Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Jan-Hendrik
Member
Posts: 8711
Joined: 11 Nov 2004 12:53
Location: Hohnhorst / Deutschland

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 22 Dec 2021 08:22

8th Florian Geyer (cavalry) Mostly used in a security role behind the lines
Really??

The time of Antipartisanactions was during its formation, after that , apart from the time of its reformation in 1943/44 it fought in frontline until the siege of Budapest.

Jan-Hendrik

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 3237
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 22 Dec 2021 18:12

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Dec 2021 06:17
Came across some documentation of the wretched state of the British proletariat in our period, quotes from Barnett's Audit of War:
You could have read that in post 5 of this thread: :D
Also of interest for inter-war British health and diet is Martin Pugh's 'We Danced All Night: A Social History of Britain between the Wars'. As evidence of improving diet he quotes the infant mortality rate in the UK (measured in deaths for every 1,000 births up to twelve months old), p.44:

1900 - 142
1910 - 110
1920 - 82
1930 - 68
1938 - 55

Wide regional variations were noted in 1935: South-east England - 47; northern England - 68; Scotland - 76.

He also notes that these figures were 'still considerably higher than the rate in comparable countries such as the United States and Australia.'
Regards

Tom

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 8269
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Michael Kenny » 22 Dec 2021 19:02

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
22 Dec 2021 18:12


You could have read that in post 5 of this thread:
I think he is of the mindset 'if I don't discover it then it isn't important'.

He could have spent a few minutes fact-checking it before cutting and pasting the extracts. How embarrassing is it to claim it proves 'A' was superior to 'B' when in reality the data shows it was 'B' that was superior to 'A'.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Dec 2021 22:46

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
22 Dec 2021 18:12

You could have read that in post 5 of this thread: :D
Also of interest for inter-war British health and diet is Martin Pugh's 'We Danced All Night: A Social History of Britain between the Wars'. As evidence of improving diet he quotes the infant mortality rate in the UK (measured in deaths for every 1,000 births up to twelve months old), p.44:
Tom surely you'll notice on closer inspection that (1) Pugh's quote doesn't specically connect IMR to proletarian conditions, (2) the quoted evidence from Barnett regards more than IMR, and (3) Pugh doesn't compare Glasgow and Tokyo.

Not like you to consider data extraneous for the obviously spurious reason that some data partially related to discussed topics already has been proffered. Maybe you're objecting to the topic itself?

But as regards a book recommendation, thanks for reminding me of Pugh and I'll see if I can find it. You'll have to excuse my inability to read promptly every single book cited to me. I read a lot but at least until retirement there will be limits even for TMP. Stick with me until mid-century and we can really go deep on these topics. ;)
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 3237
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 23 Dec 2021 16:44

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Dec 2021 22:46
Tom surely you'll notice on closer inspection that (1) Pugh's quote doesn't specically connect IMR to proletarian conditions, (2) the quoted evidence from Barnett regards more than IMR, and (3) Pugh doesn't compare Glasgow and Tokyo.
I surely did notice that on closer inspection. :oops: The quote may not "especially connect IMR to proletarian conditions" but that's much of what Pugh's book is about. Apologies, should have made that clearer. Pugh stresses the improvements made during the inter-war years and points out, as sometimes is useful, that for those living it they weren't "inter-war years"!
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Dec 2021 22:46
Not like you to consider data extraneous for the obviously spurious reason that some data partially related to discussed topics already has been proffered.
Sorry, I don't understand that sentence - can you be more direct?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Dec 2021 22:46
Maybe you're objecting to the topic itself?
Not at all! I'm more interested in combat motivation per se, but very happy to see where this thread leads. :thumbsup:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Dec 2021 22:46
You'll have to excuse my inability to read promptly every single book cited to me.
That's fair enough - I would still recommend Edgerton's Britain's War Machine and David French's Raising Churchill's Army for when you get a space in your reading schedule though. :D

I remember reading Barnett's Audit of War when it first came out and being shocked at the alternative view of Britain's performance in both world wars to that I had been brought up on (cinema, books, comics, etc). As I read more though in both primary sources and more recent secondary sources, I have come to to understand Barnett's polemic as being very much a product of its time in the UK (i.e the culture wars of the mid-Thatcher era, miner's strikes, legislation to limit union secondary strike actions, etc). I think David Edgerton wrote a review at the time challenging much of Barnett's thesis - I'll try to dig out a copy.

Regards

Tom

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 8269
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Michael Kenny » 23 Dec 2021 17:29

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
23 Dec 2021 16:44
I have come to to understand Barnett's polemic as being very much a product of its time in the UK (i.e the culture wars of the mid-Thatcher era, miner's strikes, legislation to limit union secondary strike actions, etc).
I expect there will be a few new books lauding 'English Exceptionalism'. Given the (current) social-media attitude of a significant section of the UK population I expect it won't be long before someone starts pandering to the demographic.

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 3237
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 23 Dec 2021 18:29

Michael Kenny wrote:
23 Dec 2021 17:29
I expect there will be a few new books lauding 'English Exceptionalism'. Given the (current) social-media attitude of a significant section of the UK population I expect it won't be long before someone starts pandering to the demographic.
Hi Michael,

And that’s why I try to stick to only reading history books about periods before I was born. :lol:

Regards

Tom

MikeMeech
Member
Posts: 66
Joined: 28 Mar 2021 10:12
Location: Essex, England

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by MikeMeech » 23 Dec 2021 19:10

Michael Kenny wrote:
22 Dec 2021 06:53
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Dec 2021 06:17
Then again, in 1942, out of every 1000 babies
born in South Wales, the North-west and the North-east of England, 61.5
died as against 40.2 per 1000 in South-east England.

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

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

Health statistics for Germany (with comparison with England & Wales) from the British NID Geographical Handbook 'Germany, Volume II - History and Administration' March 1944 edition:
WW2RAFsqnest052.jpg
Mike
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Dec 2021 07:26

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
23 Dec 2021 16:44
I think David Edgerton wrote a review at the time challenging much of Barnett's thesis
We're not debating Barnett's thesis. Interesting topic for another thread...
Tom from Cornwall wrote:I would still recommend Edgerton's Britain's War Machine and David French's Raising Churchill's Army
I've read BWM, which subtweets Barnett throughout.

French's book I've read parts of; Fennell's Fighting the People's War seems the more recent and authoritative work. Nonetheless, I go back to French sometimes for data.
MikeMeech wrote:
23 Dec 2021 19:10
Health statistics for Germany (with comparison with England & Wales)
Thanks!

-------------------------------------------------------

The point of my post re the wretched British proletariat isn't to spark a discussion of national averages. Rather, it gestures towards the following points:
  • WW2 armies generally drew more from the lower social strata than WW2 air forces. This was probably less true of Germany, however, where the Heer's cultural cachet preserved its relative appeal to recruits.
  • WW2 armies' demographic factors will, therefore, be more sensitive to the demographics of a nation's lower strata than to its national averages.
  • Britain had a particularly lagging lower strata, relative to national averages, and the RAF generally got the pick of manpower selection to a high degree.
The foregoing may partially explain the British army's lackluster combat effectiveness, relative to US and Germany. Conversely, the foregoing may also partially explain the LW's lackluster combat effectiveness relative to RAF and USAAF.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 3237
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 30 Dec 2021 11:32

I found this in Anthony Beevor's D-Day (Penguin paperback edition) recently and thought it might be of interest:
p.341
[Footnote] The US Army carried out a careful examination of their prisoners. A report recorded that their average age was twenty-eight, their average height was 5 foot 5¾ inches, and their average weight was just under 150 pounds. The shortest were those born between 1919 and 1921, the ‘starvation years’ in Germany. [US Army report on German prisoners in Normandy, NA II 407/427/24242.]
Regards

Tom

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Dec 2021 12:40

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
30 Dec 2021 11:32
I found this in Anthony Beevor's D-Day (Penguin paperback edition) recently and thought it might be of interest:
p.341
[Footnote] The US Army carried out a careful examination of their prisoners. A report recorded that their average age was twenty-eight, their average height was 5 foot 5¾ inches, and their average weight was just under 150 pounds. The shortest were those born between 1919 and 1921, the ‘starvation years’ in Germany. [US Army report on German prisoners in Normandy, NA II 407/427/24242.]
Regards

Tom
Raises an idea for further research: compare the height of PoW's and average soldiers. Less competent soldiers have lower morale; lower-morale soldiers are more likely to surrender. Even independent of morale, less competent soldiers are probably more likely to find themselves in surrender-engendering situations. This sample would be our first datum, as their height is below German average (but is that difference due to the quality of divisions in static 1944 beach defenses or because of sample self-selection for surrender?).
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 4481
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 30 Dec 2021 14:03

I think it is likely that the average German soldier of 1944 was shorter/smaller than those of the early war. In photographs this is quite evident. They also tended to occupy the more "extremes" of the age, teens and middle age rather than the 20/30-something age range.

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 3237
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 30 Dec 2021 19:13

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Dec 2021 07:26
The foregoing may partially explain the British army's lackluster combat effectiveness, relative to US and Germany.
Are you still misusing the little analysis of relative combat effectiveness that has been conducted just to try to provoke a response?

Regards

Tom

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Dec 2021 23:59

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
30 Dec 2021 19:13
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Dec 2021 07:26
The foregoing may partially explain the British army's lackluster combat effectiveness, relative to US and Germany.
Are you still misusing the little analysis of relative combat effectiveness that has been conducted just to try to provoke a response?

Regards

Tom
My wish would be not to have the clear evidence of British Army inferiority provoke emotional response, rather to have rational and evidence-based discussions free of emotion and patriotic correctness. I'm beginning to accept, however, that to have such discussions I'd have to enter a degree program or something.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Banned
Posts: 3255
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Dec 2021 04:40

Cult Icon wrote:
30 Dec 2021 14:03
I think it is likely that the average German soldier of 1944 was shorter/smaller than those of the early war. In photographs this is quite evident. They also tended to occupy the more "extremes" of the age, teens and middle age rather than the 20/30-something age range.
I agree but do we have good quantification of the difference between 1944 and, say, 1941? GSWW v.5-1 has a chart that gives an April 1942 baseline for soldiers' ages but I haven't seen anything for later in the war.

Image

We could perhaps, with some informed assumptions about the timing and distribution of deaths, reasonably estimate 1944 army age demographics from another GSWW chart giving losses by Jahrgange during the entire war:

Image

For June 1944, for example, we could prorate WW2-wide deaths per Jahrgange by the portion of WW2 German deaths inflicted by then (except for the youngest and perhaps oldest JG's). We could then assume that the number of discharged wounded was approximately equal to the killed, which would give us remaining cohorts for the different JG's.

There's gotta be easier and more accurate data out there, though.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Even at a glance, however, it's easy to see that close to half of the men from prime-age JG's would have been gone by mid-44. Given that Wehrmacht personnel strength was still close to its peak at this time, it's obvious that the average German soldier was far too old or young. I recall reading that the average German was six or seven years older than the average Allied soldier in Normandy - more than that if you leave aside the SS kids.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Return to “German Strategy & General German Military Discussion”