Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

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Guaporense
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Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by Guaporense » 12 Feb 2010 20:47

Second to an 1986 article by John Sloan Brown, the notion that the wehrmacht was superior to American troops is wrong. He takes on a study by Dupuy were Dupuy found that Germans had a great superiority in fighting power. Dupuy found that German soldiers had an average effectiveness of 1.55 versus american soldiers.

That means that 1.55 was the rot of the ratio of bloody casualties between German and American encounters in Italy between July 1943 to December 1944 (note that the German army was declining by that time), discounting strength, vulnerability factor and posture factor (attack, prepared defense, hasty defense, fortified defense and delay). The vulnerability factors were 1.0 for attack, 1.3 for hasty defense, 1.5 for prepared defense, 1.6 for fortified defense

Hence, when fighting Germans with the same strength and posture the ratio of bloody casualties was on average 2.4025. This was about the same ratio as in 1940 versus the French and British (were the Germans suffered about 150,000 bloody casualties to 400,000 allied bloody casualties). So, the allies weren't better in 1944 than in 1940, they only had much better odds.

The score effectiveness ratio by type of division was:

American Infatry vs
German Infantry 1.25
German Panzer grenadier 1.97
German Panzer 2.40

American Armour vs
German Infantry 1.30
German Panzer 1.76

average in engagements: 1.55

Note that German infantry fared better versus armour than versus infantry. While for german armour the difference versus american infantry was greater. Note also that every type of german division is better than every type of american division, and on every type of engagement. Second to my source, Fighting Power, in the 13 German attacks on the database (versus British and American troops), they had score differential of 1.49 while on 65 defenses, the Germans had a differential of 1.56. So, they had superiority on attack and defense.
Last edited by Guaporense on 12 Feb 2010 21:17, edited 1 time in total.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

RichTO90
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Re: Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by RichTO90 » 12 Feb 2010 21:05

Guaporense wrote:Second to an 1986 article by John Sloan Brown, the notion that the wehrmacht was superior to American troops is wrong.
Kind of late to the party aren't you? :roll:

Have you read Trevor's rebuttal?
Or Chris Lawrence's?
Thomas Nutter's?

Have you read the basic background to Trevor's studies? NPW? Understanding War? Understanding Defeat?

Or, from the other side, Mansoor, Bonn, and Doubler?
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

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Re: Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by ljadw » 12 Feb 2010 21:14

what are bloody casualties (blutige verluste I presume )? If they are death and wounded,than it is wrong not to count missing and POW.
Ex:in the fighting for the prt of Cherbourg,it is POSSIBLE that the US lost more death and wouded than the Germans,but you have also to count the Germans that became POW.
And,what are you doing with wounded that became POW? Do you count them or not ?
Other ex:in 1941,the SU lost 4.2 million (most of them POW),the Germans 0.83 million(very few POW),if you count only the Soviet dead and wounded,your picture is wrong .

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Re: Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by Guaporense » 12 Feb 2010 21:16

So, Brown wants to critize the study. How he does it? Simple, since most engagements in 1944 we had the Germans on defensive, 65 out of 78. He says that the vulnerabilities differentials are to low. In other words, when facing enemies in prepared defense positions, he says that normal ratio of casualties is not 1.5 for prepared defense (i.e. it is not normal to suffer 50% more casualties versus enemies in prepared defense) and 1.6 for fortified defense.

He recalculates the score differentials using data on 39 engagements between German and American forces, were the Germans are on defensive on all cases! He them assumes that is the traditional view that forces attaking prepared defensive positions would suffer 200% more casualties than the defenders instead of dupuy's 50% figure. :lol: And he assumes that is the traditional military view that is normal for attakers to suffer 500% more casualties attaking fortified defensive positions instead of Dupuy's 60% number. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

For the 39 engagements were the germans were on defense, 4 were agaist prepared defenders and 15 agaisnt fortified defenders ( :lol: :lol: ). He then got the following results:

American infantry versus

German infantry 0.94
German panzer granedier 1.11
German panzer 1.81

American armour versus

German infantry 0.64
German panzer 1.38

So, to make American infantry slighty better than German infantry, he had to assume that it is normal for them to trade men in a 6 to 1 ratio! :lol: :lol:

Well, this sounds like those guys that claim that is normal for the Russians to lose 5 to 1 german killed because they are attaking. :lol: :lol:

He concludes:
I believe they won (Americans) because, man for man, unit for unit, they were tougher than their adversaries.
Yeah, right!
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by Guaporense » 12 Feb 2010 21:19

You people are fast... Didn't give me time to finish my post.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by Guaporense » 15 Feb 2010 18:59

Well, here it is Dupuy's reply:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/1988011?seq=1

He says that the main evidence in his research of the superior effectiveness of the wehrmacht is because they demonstrated that the combat effectiveness values of German divisions were higher than allied divisions to explain the outcomes of these engagements.

From data of 81 engagements between June 1943 and December 1944, 60 in Italy and 21 in Northwest Europe he determined that the combat effectiveness of 24 divisions, 12 allied divisions and 12 German divisions, average allied Combat Effectiveness Value (CEV) from these 12 divisions was 0.80 and from the 12 German divisions, 1.10. In other words, average German combat effectiveness was 37.5% higher than allied in 1943-1944. Since CEV is a multiplier of power to determine results, we can say that 1 German was equivalent to nearly 1.4 allied soldiers.

He also applied this same methodology to the eastern front, were, from a sample of 14 engagements, he determined the German CEV ratio with the Soviets to be: 3.0 in 1941, 2.5 by 1943 and 1.8 by 1944 (compared to about 1.4 to the allies at the same time). Apparently, these numbers are very rough because his sample of engagements was smaller than the previous sample. However, the difference in fighting power between the Germans and the Soviets in 1941 was enormous, with explains the fast speed of German advance.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by bf109 emil » 17 Feb 2010 16:58

are we comparing the Wehrmacht which is a combined force of the Heer, Kriismarine and Luftwaffe, or strictly the Heer being German army land forces?

and i think the reply by Dupuy as noted from sourcehttp://www.jstor.org/pss/1988011 only factors in the Heer verse the Allied army in a singular land base fight, but does not factor in the effectiveness of the Allies fighting ability to turn a battle due to sheer superiority in all 3 forces as defined by the term Wehrmacht, nor one sides ability of a continued fight by sheer logistics.

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Re: Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by Guaporense » 18 Feb 2010 17:35

bf109 emil wrote:are we comparing the Wehrmacht which is a combined force of the Heer, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe, or strictly the Heer being German army land forces?

and i think the reply by Dupuy as noted from sourcehttp://www.jstor.org/pss/1988011 only factors in the Heer verse the Allied army in a singular land base fight, but does not factor in the effectiveness of the Allies fighting ability to turn a battle due to sheer superiority in all 3 forces as defined by the term Wehrmacht, nor one sides ability of a continued fight by sheer logistics.
Yes, the study compared only the ground forces fighting power. The study concludes that the capability of the heer and waffen SS to convert men and equipment into military power was superior to the allied armies.

It doesn't speak about the logistical and material capabilities of each side. In the paper Dupuy concludes: "I wish I could agree with Brown's conclusions that we won World War 2 because those of us who fought in it were "man for man, unit for unit...tougher than their adversaries." Unfortunately, I cannot ignore the historical fact that we and your Allies simply marshaled more than three times as many soldiers and perhaps tens times as many planes and tanks against Germany as our German opponents were able to put into combat against us. That's why we won the war."
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by bf109 emil » 08 Mar 2010 08:06

Allies simply marshaled more than three times as many soldiers and perhaps tens times as many planes and tanks against Germany as our German opponents were able to put into combat against us. That's why we won the war."
I think this was the recipe for victory over Germany, but to realistic, Germany in 1940 had numerical advantages over Britain and could not force a victory, nor in 1941 did the Soviets have this number of planes and tanks against Germany and even then Germany could not force or was apt to capture Moscow nor force a victory...and with the silly declaration of war against the USA with no plan or contingency what so ever to defeat or force a peace with the USA when doing so in 1941 or later all resulted in Germany now facing a war of attrition and logistics...no matter the Heer superiority the die was set, as for the Wehrmacht, or the 3 services that make up the Wehrmacht, I don't think the Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine was ever superior, with the exception of the Heer or army being the main force behind Germany.

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Re: Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by Tim Smith » 08 Mar 2010 12:22

Germany's numerical strength over the RAF during the Battle of Britain was only marginal, once you take the whole RAF into account and not just Fighter Command. Or, alternatively, if you compare just the German fighter force against the British fighter force, again, the German superiority is only marginal.

In Operation Barbarossa, the Soviets outnumbered the Axis 2.5 to 1 in aircraft and 4 to 1 in tanks. Granted, much Soviet equipment was outdated - but much Axis equipment was too.

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Re: Wehrmacht superiority: Myth or Reality?

Post by Optiow » 09 Mar 2010 06:21

I believe they were superior, however in later years, their superiority did decline. They were using less and less veterans and more and more raw troops who just could not cut it. They also had a lot of Ost-Battalions and other divisions who were given obsolete training, weapons and they were expected to fight the enemy and win. Up until 1942 I would say that the Germans were the most superior force in the war, but after North Africa, D-Day, and the Eastern Front had taken their toll, the German army was reduced to a shadow of its former glory, with no reserves other than Hitler Youth and retired soldiers.

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