Ukraine produced 16mil tons of coal in 1944. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_in_U ... oal_miningthaddeus_c wrote:think they should have stopped in Ukraine, they would control nearly the entire Soviet coal supply,
Total SU coal production was 121mil tons in '44 so 13% came from Ukraine. To extract that much, SU had to invest in rebuilding infrastructure and relocate some skilled labor from the Asian coalfields (Karaganda, Kuznets Basin). Had Germany retained Ukraine, it's doubtful that Soviet coal production would have fallen by even 10%. The SU would have apportioned more labor and investment to Asian coalfields as compensation.
What most commentators on the war don't realize is that labor was the bottleneck to virtually all Soviet production. For example: Soviet oil production fell 45% in between '41 and '43. Why? Not because 45% came from Maikop. It was mostly a matter of total Soviet resources, including labor for drilling new wells (and for producing drilling equipment, rigs, etc.).
The SU was able to overcome the loss of Donets coal by shifting its labor (mining) resources eastwards, thereby allowing a substitution of Asian coal for Ukrainian. This was possible because, even after losing 60mil to occupation, SU still had a large labor pool.
To beat the SU, Germany had to reduce its labor supply and/or its truly irreplaceable fixed natural assets (i.e. good cropland and oil).
Richard Anderson wrote:Given that insofar as I know the Soviets did not suffer any crippling shortages of domestically produced steel or other coal-power/resource related shortages
SU produced less than half as much steel in '42/43 as in 40/41. This directly impacted their ability to produce shells/guns/tanks. A decline in Soviet power generation - and the reliability thereof - had a marked impact on output. For both see Soviet Planning in Peace and War by Harrison.Richard Anderson wrote:Do you know of a situation where coal shortages in the Soviet Union had a dire effect?
Huh? Coal is used in steel-making, electrical generation (powers industries), and transport.Richard Anderson wrote:Lack of coal may well have affected residential and office heating, which led to widespread use of wood-fired heating, but that is not critical insofar as I can tell?
A general quote from Harrison on the importance of coal (i.e. fuels) to overall production:
We can say that these shortages were not "crippling" in the sense the SU survived the war. But they undoubtedly extended the war and made it more costly. The SU did not have infinite capacity to absorb losses of productive potential.In 1942 the binding constraints were
no longer the availability of arms capacity but the supply of metals,
fuels, electricity and freight capacity
In the particular case of Ukrainian coal, however, its permanent loss is insufficient to have decided victory and defeat. This is especially true as any noticeable shortfall vs. OTL would occur only in 1944 - far too late to be decisive.
There was never enough though. Germany had made big coalfield investments in the Donbas which were to come online in '43 - thus Hitler's refusal to countenance Manstein's backhand defensive strategy in '43. Speer told Hitler the Donbas coal was essential.Richard Anderson wrote:Except Germany had plenty of coal, which was practically its only abundant resource
I tend to agree with this conclusion. The cropland of Krasnodar and Rostov Oblasts is probably irreplaceable. The SU can shift production eastwards but - unlike with coal - its labor productivity would suffer immensely on poor Siberian cropland vs. OTL. I tend to disagree with how you get to a successful Blau; KDF33 has made the case sufficiently well so I won't repeat. I'll just note you're not fundamentally changing the force ratios or relative logistical picture (Soviets near supplies, Germans over-extended), so I don't see Ostheer holds the October 42 line.History Learner wrote:Okay, now with all that said, what would be the effects of a successful Fall Blau? For one, mass starvation is likely to break out in 1943 within the USSR:
I've discussed Hunger and War and its implications extensively elsewhere. viewtopic.php?f=76&t=251106&p=2287553&h ... r#p2287553
viewtopic.php?f=76&t=246246&p=2248718&h ... r#p2248718
TL;DR: Even a 5% decline in food supply could have pushed the SU from mild famine into catastrophe.