The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 5002
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Richard Anderson » 20 Sep 2016 19:45

South wrote:Good afternoon Richard,

We have different view and concepts of what constitutes "war mobilization".

Thus, my examples don't work.

End of Transmission.

~ Bob
eastern Virginia
To quote the immortal Bart, huh?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Rob Stuart
Member
Posts: 1165
Joined: 18 Apr 2009 00:41
Location: Ottawa

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Rob Stuart » 20 Sep 2016 22:05

Well, Bob is not the only one who has descerned the existence of a secret war mobilization by the US. As a Canadian, I have no doubt that the first four presidents conspired with Congress to secretly prepare the US for the War of 1812. Consider the evidence:

-With the Treaty of Paris, the conspirators pulled the wool over the Britis’ eyes and negotiated the ceding to them of territory such as Vermont which could serve as convenient jumping off points for invading Canada.

-In 1794 the conspirators passed the Naval Act, which created a permanent standing U.S. Navy and authorized the covert building of six frigates. Othe warships were later built surreptitiously on Lake Ontaio and Lake Erie – a Two Lake Navy!

-The purported disbandment of the Continental Army after the war of independence was just a façade behind which invasion planning and preparation could could continue. (When the German General Staff was abolished in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles, the head of its historical directorate pointed to this precedent and it inspired the Germans to do likewise.)

-President Madison connived to put deserters from the Royal Navy who had become US citizens on board American merchant ships and had them attempt to pass through the RN blockade of France, hoping against hope that this would provoke an incident which he could use as a casus belli. And it worked!

I could go on but I think that these four examples will allow you to understand my point of view.

South
Financial supporter
Posts: 3590
Joined: 06 Sep 2007 09:01
Location: USA

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by South » 26 Sep 2016 20:04

Good afternoon Rob,

(Just got back from Fairfax County, northern Virginia. Only now can, at least, reply.)

I accept your sarcasm. I use it also.

There are different views.

Mine are different - obviously.

I note that the Civilian Conservation Corps was led by Army officers. Public railroad stations hospitals also had needs.

Legislation in place has meaning - regardless of the merchant marine tonnage produced prior to the appropriate political environment....

Etc.

~ Bob
eastern Virginia

User avatar
Guaporense
Banned
Posts: 1866
Joined: 07 Oct 2009 02:35
Location: USA

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Guaporense » 27 Sep 2016 19:47

John T wrote:
Guaporense wrote:
John T wrote: So the difference is about you are right and I'm wrong or how do you interpret the difference between "bigger economies" (like US compared to Germany in this case) to "more advanced economies"

I can't see the big difference in the two statements except that you claim you are right?
There is an enormous difference.
We discussed Germany and USA.
why does you start pulling in Belgum?
to avoid your errros?
Well, you just did not understand the point.
Guaporense wrote:
John T wrote:
Guaporense wrote: Well, it shows how inefficient the production of tanks was: the cost of producing a tank was much, much, much higher than the cost of producing the same weight in terms of civilian cars. Even though the cost of producing a Sherman tank should have been lower than civilian cars on a per ton basis due to it's massive bulk.
IT SHOULD ??
AS you obviously do not know anything about production, why do you bother to write so much on this forum regarding maters you have not the slightest unerstanding of?
You could start to note the difference between how to press steel to make the body of a car with how you make the glacis o a tank.
So you would think that single detail would certainly imply that the cost of production per ton will always be higher for tanks?
One single detail that you have to manipulate parts 100 times as heavy, and multiple times as hard to cut than mild steel.[/quote]

Yet, if you have hundreds of times of more smaller parts will, logically, take up much more labor to cut and mold than a huge block. Hence, by logic, 100 cars should be harder to make than 1 tank. Why 1 tank costs more? Corruption, inefficiency and low scale of production.
Guaporense wrote: (4) the good old factor of corruption is nearly always involved in government operations.
In Brazil for shure.

/John T
In all countries and governments corruption and bureaucracy hamper efficiency in government business.

For example, F22 fighters are extremely expensive, even on a per ton basis they cost about 7-8 million dollars per ton. That's much much higher than normal civilian stuff. The main reason for that huge cost is due to it's very small scale of production combined with the use of very expensive labor:

Image

Image

Image

It's a very labor intensive production, they do not use any automation and assembly lines, instead its a slow work of gradually sculpting the planes as millions of man-hours are employed for each individual aircraft.

Adding the costs with: Lockheed Martin's monopoly on military products, plus government inefficiency, plus corruption involving deals in the "military industrial complex" and we can understand why it costs 150 million dollars to make a 20 ton military plane, or 7.5 million dollars per ton, compared to 2 million dollars per ton on a civilian plane like the Boeing 777 (also produced by a company operating in a duopoly market). Or why an aircraft carrier costs 60,000 dollars per ton (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_George_H.W._Bush) while a civilian cruise ship like Harmony of the Seas, costs only about 6,000 dollars per ton.

While military considerations might play a role the fact is that its plain obvious that military stuff tends to cost a lot more due to inefficiencies involving government operations vis private ones (for the same reason why civilian stuff provided by the government costs more).
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

User avatar
Guaporense
Banned
Posts: 1866
Joined: 07 Oct 2009 02:35
Location: USA

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Guaporense » 27 Sep 2016 19:57

Rob Stuart wrote:
Guaporense wrote:
Rob Stuart wrote:Data on Romanian casualties is neither here nor there in a discussion of whether or not the Russians went through the Romanians like a hot knife through butter. According to Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad, on 19 November the Russian forces attacking north of Stalingrad broke through the Romanian IV Corps front and then the II Corps front by around mid-day (thanks in large part to the Germans not having supplied enough anti-tank guns). By 1700 the Russian spearheads had advanced over 20 miles. So in the course of 12-14 hours the Russians blasted gapping holes through two corps and advanced more than 20 miles. This fully justified my description.
Well, the Germans advanced over the WAllies in the ardennes in december 44 by 80-90 kilometers in a week. That doesn't prove the WAllies were badly equipped with tanks.
Not a valid comparison. The Germans were able to advance that far in the Ardennes because the US front line was thinly manned and because there was no Allied armoured division in the right place to stop them.
And the Romanians were not thinly manned? Your argument is inconsistent.

Its just plain moronic to claim that the 6th army was easily encircled, while the Red Army lost more men than the whole 6th army! If you lose 500,000 men to encircle and make 300,000 men surrender, it's obvious that was not "easy". But you cannot admit that, "they were encircled because they were badly equipped". Yep, because one side losing 500,000 men while having massive numerical superiority and great geographical advantage to encircle 300,000 men of the other side is clearly better equipped. :roll:
22 Panzer Division was in the right place but had too few serviceable tanks. The Romanian 1st Armoured Division was also in the right place but had the wrong tanks. That (and many other examples, e.g., the Italian use of M13/41 tanks against Grants and Shermans) is what proves that the European Axis allies were badly equipped with tanks, and that was due to the Germans not making enough of them.
So why the density of tanks per troops in the Axis forces were usually higher than the Allies? By the way, the war in the Eastern front, the density of AFVs per thousand troops was higher in the German side. And even in Normandy the density of tanks was not much higher, specially if you take into account the fact German tanks were heavier and that was an exceptional engagement, that happened way after the war was lost.

Usually the Germans were outnumbered by infantry, usually 3 to 1, often more. In all fronts by 1943. No matter how well equipped they were, how well trained they were, they were just fighting impossible numerical odds: they were inflicting 4-5 casualties on the Red Army for each suffered, yet, the Red Army's numbers grew stronger relative to their own numbers.

You claim the American line was thinly manned in December 44? They just outnumbered the Germans in the Western front by a MASSIVE proportion, it was the Germans that were thinly manned. Which is obvious consequence of 80 million people fighting the whole world. The fact that they managed to penetrate 80 kilometers under those absolutely hellish circumstances demonstrates the incredibly high level of military competence and effectiveness of their armed forces.

But, apparently, that's too hard to understand. Blame it on insufficient tanks. Yes...
Last edited by Guaporense on 27 Sep 2016 20:03, edited 1 time in total.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

User avatar
Guaporense
Banned
Posts: 1866
Joined: 07 Oct 2009 02:35
Location: USA

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Guaporense » 27 Sep 2016 20:02

Cult Icon wrote:
Guaporense wrote:Well, according to Zetterling (2000) German losses when they attacked the Americans in December 1944 were actually lower than American losses (all forces on average), even though they were in the offensive. Although the discrepancy in losses was much smaller than against the French in 1940.

Were German training standards for both officers and conscripts lowered in 1944-45 versus 1940-41?
Yes.
Do you have any substantial argument for the case that their standards were lowered? Do the number of weeks of training decrease?
And that is hardly unusual, as good offensive operations result in a small percentage of losses for the attacker. According to Bergstorm's research, the 116.Pz, 2.Pz, and Panzer Lehr, and FBB inflicted a disproportionate amount of losses on the US forces. Other units were average, and others lost more than they gave.
So the idea that defensive posture gives the defender a 30-60% advantage in casualty infliction is nonsense?
Last edited by Guaporense on 27 Sep 2016 20:20, edited 1 time in total.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 5002
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Sep 2016 20:15

Guaporense wrote:Well, you just did not understand the point.
Yes, I suspect he did. You are saying yet again that he was wrong because he was wrong and you are right. The only variation on your part now is saying he was wrong because he didn't understand that you were right because you were right.

Impeccable reasoning and argument as ever from you.
Guaporense wrote:For example, F22 fighters
Exactly what relevance does your "example" of 21st century peacetime procurement and manufacture of the highest end of equipment have to do with procurement and manufacture 70-odd years ago?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 5002
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Sep 2016 20:21

Guaporense wrote:So why the density of tanks per troops in the Axis forces were usually higher than the Allies? By the way, the war in the Eastern front, the density of AFVs per thousand troops was higher in the German side. And even in Normandy the density of tanks was not much higher, specially if you take into account the fact German tanks were heavier and that was an exceptional engagement, that happened way after the war was lost.
You have data to support your claims?
Usually the Germans were outnumbered by infantry, usually 3 to 1, often more. In all fronts by 1943. No matter how well equipped they were, how well trained they were, they were just fighting impossible numerical odds: they were inflicting 4-5 casualties on the Red Army for each suffered, yet, the Red Army's numbers grew stronger relative to their own numbers.
You have data to support your claims?
You claim the American line was thinly manned in December 44? They just outnumbered the Germans in the Western front by a MASSIVE proportion, it was the Germans that were thinly manned. Which is obvious consequence of 80 million people fighting the whole world. The fact that they managed to penetrate 80 kilometers under those absolutely hellish circumstances demonstrates the incredibly high level of military competence and effectiveness of their armed forces.
So in your construct forces are always arrayed evenly along a given front?
But, apparently, that's too hard to understand. Blame it on insufficient tanks. Yes...
If so, this explains your inability to understand the concept of local superiority.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1095
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Coruscant

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Stiltzkin » 27 Sep 2016 23:32

Do you have any substantial argument for the case that their standards were lowered? Do the number of weeks of training decrease?
Standards were in fact lowered, fuel shortages resulted in the decrease of pilots and tank crewmen training almost by 2/3s. I do not know about Officers though, I would expect them to be still quite high.
However, Infantry was also rushed to the fronts, this goes for all sides (I am not sure about the amount of blanks/rounds used for training purposes though). The Soviets were mobilizing and amassing formations quickly during the dark days of WW2. The US had "3 week wonders" (contrary to the 10 week ideal) and other units that sufficed to bring the war to an end.
There is one thing that should be pointed out though: While the experience decreased, the overall "acquaintance" with total war increased by introducing more sophisticated concepts. Quality is a relative term and always stands in relation to the opponent.
If so, this explains your inability to understand the concept of local superiority.
Indeed, often overlooked. The enemy concentrates his forces (Napoleonic fashion), though this requires military proficiency, leadership and skill. Troops of inferior quality and leadership cannot conduct such strikes effectively, the other side of the spectrum, equally neglected.
Exactly what relevance does your "example" of 21st century peacetime procurement and manufacture of the highest end of equipment have to do with procurement and manufacture 70-odd years ago?
A lot. Amongst the most technologically advanced weapon systems during WW2 were Aircraft and Tank interiors (Western Nations). This should be obvious from an comparative, economical standpoint.
Last edited by Stiltzkin on 28 Sep 2016 03:50, edited 3 times in total.

Rob Stuart
Member
Posts: 1165
Joined: 18 Apr 2009 00:41
Location: Ottawa

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Rob Stuart » 28 Sep 2016 00:58

Guaporense wrote:
Rob Stuart wrote:
Guaporense wrote:
Rob Stuart wrote:Data on Romanian casualties is neither here nor there in a discussion of whether or not the Russians went through the Romanians like a hot knife through butter. According to Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad, on 19 November the Russian forces attacking north of Stalingrad broke through the Romanian IV Corps front and then the II Corps front by around mid-day (thanks in large part to the Germans not having supplied enough anti-tank guns). By 1700 the Russian spearheads had advanced over 20 miles. So in the course of 12-14 hours the Russians blasted gapping holes through two corps and advanced more than 20 miles. This fully justified my description.
Well, the Germans advanced over the WAllies in the ardennes in december 44 by 80-90 kilometers in a week. That doesn't prove the WAllies were badly equipped with tanks.
Not a valid comparison. The Germans were able to advance that far in the Ardennes because the US front line was thinly manned and because there was no Allied armoured division in the right place to stop them.
And the Romanians were not thinly manned? Your argument is inconsistent.

No, you are attempting to make my argument appear inconsistent by distorting it. My argument is that the Germans should have produced more tanks, so that, amongst other things, they could have supplied more and better tanks to their allies. As an example, I suggested that the Russians might have had a harder time penetrating the Romanian forces on the flanks of 6th Army if the Romanian armies in question had each had an armoured division equipped with Panzer IVs. Yes, the Romanians had other problems, one of them being that their lines were, so far as I know, thinly manned. However, I do not know if they were more or less thinly manned than was the portion of the US line which the Germans attacked when they opened their Ardennes offensive.
Its just plain moronic to claim that the 6th army was easily encircled, while the Red Army lost more men than the whole 6th army! If you lose 500,000 men to encircle and make 300,000 men surrender, it's obvious that was not "easy". But you cannot admit that, "they were encircled because they were badly equipped". Yep, because one side losing 500,000 men while having massive numerical superiority and great geographical advantage to encircle 300,000 men of the other side is clearly better equipped. :roll:
It's moronic and dishonest to distort the arguments of others. As I have repeatedly explained, the only thing which I described as being easy was what the Soviets did between 19 and 23 November, which was to quickly cut through the Romanian forces and link up at Kalach. They did not lose 500,000 doing that!

Rob Stuart
Member
Posts: 1165
Joined: 18 Apr 2009 00:41
Location: Ottawa

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Rob Stuart » 28 Sep 2016 03:03

Guaporense wrote:
Rob Stuart wrote:
Guaporense wrote:
Rob Stuart wrote:Data on Romanian casualties is neither here nor there in a discussion of whether or not the Russians went through the Romanians like a hot knife through butter. According to Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad, on 19 November the Russian forces attacking north of Stalingrad broke through the Romanian IV Corps front and then the II Corps front by around mid-day (thanks in large part to the Germans not having supplied enough anti-tank guns). By 1700 the Russian spearheads had advanced over 20 miles. So in the course of 12-14 hours the Russians blasted gapping holes through two corps and advanced more than 20 miles. This fully justified my description.
Well, the Germans advanced over the WAllies in the ardennes in december 44 by 80-90 kilometers in a week. That doesn't prove the WAllies were badly equipped with tanks.
Not a valid comparison. The Germans were able to advance that far in the Ardennes because the US front line was thinly manned and because there was no Allied armoured division in the right place to stop them.
You claim the American line was thinly manned in December 44? They just outnumbered the Germans in the Western front by a MASSIVE proportion, it was the Germans that were thinly manned. Which is obvious consequence of 80 million people fighting the whole world. The fact that they managed to penetrate 80 kilometers under those absolutely hellish circumstances demonstrates the incredibly high level of military competence and effectiveness of their armed forces.
You are again distorting what I said. I do not know if this is a deliberate choice on your part or if you're simply being obtuse. Anyone with half a brain and a real understanding of WW2 would have realized that it was the American line in the Ardennes which I was referring to, and it was indeed thinly manned. That is half the reason why the Germans choose to attack there.

User avatar
Guaporense
Banned
Posts: 1866
Joined: 07 Oct 2009 02:35
Location: USA

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Guaporense » 29 Sep 2016 05:05

Stiltzkin wrote:
Do you have any substantial argument for the case that their standards were lowered? Do the number of weeks of training decrease?
Standards were in fact lowered, fuel shortages resulted in the decrease of pilots and tank crewmen training almost by 2/3s. I do not know about Officers though, I would expect them to be still quite high.
However, Infantry was also rushed to the fronts, this goes for all sides (I am not sure about the amount of blanks/rounds used for training purposes though). The Soviets were mobilizing and amassing formations quickly during the dark days of WW2. The US had "3 week wonders" (contrary to the 10 week ideal) and other units that sufficed to bring the war to an end.
There is one thing that should be pointed out though: While the experience decreased, the overall "acquaintance" with total war increased by introducing more sophisticated concepts. Quality is a relative term and always stands in relation to the opponent.
I didn't know US training standard decreased. If even they decreased training standards (even though their war was run on a leisurely fashion) then it's expected that German standards decreased.

Although one thing is that many German troops by the end of the war were very experienced, these surviving troops were probably of higher fighting power than any others.

And I wasn't talking about pilots and tank crews, which were like 0.1% of all the troops mobilized. Pilots and tank crews had little fuel to train due to the oil shortage plaguing continental Europe, that was a natural consequence and had nothing to do with the standards of training of the armed forces as a whole. I recall reading that training for German infantry decreased from 16 weeks to 12 weeks by 1944. Still, if US troops had 10 weeks ideally that might help to explain why their fighting power was lower.
If so, this explains your inability to understand the concept of local superiority.
Indeed, often overlooked. The enemy concentrates his forces (Napoleonic fashion), though this requires military proficiency, leadership and skill. Troops of inferior quality and leadership cannot conduct such strikes effectively, the other side of the spectrum, equally neglected.
And he failed to understand my whole point. He claims that the fact that the Soviet army pierced the Axis front proves the Axis troops were badly equipped, I showed him a counter example: well, the Germans pierced the Americans which had ideal equipment (on paper) just like their TOEs stated. Therefore, you cannot conclude that the fact that the Soviet troops pierced the Romanian army in November 1942 proves that the Romanians were badly equipped.
Exactly what relevance does your "example" of 21st century peacetime procurement and manufacture of the highest end of equipment have to do with procurement and manufacture 70-odd years ago?
A lot. Amongst the most technologically advanced weapon systems during WW2 were Aircraft and Tank interiors (Western Nations). This should be obvious from an comparative, economical standpoint.
Well, in WW2 its true that equipment got a lot cheaper thanks to the increased volume of production. Stuff like the F-22 could have it's production cost decreased several times if it were produced in larger quantities, even with the associated inefficiency with monopolies and firms that life off government contracts (which tend to include a lot of costs with corruption and bureaucracy).

Still, my point was the following: military stuff tends to cost a lot. That's why production of equipment in WW2 was so small compared to production of civilian goods (measured in physical terms): because it's naturally inefficient, due to the nature of the business in dealing with the government.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 5002
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Sep 2016 05:49

Guaporense wrote:Still, my point was

Oh, you actually had a point? Fancy that. What was it?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1095
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Coruscant

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Stiltzkin » 29 Sep 2016 05:52

I didn't know US training standard decreased.
That is only for a fraction of the USMC.
http://www.ww2gyrene.org/boot_camp_2.htm#four
https://books.google.de/books?id=wci8Rw ... e&q&f=true
November 1942 proves that the Romanians were badly equipped.
Well according to 3rdAxis 4th Ally their equipment was suboptimal, however it was not the reason for their defeat. Capacity and overextension surely was. The war was lost even before they reached Stalingrad.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 5002
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: The American WW2 Economic Puzzle

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Sep 2016 17:46

Stiltzkin wrote:A lot. Amongst the most technologically advanced weapon systems during WW2 were Aircraft and Tank interiors (Western Nations). This should be obvious from an comparative, economical standpoint.
Cost of a P51 in 1945 c. $51,000.
Cost of a F22 in 2009 c. $138 million.
Increased 2,705 times.

Cost of a M4 in 1945 c. $55,000.
Cost of an M1 in 1999 c. $5 million.
Increased 99 times.

Cost of a DC3 in 1939 c. $80,000.
Cost of a B757-200 in 2002 c. $65 million.
Increased 812 times.

Cost of a Ford Standard Tudor Sedan (V-8) in 1939 $681.
Cost of a Ford Taurus in 2016 c. $30,000.
Increased 44 times.

Indeed, aircraft and tanks were technologically advanced, but were also comparable in costs to one another in the 1940s. None are really comparable in terms of modern costs and those modern costs tell us zero about the costs to manufacture them in the 1940s.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Return to “Economy”