should be seen as accruing to Germany.
Still, look at the Great Powers GDP's for 1942:
Axis total: 685.8
Allied total: 1,119.1 (USA + UK and Dominions)
The pre-war GDP of occupied/allied Europe plus 70% of the SU is ~$910bil. If we weight those countries' GDP's as worth only 20% of Germany's GDP contribution (per dollar) then the Allied:Axis ratio is still only 1.3.
A 1.3 economic ratio is in the ballpark of the combat effectiveness ratio of German soldiers to the Western Allies (See Dupuy's Hitler's Last Gamble or Zetterling's Normandy 1944), meaning a stalemate as far as a land battle is concerned.
But that stalemate isn't operative if the US/UK are losing air/sea material at a rate 5x what Germany is losing. Or if the US/UK has to spend huge chunks of GDP on items such as shipping and landing craft that Germany can ignore.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:The Uboat campaign was a disaster for Germany, wasting countless resources and lives and never coming close to putting a dent in the Allied war effort.
I don't think any historian would say this. If anything, the consensus is that Germany underinvested in Uboots during 39-42. After May 1943 the Uboots were ineffective but prior to that their strategic impact was immense.
Shipping was the key constraint on US/UK activity until late in the war. Regarding a 1943 Second Front:
https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... rlord.html
22. General Marshall estimated that the forces required to carry out such an operation with some prospects of success were a balanced force of approximately 48 divisions of ground troops, 6,500 combat aircraft, 7,000 landing craft, and the necessary support forces, replacements and reserves. As Britain could not supply more than about 2/5ths of this requirement, the United States would have to provide approximately 1,000,000 men, 3,650 aircraft, and about half the assault craft. General Marshall appreciated that an operation on the required scale could not be mounted before September 1 1942; that weather conditions precluded a cross channel offensive from September until April; and that, therefore, an invasion could not be scheduled until 1 April 1943, at the earliest. Even a target date of 1 April 1943 would be exceedingly difficult to meet. Trans-Atlantic shipping and the supply of landing craft were the bottlenecks. In General Marshall's view, the shortage of landing craft could be made good prior to April 1943 by new construction, provided the operation was definitely scheduled and both Britain and the United States resolved to carry out the necessary program.
The key determinant shipping capacity was shipbuilding vs. ship losses.
The 14.1 million tons GRT sunk by Uboats - at least 90% of them before mid-1943 - were a better defense of the Atlantic Wall than anything else in the Wehrmacht. Without Uboats, the Allies could have landed in France in '43 in addition to conducting peripheral operations.
14.1mil GRT represents ~2,000 Liberty ships (~7,000 GRT apiece) or $28 billion worth of ships (~$2mil apiece).
By contrast, the ~400 Uboats lost through 1943, at 4mil RM apiece, cost 1.6bil RM or ~$400mil USD.
That's a 70-1 production cost loss ratio and if you include cargo sunk it's probably double that ratio.
As I said above, US/UK resources weren't infinite and loss ratios like the good years of the Uboot campaign did a lot to even the playing field in terms of war-making potential. By the second half of 1945 the Uboots would have been back in business with hundreds of Type XXI's.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:And the V1/V2 were just a nuisance, making the British more determined to rid the world of Hitler.
I was just making the point that OTL Hitler didn't allow his rage to compel wasteful large-scale spending on strategic bombers and that ATL Hitler wouldn't have done so either.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:And not when they could count on their allies and subjects to provide the majority of land forces, and not when the trench warfare of WWI was ancient history for the Allies 100% motorized armies that went from Normandy to the Elbe in under a year.
A lot to unpack here:
- UK didn't rely on its colonial subjects to provide a majority of combat land forces - only a few Indian divisions saw frontline service. Re the Dominion subjects, they were basically independent by WW2 though highly aligned with Britain. Australia, for instance, forced the UK to extract its soldiers from Tobruk during the first siege and withdrew most of its forces from the Middle East after Singapore's fall (Churchill tried and failed to order them to Burma instead of back to Oz).
- Politically I can't see the US public backing a war in Europe where it does all the fighting and the Brits stay home.
- The Allied armies advanced so quickly because they had a ~4-1 numerical advantage. Absent a numerical advantage they'd be lucky to hold in Europe.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:strategically, the attacker had the advantage of choosing where to attack. Germany had to defend all of continental Europe, from Norway to France to Italy to Greece and the Caucasus. The Allies could simply choose one spot at a time, whenever they felt like it, to bring overwhelming force. Which is basically what they did in OTL.
You're overestimating Allied strategic mobility. A seaborne strategic offensive required at least months-long commitments of landing craft and buildup of forces. This did not escape German notice. When the Allies invaded Italy, the commitment of landing craft to the Med was the final nail in the coffin of a 1943 France invasion. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... tions.html
Those Med craft later provided the lift for Anvil/Dragoon (same cite).
I don't disagree that the Allies could have picked off Norway or Crete if they wanted to but pretty much anywhere the Wehrmacht can drive/walk they would be able to mass overwhelming force in a matter of weeks. Zetterling's Normandy 1944 has a good discussion of the limited impact of Allied air interdiction on road-based troop movements during Normandy (see pages 45-47).
Plus with greater German economic resources (occupied SU and Eastern Europe) and less focus on army production, Allied air supremacy over invasion sites is unlikely and even air superiority isn't guaranteed. Absent air supremacy it's hard to see an invasion going forward.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Yeah but Germany doesn't have the resources to build railroads all over Russia, while defending an entire continent against two to three world powers.
From southern Poland to Rostov to Baku is ~1,500 miles.
Typical rails weigh ~100t/mile. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_profile
Building a brand-new two-track railway (4 rails) would use ~600,000t of steel or less than 2% of Germany's OTL 1943 steel. viewtopic.php?t=164666
A completely new, 1,500mi two-track road is probably overkill but it's well within Germany's resources.
Don't forget that Europe was still the center of the world economy in this period and that Germany controls nearly all of it in this ATL (and OTL to a lesser extent).