Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Jul 2020 02:19

It seems the American material intensity pattern was similar to the German. From the minutes of the War Production Board on December 1, 1942:
Armored divisions require five times as much production as foot divisions, motor divisions twice as much, cavalry divisions 1.4 times as much,
https://play.google.com/books/reader?id ... =GBS.PA164

Max Payload
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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by Max Payload » 18 Jul 2020 11:35

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2020 18:43
The problem with Max Payload's argument is it supposes (1) that mechanization and armor were provided only for operational reasons,
I made no such supposition. A panzer division that is unable to inflict casualties at the tactical level is militarily useless. Nor did I imply that infantry formations lacked any kind of mechanised elements.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2020 18:43
Furthermore, Germany devoted most of its armor production to assault guns and tank destroyers later in the war. These units mostly supported infantry divisions at the tactical level.
So what? It would have been remarkable if unit formations had not evolved as the war progressed, as new weaponry became available and as Germany’s operational priorities, particularly in the East, switched from deep penetration offensives to strategic defence and frontline stabilisation.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2020 18:43
The problem with Max Payload's argument is it supposes... (2) that other escalations of material intensity would show greater tactical combat power efficiency than mech/armor.
re (2):

It may be the case that other means of enhancing combat power - more artillery, for example - were more efficient than mech/armor but I'd like to see the quantitative analysis. Artillery ammunition was enormously expensive, exceeding total land weapons production.

Note that (2) is implicit in Max and Urmel's arguments. Unless they believe something like (2), then mech/armor is the most efficient means of increasing tactical combat power regardless of the motive for mech/armor. If that's the case, then analysis of the panzer division decisively proves my thesis rather than merely being consistent with it. I didn't say it decisively proves the thesis, however.
I trust you are not trying to equate the operational and tactical deployment of the PzKpfw III in 1941 with the Stug IV of 1944, or doubting the tactical effectiveness of the Panzerfaust or the StG 44. I have never argued that increased fire-power and appropriate mechanisation does not increase tactical lethality. What I have questioned is the supposed non-linearity of the tactical cost effectiveness of “material intensity”, particularly between points B and D of the graph that began this thread - the 'thesis'. For the reasons previously cited by others, it remains the case that the cost ratio to tactical lethality ratio of an early-war panzer division compared to its contemporary infantry division cannot reasonably be cited as evidence of the validity of that thesis. In the absence of more appropriate data what is being proposed is conjecture only.

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Jul 2020 16:46

Max Payload wrote:
18 Jul 2020 11:35
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2020 18:43
The problem with Max Payload's argument is it supposes (1) that mechanization and armor were provided only for operational reasons,
I made no such supposition. A panzer division that is unable to inflict casualties at the tactical level is militarily useless. Nor did I imply that infantry formations lacked any kind of mechanised elements.
Well, to be fair, the principal reason I ignored this poster is that most of his arguments are either strawman or appeals to common logic fallacies. Here he decided to respond to you with a strawman.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2020 18:43
Furthermore, Germany devoted most of its armor production to assault guns and tank destroyers later in the war. These units mostly supported infantry divisions at the tactical level.
So what? It would have been remarkable if unit formations had not evolved as the war progressed, as new weaponry became available and as Germany’s operational priorities, particularly in the East, switched from deep penetration offensives to strategic defence and frontline stabilisation.
However, in this case he also makes another of his common fallacious assumptions, argumentum ad ignorantiam. The assault gun was specifically developed to support infantry formations. In typical German fashion, originally in specialized battalions assigned as Heerestruppen to corps and then attached to specific divisions to reinforce the schwerpunkt. That they later increased production of that type and developed its dual-role as an antitank weapon as well as developed and increased production of more specialized variants intended specifically as antitank weapons was a simple tactical and technological development. Nor did Germany devote "most of its armor production to assault guns and tank destroyers" until it developed the requirement...the Inf-Div neuer Art in late 1943 with the requirement.

BTW, the crossover point for "most of its armor production" going to assault guns and tank destroyers was August-September 1944. Furthermore, it was partly affected by the decision to produce the JgPz-IV L70 as an augmentation to the Pz-IV, putting the KwK 42 into a Pz-IV chassis...it in fact was originally designated as the Panzer IV/70 (V).
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2020 18:43
The problem with Max Payload's argument is it supposes... (2) that other escalations of material intensity would show greater tactical combat power efficiency than mech/armor.
re (2):

It may be the case that other means of enhancing combat power - more artillery, for example - were more efficient than mech/armor but I'd like to see the quantitative analysis. Artillery ammunition was enormously expensive, exceeding total land weapons production.
Note that (2) is implicit in Max and Urmel's arguments. Unless they believe something like (2), then mech/armor is the most efficient means of increasing tactical combat power regardless of the motive for mech/armor. If that's the case, then analysis of the panzer division decisively proves my thesis rather than merely being consistent with it. I didn't say it decisively proves the thesis, however.
I trust you are not trying to equate the operational and tactical deployment of the PzKpfw III in 1941 with the Stug IV of 1944, or doubting the tactical effectiveness of the Panzerfaust or the StG 44. I have never argued that increased fire-power and appropriate mechanisation does not increase tactical lethality. What I have questioned is the supposed non-linearity of the tactical cost effectiveness of “material intensity”, particularly between points B and D of the graph that began this thread - the 'thesis'. For the reasons previously cited by others, it remains the case that the cost ratio to tactical lethality ratio of an early-war panzer division compared to its contemporary infantry division cannot reasonably be cited as evidence of the validity of that thesis. In the absence of more appropriate data what is being proposed is conjecture only.
The precise balance of infantry, armor, and artillery in the combined arms triad has always been in flux and debated between those advocates for various arms and is a matter more of feelings than scientific analysis...and also varies according to tactical and operational requirements.
"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

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 18 Jul 2020 18:43

Max Payload wrote: A panzer division that is unable to inflict casualties at the tactical level is militarily useless. Nor did I imply that infantry formations lacked any kind of mechanised elements.
Again this demonstrates the tedium of our "disagreement," which is why my initial inclination has been to ignore these points.

Your point about a "panzer division that is unable to inflict casualties" is spurious. The issue is marginal combat power, not absolute power. And to raise zero casualty infliction as relevant is just obviously absurd.

As you say upthread:
Max Payload wrote:
09 Jul 2020 02:29
The basic concept of what you are proposing seems reasonable
If you now disagree with the thesis, you can point to any example of firepower being supra-linear with material intensity on a modern battlefield (i.e. between points C and E roughly). Can you provide a single example? Can anyone?
Richard Anderson wrote:Well, to be fair, the principal reason I ignored this poster
Congratulations (to us both) on reducing your engagement with me lately, long after your protestations of "ignore."
I had the sense your reticence stemmed more from promoting a book that someone you cited as an authority called "full of popular fictional notions" and lacking depth and methodology:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=248298&p=2264578&h ... r#p2264578
Richard Anderson wrote:The assault gun was specifically developed to support infantry formations. In typical German fashion, originally in specialized battalions assigned as Heerestruppen to corps and then attached to specific divisions to reinforce the schwerpunkt. That they later increased production of that type and developed its dual-role as an antitank weapon as well as developed and increased production of more specialized variants intended specifically as antitank weapons was a simple tactical and technological development.
Once more, terminal difficulty with relevance. How does any of this rebut the point that armor provision occurred for tactical reasons?

Ружичасти Слон
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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 18 Jul 2020 18:50

Tmp thesis was have many flaws on concept errors on understanding and was made from many false notions.

It seems to me tmp was use stawmens because he was not understand flaws and problems and was refute only critics he was see.

In normal academic and intelligence research persons was start on evidences. When was have evidences and quantative datas was can to plot on graph. When plots on graph was have relationship persons was can to propose thesis and was can to make prediction on next data plot.

It seems to me tmp was start with thesis then was make graph then was make plot and then was search for datas.

What datas have tmp for to decide graph was be valid ? He was write many words from his self head but he was not give one quantative data for one plot. Nothing. Graph was complete imagination story.

Imagination story was made from false notions about concepts and ideas.

2.message he was write on quantative datas. But quantative datas was come mostest from source what have objective for to help gamers to think they have best solution after was roll dices. On 1.message he was write must to only discuss tactical blood casualtys but then was give gamer datas for division what was designed and organised for to maximize strategic results not tactical results.

For to have credible discuss must to show gamer datas was be valid and for to explain how datas was be adjust to tactical results blood casualtys only from strategic design.

It seems to me argue with stawmens was not be try to mislead or for to misdirect but was be result of somebody what have no understand of what he was write.

One friend from me was say it was sophism. I was must to look in dictionary for what was mean sophism. I not agree. Argument and thesis not look true on start.

Maybe tmp really want for to have serious discuss on topic. Ok. But he must to give some credible quantative datas not waves on hand. He must to give credible explains why every data point can to be compared together and datas is coherent. When he finds datas points have good correlations then he can to present some thesis for discuss.

Tmp not have credible thesis for serious discuss. Tmp was only write many waves of hand and was make imagination story.

Until now it seems to me he was do his normal trick which was to write some contentions words and hope everybody else will to do his research when they will to give refutes.

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 18 Jul 2020 22:14

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Jul 2020 07:06
In another thread stg44 and I have been debating the relative equipment levels per man ("equipment intensity") of the Red Army and Ostheer, and the significance of this factor on the Eastern Front. viewtopic.php?p=2278490#p2278438

That motivated me to start a discussion that I've long kicked around: The general relationship between material intensity and combat power.

I consider this relationship to be non-linear.

Consider a very rough graph of combat power (per soldier) vs. material intensity:

EDIT- This is TACTICAL combat power - basically the ability to inflict bloody casualties. Operational/strategic considerations are different. I've argued elsewhere, for example, that German mobile divisions had operational effects out of all proportion to their manpower/material resources. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=243557That's a different topic, however.

Image

Point A: 0 equipment expenditure; soldiers fight with rocks or whatever else they can pick up (think Japanese Home Army plans for civilians to wield bamboo sticks against invaders). Soldiers so equipped have very little combat power.

Point B: This is basically an all-rifle army. Soldiers are many times more powerful than rock-throwers and bamboo-wielders but can gain a lot of combat power, relatively cheaply, my moving up to Point C. Chiang Kai-Shek's army is closest to what I'm imagining. A very poor country can field such an army but will see disproportionate casualties.

Point C: This is a fairly modern infantry army with artillery, anti-tank, reconaissance, and combat engineer support and adequate logistics. This would approximately represent foot-mobile WW2 infantry divisions such as Red Army's. The cost per soldier is something that a poorer industrial country (Soviet Union or Japan) can manage quite well but that a mostly non-industrial country like China or (to a lesser extent) Romania cannot.

Point D: This represents a decent combined arms, mechanized unit such as Soviet tank corps, German panzer divisions, and standard American/British late-war ID's. For ~twice the equipment intensity vs. a modern foot-mobile infantry division, combat power per soldier increases by ~1/3. It is less efficient on the use of war goods but more efficient on the use of manpower.

Point E: This is something like the U.S. army's armored divisions plus their non-divisional mobile assets (e.g. M1 "Long Tom" battalions): lavish provision of mechanization, firepower, and logistical support. On this graph, however, material intensity has doubled but combat power has expanded by only ~20%. Efficiency of war goods usage, by combat power, has decreased but efficiency of personnel usage has increased. This is clearly the strategy for a very wealthy country such as the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, UK. Despite the increase in personnel efficiency within combat units, however, Point E may imply an army-wide efficiency decline owing to more service troops in the logistical train. American divisional slices were quite large and were acknowledged by the U.S. Army to be suboptimal.

-------------------------------------

If the broad outlines of my concept are correct, it has a few strategic implications:
Who was be enemy for to give combat powers ?

Was it be same enemy on each point ?

On your graph you was give 2 combat power at point A and 40 combat power at point E.

You was write on topic you was write you like thought experiments. Ok. Here is 1.

Army 10.000 persons on point A against 10.000 persons on point E. On combat power 40 E can to make all 10.000 persons bloody casualties and at same time can to lose 500 persons bloody casualties. Realistic or not realistic ? Sticks & stones on modern firepowers.

Same context stage 2. On ratio 2:40 army at point A can to win war when have 200.001 persons against 10.000 army E on 1 battle. Can to have less total when make series for consecutive fights.

Conclusion from analysis on thesis.
When country think to go on war must to look at enemy. When enemy have 10.000 army at point E best solution can to be for to send 200.001 persons with sticks & stones because you will to win war and not spend any money.

Now can to do same other pair points. 10.000 army on point B all rifles army against 10.000 army point D Germany panzer division. Ratio 15:34. For Germany panzer division to make all rifle army bloody casualty must to lose 4.411. Realistic or not realistic ? Rifles against tanks and artillery 15:34.

Ok. Numbers was be only tmp imagination story. I know. For to have discuss must to have credible start point.

When tmp give credible start point made from evidences on quantitive datas then can to have serious discuss.

Thesis made from imagination storys and waves on hand is no credible start point.

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Jul 2020 09:42

This seems to discount other possibilities such as will power, fantacism and morale.

About 20 or 30 years ago a few Chadian forces largely equipped with "Technicals" carrying heavy machine guns overthrew massively larger Libyan forces equipped with some of the most modern weaponry. ISIS expanded without much access to advanced weaponry against some comparitively well endowed armies. The largely self-resourced Tamil Tigers gave the Sri Lankan Army a hard time for a decade or more.

All other things being equal, one would expect the better resourced side to win every time. But all other things aren't equal.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by glenn239 » 24 Jul 2020 16:59

What a fantastic premise and thread. Thanks!

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Aug 2020 21:05

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2020 02:39

My sense is that this member is disagreeing with me to disagree with me.
Going back through this thread and another, I see that I owe Max Payload an apology for this ungenerous reading of his replies.

Sometimes it is appropriate to call out another member for needless quarreling. But it's a fraught calculus and on this one I was wrong. Max and I disagree but his engagement has been substantive and has, as in another thread (viewtopic.php?f=55&t=249359&p=2285872#p2285593), challenged me to refine and clarify my research and ideas.

Sorry Max.

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Aug 2020 21:05

glenn239 wrote:
24 Jul 2020 16:59
What a fantastic premise and thread. Thanks!
Thank you!

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by Stiltzkin » 16 Aug 2020 12:26

Sophistication. It is doubtful that a reduction of "intensity" (which is ill-defined here) occured, which would affect the asymptote (log normal). To what extent the technological input between 42-44/45 differed I cannot say, as this would require a thorough analysis, but I assume the ratio of inventory combat rating/to weight/to personnel actually increased (greater elasticity), although there is more to the effectiveness of an armoured Division than merely its tanks (independent of reciprocal, synergistic effects and labour management, such as e.g. the attached artillery).
The authors thought economically (in figures) not militarily (in power), which is unfortunate considering the thorough preparation and inclusion of intangible factors.
UAVs and stealth fighters are actually a typical example of this phenomenon (world presence at labour substitution) and it is interesting to see that WW2 was actually not decided by technological superiority (at least not in Europe)!
The same applies to the claim of inter and late war German Divisions, despite the change in the overall strategic situation (more "tank" per unit).

A reduction of armoured formations may increase the staying power at the cost of weakening the element of maneuver or the opposite case, reducing the overall output at which casualties can be inflicted respectively (during Zitadelle the German Panzer Divisions were actually overloaded with tasks).
Moreover, casualties incurred or suffered in the operation are the cummulative losses sustained or inflicted during all tactical engagements, so there is no distinction: Perform better, kill faster, accomplish your task. The product of skill and munitions per capita invested, influenced by the environment drives the output, i.e. (especially on the Soviet front) to put it crudely, German artillery hit more and their munitions must have "gone off" more frequently.

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by Max Payload » 16 Aug 2020 14:43

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 Aug 2020 21:05
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2020 02:39

My sense is that this member is disagreeing with me to disagree with me.
Going back through this thread and another, I see that I owe Max Payload an apology for this ungenerous reading of his replies.
Apologies are rare, so thanks for that. But don’t fret it, I’ve had my motives impugned far more robustly in the past.
If you are going to question conventional wisdom or advance a novel POV, as you are wont to do - and good on you, you must expect to be challenged. It’s best not to read motives into such challenges unless they are openly stated.
Take a look at the Forum Board Rules occasionally - there’s some sensible stuff there.

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by Stiltzkin » 16 Aug 2020 22:23

Furthermore, Germany devoted most of its armor production to assault guns and tank destroyers later in the war. These units mostly supported infantry divisions at the tactical level.
I might add that that is is also a matter of different weights standing in contrast to the greater staying power, a constant demand for replacement in the frontline units due to increased attrition and loss of battlefield control, adjusted for the individual punishment factors of the respective AFV (i.e. role and combat exposure). The creation of ad hoc formations might have played a role too.

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by steevh » 18 Aug 2020 11:56

Assume the original graph is correct.

The successful army will still require the top-end units, as those will be the ones that have the offensive capability against the 'average' units of an equivalent foe.

Looking at the Ost Front, it was almost always a case of the armour, with air support, of whichever side, making the breakthroughs. In the German case, from late 1943 onwards, they still needed the Panzer divisions to stop the breakthroughs and squash the bridgeheads, despite being on the strategic defensive.

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Re: Relationship between material intensity and combat power, per soldier

Post by stg 44 » 18 Aug 2020 22:06

Sid Guttridge wrote:
19 Jul 2020 09:42
This seems to discount other possibilities such as will power, fantacism and morale.

About 20 or 30 years ago a few Chadian forces largely equipped with "Technicals" carrying heavy machine guns overthrew massively larger Libyan forces equipped with some of the most modern weaponry. ISIS expanded without much access to advanced weaponry against some comparitively well endowed armies. The largely self-resourced Tamil Tigers gave the Sri Lankan Army a hard time for a decade or more.

All other things being equal, one would expect the better resourced side to win every time. But all other things aren't equal.

Cheers,

Sid.
That example was more about surprise than anything else, since they used an unknown pass that allowed them to attack from behind. The Libyans didn't even realize they were under attack until too late to react.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fada
Plus the Chadian force had modern Milan ATGMs, which coupled with their surprise rear attack meant the Libyans didn't stand a chance.

ISIS had a bunch of external support and training and the Syrian government a lot of distractions:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29004253

The Tamil Tigers had material support and training from India:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberatio ... an_support

So 'better resourced' isn't so clear cut either.

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