The State of the Ostheer - May 1942

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Aida1
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Re: The State of the Ostheer - May 1942

Post by Aida1 » 02 Feb 2020 13:47

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 04:09
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
01 Feb 2020 16:10
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Feb 2020 06:47

Finally, Germany out-produced the SU in ammunition until the last days of the war. Ammo production exceeded the value of ALL German land weapons production. RKKA counted more guns than Ostheer, but Ostheer's guns did far more shooting.
Source for this?
I'm going off memory and don't have the books at hand. There's been some discussion on AHF past, see this post e.g.: viewtopic.php?t=169307&start=135#p1984223

Assuming that's accurate for '42, the German advantage would have been far greater in '43/'44. Soviet war production expanded only marginally over '42 (peak of proportional Soviet war effort and unsustainable per Harrison), whereas German production increased dramatically, including in ammo (as I think figures you've shared show).
Conveniently overlooking Germany fighting on several fronts. Just look at the ratio of forces in 1943 and it was pretty bad for Germany particularly in artillery and tanks.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 02 Feb 2020 14:43

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 06:00


Image

Do the authors explicitly say that these figures do not include combat related deaths?

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Max Payload » 02 Feb 2020 15:08

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 03:32
As I say upthread, the economic disaster of the Winter Crisis '41/42 is under-appreciated. It may have been possible for Germany to prevent/ameliorate this catastrophe via vigorous action in summer '41 once the domestic railroad authorities were crying Cassandra about it.
Combine that with immediate replenishment of the replacement stock for the '42 campaign - necessity of which should have been clear by August at the very latest - and with less needless reinforcement of the West. These measures would have enabled the ~20% increase to Ostheer strength that would have put the SU in crisis by early '43.
I haven't examined the economic argument that would facilitate a 20% increase in Ostheer strength, but the "needless reinforcement of the West" would seem to be a hindsight observation. I doubt the OKW of 1942 would have seen it that way.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 03:32
The Zis-2 was by far the best purpose-built anti-tank gun on any battlefield in 1941.
Agreed. But the decision to stop its production in 1941 shows the main weakness of the Soviet economy. Looking at the gun from its headline stats one wouldn't expect it to be particularly expensive. But it was, probably because the design's sophistication. The Soviets couldn't afford sophisticated designs.
The Zis-2 design was not particularly sophisticated, it was the basis of the ubiquitous Zis-3 divisional gun. The high cost related to the precise engineering required to produce its long barrel. The Soviets also concluded that the cheaper 45mm AT gun was entirely adequate, which was true in 1941 but not by 1943.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 03:32
Re Operation Saturn achieving its objectives, that's only true of the initial penetration. It intended to cut off Army Groups A/Don by seizing Rostov in their rear.
I wasn't (post #110) referring to Operation Saturn, which was never undertaken, but to Operation Little Saturn the objective of which was not Rostov.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 03:32
Mars was not a strategic defeat, it was a failure of a major offensive to achieve any significant gains and at huge cost. Strategically it changed almost nothing.
This is sort of semantics. I think the defeat of a strategic offensive is a strategic defeat.
Had Germany showed the ability to defeat all strategic offensives - i.e. to render the Eastern Front a sustained stalemate - I'm pretty sure Stalin would have accepted a compromise peace.
That is to say, repeated defeat of strategic offensives would have led to a different war outcome. Sounds like strategic defeat to me but ymmv.
Sorry about the semantics, but for me, a strategic failure should have strategic consequences. The failure of Operation Mars did not. Now, if Spark, Uranus, Mars and (Little) Saturn had all failed, I agree, that would have been a strategic failure with strategic consequences.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 03:48
@Max Payload

One other thematic point I wanted to make about "closeness."

In comparing relative equipment strength at a particular moment, the impact of a small change in production can be much more significant than the %delta to production from the small change. This is because equipment stock at Time X is a matter of [Production - Losses] between an earlier Time Y and Time X.

On the Eastern Front, each sides frontline equipment stock was usually a small percentage of annual production - say 20% or so. Churn due to losses was enormous, particularly for the Soviets.

Using a 20%-of-production baseline for deployed equipment, a 10% annual production delta could mean a 50% deployed delta at some critical moment.
It's easy to imagine a 50% delta to deployed Ostheer equipment in '42 having dramatic consequences for '42 outcomes...
...and it's easy to forecast 10% higher German army weapons production given avoidance of the '41/42 Winter Crisis.
I don't see how a 10% increase in production produces a 50% increase in deployed assets, particularly when logistical constraints were often as significant as production capacity it terms of what was available on the battlefield.


The chart in post #117 was interesting, thanks for posting it. Unless I am misreading the data, it seems that 1943 was the peak year for non-infant deaths. Also Yuri's comments about the demographic shifts in the region during this period (post #119) seem to be entirely valid - lies, dammed lies and statistics?
Yet clearly, there was little slack in the Soviet food production/distribution system and the loss of more productive farmland could have caused a crisis, but I fail to see why you are dismissive of a possible solution - increased LL food supplies. The Soviets received millions of tons of foodstuffs through LL but that was only a fraction of the total tonnage of supplies delivered. Clearly the US would not have cut domestic consumption to feed the SU but it could have supplied more from its own reserves and it could have purchased more from the global market. As for distribution, I'm not sure that the analogy with 1946/7 is valid - there seem to have been post-war political machinations at work that exacerbated the problem. As for 1943, surely every kilogram of LL food consumed somewhere (say by military personnel) would have increased the availability of domestically produced food elsewhere. And if the Soviet food distribution system coped with the loss of supplies from Ukraine, it must surely have been able to cope with increased supplies from Vladivostok, the North Cape and the Persian route.
I don’t know if productivity data is available for this period, but in its absence the extent to which levels of malnutrition may actually have threatened the Soviet war effort might perhaps be judged by the output of war material. In terms of weaponry, only the production of Soviet guns and mortars declined significantly during the war, but that seems to have been because inventory levels were rising steadily through 1942 and 1943 until by the beginning of 1944, with nearly a quarter of a million guns and mortars on its books, the RA had all it needed (production in 1944 was 47,300 - sufficient to keep stock levels constant). Production of combat aircraft rose from 21,700 in 1942 to 33,200 in 1944 (inventory numbers rising from 21,900 at the end of 1942 to 43,300 at the end of 1944). Tank/SPG production rose from 24,500 in 1942 to 29,000 in 1944 with inventory numbers rising from 20,600 at the end of 1942 to 35,400 at the end of 1944. (Data from Krivosheev - Tables 93 and 94).

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 02 Feb 2020 16:51

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Do the authors explicitly say that these figures do not include combat related deaths?
I can't remember them bringing that up. Are you thinking it maybe includes evacuated wounded who later died? Good question but having read the book and spent some time with the authors, I just can't imagine them missing something like that.

For me, the fact that the adult-male group with the lowest mortality is 20-29yo's rules that possibility out:

Image

40-49yo's were the most impacted; there were very few such men in the Red Army and most of them would have been higher officers and others less likely to die in battle.

EDIT: Maybe the male/female disparity in deaths inspired your question? The authors have a section discussing the (apparently) well-known fact that females show greater resilience to food deprivation. I can send you most of the book, btw, but your DM's aren't working...
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Feb 2020 17:23

Max Payload wrote:
02 Feb 2020 15:08
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 03:32
As I say upthread, the economic disaster of the Winter Crisis '41/42 is under-appreciated. It may have been possible for Germany to prevent/ameliorate this catastrophe via vigorous action in summer '41 once the domestic railroad authorities were crying Cassandra about it.
Combine that with immediate replenishment of the replacement stock for the '42 campaign - necessity of which should have been clear by August at the very latest - and with less needless reinforcement of the West. These measures would have enabled the ~20% increase to Ostheer strength that would have put the SU in crisis by early '43.
I haven't examined the economic argument that would facilitate a 20% increase in Ostheer strength, but the "needless reinforcement of the West" would seem to be a hindsight observation. I doubt the OKW of 1942 would have seen it that way.
Er, "vigorous action in summer '41" is also a hindsight observation as is "immediate replenishment of the replacement stock for the '42 campaign". I'm also unsure what the first is in reference to - what "economic disaster of the Winter Crisis '41/42" - and how the latter happens...was there a spigot they were supposed to turn that would rain trained personnel? The notion there was some form of "reinforcement of the West" in 1942 - needless or otherwise - is odd too.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Aida1 » 02 Feb 2020 17:24

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 03:32

Combine that with immediate replenishment of the replacement stock for the '42 campaign - necessity of which should have been clear by August at the very latest - and with less needless reinforcement of the West. These measures would have enabled the ~20% increase to Ostheer strength that would have put the SU in crisis by early '43.
Too much hindsight here. At the time there were very good reasons for reinforcing the west as there was a perceived threat of an allied landing which you ignore. Germany faced more than the USSR .

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 02 Feb 2020 17:27

Max Payload wrote:I haven't examined the economic argument that would facilitate a 20% increase in Ostheer strength, but the "needless reinforcement of the West" would seem to be a hindsight observation. I doubt the OKW of 1942 would have seen it that way.
Defend everything and you defend nothing...
I don't recall OKW's take on the issue but recall that Jodl, Keitel, et. al. were basically Hitler's yes men. If he said move forces west I wouldn't anticipate much disagreement out loud regardless of their inner thoughts.
Max Payload wrote:Also Yuri's comments about the demographic shifts in the region during this period (post #119) seem to be entirely valid - lies, dammed lies and statistics?
See nextish reply for my response. I don't buy it and the authors offer a clear baseline for population increase in each chart, and in each case mortality delta is multiples of population delta.
Clearly the US would not have cut domestic consumption to feed the SU but it could have supplied more from its own reserves and it could have purchased more from the global market.
How large were US reserves? On the global market the only significant source would be Latin America. I'm guessing if food were out there to be had, it would have been being bought by the U.S. Not sure on stats for U.S. food imports during WW2 though. Anybody?

At 3lb of food per person per day (including packaging), feeding 10% of 120mil Soviets would have required ~5mil tons of supplies. Total LL aid to Russia in '43 was 4.4mil tons. So you need to cancel all other LL aid and find a bit more shipping resources. Shipping was the THE constraint on Wallied war effort in '43 and it's gotta come from somewhere. Obviously losing all LL military aid is going to cost innumerable Soviet lives. Loss of ~half of explosives consumed by RA, for example, would be disastrous. As would loss of all those radios.
It'd be a really serious quandary where the Allies might repurpose enough shipping to move the food (if they get it from neutrals or their own people somehow) along with the most essential non-food LL aid, but only at serious cost to Wallied operations. Might have to scrap Husky, for example, instead of cutting all non-food LL to SU.
And if the Soviet food distribution system coped with the loss of supplies from Ukraine, it must surely have been able to cope with increased supplies from Vladivostok, the North Cape and the Persian route.
I don't follow. The problem I'm pointing up is one of distribution. Losing Ukraine solved the "problem" of distributing its surplus, so it made things easier on the administrative side but harder on the "staying alive" side.
I don’t know if productivity data is available for this period, but in its absence the extent to which levels of malnutrition may actually have threatened the Soviet war effort might perhaps be judged by the output of war material.
The question is to what extent productivity would have been higher were the workforce better fed. I don't see the relevance of annual production trends that question. Workforce health increased from '43 on, as did production, but there's too many confounding variables for me to see a quantifiable relationship. For example, every nation saw productivity gains with time.

I feel confident saying that a workforce experiencing abnormal starvation-related mortality/morbidity is one whose productivity is impacted by its food supply.
The Zis-2 design was not particularly sophisticated, it was the basis of the ubiquitous Zis-3 divisional gun. The high cost related to the precise engineering required to produce its long barrel.
Thanks, that makes more sense to me.
Still, same practical effect: as a poor country, SU couldn't afford sophisticated engineering behind a functionally-simple item anymore more than it could afford functionally-sophisticated items.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 02 Feb 2020 17:46

Yuri wrote:All healthy men aged 18-55 in the cities of the Urals were called up to the red Army. At the same time, the population of the Urals in 1941-1942 grew at the expense of people evacuated from the Western regions of the USSR. Arrived men aged 20-59 years are people who are not suitable for military service, that is, suffering from diseases. In addition, the authors did not take into account that in 1942-1943, evacuees from Leningrad arrived in the Urals, that is, people who were already "killed" by hunger arrived in the Urals.
First, very few men aged 40-59 were drafted compared to 20-29yo's. Yet the less-drafted group showed the greatest increase in mortality. Were the draftee/deferred selection bias to explain the effect, 20-29yo's would have seen the largest delta to mortality.
Second, I can't imagine that men deferred from the military have 3-6x the likelihood of dying in their 20's or 30's in civilian life.
Third - evacuees from Leningrad in 1943/44?
Yuri wrote:There will be famine in the Urals if and only if there is a drought. And the inhabitants of villages, not cities, will die of hunger. Delivering food to the city is not a problem, the cities are located on railway lines
None of that matters when there's not enough food to deliver.
As the authors state, probable explanation of higher Urals worker mortality is that garden plots were less productive and available in that region compared to more fertile areas like the Volga Basin and the Siberian plain.
But adult mortality increased **EVERYWHERE** in the SU, not just the Urals. The authors find that starvation-related deaths increased everywhere. The Urals were simply the most-impacted.
Finally, my experience of working in the village until the age of 15 and therefore, I can:
That's pretty cool. My grandpa was also from a small village in the U.S. (so rural and German that he attended German-language schools until he was 9 or so). He taught me to fish and pick strawberries but not quite as much as yours taught you (he also killed Nazis).
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 02 Feb 2020 18:18, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 02 Feb 2020 17:53

Richard Anderson wrote:I'm also unsure what the first is in reference to - what "economic disaster of the Winter Crisis '41/42"
I strongly recommend "The Wages of Destruction" by Adam Tooze. He's not a WW2 specialist but the book contains a lot of good information, including on the Winter Crisis.

I also recommend "Most Valuable Asset of the Reich: A History of the German National Railway, Volume 2" by Mierzejewski.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 02 Feb 2020 18:26

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 16:51
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Do the authors explicitly say that these figures do not include combat related deaths?
I can't remember them bringing that up. Are you thinking it maybe includes evacuated wounded who later died?
I'm wondering if the chart includes residents of these regions who were sent to the front and died. I agree that it would be an odd thing for the authors to omit.

Overall I agree with many of your points. The Soviet Union was throughly ravaged by the war and any other country likely would have collapsed. If the war were fought solely between Germany and the Soviet Union with no outside interference or help, Germany would have won easily.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 02 Feb 2020 18:41

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:I agree that it would be an odd thing for the authors to omit.
Unimaginable IMO. This chart:

Image

...shows that they looked at the "cause of death" certificates - or metadata on those certificates. Maybe it's hidden in the "residual" category but if so it's omitted from their analysis of starvation-relation deaths, on which they base their conclusions.

Plus mortality delta was higher for Urals and Siberia than for Volga and Western Russia. I doubt that very many mortally-wounded men were evacuated out of European Russia and that, if they were meant to go there, they arrived alive.
The Soviet Union was throughly ravaged by the war and any other country likely would have collapsed.
Yeah it's simply astounding. Imagine working 12hrs/day in arguably the country's most important factory (70% of T-34 production in Nizhny Tagil Tractor IIRC) and being fed so poorly that young male coworkers are literally dying. And still showing up day after day until you cannot stand - literally - anymore.

...we have to be careful not to slip into "othering" these people on account of the sheer foreignness of it all - at least I do. Many other areas show the range of normal human behaviors such as draft dodging/evasion and hoarding. Topic for another thread...
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Yuri » 02 Feb 2020 18:59

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 16:51
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Do the authors explicitly say that these figures do not include combat related deaths?
I can't remember them bringing that up. Are you thinking it maybe includes evacuated wounded who later died? Good question but having read the book and spent some time with the authors, I just can't imagine them missing something like that.

For me, the fact that the adult-male group with the lowest mortality is 20-29yo's rules that possibility out:

Image

40-49yo's were the most impacted; there were very few such men in the Red Army and most of them would have been higher officers and others less likely to die in battle.

EDIT: Maybe the male/female disparity in deaths inspired your question? The authors have a section discussing the (apparently) well-known fact that females show greater resilience to food deprivation. I can send you most of the book, btw, but your DM's aren't working...
For what year is this schedule?

Difference in mortality between the Ural region and the Western Siberian region:
in groups from 16-19 to 50-59, exceeding the Ural region;
in groups of 60 and above, exceeding Western Siberia.
This can be explained by the fact that the Urals is a more industrial region.
The death rate from accidents in industrial production is higher.
Moreover, it is known that in the age group of 30-39, the death rate from accidents is higher than in other age groups. A person at this age is in the Prime of life, he is more self-confident, his vigilance is dulled, while the risk appetite remains high. After 40 years, people are less likely to take risks.
It is clear that during the war there was a decrease in the requirements for compliance with safety rules in the production of works.

It is very important to divide the 16-19 group into two, or better, three groups: 16 years old; 17 years old and 18-19 years old. If the difference between 15 and 16 years is small, then we can confidently say that the main reason for the increased mortality in the groups from 18 to 59 years is changes in the demographics that I mentioned earlier.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Feb 2020 19:07

Here I always thought peek-a-boo referencing was frowned upon.

Is Mr. Plan referring to the German oil crisis (pp. 493-494), the monetary crisis (pp. 494-497), or the industrial crisis (pp. 497-499) when referencing The Wages of Destruction? Oh, wait, no, there apparently was a "domestic railroad" crisis? Is that a reference to pp. 413-414? Wait, that's winter 40/41 and not domestic. Maybe pp. 343-344? No, that's domestic, but winter of 1939/1940.

Oh, heck, of course, he's actually referencing Mierzejewski, except p. 163, the "crisis" was maybe not so much a crisis since '[The DRB] faced a major crisis in the winter of 1941-42, which it eventually mastered using its well-tried procedures." So I guess not much of a disaster except for the bureaucratic loss to the DRB?

Meanwhile, what does any of that have to do with "immediate replenishment of the replacement stock for the '42 campaign" and "less needless reinforcement of the West"? Where is the spigot and what reinforcement of the West?
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Yuri » 02 Feb 2020 19:26

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 17:46
Yuri wrote:All healthy men aged 18-55 in the cities of the Urals were called up to the red Army. At the same time, the population of the Urals in 1941-1942 grew at the expense of people evacuated from the Western regions of the USSR. Arrived men aged 20-59 years are people who are not suitable for military service, that is, suffering from diseases. In addition, the authors did not take into account that in 1942-1943, evacuees from Leningrad arrived in the Urals, that is, people who were already "killed" by hunger arrived in the Urals.
First, very few men aged 40-59 were drafted compared to 20-29yo's. Yet the less-drafted group showed the greatest increase in mortality. Were the draftee/deferred selection bias to explain the effect, 20-29yo's would have seen the largest delta to mortality.
Already in September 1941, men who were fit for health reasons from 45 to 50 years old were called up to the Sapper army (in total, 10 sapper armies were created in the Red Army with a total number of 600,000 people). The age was then raised to 55.
Sapper armies were created on the basis of military construction departments. They were engaged in the construction of state defense lines from June 23, 1941. The last line was roughly as follows: West of line the Astrakhan-Stalingrad-Penza (650 km East of Moscow)-Kazan-Gorky.
The Paulus 6th Army and the Hoth 4th Panzer Army stormed the defense lines in August-September 1942, which were built in November 1941 and restored after the end of the spring flood in June 1942.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 17:46
Third - evacuees from Leningrad in 1943/44?
Why 43/44?
I wrote 42/43, Yes evacuated via lake Ladoga.
Last edited by Yuri on 02 Feb 2020 19:40, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 02 Feb 2020 19:33

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2020 18:41

Unimaginable IMO. This chart:

Image

...shows that they looked at the "cause of death" certificates - or metadata on those certificates. Maybe it's hidden in the "residual" category but if so it's omitted from their analysis of starvation-relation deaths, on which they base their conclusions.

Yeah, but it's still just two separate charts. We aren't seeing any narrative explanation for how they are related.

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