German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
CJK1990
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German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by CJK1990 » 25 Aug 2010 21:12

Okay so I read the Tooze book and I understand why Germany couldn't fully use Western Europe and other things, but I still don't understand how exactly the Soviet Union managed to so badly outproduce Germany in 1942 even while losing it's Western territories.

I mean, the Soviets couldn't have had many more resources than the Germans did in 1942 yet they produced twice as many aircraft and artillery and even more tanks. And Lend-Lease wasn't a factor until 1943.

What happened?

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LWD
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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by LWD » 25 Aug 2010 21:46

I'm not an expert but I'd suggest several things:
1) Soviet equipment was often less complex and built to looser tolerences.
2) The Soviets did have more raw resources and access to yet more.
3) I think you underestimate the effect of LL. While LL supplied equipment may not have been appearing in volume some stuff did start appearing as early as 41. Furthermore the promise of LL let the Soviets specialize in some areas because they could expect the west to fill in the gaps. This let them plan more efficiently. LL also supplied a lot of critical raw materials.
4) The Soviet worker knew that his life was on the line. This could be a very motivating factor. Furthermore the survival of Lenningrad and Moscow meant that he had some hope with the implication that what he was doing could make a real difference to the survival of him/her as well as family.
5 Note the him/her above. The Soviets made extensive use of the female portion of the labor pool. This greatly increased the number of available workers (and soldiers).

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bf109 emil
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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by bf109 emil » 26 Aug 2010 06:15

CJK1990 wrote:Okay so I read the Tooze book and I understand why Germany couldn't fully use Western Europe and other things, but I still don't understand how exactly the Soviet Union managed to so badly outproduce Germany in 1942 even while losing it's Western territories.

I mean, the Soviets couldn't have had many more resources than the Germans did in 1942 yet they produced twice as many aircraft and artillery and even more tanks. And Lend-Lease wasn't a factor until 1943.

What happened?


unsure how you came to the conclusion the Soviets didn't have more resources...see here for a comaparison between the Greater Germany and the Soviet union into available resources for each nation...http://orbat.com/site/sturmvogel/resources.html

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by JamesL » 27 Aug 2010 02:06

"The best single explanation for this remarkable triumph was the extraordinary concentration of Soviet production on a limited number of weapons produced in a handful of giant factories, permitting the fullest possible realization of economies of mass production." Tooze, (First American Edition) page 589.

Let's not forget that the Soviet population was twice that of Germany's. People are a resource. The Russian machinist worked at a lathe. The German machinist was drafted, carried a rifle, and served on the Eastern Front.

Tooze also noted the problems associated with coal production. No coal, no steel. No coal, no synthetic fuels. No coal, no steam engines pulling trains. No coal, no food going to market. The Soviets had the coal when they needed it most.

Looking at some of the photos of German factories I don't remember seeing any that were using true 'assembly line production techniques" ....... Fordism as Tooze called it.
Last edited by JamesL on 27 Aug 2010 16:14, edited 1 time in total.

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bf109 emil
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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by bf109 emil » 27 Aug 2010 02:23

nice analogy James showing poor utilization on the part of Germany and the vastly superior of technics used by the Soviet Union...simply poor management and ability on the part of Germany led to their downfall

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by nebelwerferXXX » 28 Aug 2010 06:53

1942 German production of armaments:
---9,300 Tanks
---15,409 Aircraft
---37,000 Aircraft engines
---69,000 heavy artillery and AA guns
---317,000 automatic weapons
---1,270,000 tons (Ammunition)

1942 Soviet military production:
---24,446 Tanks
---25,436 Planes
---356,900 Artillery
---4,049,000 Light Weapons

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bf109 emil
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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by bf109 emil » 28 Aug 2010 16:37

nebelwerferXXX wrote:1942 German production of armaments:
---9,300 Tanks
---15,409 Aircraft
---37,000 Aircraft engines
---69,000 heavy artillery and AA guns
---317,000 automatic weapons
---1,270,000 tons (Ammunition)

1942 Soviet military production:
---24,446 Tanks
---25,436 Planes
---356,900 Artillery
---4,049,000 Light Weapons


from what source did you get these figures from?

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by nebelwerferXXX » 29 Aug 2010 00:47

bf109 emil wrote:
nebelwerferXXX wrote:1942 German production of armaments:
---9,300 Tanks
---15,409 Aircraft
---37,000 Aircraft engines
---69,000 heavy artillery and AA guns
---317,000 automatic weapons
---1,270,000 tons (Ammunition)

1942 Soviet military production:
---24,446 Tanks
---25,436 Planes
---356,900 Artillery
---4,049,000 Light Weapons


from what source did you get these figures from?


A New Illustrated History of World War II

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Jon G. » 29 Aug 2010 03:47

JamesL wrote:"The best single explanation for this remarkable triumph was the extraordinary concentration of Soviet production on a limited number of weapons produced in a handful of giant factories, permitting the fullest possible realization of economies of mass production." Tooze, (First American Edition) page 589.


Yes, clearly the Soviets were far more thorough in their application of mass-production techniques. Maybe a benefit of a planned economy - but then the USSR's war was far more monochrome than Germany's.

Let's not forget that the Soviet population was twice that of Germany's. People are a resource. The Russian machinist worked at a lathe. The German machinist was drafted, carried a rifle, and served on the Eastern Front.


True to a point, but remember that the Soviet Union lost a great deal of population along with its western territories. The Russians had to scrape much deeper into the manpower barrel than the Germans did - and the Germans could compensate for their manpower shortages by drafting millions of slave workers (which again carried problems all of its own)

Tooze also noted the problems associated with coal production. No coal, no steel. No coal, no synthetic fuels. No coal, no steam engines pulling trains. No coal, no food going to market. The Soviets had the coal when they needed it most.


Coal was something Germany had in abundant supplies, but occupied Europe did not. Also, while the Soviets had plentyful coal reserves, transporting it around such a large country was by no means an easy thing to do.

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bf109 emil
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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by bf109 emil » 29 Aug 2010 15:46

Coal was something Germany had in abundant supplies, but occupied Europe did not. Also, while the Soviets had plentyful coal reserves, transporting it around such a large country was by no means an easy thing to do.


Jon, help me here...did the Soviets address this issue by either building more suitable transportation or perhaps construction of industry more locale to their supplies of coal, or did they struggle with the delivery of coal on a continued basis which might have increased Soviet production...to paraphrase, did Soviet production ever lack due to coal shortages or delivery of coal as a whole?

thanks
Jim Snowden (bf109 emil)

Jon G.
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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Jon G. » 29 Aug 2010 16:34

During the rapid industrialization of the USSR in the 1930s, many industries were situated in the Urals, close to big coal reserves. By the late 1930s, many industries had exhausted local coal supplies (the Soviets didn't get the same energy bang for their coal buck as more developed industrialized economies did), but heavy investment in Soviet railroads, particularly from 1938 on, built trunk lines to feed the coal-hungry industries of the Urals with Don basin coal.

Also, Siberian coal fields began to develop in the mid to late 1930s, thus eliminating the need to ship coal all the way to Siberia, and freeing up rail capacity for other uses.

I posted some data here viewtopic.php?p=1150240#p1150240

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bf109 emil
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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by bf109 emil » 29 Aug 2010 16:36

Jon G. wrote:During the rapid industrialization of the USSR in the 1930s, many industries were situated in the Urals, close to big coal reserves. By the late 1930s, many industries had exhausted local coal supplies (the Soviets didn't get the same energy bang for their coal buck as more developed industrialized economies did), but heavy investment in Soviet railroads, particularly from 1938 on, built trunk lines to feed the coal-hungry industries of the Urals with Don basin coal.

Also, Siberian coal fields began to develop in the mid to late 1930s, thus eliminating the need to ship coal all the way to Siberia, and freeing up rail capacity for other uses.

I posted some data here viewtopic.php?p=1150240#p1150240


thank you Jon..appreciated.

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by JamesL » 30 Aug 2010 14:31

True, Germany had coal but getting it out of the mines was difficult. The young miners were drafted and production responsbility fell into the hands of older, less physically fit miners. Efficiency fell to about 60% of what it was beforehand.

Then there was the problem of coal distribution. Coal cars and trains were limited. The German railroad system was poorly maintained during the 1930's leading to breakdowns. The Germans stole French railroad equipment. Additionally, much railroad equipment was sent to the east to support the German armies. The vast distances in Russia increased turn around times for the cars and locomotives.

French labor efficiency was about 75% of German efficiency due to poor food supplies, long hours, etc. Slave laborers from Eastern Europe were starved and were even more inefficient. I suspect a German slave laborer was about 33% as efficient as a Russian laborer.

Long ago I took a course at Clemson University. We discussed the effect of continuous overtime work on efficiency, quality, and safety. I recall that a person could work two 72 hour work weeks back to back and then a tremendous decline in those 3 standards would result. Fatigue would set in. More scrap and injuries resulted. Quite soon a person 'on duty' for 72 hours per week would be producing the same as someone working around 30 hours per week.

One thing I find fascinating is watching the coal trains pull into the Port of Philadelphia. West Virginia coal is exported around the world including China. The grade is 'metallurgical coal' which is used in steel production. About 5 trains a day unload onto ships in Philadelphia. Here is a link to a 120 car train carrying about 12,000 tons of coal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu5Qi9a7Gu8

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bf109 emil
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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by bf109 emil » 30 Aug 2010 17:37

True, Germany had coal but getting it out of the mines was difficult. The young miners were drafted and production responsbility fell into the hands of older, less physically fit miners. Efficiency fell to about 60% of what it was beforehand.


i could be wrong, but recalling that Germany's coal mines where not so much lower in efficiency later in the war, but because of the huge demand for coal, mines themselves had to be made deeper, seams of coal became more thin and overall production shrank as a result of quantity/availability as opposed to efficiency!

others might have better access to resources in this area, but IMHO it was not efficiency, but availability which lowered production output per man hour

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Re: German vs. Soviet production in 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Sep 2010 19:06

Back in 1979 one of my history professors, Flannigan @ Purdue University, remarked on comparing Cezch manfactoring productivity of the 1930s with the 1940s during German managment. Flannigan 's original doctorial study in the 1930s had focused on the economic viability of the Cezch nation. In the 1950s he was able with some Cezch help to compare his data on factory productivity with that during 1939-1945. It was clear that despite the increase in number of laborers and the number of labor hours that productivity had declined significantly during the German occupation. As Flannigan put it the increase in output was not in proportion to the increase in labor expended. I've never found any where he published this & wish I had the time to search his papers archived at the university for this.

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