Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jul 2020 05:50

stg44 wrote:Overman's study has been found to be flawed:
viewtopic.php?t=226986
viewtopic.php?f=76&t=140220

For this one you'll have to search for Overman's name and you'll find the relevant sections (starts bottom of page 3):
http://www.operationbarbarossa.net/wp-c ... tation.pdf
I'm a big fan of Askey but his criticism of Overmans is really poor:
A sample (less than 10,000)
was taken of the German military personnel records, and their fate and where this occurred were
recorded. What was not recorded was cause of death (eg, died in combat or from pneumonia in a rear
area) or if the death was associated with a particular Army, operation, or within a reasonably narrow
time frame. It should be noted that there are over 18,000,000 individual records involved (the
approximate number of total personnel mobilised for all paramilitary type organizations in the entire
Reich in the entire war). Therefore the sample is statistically very small (around 0.05%) which is a
huge problem in itself. Overmans maintains that there was a ‘99% confidence level’ that the results
were accurate based on the sample size, which is statistically (i.e. mathematically) completely
A sample size of 10,000 is easily sufficient to create a 99% confidence level with 2% m.o.e. https://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm Indeed very little public polling involves such large sample sizes. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/po ... /national/ Askey is smart enough to know better; this analysis is redolent of bad faith.
--------------------

I'd note that whether Overmans or OKW figures are correct is largely immaterial to our larger debates. Even if German losses were 30% higher, German human factors enabled one German to incapacitate Soviets at a rate multiple times that of a Soviet soldier. What is your argument that this disparity is traceable to German material superiority, per man, even were I to concede such superiority? Even if we assume a linear relationship between equipment/man and killing power, is there any argument that the Ostheer had multiple times the equipment per man?

And even if the Red Army incapacitated "only 3.7mil" Germans by 1945, that's still war winning under my strategic conception because those losses were critical to the push into Germany.

Thought experiment: Say the German losses in the East were 3mil by June '44 and give those soldiers back to the Heer with their lost equipment. That's significantly larger than was Ostheer in OTL June '44. Put half of those men in the West and D-Day is a no-go. Put the other half in the East and the Red Army is stopped.

So yes, the primary tactical/operational goal of land warfare is to destroy the enemy army. But that tactical/operational goal serves the strategic goal of taking enemy territory - the only means of winning wars pre-A-bomb.

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jul 2020 08:28

I started a new thread re the relationship between war goods production per soldier (material intensity) and combat power in land wars: viewtopic.php?f=76&t=250357&p=2278591#p2278591

This is another objection I have to O'Brien's thesis, one that I didn't mention in my OP.

As the other thread preliminarily argues, it seems clear that, above a certain level, there are diminishing returns to material intensity in land war.

O'Brien's simplistic argument is that war effort tracks perfectly with goods expenditure. If 1/3 went east and 2/3 west, the west was more important. That's not true, however, if the marginal allocation of production east and west would have shown less-than-linear returns in the East.

That it would have shown sub-linear returns seems quite obvious: does anyone think that simply tripling German tank/gun/truck production (i.e. no change in manpower) would have meant Russia is fighting three OTL Ostheer's instead of one? No, Ostheer would have been stronger but even 50% stronger seems questionable.

By contrast, the air/sea war arguably shows better-than-linear returns, at least at the tails of its outcome distributions. What absolutely cannot be allowed to happen in air war is total air supremacy for the enemy - the ability of one's enemy to fly and bomb whenever and wherever he wishes. That's basically what the West achieved by 1945 at the latest, with the resultant collapse of German production and mobility.

Short of total air supremacy, a defender can fight a war of aerial attrition on significantly cheaper terms than an attacker. As I've repeatedly emphasized, a heavy bomber cost ~10x as much as a cheap, short-range interceptor like Me-109 in training, support, and production. Until the Allies achieved something like air supremacy, the Luftwaffe was able to trade cheap interceptors for expensive heavy bombers at ~1:1 combat attrition rates - even as late as Big Week. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Week. Note that aircrew attrition was ~20:1 in the LW's favor.

It made sense, then, for Germany to devote production resources to a theater that showed at least linear returns rather to one that showed sub-linear returns - even if the favored theater was less important. But again, production resources are only part of the story; human capital (services) are at least as important and skewed strongly East.

This analysis is also an application of basic economic reasoning. As Harrison writes:
The need to make the best of
the war effort impelled each country to equalize the marginal returns to each
input into fighting power. Their goals and circumstances differed and this led
to different choices
https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics ... rrison.pdf

...the marginal return to production resources in the air war was greater than marginal return in land war (only for fighters, I would argue). But marginal return isn't the same as total return (here the importance of victory in this or that theater).

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jul 2020 09:05

stg 44 wrote:
06 Jul 2020 15:01
I'd like to see a source that shows that the Soviet army had as much material per man than the Germans before 1945.
It just occurred to me that we have a rough, top-line way of estimating each side's army's material intensity via GDP's, mobilization, resource distribution, and field army sizes.

From Harrison we have the following 1944 GDP's:

Germany: 437
SU: 360

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf (p.27)

Also from Harrison, both countries were similarly mobilized. (p.34)

From O'Brien we have the portion of production resources committed to land war in 1944:

SU: 66.2%
Germany: 34.8 %

See Harrison's review - a nice summation of figures scattered in O'Brien's book. https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics ... rrison.pdf (p.2)


From these figures we already know that German production expenditure on land war was only 64% of SU's.

But not all of that went to Ostheer whereas probably 95% of SU's land production went to the Eastern Front. If we assume the '44 figure is 70% for Germany, her total land production sent east is only 47% of the production that Ostheer faced.

Now for the per-man estimate. From Zetterling's "Loss rates on the Eastern Front" in JSMS, I have the following front strengths for mid-'44:

Ostheer: 2.62mil
RKKA: 7.045mil (6.6mil with Fronts, 645k in STAVKA reserve)

Dividing the production flows among front soldiers, we have the Ostheer receiving 17.5% as much equipment, per man, as the Red Army.

These numbers can be finessed according to the proportion of German land equipment sent East but I don't see any universe in which the Ostheer got as much equipment - per man or in total - as did the Red Army.

In earlier years the Soviet GDP is relatively lower but still nowhere near making this calculation favor the Ostheer.

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by Urmel » 07 Jul 2020 10:53

stg 44 wrote:
06 Jul 2020 23:50
The Wehrmacht had a total strength of 7,234,000 men by 1941.

2 June 1941 3,050,000 Germans, 67,000 (northern Norway)

7 June 1942 2,600,000 Germans, 90,000 (northern Norway)
Last I checked 3.1 million is quite a bit less than 50% of 8.1 million or even 7.2 million. 2.69 million is vastly less than 50% of 9.5 million.
If that's the level of your argument then we can as well stop right now. It should be blindingly obvious that a vast part of the non-deployed forces serves for the benefit of the deployed forces. The concept of the 'divisional slice'. So if by 1 Feb 1942, 80% of the Heer divisions were in the east, it stands to reason that 80% of the Heer not deployed served them. Acting as replacement training, railroad troops, admin at home, construction units, etc.

So if at that stage the Heer had about 5.1m men out of 8.1m, about 4m of them either served in east directly, or were dedicated to supporting the troops there. At the same time, over 50% of the 1.7m Luftwaffe served either directly in or for the benefit of forces deployed in the east (40-50% of air units and 20% of anti-aircraft). So even ignoring the Kriegsmarine completely we are now at at least 60-65% of German armed forces dedicated to the East in early 1942.

You can only get to 50% by e.g. presuming that units training replacements for the east in Germany were not actually serving the war effort in the east. That's obviously non-sensical.
stg 44 wrote:
06 Jul 2020 23:50
As to Harrison's paper it said the Soviets were close to collapse, not that they were going to given the flawed historical strategy. By the peak of Blau the USSR was down to about 40% of pre-war agricultural output, but still have over 2/3rds of it's population, but now something like 25 million refugees evacuated from the west, while labor was heavily reduced, both mechanical (tractors) and biological (horses and people).
Harrison does not say they would have collapsed without Lend Lease or the Air/Sea battle. He's a sufficiently good academic to not engage in this. The article does not say what you originally claimed it said. It does not serve as evidence for your claim. Still waiting for that.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 07 Jul 2020 11:48

stg 44 wrote:
06 Jul 2020 23:50
Urmel wrote:
06 Jul 2020 21:25
There was more than 50% of the Wehrmacht employed in the east in 1941, 1942.

Yes almost all of the navy was in the west. A decent part of the airforce was. The Med was just a bit more than a rounding error. The west was where depleted divisions went to be rebuilt because it was a safe space.

But 80% of the Heer was in the east. So in the larger scheme of things 1941 and 1942 were a major focus on the east. And they still couldn’t defeat the Red Army. I also would like to see any evidence that the Soviet Union came close to collapse over Fall Blau or that it not happening can be ascribed to the air/sea battle. The paper you linked isn’t it, it’s clearly saying so itself.
If you just look at divisions I can see where you'd think that. See the raw numbers:
It seems to me you not understand for raw numbers.

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by Aber » 07 Jul 2020 12:03

I found O'Brien's book fundamentally frustrating in the way that his economic and production arguments were detached from the strategic context - does it matter that German industry collapsed in 1945 due to a strategic air campaign when the war was already effectively over?

This is highlighted by his summary of Operation Crossbow which concludes "After September 1944, when the threat of the V-1 subsided, and the V-2 appeared, Crossbow missions became less numerous." with no mention of why the V-1 threat disappeared.

Also missing from his analysis is any clear explanation about how tanks and planes were "consumable stock" to the armies and airforces, and how production numbers linked to front-line strength, and reserves (and so how long any production shortages took to translate into operational shortfalls).

Overall, he is good on production losses, but poor on how these link to strategy.

A couple of minor bugbears, not addressing how Coventry affected Bomber Command planning and fitting Asdic to VLR Liberators. :o

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by stg 44 » 07 Jul 2020 14:14

Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 10:53
If that's the level of your argument then we can as well stop right now. It should be blindingly obvious that a vast part of the non-deployed forces serves for the benefit of the deployed forces. The concept of the 'divisional slice'. So if by 1 Feb 1942, 80% of the Heer divisions were in the east, it stands to reason that 80% of the Heer not deployed served them. Acting as replacement training, railroad troops, admin at home, construction units, etc.
You can stop responding any time you'd like.
80% of the Heer division weren't in the East in February 1942 per your own document! In what world is 145 divisions out of 209 divisions 80%? Even adding in the security divisions that only gets up to 70%.

How large was a German 'division slice' as of 1941-42 and how much of that was contained within the ~3 million men deployed in the East (army and corps level support services)?

Per this definition the division slice only talks about troops in direct support of the front line:
https://books.google.com/books?id=fNVKD ... 42&f=false

https://books.google.com/books?id=xeu3D ... 42&f=false
Not units back in the home country engaged in sustainment. So any division slice manpower is already included in the deployed armies in the East, i.e. only the ~3 million deployed, not any manpower not officially allocated to the armies or at most in the army group supply apparatus, which are all part of that ~3 million man 'ostheer'. If you have a source that says otherwise please share.

You're also forgetting the much larger support apparatus for Rommel's commitment to Africa than rail commitments in the East. And the new forming divisions as well, not all of which deployed East.
Plus again that leaves out the navy and Luftwaffe/air defense.

The latter is particularly important as of 4th quarter 1941 it was already consuming 24% of the entire Wehrmacht weapons budget and 35% of total ammo production per the book "Flak: 1914-1945". Even in 3rd quarter 1941, i.e. in the first 3 months of Barbarossa, it was 19% and 34% respectively.
And that was just FLAK.
Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 10:53
So if at that stage the Heer had about 5.1m men out of 8.1m, about 4m of them either served in east directly, or were dedicated to supporting the troops there. At the same time, over 50% of the 1.7m Luftwaffe served either directly in or for the benefit of forces deployed in the east (40-50% of air units and 20% of anti-aircraft). So even ignoring the Kriegsmarine completely we are now at at least 60-65% of German armed forces dedicated to the East in early 1942.
What's your source that over 50% of the Luftwaffe was in the East or supporting the Eastern forces as of February 1942?
Do you have a source that says an additional 1 million men or more were directly dedicated only to supporting the Ostheer in non-deployed roles? If you're using the divisional slice to calculate that number then you're making a serious category error as the divisional slice only includes deployed units in the army/army group:
https://books.google.com/books?id=xeu3D ... 42&f=false

So again you're supporting my point that at no point was the entire German military focused in the East, so to talk about the lack of ability of the German military to win in in the East in 1943-44 were the Wallies not in the war (or potentially in 1941 or 1942 were they out too) is willfully ignoring that at no point were they ever 100% committed in the East and they got progressively less committed East from June 1941 on.
Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 10:53
You can only get to 50% by e.g. presuming that units training replacements for the east in Germany were not actually serving the war effort in the east. That's obviously non-sensical.
They were never deployed all at one time and huge amounts of equipment and manpower was held back to form new divisions in 1941 for use in 1942 for what was considered to be the actual decisive campaigns that were planned for the Middle East.
Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 10:53
Harrison does not say they would have collapsed without Lend Lease or the Air/Sea battle. He's a sufficiently good academic to not engage in this. The article does not say what you originally claimed it said. It does not serve as evidence for your claim. Still waiting for that.
He says it is unknowable if they would or would not, but they would have come precariously close to the tipping point.
What do you think I originally claimed? Because it seems like you're engaging with a strawman version of what I'm saying.
And given your bad faith arguments here its clear there will never be any sufficient evidence to you.
Last edited by stg 44 on 07 Jul 2020 14:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by stg 44 » 07 Jul 2020 14:36

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Jul 2020 05:50
stg44 wrote:Overman's study has been found to be flawed:
viewtopic.php?t=226986
viewtopic.php?f=76&t=140220

For this one you'll have to search for Overman's name and you'll find the relevant sections (starts bottom of page 3):
http://www.operationbarbarossa.net/wp-c ... tation.pdf
I'm a big fan of Askey but his criticism of Overmans is really poor:
A sample (less than 10,000)
was taken of the German military personnel records, and their fate and where this occurred were
recorded. What was not recorded was cause of death (eg, died in combat or from pneumonia in a rear
area) or if the death was associated with a particular Army, operation, or within a reasonably narrow
time frame. It should be noted that there are over 18,000,000 individual records involved (the
approximate number of total personnel mobilised for all paramilitary type organizations in the entire
Reich in the entire war). Therefore the sample is statistically very small (around 0.05%) which is a
huge problem in itself. Overmans maintains that there was a ‘99% confidence level’ that the results
were accurate based on the sample size, which is statistically (i.e. mathematically) completely
A sample size of 10,000 is easily sufficient to create a 99% confidence level with 2% m.o.e. https://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm Indeed very little public polling involves such large sample sizes. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/po ... /national/ Askey is smart enough to know better; this analysis is redolent of bad faith.
--------------------

I'd note that whether Overmans or OKW figures are correct is largely immaterial to our larger debates. Even if German losses were 30% higher, German human factors enabled one German to incapacitate Soviets at a rate multiple times that of a Soviet soldier. What is your argument that this disparity is traceable to German material superiority, per man, even were I to concede such superiority? Even if we assume a linear relationship between equipment/man and killing power, is there any argument that the Ostheer had multiple times the equipment per man?

And even if the Red Army incapacitated "only 3.7mil" Germans by 1945, that's still war winning under my strategic conception because those losses were critical to the push into Germany.

Thought experiment: Say the German losses in the East were 3mil by June '44 and give those soldiers back to the Heer with their lost equipment. That's significantly larger than was Ostheer in OTL June '44. Put half of those men in the West and D-Day is a no-go. Put the other half in the East and the Red Army is stopped.

So yes, the primary tactical/operational goal of land warfare is to destroy the enemy army. But that tactical/operational goal serves the strategic goal of taking enemy territory - the only means of winning wars pre-A-bomb.
You're missing the point that the Overman's study covers losses that happened after the period in question and deaths either after the war in PoW camps or being killed during surrender in the last months of the war. I was talking about the point up until January 31st 1945 when the decisive campaigns were already fought and leaving out the skewed data in the last months of the war when the collapse on all fronts and the deaths after the war got mixed into the data, because there are no accurate records from at least the end of January to the end of the war.

So the whole '30% higher losses' is not relevant, because the study includes later losses.

Amount of equipment isn't necessarily the issue, as I already pointed out about the quality of Soviet equipment in 1941-42. The issue is quality of said equipment and supplies for it. Though the accuracy of these numbers is somewhat questionable and it does include expenditures for all fronts, they do raise an interesting point:
https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads ... w2.308559/
In 2009 Isaev posted a comparsion between soviet and german ammo expenditures in 1942-44. I compiled it all in a tables and added data on rocket artillery, tank munitions and usage of captured shells/guns by germans. Google doc with tables here. It turns out pretty interesting. Despite the superiority of the Soviet artillery in the number of guns if you take the artillery calibers (ie guns 75 mm and above, without anti-aircraft) the Germans fired more shells.

USSR / Germany
1942 - 37.983.800 / 45.261.822
1943 - 82.125.480 / 69.928.496
1944 - 98.664.568 / 113.663.900

If we start to count in tonnes, the difference is even more profound:

USSR / Germany
1942 - 446.133 / 709.557
1943 - 828.193 / 1.121.545
1944 - 1.000.962 / 1.540.933

Weight here are taken as weight of the projectile itself, not total weight (with propellant charge). That is, the weight of metal and explosives, tottering directly onto the head of the opposing party. Note that for the Germans, I did not count tank's armor piercing shells and anti-tank guns (I hope it is clear why). For the Soviet side to exclude them is not possible, but judging by the Germans, the difference is not significant. Consumption for Germany is given for all fronts and this is important difference after mid of 1944.

Also we can count the consumption of shells per barrel.

In the Soviet Army per day consumption is 3.6-3.8 shells (only guns above 76 mm caliber). The figure is quite stable over years and in size: in 1944 the average daily for all guns - 3.6 per barrel, 122-mm howitzer - 3.0, 76.2 mm guns (regimental, divisional, tank) - 3.7. Average daily consumption of the mortar shells is growing from year to year: from 2.0 in 1942 to 4.1 in 1944.
German artillery flexibility was greater thanks to at least earlier in the war having more communications equipment and better trained (or at least surviving) artillery staff, but more importantly they had more ammo to fire and better supply. This is just one facet and leaves out the role air power played as well the the higher quality of German armor and more trucks.

Meanwhile while Soviet production figures are impressive there were huge problems with quality and reliability, which rendered, especially early in the war, much of the production either unusable or quickly rendered so in field use. Only later did Soviet quality start improving for a variety of reasons. So it's great that they produced x-number of units of tanks, but if 30% or more of that production is terrible quality and barely if at all useful then it isn't really helpful.

As to your point about the OTL incapacitation of German military personnel in the East, that 3.7 million or whatever figure was only in the context of the Wallied 'value add' to Soviet abilities, as you point out by drawing off the necessary firepower and reserves of manpower that would have otherwise been available to check the Soviet advance. My entire point of bringing up the German losses and saying that wasn't enough to win the war on it's own is specifically in the context of no Wallied involvement in the war as part of the thought experiment to show that the Soviet actions on their own weren't decisive, they were only able to be so thanks to the role of the Wallies in diverting German equipment and margin of manpower that would have been enough to at least stalemate the Soviets in 1943. Or arguably win the war in 1941-42 had Germany been able to go all in in the East. From that perspective how decisive was the Eastern Front then? It was certainly a huge help historically due to the synergies generated by the combined allied powers, but sans one or more major Allied powers then that synergy breaks down and things get a LOT tougher.

Just one example is the massive FLAK investment to fight the strategic bombing campaign. The book "FLAK: 1914-1945" has a lot of data about the increasing expense of that arm to Germany and how it was mostly used throughout the war to defend against the Wallies and in doing so severely deprived the Ostheer of artillery, ammo, and air defense they desperately needed. Even putting aside the damage done to production and whatever else by the bombing, the investments made into fighting the strategic air war was increasingly vital to the Soviets and even Wallied ground forces as it diverted huge resources away from the front throughout the war. Even in 1941 3rd and 4th quarter FLAK was consuming 20-24% of the entire Wehrmacht weapons budget and 34-35% of it's ammo budget, with most of it deployed not on the Eastern Front. The RAF was bombing Germany and Western Europe throughout 1941 and beyond, which the Germans took exceptionally seriously and increasingly devoted more and more resources to combating.

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by Urmel » 07 Jul 2020 14:56

stg 44 wrote:
07 Jul 2020 14:14
Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 10:53
If that's the level of your argument then we can as well stop right now. It should be blindingly obvious that a vast part of the non-deployed forces serves for the benefit of the deployed forces. The concept of the 'divisional slice'. So if by 1 Feb 1942, 80% of the Heer divisions were in the east, it stands to reason that 80% of the Heer not deployed served them. Acting as replacement training, railroad troops, admin at home, construction units, etc.
You can stop responding any time you'd like.
80% of the Heer division weren't in the East in February 1942 per your own document! In what world is 145 divisions out of 209 divisions 80%? Even adding in the security divisions that only gets up to 70%.

How large was a German 'division slice' as of 1941-42 and how much of that was contained within the ~3 million men deployed in the East (army and corps level support services)?

Per this definition the division slice only talks about troops in direct support of the front line:
https://books.google.com/books?id=fNVKD ... 42&f=false

https://books.google.com/books?id=xeu3D ... 42&f=false
Not units back in the home country engaged in sustainment. So any division slice manpower is already included in the deployed armies in the East, i.e. only the ~3 million deployed, not any manpower not officially allocated to the armies or at most in the army group supply apparatus, which are all part of that ~3 million man 'ostheer'. If you have a source that says otherwise please share.

You're also forgetting the much larger support apparatus for Rommel's commitment to Africa than rail commitments in the East. And the new forming divisions as well, not all of which deployed East.
Plus again that leaves out the navy and Luftwaffe/air defense.

The latter is particularly important as of 4th quarter 1941 it was already consuming 24% of the entire Wehrmacht weapons budget and 35% of total ammo production per the book "Flak: 1914-1945". Even in 3rd quarter 1941, i.e. in the first 3 months of Barbarossa, it was 19% and 34% respectively.
And that was just FLAK.
Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 10:53
So if at that stage the Heer had about 5.1m men out of 8.1m, about 4m of them either served in east directly, or were dedicated to supporting the troops there. At the same time, over 50% of the 1.7m Luftwaffe served either directly in or for the benefit of forces deployed in the east (40-50% of air units and 20% of anti-aircraft). So even ignoring the Kriegsmarine completely we are now at at least 60-65% of German armed forces dedicated to the East in early 1942.
What's your source that over 50% of the Luftwaffe was in the East or supporting the Eastern forces as of February 1942?
Do you have a source that says an additional 1 million men or more were directly dedicated only to supporting the Ostheer in non-deployed roles? If you're using the divisional slice to calculate that number then you're making a serious category error as the divisional slice only includes deployed units in the army/army group:
https://books.google.com/books?id=xeu3D ... 42&f=false

So again you're supporting my point that at no point was the entire German military focused in the East, so to talk about the lack of ability of the German military to win in in the East in 1943-44 were the Wallies not in the war (or potentially in 1941 or 1942 were they out too) is willfully ignoring that at no point were they ever 100% committed in the East and they got progressively less committed East from June 1941 on.
Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 10:53
You can only get to 50% by e.g. presuming that units training replacements for the east in Germany were not actually serving the war effort in the east. That's obviously non-sensical.
They were never deployed all at one time and huge amounts of equipment and manpower was held back to form new divisions in 1941 for use in 1942 for what was considered to be the actual decisive campaigns that were planned for the Middle East.
Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 10:53
Harrison does not say they would have collapsed without Lend Lease or the Air/Sea battle. He's a sufficiently good academic to not engage in this. The article does not say what you originally claimed it said. It does not serve as evidence for your claim. Still waiting for that.
He says it is unknowable if they would or would not, but they would have come precariously close to the tipping point.
What do you think I originally claimed? Because it seems like you're engaging with a strawman version of what I'm saying.
And given your bad faith arguments here its clear there will never be any sufficient evidence to you.
Oh dear.

145 + 5 + 10 + 6 (Finland/Lappland, what do you think they were doing there?) + 4 Walküre Divisions + 5 Rheingold Divisions (both ready to be marched east see here) = 175/219 = 79.91%, so yeah, you got me. Not 80%.

Either maths is very hard, or you really have no idea what you are talking about, when you don't know that German divisions in Finland and Lapland were fighting the Red Army and that both Walküre and Rheingold were emergency establishments for the east.

You claimed 'less than 50%' of the Wehrmacht was deployed in the east in 1941. I have demonstrated that you are flat out wrong, yet you accuse me of bad faith and misquote numbers instead of accepting the facts. Maybe provide some evidence for your claim for a change. All you do is try to twist the counter evidence I have provided to suit your completely wrong thesis.
stg 44 wrote:
07 Jul 2020 14:14
They were never deployed all at one time and huge amounts of equipment and manpower was held back to form new divisions in 1941 for use in 1942 for what was considered to be the actual decisive campaigns that were planned for the Middle East.
And where did they end up? In the east. And by the end of 1941 it was clear that this was where they were headed. The idea of Directive 32 had died before then.

One of us is providing data. The other is defending a made-up claim.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jul 2020 17:26

stg44 wrote:My entire point of bringing up the German losses and saying that wasn't enough to win the war on it's own is specifically in the context of no Wallied involvement in the war as part of the thought experiment to show that the Soviet actions on their own weren't decisive
As I tried to make clear upthread, this discussion doesn't make sense unless we agree on a definition of "How the war was won."

Your definition is something like necessary AND sufficient for victory. The Red Army's efforts weren't sufficient because, absent the Wallies, the Germans would won (we agree on that). Their efforts weren't necessary because, absent the Red Army the Wallies could have won given political willingness to persevere (I'll say I agree on that though I'm less certain).

My definition of "how the war was won" is basically, (1) "who did the killing and dying?" AND (2) "who faced the majority of enemy resources?"
We need both (1) and (2) because if Russia did most most of the killing and dying but didn't divert much German resources (O'Brien's thesis) then one could reasonably say the Wallies were important to winning the war. China, for example, did a lot of dying and killing but diverted only a small fraction of Japanese resources (by production and manpower).

My argument is that O'Brien thinks the answer to (2) is "The West" but he's wrong because he ignores military services and capital - and the production opportunity cost of deploying manpower against Russia rather than in the economy.

Thus clarified (hopefully), I'm happy to debate whether O'Brien or I am correct in our answer to (2). Your other points we agree on - if you disagree on the meta-question (how do we define "how the war was won") then probably we should just agree to disagree.
stg44 wrote:they [Ostheer] had more ammo to fire and better supply.
I'm familiar with the relative ammo expenditures and have mentioned it elsewhere to folks claiming the SU out-produced Germany in the war.

Nonetheless, reference to tonnage and shells leaves a lot out.

First, shell lethality is sub-linear with shell weight. The British estimated lethality was proportional to SQRT(weight). http://nigelef.tripod.com/wt_of_fire.htm As weight increases cubically with caliber, a 150mm shell is 8x heavier than a 75mm but only ~2.8x more effective: a 65% drop in efficiency of killing power by weight. This explains the British preference for the 25-pounder instead of American/German reliance on 105mm as their baseline howitzer. The British probably over-estimated this effect but the general trend is no doubt true (thus the rarity of super-heavy artillery). For poorer countries like Russia, relying on smaller-caliber shells was surely more efficient. It requires more manpower per ton shot but Russia had plenty of that.

Second, direct-fire artillery is more capital-efficient even though it means there are fewer firing opportunities per gun barrel. This is, again, a poor country's strategy: use lots of men manning lots of guns rather than fewer guns and men but more shells fired per barrel.

Third, mortar fire is more efficient per weight of shot than field artillery. All HE shells seeks to maximize explosive filling versus sidewalls; mortar shells face lower stress upon firing and can therefore have a higher proportion of explosive vs. steel. This is, again, a poor country's strategy: mortars have far less range and therefore it takes many more men and barrels to cover a frontline with mortar fire than with field artillery. But if you're manpower-rich and capital-poor, you lean heavily on cheaper mortar shells and barrels.

So it makes sense for Russia to spend relatively less on shells, more on barrels (always a small part of artillery costs though), and expend more artilleryman's lives by placing them closer to the front.

The shell issue isn't fully responsive to the GDP-based topline analysis I presented upthread. Do you have an opinion on that?

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 07 Jul 2020 20:36

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Jul 2020 17:26
My definition of "how the war was won" is basically, (1) "who did the killing and dying?" AND (2) "who faced the majority of enemy resources?"
And do you quantify how you are measuring "enemy resources"? And are you recognising who the "enemy" is for each of the Allies?

For me, it was exceptionally important that the Western Allies held the line against Japan where they did in spring/summer 1942 and didn't suffer even more catastrophic losses which would have forced further disruption to their ability to "fight" against German and Italy and to support Russia and China to keep them both in the war. This snip from a British planning paper (from CAB/79/20/6) in early April 1942 shows the thinking of British military commanders at this point:
JPS - 3 Apr 42 - British strategy Middle East and India.GIF
So the British are having to consider how to "hold" Japan in order to "fight" Germany both directly (on land in Middle East) and indirectly (by supporting Russia).

I haven't got a dog in the fight for whether the Soviet Union or the Western Allies played the most important role in winning the "war" - because, certainly at this point, in many ways they were fighting different wars - one a desperate struggle for survival on land against the majority of Germany's land forces; the other a desperate (certainly at this point) global war of maritime attrition that needed to be won first before direct attacks could be made against the homelands of the triple enemy (Germany, Italy and Japan).

Further heavy losses to either the RN in the Indian Ocean or the USN in the Pacific at this point would have put back this process and weakened the support that the Allies could give both Russia and China for months (if not years) until greater Allied shipbuilding capacity could reverse those losses and begin to regain the maritime superiority needed to deploy both ground forces and economic capacity.

It goes without saying, obviously, that if the Soviet Union had collapsed in spring/summer 1942, this would also have greatly delayed this process (perhaps indefinitely).

Regards

Tom
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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by Urmel » 07 Jul 2020 20:55

Directive 32 is instructive in this. If it had been applied, the Germans would have directed most of their effort towards the Air/Sea battle. The Red Army prevented this from happening, and thereby bought the time that was needed to put the Anglo-American effort on a secure footing.

The shoe really is on the other foot in this instance - the 'primitive' land war in the east enabled the Air/Sea battle by not ending in defeat. That the Red Army also benefited from the Air/Sea battle in 1941/42 is without a doubt, but by comparison to 1943/44 the benefit was very slight to marginal at first, increasing over time.

You can read the Directive here:

https://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2 ... june-1941/
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by Yuri » 08 Jul 2020 14:08

Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 14:56
stg 44 wrote:
07 Jul 2020 14:14
Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 10:53
If that's the level of your argument then we can as well stop right now. It should be blindingly obvious that a vast part of the non-deployed forces serves for the benefit of the deployed forces. The concept of the 'divisional slice'. So if by 1 Feb 1942, 80% of the Heer divisions were in the east, it stands to reason that 80% of the Heer not deployed served them. Acting as replacement training, railroad troops, admin at home, construction units, etc.
You can stop responding any time you'd like.
80% of the Heer division weren't in the East in February 1942 per your own document! In what world is 145 divisions out of 209 divisions 80%? Even adding in the security divisions that only gets up to 70%.
Oh dear.

145 + 5 + 10 + 6 (Finland/Lappland, what do you think they were doing there?) + 4 Walküre Divisions + 5 Rheingold Divisions (both ready to be marched east see here) = 175/219 = 79.91%, so yeah, you got me. Not 80%.

Either maths is very hard, or you really have no idea what you are talking about, when you don't know that German divisions in Finland and Lapland were fighting the Red Army and that both Walküre and Rheingold were emergency establishments for the east.

You claimed 'less than 50%' of the Wehrmacht was deployed in the east in 1941. I have demonstrated that you are flat out wrong, yet you accuse me of bad faith and misquote numbers instead of accepting the facts. Maybe provide some evidence for your claim for a change. All you do is try to twist the counter evidence I have provided to suit your completely wrong thesis.
Your table does not show the so-called "reserve divisions" of the two military districts created in September 1941 on the territory of the Reich Kommissariats "Ostland" and "Ukraine" (four "reserve divisions").
Here is Kriegsgliederung 61st Reserve Corps operating on the territory RK "OSTLAND".
Res_LXI_Gliederung(42-09-16).jpg
The essence of training in these divisions is fighting with partisans. Since the bulk of the partisans are the remaining red army men behind enemy lines, there is no reason to believe that these so-called "reserve divisions" were at "Heimat", in "West", in "Südosten", in "Africa", or in any other place. In addition, in the Army Groups created so-called "Field-Educational Divisions" = Feld.Ausb.Div. (eight divisions in total FADs). The difference between reserve divisions and field training divisions is that the latter stood in close proximity to the front line, or participated in combat operations-such as the 153.FAD in the Caucasus.

Consequently, there is reason to believe that more than 80% of the German Wehrmacht's land forces were operating on the Soviet-European front in 1942 ..
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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by Urmel » 08 Jul 2020 16:29

Thanks Yuri. The table I provided is 1 Jan 42 with the preview of the expected situation of 1 Feb 42. Your document is September 42 so quite a bit later. I am afraid I have not come across overview data for that period, but would not be surprised to find you are right.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

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Re: Der Alte Fritz on O'Brien's How the War was Won

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 09 Jul 2020 11:30

Urmel wrote:
07 Jul 2020 14:56


Either maths is very hard, or you really have no idea what you are talking about, when you don't know that German divisions in Finland and Lapland were fighting the Red Army and that both Walküre and Rheingold were emergency establishments for the east.

One of us is providing data. The other is defending a made-up claim.
You must to know now on ahf forum historys datas and evidences are for to be deny for to be attack for to be joke.

On ahf forum it be best for to have dream of 1.000 years nazi reich and then for to look for some datas on internet for to write it was be possible. It was not be neccessary for to understand datas. Was not be necessary for datas for to be correct. Only necessary for to be on internet for everybody can to read.

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