The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Jan 2021 04:20

KDF33 wrote:
25 Jan 2021 01:32
Oh, I don't actually think it was likely for Hitler to take action. My argument is really just that the capability was there.
Good, agreed. That we can identify the capability - and the requirement - 79 years later doesn't of course say a damned thing about what they might have been able to identify then, with events cascading down on them.
My understanding of the overall picture is that Germany had a similar level of manpower mobilization - either military or industrial - as the U.K. in the period in question. Increasing production meant either radicalizing German mobilization (which they did after Moscow, largely to restore frontline strength) and/or instituting a program of forced foreign labor on the lines of what they did in March 1942.
We're looking at multiple things actually. There is manpower mobilization, then there is economic mobilization, and also resource mobilization, which are all interrelated. The UK mobilized very quickly, faster than the Germans, in really all respects, but then fell behind as the risk of actually losing started to recede. The Germans, like the Soviets, mobilized more effectively in toto, but just a bit slower than the British and Soviets, primarily because they believed they were winning.

One of the problems for the Germans is that they over-mobilized WRT manpower in 1939-1940, expecting they had a tough fight against the Franco-British coalition. It affected industrial output and the organization of the armed forces well into 1942.
The impetus to imagine such radical measures was simply absent before December 1941. The Germans even slashed Heer armaments production pretty steeply in the second half of 1941. They were operating under the assumption that Barbarossa was a simple precursor to the partial demobilization of the Heer and the subsequent reorientation of their war effort towards fighting the U.K. and, probably, the U.S.
The constant reallocation of resources as different assumptions about the state of the war percolated through the German leadership was a problem well identified by Tooze.
So although I agree that it was unlikely to happen, the ATL is still interesting inasmuch as it illustrates how the assumptions and decisions (or absence of decisions) of the period from July 1940 to December 1941 had a decisive, shaping effect on the latter course of the German manpower deployment and armaments production.
Very true. My problem comes when the impetus is declared to be "they think harder".
For what it's worth, my opinion is that, had the Germans realized that Barbarossa was unrealistic as a short campaign, they would have mobilized the resources of Europe in a more broad-based fashion than to just form 5 extra Panzer divisions - and in the final analysis I suspect TMP agrees with this. Then again, Hitler was unlikely to see the need before it stared him in the face, given how wishful thinking was such a core aspect of his personality.
I don't think anyone realized that the entire German war plan - such as it was - was little more than opportunistic jumping from one fire to another, without any real thought as to what the outcome might be or how to put the fires out. It makes the American war planning for Iraq 2002 look like pure genius.
If I allow myself the indulgence to do a bit of pop psychology, I'd even argue that the German leadership needed to see Barbarossa as an easy and brief land grab, given the scope of their predicament if it was otherwise.
Indeed, it may be they had to see it that way, because it was the least unpalatable way out of the mess they had gotten into.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Jan 2021 05:03

Richard Anderson wrote:That we can identify the capability - and the requirement - 79 years later doesn't of course say a damned thing about what they might have been able to identify then, with events cascading down on them.
A classic truism.

Correctly identifying why the Germans failed to defeat Russia, and correctly identifying that they had the capability to avert such a failure, is obviously not the same thing as correctly identifying why the Germans failed correctly to identify the minimum conditions of victory Russia.

That requires another turn of the screw.

Nonetheless acknowledging that Germany possessed the capability to launch a successful invasion of Barbarossa is usefully clarifying, as it allows the inquiry to proceed to the question to why Germany failed to mobilize power that was within its capabilities.
Richard Anderson wrote:I don't think anyone realized that the entire German war plan - such as it was - was little more than opportunistic jumping from one fire to another, without any real thought as to what the outcome might be or how to put the fires out.
Hmmm. Well let's compare it to Allied war plans...

For Britain/France in 1939: Let's fight a country that almost beat us last time, but this time we won't have Russia on our side and, btw, the British army will be ~20% of last time. That should go well. Whoops.

Russia in 1939: Germany will bleed white against France/Britain and then we will - ah sh*t.

For post-France W.Allies, version 1: Germany is sure to beat Russia but no worries, the Bomber Always Gets Through. We will flatten Germany then stroll into Europe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_Program

Post-France W.Allies, version 2: Russia better win or we'll never beat Germany. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=252647

Every W.Allied war plan became a shambles except the one they refused to accept in 1939 and predicted would not happen in 1941: Communism saved the West. The were cocky fools saved by a country whose help they once spurned, whose endurance they couldn't imagine.

That Communism saved the West relied on the pure luck of Nazism under-estimating Communism.

The explanatory narrative of WW2 that most believe is dead wrong. The counterfactual of Germany actually employing against Russia the military potential that it possessed illustrates this fact. It is a matter of pure luck that Hitler didn't order the invasion of Russia to be as well-planned as the invasion of France.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by T. A. Gardner » 25 Jan 2021 05:22

The British strategic plan, post fall of France was the same one they'd used many times before. That is:

Keep pressure on the enemy--be it "Boney" Napoleon or Adolph Hitler--by peripheral sniping. That is, commando raids, attacking coastal targets with the Royal Navy, or campaigns on the edge of the German empire like in N. Africa. The bombing campaign is another example of this.

At sea, keep the enemy from winning a guerre de course of merchant raiding using the appropriate kind(s) of ships. For WW 2 this is mostly cruisers and ASW escorts.

Seek allies that can help you crush your enemy. Thus, the Soviet Union became one, then the US another.

Communism didn't "save the West." Communism--well, the Russians--ground Germany down and bled them white. Britain helped make that possible by tying down masses of troops and resources in the West through their sniping. Then the US piled on and between the US and Russia they stomped the Germans into the ground.

The German war plan was the one that had the major flaws.

It was a case of Just one more victory and we'll have it all... Be it that victory is Poland, or France, Britain, or Russia. Each time the war expanded but wasn't won. Each time Germany teetered closer to defeat over-extending themselves to the point of breaking. It was a recipe for failure.
After France, Hitler should have stopped, but he just couldn't do that. He wanted it all, not one bite.

Britain knew they could hang in successfully in a low intensity war biding their time until they had the allies to win and Germany was exhausted.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Jan 2021 06:09

T.A. Gardner wrote:The British strategic plan [...]

Seek allies that can help you crush your enemy
Yeah exactly. The plan was to find someone who had a plan. Everything else you list is a plan for endurance, not for final victory.

That's why I didn't bother to differentiate America's Victory Program from the W.Allies' plan. There's no British plan for victory absent American/Russian plans. Once the original American plan failed, Britain and America had to rely on the Russian plan. Had the Russian plan failed, there was no even arguably viable victory plan until the A-bomb.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by T. A. Gardner » 25 Jan 2021 06:54

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 06:09
T.A. Gardner wrote:The British strategic plan [...]

Seek allies that can help you crush your enemy
Yeah exactly. The plan was to find someone who had a plan. Everything else you list is a plan for endurance, not for final victory.

That's why I didn't bother to differentiate America's Victory Program from the W.Allies' plan. There's no British plan for victory absent American/Russian plans. Once the original American plan failed, Britain and America had to rely on the Russian plan. Had the Russian plan failed, there was no even arguably viable victory plan until the A-bomb.
Again wrong. Britain's plan was one of a delaying action of attrition while seeking allies. The original US plan would likely have worked only Britain refused to go along with it insisting instead on a continuation of the peripheral sniping they liked so much. An excellent example is Churchill's push for a Greek campaign instead of invading Italy.

The US plan, such as doing Roundup and invading the mainland in late 1942 would have worked. Germany was at a nadir in terms of condition at that time having been beaten at Alamein and in Russia at Stalingrad--or on the verge of being so. German occupation troops in France were at a low.
All the US had to do was get ashore and establish a fair sized beachhead that they could defend. Britain refused to go along with this plan thus the invasion of French colonies in N. Africa.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Jan 2021 07:09

T.A. Gardner wrote:The original US plan would likely have worked only Britain refused to go along with it insisting instead on a continuation of the peripheral sniping they liked so much.
So Britain's plan to find an ally that had a plan for final victory would have worked if:
  • 1. Britain listened to the ally's plan for victory and
  • 2. Russia had remained in the field in late '42, something for which Britain did not plan.
Somebody else's plan to win is still essential to Britain winning, you're just adding the helpful proviso that Britain needed actually to follow somebody else's plan rather than to torpedo it.

Okay - granted. I should have said that Britain's plan was to find an ally who had a plan but they needed to listen to that ally once they found them, and needed things to happen for which they did not plan. My mistake.

You didn't address, btw, the part of Britain's plan where Germany takes Western Europe. A clever ploy?
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Peter89 » 25 Jan 2021 08:24

The British had a traditional foreign policy in the Concert of Europe, ever since the hundred years war, when they were finally expulsed from the continent. That policy has been - and is - to divide the continent; in return, the traditional French / continental foreign policy has been - and is - to divide the British into Scotts, Irish, Welsh and English.

The British had to keep their isles safe and wait for the economy to collapse, and the overthrow or weakening of the Nazi system. As an acquintence of mine likes to put it, the Germans lost the war because they made enemies faster than they could kill. The thing is that anyone in the concert of Europe would make enemies faster than they could kill, every nation has domestic opposition from socialand ethnic issues, so the British policy was actually an effective one.

There had to be a series of coalitions to defeat Napoleon and the French, but it was done in the end. The British could care less if it was the Soviets whom they had to ally with - they were fostering governments-in-exile from countries to be surrendered to the SU, and I bet they slept like babies at night. All that mattered was to restore the balance on the continent. When the Soviets overextended their influence, they started to disintegrate that as soon as they've awakened up from victory.

In Europe, the Germanic / Latin / Slavic peoples are roughly equally represented, with a tiny addition of Finnugoric nations. To start a foreign policy based on ethnic background means you have twice the enemies than your own. Also, there were multiple castes in German society who despised Hitler, meaning, there was a future for Germany in an event of a German defeat.

A lot of people like to think that Germany controlled the whole continent by 1941, but it wasn't so. Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy and Finnland were under their own administration, and were never integrated into the Reich's economy.

Ofc the Germans could have overrun these countries one by one, but they couldn't administrate them in an effective manner on the long term.

Effective administration and development of these countries were dependent on seaborne trade, something that Germany couldn't provide.

It's interesting to research why Franco didn't join the Axis or why Spain wasn't attacked, but the point is that Britain and the US controlled the world's trade, and Europe could not survive for long without trade with the rest of the world. From late 1941, rationing became more and more serious, and Germany could be fed only by the systematic starvation of the rest of the continent.

All these things point into the direction that German rule on the continent could not last long, and the British policy would yield results eventually.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Yoozername » 25 Jan 2021 09:57

Yoozername wrote:
24 Jan 2021 06:35
No. It is OBVIOUSLY about whether the Germans could do.... "The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940'

I guess you didn't read through thead 30 pages?
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by KDF33 » 25 Jan 2021 15:12

Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Jan 2021 04:20
The UK mobilized very quickly, faster than the Germans, in really all respects, but then fell behind as the risk of actually losing started to recede. The Germans, like the Soviets, mobilized more effectively in toto, but just a bit slower than the British and Soviets, primarily because they believed they were winning.
I disagree with this. Germany was significantly more mobilized than the U.K. manpower-wise in 1940, and in terms of GDP allocated to the war effort both countries were similar in the early war period. Both countries also produced a similar output of armaments in 1941-2, which makes sense given that their metalworking industries employed a comparable number of people.

USSBS has data for German employment producing for the civilian economy. It shows:

31.5.1939: 26.1 / 39.4 million
31.5.1940: 22.6 / 35.6 million
31.5.1941: 21.5 / 35.7 million
31.5.1942: 19.7 / 35.3 million
31.5.1943: 19.3 / 36.5 million
31.5.1944: 18.3 / 35.8 million

With the exception of the initial mobilization, the yearly drawdown is of 5.15% of the workforce employed in the civilian economy. 1940-1 is 4.9% and 1943-4 is 5.2%.

1941-2 and 1942-3 differ, although combined they still average out at 5.25%. 1941-2 is 8.4%, and coincides with an absolute reduction in the size of the German workforce. This shows the impact of the post-Moscow mobilization drive to increase the size of the Army. Of note, the industrial workforce employed in producing for the armed forces stagnates at 8.2 million between 31.5.1941 and 31.5.1942.

The Germans then bounce back in 1942-3, with the size of their workforce reaching a war-time high of 36,527,000 on 31.5.1943. This is achieved via the conscription of forced labor. Of special significance is the industrial workforce, which grows from 10 to 11.2 million, thus accounting for the entirety of the absolute increase, it being exclusively dedicated to producing for the armed forces.

The British, by contrast, are much less mobilized at the declaration of war. They then gradually and steadily increase employment producing for the armed forces until they peak in the first half of 1943, and then at first slowly and slightly (before Normandy) and then more rapidly (after Normandy) decline to the end of the war.

Germany, meanwhile, effectively has two peaks: late 1940 to 1941, where given the respective size of their industrial labor and armed forces, Germany and the U.K. have a similar level of armament production, and late 1943 to 1944, where Germany overtakes the U.K. (and the USSR) by conscripting forced foreign labor.

Here's a comparison of the German and British workforce producing for the armed forces in the metalworking industries. Date is 31 May / June:

1940: 2,276,000 / 1,943,200
1941: 2,727,000 / 2,666,300
1942: 3,074,000 / 3,318,400
1943: 3,607,000 / 3,620,800
1944: 4,000,000 + / 3,466,000

Sources are USSBS for Germany and Statistical Digest of the War for the U.K.

Thus, Germany, on the basis of its own resource base (admittedly already augmented by its early conquests) is more-or-less fully mobilized by the time of Barbarossa. After Moscow, they effectively enslave Europe to reach a previously unattainable level of armament production, given how much of their manpower is in the Wehrmacht.
Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Jan 2021 04:20
One of the problems for the Germans is that they over-mobilized WRT manpower in 1939-1940, expecting they had a tough fight against the Franco-British coalition. It affected industrial output and the organization of the armed forces well into 1942.
I'm curious about this. How did this over-mobilization negatively impact output and the organization of the armed forces in the first half of the war?
Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Jan 2021 04:20
Very true. My problem comes when the impetus is declared to be "they think harder".
In fairness, I don't think it took much insight to appreciate that the Russian campaign would be a life-or-death struggle of continental proportions. I think a more grounded leadership, perhaps less intoxicated by the surprise victory over France, would have ascertained the magnitude of the required effort. I actually wonder if Hitler himself wouldn't have seen it absent May-June 1940.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Jan 2021 18:56

KDF33 wrote:[UK and Germany] also produced a similar output of armaments in 1941-2
At least as regards 1941 (and 40) this doesn't appear true:

1941 topline armaments stats (1,000's)
UK/Germany - UK % delta over Germany

Rifles, Carbines: 79/1359 - UK -94%
Machine guns: 193/96 - UK +101%
Guns: 33/22 - UK +50%
Mortars: 21.7/4.2 -UK +417%
Tanks/SPG: 4.8/3.8- UK +26%
Combat AC: 13.2/8.4 UK +57%
https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/d ... 1&type=pdf

Main items missing: Germany's large edge in ammunition production, Britain's large edge in shipbuilding (military and merchant). Might add slightly more to German production than British?

Given that the German economy was 1/3 larger than Britain's in 1939, the disparity is all the more remarkable.
KDF33 wrote:Germany was significantly more mobilized than the U.K. manpower-wise in 1940
Do you mean manpower in the military? Clearly correct. If you mean manpower in military+war industries, probably not (labor would track expenditure, Britain spent proportionately more on war in '40-'41).
KDF33 wrote:in terms of GDP allocated to the war effort both countries were similar in the early war period.
Britain spent ~10% more of its GDP on war in 1940 per Harrison (44% vs. 40%). It's not unreasonable to call that similar but I have to emphasize that another 4% of GDP for Germany would have made a massive difference to weapons production. I know you don't necessarily disagree.

Wagenfuhr's table of German economy-wide production illustrates why:

Image

In '40-'41, Germany spent ~8bn RM on armaments. The RM 4-5bn represented by the delta between British and German war mobilization would have increased total German armaments output by 50%. Had the delta been applied entirely to the Heer, its ordnance program would have been doubled. The equipment delta for a panzer division versus an ID was ~40mil RM. viewtopic.php?f=76&t=250357#p2278637 So the additional funds would be sufficient to convert 100 ID's to panzer divisions, at least theoretically. Again that's not the actual proposal - rubber/gas constraints alone would foreclose another 100 panzer divisions - just an illustration of the scope of German shortfall.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by KDF33 » 25 Jan 2021 20:36

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 18:56
At least as regards 1941 (and 40) this doesn't appear true:

1941 topline armaments stats (1,000's)
UK/Germany - UK % delta over Germany

Rifles, Carbines: 79/1359 - UK -94%
Machine guns: 193/96 - UK +101%
Guns: 33/22 - UK +50%
Mortars: 21.7/4.2 -UK +417%
Tanks/SPG: 4.8/3.8- UK +26%
Combat AC: 13.2/8.4 UK +57%
https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/d ... 1&type=pdf

Main items missing: Germany's large edge in ammunition production, Britain's large edge in shipbuilding (military and merchant). Might add slightly more to German production than British?
The link doesn't work. Is it from Ellis?

In any case, some of the data appears incorrect. Correct figures are:

Machine guns: 39,340 / 79,212
Field and siege guns: 3,391 / 3,940
AT guns: 2,808 / 3,721
Light AA guns: 2,680 / 8,581
Heavy AA guns: 1,555 / 2,065
Mortars: 8,119 / 10,371

Also, ammunition:

Small arms: 1,283,005,000 / 1,343,700,000 rounds
AT and light AA: 25,636,000 / 78,241,000 rounds
Artillery, 75mm +: 13,661,000 / 9,400,000 rounds
Heavy AA, 75mm +: 4,413,000 / 15,400,000 rounds
Rocket artillery: 301,000 / 1,308,000 rounds

For combat aircraft, it was 58,883,362 to 49,979,942 metric tons, a difference of just 18%. Note that Germany completely retooled its fighter production in 1941. If you control for that, output is effectively tied.

Sources are the following for German weapons and BA-MA R 3/1729 for German ammunition. For the U.K., source is Statistical Digest of the War. For aircraft, this and this.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 18:56
Given that the German economy was 1/3 larger than Britain's in 1939, the disparity is all the more remarkable.
The great equalizer was agriculture: in the UK it employed 925,000 - 1,048,000 people during the war, whereas in Germany it employed 10,687,000 - 11,301,000 people.

Mid-1941, UK non-agriculture civilian workforce + military was 20,153,000, whereas in Germany it was 32,228,000. Just non-agriculture civilian workforce was 16,875,000 to 25,028,000. The latter figure was 148% of the UK, but Germany was supporting a larger population base with it. In the metalworking industries producing for the armed forces (ie. armaments and ammunition), it was 2,666,300 to 2,727,000 in favor of Germany, a difference of just 2.2%.

Sources are USSBS for Germany and Statistical Digest of the War for the U.K.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by ljadw » 25 Jan 2021 21:00

One should be careful with the use of Wagenfuhr and the USSBS.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Jan 2021 22:28

KDF33 wrote:The link doesn't work.
It's the link at the bottom of the table - Harrison's Economics of WW2. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/d ... 1&type=pdf

[Can someone tell me how to do the hyperlinked text? I know, I know. Should be easy. Swear I'm not ancient, just tech-challenged.]

I count 2,136 German field guns and 3,515 AT for 1941 per Stormvogel (from Excel tabulation of the table).

Granted re weight vs. frames stats - LW was more concentrated on bombers/transports at this point than RAF.

This is a quick response, I'm somewhat busy today. We appear to have a data problem though and I'm interested to get to the bottom of it.

Even on your figures, however, we still have a smaller British economy at least matching the larger Germans in most air/land categories - plus a massive naval and merchant marine disparity in favor of Britain (the ammo disparity is smaller than I recall - 1941 was the nadir of German ammo output [ridiculously]).

German early-war military expenditure was primarily a story of provisions/kit and salaries, rather than ordnance. I'll drag up some stats later - maybe you have them near at hand. Due to the relatively small share of ordnance, the marginal utility of another point of mobilization to the ordnance picture was far greater for Germany than for any other combatant.
KDF33 wrote:The great equalizer was agriculture: in the UK it employed 925,000 - 1,048,000 people during the war, whereas in Germany it employed 10,687,000 - 11,301,000 people.
This is true but German industrial output - steel, coal, railway t-km, etc. - was substantially larger than British. German and British industrial productivity was roughly equal. http://hi-stat.ier.hit-u.ac.jp/informat ... 92/HdJ.pdf

Plus I'm pretty sure that 11mil ag workers includes a large portion of farm children/spouses and part-time older workers, not sure that's true for British stats. And are the British stats war-time or pre-war? Britain surged ag production during the war; surely that came at a manpower price but I don't have stats at hand. Again I will research this on my own when the time frees up but thought you might have answers at hand.

As much as Tooze hammers the German agriculture point, once war hit its implications were significantly blunted by replacing German manpower with Polish/French and, later, Soviet laborers. It was as if Germany held a "hidden" reserve of high-output manpower. In peacetime the sector's manpower degraded GDP stats but in wartime, via military services, much of this manpower was valued on an equal basis with more efficient German industrial labor.

None of this is to deny that Nazism's atavistic fantasies about the German farmer and the soil harmed German output (just another example of Nazism being militarily inefficient). Just to say Tooze overstates the effect and has been influential on that point.
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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by KDF33 » 26 Jan 2021 05:22

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 22:28
It's the link at the bottom of the table - Harrison's Economics of WW2. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/d ... 1&type=pdf
Got it!
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 22:28
[Can someone tell me how to do the hyperlinked text? I know, I know. Should be easy. Swear I'm not ancient, just tech-challenged.]
It's the button titled "Insert URL". It's just to the left of the water drop symbol (color palette).
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 22:28
I count 2,136 German field guns and 3,515 AT for 1941 per Stormvogel (from Excel tabulation of the table).
Your figure of 2,136 pieces comes from Feldgrau. It omits infantry and mountain guns. With them, you get to 3,827, which is just 3% lower than the Sturmvogel figure of 3,940.

For AT guns, Sturmvogel gives 3,721 and Feldgrau gives 3,515. Both share the same count for Pak 35/36 and Pak 38, but differ significantly in the count of Czech guns. AFAIK Sturmvogel shows acceptances and might include 1940 Czech production? In any event, the difference between both figures is again marginal.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 22:28
We appear to have a data problem though and I'm interested to get to the bottom of it.
I wrote a long, detailed and sourced answer that was disgustingly erased because I timed out and forgot to save before pressing preview.

The cliff notes version is that Harrison is comparing apples and oranges: his British figure for mortars includes smoke mortars for tanks, but only infantry mortars for the Germans, and even then omits the latter's numerous 5 cm light models. For the MGs, the British count is everything from aircraft to ship to tank to infantry MGs (compare 193 thousand to 193,365 in Britain's Statistical Digest of the War), whereas the German figure quite obviously omits aircraft MGs. Given how the other types are subsumed within larger weapon systems, the correct figure for infantry MGs in 1941 is 79,212 German to 39,340 British.

IIRC, similar mistakes show up in Ellis' Brute Force, hence my initial assumption the data came from there.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 22:28
Even on your figures, however, we still have a smaller British economy at least matching the larger Germans in most air/land categories - plus a massive naval and merchant marine disparity in favor of Britain (the ammo disparity is smaller than I recall - 1941 was the nadir of German ammo output [ridiculously]).
Well, the Germans built 219 submarines in 1941, with a surface displacement of ~200,000 tons. Total British warship output (down to landing craft) was 437,200 surface displacement tons in 1941. The Germans also commissioned the Tirpitz in 1941, which adds a further ~50,000 tons. With miscellaneous ships, the ratio can't be much higher than 1.5-to-1 in favor of the British.

As for merchant ships, the German equivalent would be trains, and German rolling stock production absolutely dwarfed British output.

When all is accounted for, German and British armaments production was virtually tied in 1941. Which is unsurprising, given how their metalworking industries employed a similar number of people in production for the armed forces:

Germany, 31.5.1941: 2,727,000 workers
Britain, June 1941: 2,666,300 workers

The interesting part is what the picture looks like when we compare armaments workers + armed forces personnel.

Germany, 31.5.1941: 2,727,000 armaments workers + 7,200,000 Wehrmacht personnel = 9,927,000
Britain, June 1941: 2,666,300 armaments workers + 3,278,000 Armed Forces personnel = 5,944,300

If the Germans had allocated their manpower in the same manner as Britain, it would give us:

Germany, 31.5.1941: 4,452,730 armaments workers + 5,474,270 Wehrmacht personnel = 9,927,000
Britain, June 1941: 2,666,300 armaments workers + 3,278,000 Armed Forces personnel = 5,944,300

This illustrates a point you've previously made on other threads (maybe also this one?): German production was constrained by the size of the Wehrmacht.

Sources, as usual, are USSBS for Germany and Statistical Digest of the War for the U.K.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 22:28
This is true but German industrial output - steel, coal, railway t-km, etc. - was substantially larger than British.
Yes. But the bottleneck for German armaments production was chiefly labor.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 22:28
Plus I'm pretty sure that 11mil ag workers includes a large portion of farm children/spouses and part-time older workers, not sure that's true for British stats. And are the British stats war-time or pre-war? Britain surged ag production during the war; surely that came at a manpower price but I don't have stats at hand. Again I will research this on my own when the time frees up but thought you might have answers at hand.
Both sets of figures seem to be comparable. In 1943, for instance, British working population is 46% of the total, compared to 47% for Germany.

There was limited growth in agriculture employment in Britain, but I guess the growth in AG output would have had to come primarily via capital investment. Data for June of each year, category "agriculture and fishing":

1939: 950,000
1940: 925,000
1941: 981,000
1942: 1,002,000
1943: 1,047,000
1944: 1,048,000
1945: 1,041,000

A highly efficient agriculture is what made Britain competitive with Germany in armaments production during WWII - despite having ~60% of the latter's population.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Jan 2021 22:28
None of this is to deny that Nazism's atavistic fantasies about the German farmer and the soil harmed German output (just another example of Nazism being militarily inefficient). Just to say Tooze overstates the effect and has been influential on that point.
Well, I'd argue it was more a British advantage than a German disadvantage. Even the U.S. had a large share of its workforce employed in agriculture during WW2, to say nothing of the Soviet Union. The British really stood apart from all others.

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Re: The Germans increase Panzer production in the Summer of 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 26 Jan 2021 06:36

KDF33 wrote:
25 Jan 2021 15:12
I disagree with this. Germany was significantly more mobilized than the U.K. manpower-wise in 1940, and in terms of GDP allocated to the war effort both countries were similar in the early war period. Both countries also produced a similar output of armaments in 1941-2, which makes sense given that their metalworking industries employed a comparable number of people.
I was going entirely by recall and thinking mostly about the mobilization of industry. Good comparison, I'll have to check my copy of the Statistical Digest.
I'm curious about this. How did this over-mobilization negatively impact output and the organization of the armed forces in the first half of the war?
I was specifically referring to the rebalancing of the Heer from summer 1940 through winter 1940/1941. Part of the problem was especially the large number of Reservisten II and Landwehr in the 3. Welle, 5. Welle, and 6. Welle. So much so, that Inf.-Div. all except the cadre personnel of the 81., 82., 83., 88., 93., 94., 95., 96., 98., 205., 206., 207., 213., 218., 221., 239., and 246. were sent on the "Arbeitsurlaub" from late July/early August 1940 until February 1941 when they were called back, while Inf.-Div. 209., 228., and 231. were disbanded. Similarly, Inf.-Div. 351., 358., 365., 372., 379., 386., 393, 395., and 399. of the 9. Welle, 270.– 273. and 276.– 280. of the 10. Welle all had its organization halted in July-August. At the same time, the 14 divisions of the 4. Welle reorganized with a about a third of their units going to newly formed organizations, while releasing most of their Reservisten II and Landwehr personnel for the Arbeitsurlaub. Altogether I estimate about 400,000 persons went back into industry, along with about an equal number of individuals released from other units.

The problem was the mobilization had simply taken too many personnel out of the workforce and the system for identifying UK-Gestellte (exempt personnel) had essentially broken down in the process. The UK-Gestellte continued to be a problem through much of the war (see some of my earlier posts to TMP regarding the personnel problems in the Heer).

When recalled, the divisions of the 3., 5., and 6. Welle replaced much of its former Reservist and Landwehr personnel who received deferments with younger recruits and more suitable personnel drawn from the disbanded divisions.

Arguably, at the end the Feldheer was in much better shape than it was in May 1940, but it only partially resolved the problem with exempting key personnel to industry and the disruption the mobilization caused to industry.
In fairness, I don't think it took much insight to appreciate that the Russian campaign would be a life-or-death struggle of continental proportions. I think a more grounded leadership, perhaps less intoxicated by the surprise victory over France, would have ascertained the magnitude of the required effort. I actually wonder if Hitler himself wouldn't have seen it absent May-June 1940.
Quite possibly, but that is rather the point. The events of April-June 1940 overshadowed the reality that the Germans had been extremely lucky and in some cases had persevered only through luck and more than a bit of Allied bungling and lack of will.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
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