German vs. Allied war-making potential

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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bf109 emil
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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by bf109 emil » 24 Nov 2009 08:46

likewise as the wehrmacht was basically a horse drawn army, of all nations fighting in WW2 Canada was the most mobile...who knew...lol
Of the 800,000 military vehicles of all types built in Canada, 168,000 were issued to Canadian forces. Thirty-eight percent of the total Canadian production went to the British. The remainder of the vehicles went to the other Allies. This meant that the Canadian Army ’in the field’ had a ratio of one vehicle for every three soldiers, making it the most mechanized field force in the war.

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by Kelvin » 24 Nov 2009 09:56

Canadian contributed a considerable war effort in war in Northwestern Europe. British 21st Army Group had two Armies : British Second Army and Canadian First Army ( 1st, 2nd, 3rd infantry divisions and 4th and 5th Canadian armored divisions) with some armored brigades and support troops. Fully motorized Canadian troop played a vital role in liberation of France and the Low Countries.

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by phylo_roadking » 27 Nov 2009 02:09

Again though - that's an example of applied tehnology as I talked aboput MUCH earlier in this thread; they had a realtively LARGE coast to police in peacetime - in the Baltic! :wink: - and the Treaty of Versailles had crippled their ability to police it by air though they DID keep a few flyingboats for this. So I would assume that the development of their smaller, lighter vessels would have proceeded apace!

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by Guaporense » 29 Nov 2009 03:07

phylo_roadking wrote:Did you actually READ what I posted and check the reference???
Yes.

But, my source is "The Economics of WW2".

Two conclusions:

1- They must have some data wrong then.

2- They must have included a certain restricted class of naval vessels to make up that number.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by Guaporense » 29 Nov 2009 03:10

Mark V wrote: Germany was midget in naval construction other than U-boats, and would remain so. If they would had actually got any Z-plan vessels afloat, Brit naval designers (and all designers of any competent navy maintaining country - like US and Japan) would had been in danger of bursted blood vessel by laughter - over the gross mismanagement of ship tonnage in those vessels. Germany had lost their once respectable ability to design and build surface combatants.
Regards
Well, then they could compensate their low quality of ships making more of them. With the resources of all continental Europe they sure could have outproduced Britain in tonnage, but as you say, not in quality.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by phylo_roadking » 29 Nov 2009 03:22

But, my source is "The Economics of WW2".

Two conclusions:

1- They must have some data wrong then.

2- They must have included a certain restricted class of naval vessels to make up that number
The point is - it's a tertiary source; it's using a secondary source like figures in Poston and others for the other combatant nations, and using those that fit their particular hypotheses. Something like Poston is as close as you'll get to original normally...unless you actually get to a National Archive and research the sources those official histories are taken from.

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by phylo_roadking » 29 Nov 2009 03:38

With the resources of all continental Europe they sure could have outproduced Britain in tonnage, but as you say, not in quality
Problem is - shipbuilding is sort of bound geographically to seaboards :wink: NOR did the Germans have access to the shipbuilding capacity of ALL of Europe...

Didn't have access to Italy's, for example - or those in the South of France until they took possession of Vichy in very late 1942. As for the Atlantic seabord of France, and the Low Countries - well, the RAF would have had something to say about that!

And THEN of course - there's the simple issue that....not ALL shipyards have the facilties or physical capacity to build naval vessels. How many "shipyards" for instance around Europe's coasts were actually only suitable for building/maintaining nothing bigger than fishingboats or coasters??? :wink: Norway had a large shipbuilding industry....or rather hullbuilding :wink: It pre-war bought a LOT of its physical plant, engines etc., from other countries like the UK; the Norwegian shipbuilding industry built the ships NORWAY needed....and before the war the Norwegians had had to go abroad for it's naval tonnage. It doesn't matter how many destroyer hulls or complete vessels the Norwegians could build for the Germans....if GERMAN egine manufacturers were already working 101%, ditto German armaments factories, and armourplate having to come from the other side of the Baltic AND be shipped to Norway through the RAF's interdiction of Norwegian coastal maritime traffic..

Plus....of course.....how far can the Germans actually TRUST the shipbuilding workforces of occupied nations to build combat vessels??? :wink: It certainly couldn't even trust the French workers at Brest in 1941 to just REPAIR the Scharnhorst, Prinz Eugen and Gneisenau - they had to ship Kriegsmarine labour from Germany 8O

Then there are the simple economic factors to think about; look at HOLLAND - it started the war with the remnants of its MARITIME trading empire, a large-ISH navy, and a few newer vessels. Now NORMALLY this would argue that DUTCH yards could build battleships for the Germans - but the picture wasn't so rosy :wink: The Dutch hadn't built naval vessels for some number of years when the Dutch government commissioned its new cruisers in 1936; both the Depression of the early 1930s (which hit Holland HARD) and the very large Pacifist movement in Holland had resulted in its naval shipbuilding knowledge and skills becoming moribund for a looooong time in design terms....and numerous deficiences in them - just like Germany's destroyers - showed up during the Dutch Fleet's limited involvement in the Far East until it was finally attrited in the Battle Of The Java Sea in 1942. I'd need to check, but IIRC only ONE shipyard was left that was fit to build the naval vessels the Dutch government needed in 1936.

Finally - in the last few years of the war there were the basic issues of availablity of resources; the Germans for instance took possession of IIRC three unfinished French destroyers in drydock when they occupied Vichy, ships that had sat there half-finished since the Armistice in 1940, with the Germans only allowing VERY limited attempts to push the work forward. In the end....they could only afford the labour, money and raw materials to finish TWO of them!

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by Mark V » 29 Nov 2009 17:26

phylo_roadkind pretty much answered. Thanks.

Germans never mobilized the industrial output of occupied countries to any meaningfull degree. Germans pretty much idled the factories, yards, and let the skilled workforce disperse, they also looted the tools for benefit of their domestic industry, which was mainly manpower limited, not by tools. Such policy was insane, but dictatorships work that way... Only exception was Czechoslovakia, which industry was reasonably well incorporated to German production plans and utilized. The intentions of Kriegsmarine to use European yards to their benefit soon fell under the concecuences of occupation policies of Nazi Germany, and realities of German economy.

Germany (+occupied Europe) could never outproduce Britain in naval shipbuilding regardless of Germans occupation policies. Germany is mainland power which could not concentrate to shipbuilding to degree Britain could. There would not be enough oil, steel, propulsion plant and naval rifles production capacity , nor enough yards and manpower.

At "best" Germans could had accomplished (by neglecting Heer - Russians in Berlin by fall-1944), an bunch of naval surface combatants, destroyers, cruisers, and battleships that would had yanked their anchor chains in harbour where they were built, because they could not move because bone dry oil bunkers **. Germans could ofcourse had build them coal fired, that would been interesting curiousity, like modern home that does not use electricity at all. Coal fired WW2 era minesweeper operating in coastal waters is natural. An coal fired destroyer, CA or battleship is... something hard to describe. I point again that lighter, rarer, and expensive fractions of oil could be produced by synthetic methods by high cost, but with necessity, being an logical industrial effort. Not the heavier fractions. Heavier fractions left in oil refining process, pretty much waste of process, and dirt cheap because of that, are the fuel that propel still today the maritime industry. Destroyers, cruisers and battleships could had been able to be modified to burn light fuel oil (Diesel) ***, but that would had dried the stocks in matter of weeks, leaving also U-boats crews rowing to their patrol areas :-). One or two battleships steaming in Baltic, from Kiel to Danzig in training hop, consumed the fuel that dozens of U-boats would need for war patrols. Germany did not have natural oil resources to supply even modest sized navy.


Regards


** Like Germany in fall-1944, every freaking airfield full of fighters, but only fraction of them able to scramble because lack of fuel and flying personnel.

*** Japanese had also fuel problem though they had all the oil they could consume, but it was at thousands miles from refining capabality and their home soil. Oil transports back and forth were already seriously hindered by lack of tankers, and altogether shut down by US submarines by mid-44. It is not an coincidence that what was left of IJN surface assets found base in Brunei during 1944 - like dying rat seeking shelter in its home nest where it thirst could be satisfied by delicious black juice from earth :-) ... Japanese did modify some of their heavy surface units to burn unrefined crude oil.
Last edited by Mark V on 29 Nov 2009 18:52, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by Mark V » 29 Nov 2009 18:16

phylo_roadking wrote:Norway had a large shipbuilding industry....or rather hullbuilding :wink: It pre-war bought a LOT of its physical plant, engines etc., from other countries like the UK; the Norwegian shipbuilding industry built the ships NORWAY needed....and before the war the Norwegians had had to go abroad for it's naval tonnage.
Very true. Merchant ship production is something else than naval shipbuilding. Today S-Korea manufactures, lets guess, 1000 times the tonnage of merchant ships built in USA, many of the invidual ships much larger than Nimitz-class carrier by displacement. But could they build even single comparable carrier ? No. Because standards are altogether different.

Pre-WW2 Norway merchant fleet was also largely built outside the country, in GB, Germany, Sweden, etc.. though they had fast developing domestic building ability. Like mentioned, they were dependant of imports in machinery and other systems.

During WW2 Brits did accomplish employing smaller merchant ship building yards, by infusing the technology needed (hull designs, armament) from their other industries, and using the existing technology (building methods, propulsion plants), in good combination. Method worked well for escort vessels where number of hulls that could cope North-Atlantic weather was much more important than more finess battle qualities.

Regards

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by phylo_roadking » 29 Nov 2009 18:51

One thing to remember about the European capacity to build NEW naval tonnage...is that during the war at various times significant percentages of the German drydock space was ALREADY occupied....simply repairing vessels :o IIRC Mescal has one of his threads dedicated to a matrix of this for KM capital ships.

Regarding the figures back up the thread for BRITISH naval tonnage from British War Production...these figures were only for BRITISH DOMESTIC production! The RN was ALSO getting ships out of Canadian and American yards to add to this total!

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by Mark V » 29 Nov 2009 19:09

phylo_roadking wrote:during the war at various times significant percentages of the German drydock space was ALREADY occupied....simply repairing vessels
The sisters (Scharnhorst+Gneisenau) ** for example were very familiar with dockyard workers after multiple battle damage, and the work they needed was always highests priority during 1939-1942, meaning that all other work at yard was disrupted to get them combat ready again.


** Also Lutzow (ex. Deutschland) and Tirpitz (in Norway) consumed vast amounts of workhours to repair them after battle damage.

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by Qvist » 30 Nov 2009 20:54

Mark V wrote:phylo_roadkind pretty much answered. Thanks.

Germans never mobilized the industrial output of occupied countries to any meaningfull degree. Germans pretty much idled the factories, yards, and let the skilled workforce disperse, they also looted the tools for benefit of their domestic industry, which was mainly manpower limited, not by tools. Such policy was insane, but dictatorships work that way... Only exception was Czechoslovakia, which industry was reasonably well incorporated to German production plans and utilized.
That's a very considerable exaggeration. The economies of the occupied territories made a quite substantial contribution to the German war effort, and were limited mainly by other factors than neglect, disinterest or irrational policies - such as coal shortages, low productivity and insufficient transport resources. Just like the German economy, the occupied economies could no longer import raw materials from outside the German sphere of control, hence in effect the occupied territories added to the overall raw material deficit if they kept up production and pre-occupation levels. Even where the raw materials existed, they now had to be transported, mainly by rail, from somewhere else in German-controlled Europe. The Germans contributed to the problem by prioritising home industry raw material needs and confiscating much rolling stock for the Reichsbahn - but this was a rational policy given that productivity in German industry was much higher. They simply lacked the resources to fuel the German economy and keep the occupied economies going at full speed at the same time, which is not surprising.

cheers

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by bf109 emil » 01 Dec 2009 10:28

I have to agree with Qvist's conclusion as why would Germany depend on the production of goods made in other countries when indeed doing so would have meant a shortage or lack of raw material upon the conquering nation herself, in this case Germany...he makes a good point such as why build aircraft in France per say when aluminum and wolfram availability was hardly enough to keep supplied the plants with Germany herself

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by Tim Smith » 01 Dec 2009 14:20

The occupied countries could always use non-strategic materials for war production.

The German army used millions of horses for supply - so the occupied countries could help by producing lots of wooden carts. And breeding lots of horses.

They can build wooden gliders, or fabric-covered biplanes for training.

They can make trucks with wooden bodywork. Even trucks with wood-burning engines.

They can make wooden rifle stocks, or even complete wooden rifles for Hitler Youth boys to train (play) with.

They can make concrete to build bunkers. They can make bombs made out of concrete for training bomber crews.

They can make leather belts, leather boots, leather webbing straps. They can make uniforms.

Lots of ways to help, even with only non-strategic materials.....

;) :lol:

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Re: German vs. Allied technology

Post by Guaporense » 02 Dec 2009 02:06

Qvist wrote: That's a very considerable exaggeration. The economies of the occupied territories made a quite substantial contribution to the German war effort, and were limited mainly by other factors than neglect, disinterest or irrational policies - such as coal shortages, low productivity and insufficient transport resources. Just like the German economy, the occupied economies could no longer import raw materials from outside the German sphere of control, hence in effect the occupied territories added to the overall raw material deficit if they kept up production and pre-occupation levels.
Yes, Europe was one of the industrial hubs of the world (the US was the other), but the continent imported raw materials and exported finished goods. With the war the importation of raw materials collapsed and the European economy was permanently crippled. I think that this collapse was one of the major reasons for the outcome of WW2.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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